I admit, I was intending on keeping the blog up to date while I was away, but I’ve been either too skint, tired or pissed to bother for most of the week. We went to Pas De La Casa in Andorra and I’m writing this on the last night when I should be packing with the intention of posting it when I get back on Sunday.
The start wasn’t great with the flight being delayed by an hor or so which meant I had to get some kind folks back home to text me the result of our game at Old Trafford (0-0). No worries, though. Late arrival at the hotel meant we had about 30 mins to make a brief unpack and head for the “initiation” meeting where they try to sell you stuff.
We came out on top, though. As ever on holiday I wore my Toon top (all weel, in fact). The first bar we went into was Milwaukee’s and the first thing we saw was a mad, bald Geordie working one of the bars. We paid for our first drinks (about 3 quid a pint) and nothing else for the rest of the night. Thank you Mintoe!
Snowboarding started the next day. We both had afternoon lessons as the beginners were in the morning. I ended up in the “shit, but not shit enough to be a beginner” class with a rather nice Moroccan guy called Pascalle who was incredibly patient with a rather mixed bunch. The only bad point of the week, boarding wise, was one lass who broke her arm in a fall. At least she made it most of the way through the week unlike the last person I went with who ended up with her arm in plaster as a result of a fall on the first day.
The week ended with the group reduced from about 12 at the start to 6 on the final day. A certificate and a few drinks rounded things off nicely. Especially when we didn’t realise it was happy hour and ended up drinking twice as much as anticipated. Cue Pascalle wondering how on earth I wasn’t cold sat outside in a t-shirt at -5 degrees Celcius…
Other thoughts and events of the week:
Skiers are all bastards. OK, maybe not all of them. But they seem to be the ones who cause all the problems. According to Sharon’s snowboard-hating ski instructor, 70% of all accidents on the slopes involve boarders. Yes. That’s because 70% of the incidents involve some arsehole skier wiping them out.
I’ve only been boarding twice (and never been skiing), but every single time I’ve been wiped out (with the exception of while in beginner classes with other boarders) it’s been a skier who’s been to blame.
Biscuit-taker of the week was on the first day. A young girl – about 10 years old – was knocked flying by a skier. Her first ever time on the slopes and she ended up with a full leg cast. The cowardly shit that did it just sped off down the hill without stopping to see if she was alright.
And while I’m bashing, let’s have a word about the foreigners. I expect to be flamed mercilessly for this as I’m going to generalise something rotten but frankly I don’t care. Yesterday, I spotted a woman skier lose her footing on a red slope and go down clutching her leg. Snowboard still stuck to my feet, I bunny-hopped about 15 yards back uphil to retrieve here poles and make sure she was alright, which thankfully she was. “Thanks,” she said,”A German wouldn’t have bothered coming to help.”
Again on Saturday, we ended up going down a very nasty red (which wasn’t signposted – had we known, we’d have taken the alternate and very well hidden blue). It was heavy going, especially for the people ahead of us, one of whom got more or less stuck on one side. This meant Sharon couldn’t get past her as she needed to “swoop” from side to side to keep her speed down.
Somehow, she managed to get past, but slipped and landed on her side. Now Sharon can’t get back up again, especially on a slope as steep as that one was, withouth removing a ski and putting it back on again. Thing is, when she undid the ski it slid out of reach. A passing French skier slowed down, looked at her… then continued down the slope. Bastard.
Next step – undo the second. Unfortunately, the force of doing this made Sharon lose what grip she had on the slope. By this stage, I was about 3/4 of the way back up to her – a hell of a climb considering how knackered we were and the altitude. I looked up in time to see a red and black bejacketted missile sliding towards me on its back giggling like a schoolchild who’d just heard her first “willy” joke.
Amazingly, she missed me by about three feet and was brought to a gentle rest about fifty metres further down by a nice English family who’d stayed around to make sure we were both OK. I managed to reach one ski and was trying to work out how to get across to the second when another skiier appeared. French. Ignored me. Bastard.
I did manage to get the second one and slid down on my back at a vast rate of knots with the skis waving in the air. The same family made sure I was OK before leaving us.
So to date – England 7 (big family), France and Germany 0.
Typically, the weather’s not been the best this week with only a light dash of snow one night. As a result, many of the slopes have been icy and difficult to traverse for a novice like myself. Teatime on Saturday night… and there’s a blizzard outside. In the last 90 minutes or so, more than an inch has fallen. Ah well.