Tag Archives: snow

Shredding the gnar…

Well, we’re right in the middle of the Winter Olympics, surrounded by slopestylers pretzeling, corking and double japanning. I can’t do any of this stuff,  barely even understand it! But I can appreciate a good downhill skier, and Charles is certainly that. I can only just keep up with him…

Ah, to be 18 again, and have the cojones to go this fast without fearing the consequences. He’s regularly 90/100+ kph, and has no sense of mortality – he’s just shredding the gnar…

Off the corduroy is where he’s at, but not me – I just catch an edge and face plant. Charles? Hits the apex and runs the white room…

I must admit when Charles finally alley-oops, tastes powder, & loses a ski, I do laugh my head off… It’s only natural, and I can see he’s ok. He’s has to climb back up the hill – steep, through the powder mash,… But then within a nano-second he’s back up to ridic-speed….

 

I want to be 18 again and ride for fun! What am I talking about,… I can still do this! Wait until next year and I’ll show you my switch right lip 270 pretzel out of the top rail, 450 on the down rail, butter pad, then cork 450 out, double cork 12, double japan, switch right, double cork 10 safety and finish with a double cork 10 tail. Believe it! Basta!!!

 

(PS – apologies to any true slopestylers out there, I know I have taken the vocab in vain, and don’t really know what I’m talking about…)


Half term chaos on the slopes

Skiing should be a dream: Vast expanses of empty white nothing; no-one to interrupt the perfect carve; elegance and rhythm, speed and style. With a bit of luck the sun is shining, to take the edge off the crisp cold. That’s the dream… on a slope a bit like the ones below…

Le rêve

Le rêve

Slopes2

Le soleil

Then crash bang WALLUP! Reality kicks in and you realise it’s half term, the French Alps have become franglified with holidaying Brits, a Coke up the mountain costs ridiculous Euros, and queuing etiquette has been replaced by the shove of the masses…

Slopes3

La foule

Slopes5

La piste

(Nice style Sophie!)

The collective madness infects everyone. Here’s a brother crashing in slo-mo into a sister and them heaping up on the floor. Hilarious! Usually, I admit, it’s me that does the crashing. But not this time! I leave the honours to Mrs P and my bro-in-law. Young cousin is being gentlemanly and returning lost ski…

Slopes4

Le crash

Next week I shall blog my way back to the serenity again and return to the dream. Leave all this chaos behind!

 


Is it ok to remove the tour kitty from a corpse….?

So, here’s last week’s skiing dilemma: all 8 lads have just put €50 in the kitty. 400 smackers – clearly enough for quite a few beers. And then kitty carrier goes arse over tit and because he’s only got one plank welded to his leg, shatters his shin bone and has to be blood wagoned down the slope. Of course, the 7 still standing are intensely sorry for our Kumpel, but hells bells, what do we do about the kitty!?!?

 

plane view

 

Morning view

 

Having said that, a boys trip is actually an object lesson in reconnecting with humanity. This may surprise our wives…., but we are able to discuss the finer aspects of life. Of course, not wishing to stretch credulity, obviously we do all the usual boy things – lots of farting, burping, gross humour, discussion of the merits of tits vs arse etc etc. But these are not the only topics of discussion. For example, in one evening we covered all the following topics: How long has your longest friend been you friend? The meaning of religion. Why do we pay tax? The respective merits of tea vs booze. How should we all contribute to society? The benefits of 3 in a bed. Politics – in general. How best to stack a dishwasher (good debate on that one!) How much we love our kids. James Bond (was The Living Daylights R Moore or T Dalton?) How long should you boil an egg at altitude to get a perfect softy? (Answer 6.5 mins in Sölden…) What exactly are parental responsibilities? How safe is the cut? And how long does it take to clean out the tubes before the risk of impregnation has passed? ALL ON ONE EVENING!

 

bridge view

 

hyt view

 

Attachment-1 2

 

I hesitate to enumerate the list of other topics discussed on other evenings. Frankly Rousseau and Voltaire would have been hard pressed to keep up. And I haven’t even mentioned the skiing, yet.

Attachment-1

 

FullSizeRender

 

Even our cooking wasn’t bad, although heaven knows what happened to this spaghetti…, swiftly followed by an argument over dishwasher stacking (f.f’s sake!)

spaghetti

 

Dish washer

 

 

dishwasher 2

 

Boys do not do things by halves. If we go to the supermarket then we damn well shop – and need at least 2 trolleys to get the beer back home (thank God the team had learnt to avoid Alkohol-frei this time!)

Shopping

Gilrs

 

Oooops, not quite sure how the last evening’s entertainment crept in there… passing swiftly on (!) we come back to the initial dilemma. What to do about that €400? The cash needs to be weighed up against the seriousness of the injury. Take a look at the poor chap’s shin bone:

 

Broken leg

 

leg in pins

 

Well, being the decent chaps we are of course we chased after the blood wagon! So that’s another boys trip over for another year. Can’t wait for the next one.

 

Solden view

 

(Now boys – if you haven’t seen the video, then let me know and I’ll wetransfer it to you. It’s fun. And ask yourselves this: What does Granny really want?) Tschüß, bis zum nächsten Jahr!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Generational battle on the slopes

Now, all that drinking and dancing malarky in the last post (see here) is actually peripheral to the main event of a skiing holiday. Which, of course, is to get the adrenalin going by carving down the slopes as fast as possible whilst looking as elegant as possible.

DCIM107MEDIA

Me. Going fast. But not elegant…

I have to admit, there is some rivalry in the camp on this point. And, to be honest, I’m losing on both counts. The problem is the teenage children. They’re faster, they’re more elegant, they’re more skilful. Godammit, they’re just better, and there’s bugger all I can do about it!

13, going on 23, and skis like the dancer she is.

13, going on 23, and skis like the dancer she is.

Handbrake turns, easy when you're 15.

Handbrake turns, easy when you’re 15.

Even the jumps hold no fear

The jumps hold no fear

Even a coxcomb hat doesn't slow him down

Even a coxcomb hat doesn’t slow him down

Youth of today

Youth of today

Luckily I can divert my put my pent up ambition to be the fastest slope-man to one side and admire the view. Stunning.

The mountain pass

The mountain pass

The volcano mountain

The volcano mountain

The run into St Christoph

The run into St Christoph

But then the boy whizzes past me at over 100kph and the race is back on! Elegance be damned – I need the speed!!!

Schuss, c'mon - Schuss!

Schuss, c’mon – Schuss!

 


Mooserwirt Madness!!!

Normally, I dedicate this blog to the pure aesthetics of fine art photography… But I must admit I have slipped from such lofty heights and succumbed to snip snappy shots on this one occasion. The reason? Ah, well that would be the annual half term skiing trip, where cameras do not mix so well with snow, skis, adrenaline, and on this occasion…., booze.

Aerobics at the Mooserwirt

Aerobics at the Mooserwirt

The place: St Anton, the time: apres-ski, the venue: the Mooserwirt, where DJ Gerhard (70+ and still a spring chicken) hits the beat with the most fantastic KrautRock you’ll ever hear. No-one can resist, as Clem so ably demonstrates above.

Fun for all the family

Fun for all the family

Charles struts his stuff

Charles struts his stuff

Rose struts her stuff too...

Rose admires her nude stirrer…

This is the place where everyone knows the words and the actions to Schwimm, Schwimm and Wir wollen die Eisbaeren sehen, yes indeed, German seems to come easily, especially when lubricated with much beer. (Should have dragged the boys here last time – they could do with some German!)

Brother & sister boogie

Brother & sister boogie

Like mother like daughter

Like mother like daughter

Happiness reigns

Happiness reigns

I’m blaming the booze for the poor quality of the photos, but they do seem to capture the spirit of the place. Speaking of alcohol – my daughter (13 going on 25) knows what she likes…

before, and...

before, and…

after!

after!

Inevitably the fine Reinheitsgebot beer has its effect and the dancing gets wilder. We should quit before it all goes too far.

Ooops, too late

Ooops, too late

Wein, Weib und Gesang...

Wein, Weib und Gesang…

 

I wonder if next year’s skiing will be as raucous? Hope so!

(Adam - pissed as a fart...) Prost!

(Adam – pissed as a fart…) Prost!

 

 

 


We should all learn German, especially the boys…

Skiing – yes, its that time of year! But there’s a problem…

Love the mountains...

Love a good mountain view

What is it with boys and learning languages? Why is it so hard? And why don’t they commit? Honestly, just basic German can be so useful, and yet the Brit boys forget their der, die, das and eins, zwei, drei  with catastrophic consequences….

That's the way to do it...

That’s the way to do it…

 

You need to picture the scene. Nine Brit boys on a long weekend skiing in Val Gardena – may be Italy, but German is the lingua franca, c’est la vie… The aim is as many miles on the piste for as few Euros as poss, so home cooking is the order of the day.

the boys favoured orange this year

the boys favoured orange this year

 

On the first shopping trip many, many, bottles of beer are bought for later consumption. Only for a fatal word on the label to be ignored: alkoholfrei… I mean I ask you, basic German or what!?! And spaghetti carbonara is a good dish for many hungry mouths, but the final pasta becomes slightly stodgy after overlong boiling and a realisation that it is senza glutine… (Italian, I know…)

the most pointless products in the world

the most pointless products in the world

 

Thank heavens for Wein, Weib und Gesang...

Thank heavens for Wein, Weib und Gesang…

 

Alohol free beer means speed limits can be ignored on the slope!

Alohol free beer means speed limits can be ignored on the slope!

But maybe the finest scene is reserved for the Bäckerei, where 18 rolls need to be bought for the following day’s packed lunch on the slopes. The boys can’t count to 18 in German – eins to zehn is all they can manage , so they asked the young lady behind the counter for neun rolls which she duly picks out, puts in a bag and hands over. At which point the boys add: “und neun…”, so she, perplexed, turns around and has to pick out another 9 rolls and put them in a second bag… She must have thought they were Idioten….

The view is spectacular

Spectacular views!

 

Looks like someone had  a serious tumble!

Looks like someone had a serious tumble!

 

I wonder if the girls’ trip is anything like this…? Let’s face it, unwahrscheinlich… 

 


Crash bang wallop in Obergurgl, plus laughs…

A week’s skiing is a week of laughs, but also of thuds, crashes, bangs and bruises. Indeed the laughs are usually at the expense of the thuds, crashes etc of one’s companions. And with the group that we go with, there’s plenty of that…

The speedster

Charles – the speedster

Charles (14): snake-hips-carving-speed maniac, does not believe he can crash, even when he does. Impossible to keep up with him. Parental fear twisted to the extreme.

Hannah (11) powers down the mountain, smashes through the moguls (who needs to go round them!?!), likes to scream at the top of her lungs as she schusses, and promptly falls flat on her back when she stops at the bottom of a slope…

Power skier

Power skier

Hannah 'sits down' 1

Hannah ‘sits down’ 1

Hannah 'sits down' 2

Hannah ‘sits down’ 2

Hannah 'sits down' 3

Hannah ‘sits down’ 3

Immy (12) is the only one who skis delicately. She also sings whilst skiing, mostly songs from The Sound Of Music. She brings colour light and of course sound to the slopes.

The hills are alive...

The hills are alive…

Stu (40 something), boarder, deep powder nut & general thrill seeker, also has no fear of crashing. Which is good, because he did, and I got it on camera…

Stu starts well in the deep powder...

Stu starts well in the deep powder…

Oooops, he's lost it...

Oooops, he’s lost it…

The resultant portrait.

The resultant portrait.

But the best of all is Stu’s wife Clem (no age given): beginner boarder, and daughter Mia (5 on the slopes, now 6 – happy birthday!): beginner skier. Their adventure goes like this:

Half way down slope Mia crashes. Clem takes off her board to comfort Mia. Board slides off down hill. Increases speed. Disappears off edge. Mia cries, wants Daddy. Skidoo turns up. Clem tries to explain, in German, what’s happened. Skidoo disappears off after the board. Stu turns up with Felix between his legs (4, can’t ski at all). A marital debate takes place on the side of the slope (@!**^$@). Skidoo returns, miraculously with the board! Mia continues down the mountain now with Daddy. Felix gets a lift on the skidoo! Clem boards down, slowly…

Ah, how we chortled over our Glühwein about that one. All’s well that ends well. And indeed the week did end well with no broken bones, although with many bruises. And some great laughs. Got to love the mountains…

Hannah admires the view

Hannah admires the view

 

 


Close shave in the Dolomites…

Feb half term is the annual family skiing holiday. A week of fun and adventure. Stories that we will talk about forever.

Sun and snow

Sun and snow

It all started at the airport. You know what SqueezyJet check in is like. Well, our group was 12 in total and the others had already been in line for 45 minutes by the time the Peck foursome turns up. Of course, we go to greet our companions, and somehow manage to jump the whole queue. Much dark muttering amongst the early morning seething mass. How to antagonise the Brits – jump a queue…

The kids are getting good!

The kids are getting good!

Conquer the mountain!

Free the mountain!

Charles and skiing have clicked. One private lesson for a couple of hours and he’s accelerated so fast I can’t keep up with him anymore. He announces “I’m a responsible skier” at lunch, and promptly smacks into his Mum, wiping her out in the afternoon.  Blimey he goes fast – the confidence of youth!

I think he's contemplating the perfect line...

I think he’s contemplating the perfect line…

Charles Tree (1 of 1)

Ah, to be young again…

Charles and fans

Charles and fans

The girls are rocking the ski school. 3 girls, and 3 champions, all winning trophies in their respective classes (phew! what would have happened if 2 won, and 1 didn’t…?)

Champions

Champions

Looking cool on the slopes

Looking cool on the slopes

Felix is chief mischief maker for the week, principally by refusing to ski. Mind you, he is only 3. His parents keep on dancing.

Felix, almost skiing.

Felix, almost skiing.

Any chance for a boogie

Swinging to the umpah music

A week’s fun in the Dolomites, and then, out of the blue, near disaster. Our transfer bus back to the airport gets hit by an avalanche at the top of the pass. The bus slews round and halts. We’re at the edge of the avalanche. Had we been 50 yards further on …., it doesn’t bear thinking about. We’re stuck until the snow plough can dig us out. We miss the plane. But no matter. We know we’ve been incredibly lucky.

Snow plough digging us out

Snow plough digging us out

Every cloud has a silver lining – in our case we have a day to kill in Venice whilst we wait for the next plane. Nothing like a close shave to make you appreciate the moment! And a family story, to last forever.

Enjoy every day!

Enjoy every day!


Icelife in Iceland

Modern life vanishes. Two and half hours flying north from London, and the city seems a million miles away. All that ‘stuff’, it’s gone. I’m spending a week living in the land of ice, literally…. Iceland.

Mighty glacier, all powerful

Mighty glacier, all powerful

Take a closer look to spot the photographer front right on the spit of land – that’s how awesomely massive this landscape view is – there are two of them:

Dwarfed

Dwarfed

Ice, glaciers. mountains, rocks, everything is solid & permanent. Time moves at a different pace – glacially you might say… The slowness of time is echoed by sound – at first it seems there isn’t any. But as ears tune in to the tempo, you hear the cracks of the shifting ice. There may be very little sign of human or animal life, but the ice itself is alive. It’s moving, shifting, living and dying.

Crevasse - highly photogenic, highly dangerous

Crevasse – highly photogenic, highly dangerous

Ice life starts high up in the mountains. The snow falls again and again, compacts and becomes ice. The weight is so heavy the air is forced out and it turns blue. The mighty glacier moves imperceptibly, sometimes is covered in ash, dirt, rocks. Changes colour. Now the ice is brown, red. Crevasses open up. This is not a place for a Sunday afternoon stroll. Fall in, you’re gone.

Boulder trapped in the black ice

Boulder trapped in the black ice

The ice is imperious. Nothing can stand in its way. Rocks! Pah! Picked up to be dumped miles away on the plain. At the face of glacier are ice caves. The ice here is striated and contorted, run through with absorbed dirt. It has become multicoloured.

The cave's maw

The cave’s maw

Our guide allows us in. And here, in this most awesome of caves, we see the first signs of ice vulnerability. This cave is not permanent. It will not last the year. The stream hints at the ice’s fate.

That stream began to trickle whilst we stood there...

That stream began to trickle whilst we stood there…

The life of ice is speeding up. Suddenly, imperceptible movement accelerates. Ice carves into the glacial lagoons.

Icebergs in the lake

Icebergs in the lake

Ice transforms from awesome majesty into vulnerable beauty. The colours are more transparent and ephemeral.

The glacier is still defiant here

The glacier is still defiant here

But it is disintegrating

But it is disintegrating

The more it dies, the more beautiful it becomes

The more it dies, the more beautiful it becomes

Ice being consumed by snow

Ice being consumed by snow

Pushed out of the lagoon into the ocean, the ice is now pitilessly attacked by the Atlantic waves. Time is short. Once it swept all before it, now it is small and vulnerable, tossed up on the beach, broken and discarded.

Ice washed ashore

Ice washed ashore

How ironic that ice is at its most beautiful now. It becomes exquisite, jewel-like, Swarowski-esque crystals. One last glisten and sparkle on a black beach before it dies and vanishes for good.

Transient jewelry

Transient jewelry

And then death

And then death

But of course, the ice hasn’t died, it has simply mutated. In the fullness of time it will return as snow, and the cycle will begin again, refreshed.

ice to water to ....

ice to water to ….


Skiing with the girls, part 2

Skiing in the Italian Dolomites

Last week was the boys (link here). This week the girl gang is on the slopes! a recipe for slow skiing, and lots of hanging around whilst gloves are found, sun screen is applied, bags are packed, skis are carried and helmets are adjusted.

Collective noun for girl gang skiing? Skiettes?

But much fun is had nevertheless! Imogen is quite capable of singing her way from the top of the mountain to the bottom of the slope, with a couple of tumbles on the way to liven things up.  Last time we took her skiing she smacked her front teeth out, this time she’s a natural, almost…

Uncle has to take evasive action

She even manages to win her ski school race with aplomb!

Victory!

Celebrating as a snow angel

This is the life, huge wide empty slopes and great views. No queues on the lifts. Why can’t it always be like this?

Can you spot the skier?

Italy has become my favourite place to ski!

And the girls keep it nice and lively. Hannah manages to drop her ski into the trees from the ski lift, and then skis down on one ski (!?!?!); Freya (her first week) can’t turn, loses control and almost careers headfirst into a logpile (saved by her hero uncle… me!); Melissa is the earth mother extraordinaire, with a bag that contains absolutely everything – drinks, wipes, chocolate etc (Freya asked her if she had a chicken in it? – great question!)

Relaxing on the slopes

Phew, managed to dodge the woodpile...!

Girl racers

The real world seems far away, which, after all, is what this week is all about. Just great views and good times with the family. Long may it continue!

All together

Up in the mountains

Our village - St Martin in Thurn