Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Three Valleys

I got back from another successful skiing trip this afternoon. Marek and David had rented a small apartment near the Three Valleys for the week. Stuart and I joined them for a few days as I had to be back for the party conference and Stuart has been on short term passes since the birth of his daughter a few years ago.

Now the sensible approach would have been to have warmed up on a couple of nursery blue slopes to rid myself of all the bad habits I have developed since I last went skiing a couple of years ago. Not so the other guys who are more experienced skiers than I. So a half hour trip up two gondola's later and I step out into a cafe and lift station 2.5KM up. Stunning scenery and slight altitude sickness for a couple of moments until I acclimatise.

An American we met in the bar the night before expressed his view that the ski area, "It's HUUGGE, I mean its HUUGGE Man!" Americans typically see anything European as quaint yet Huge was a far better description, three valleys each side around 1KM up, serious amounts of skiing just to get back to the lifts. Marek and David seemed intent on doing the whole area in just one afternoon and so, discretion being the better part of valour I punctuated some runs with well earned breaks in the sun at the various bars and cafe's dotted around the mountain while they went off on kamikaze missions.

I don't know where Marek & David get their energy from. Their approach to the apres ski being very similar, we ended up playing pool with some young snow borders from Yorkshire. The lads regaled us with tales of how many times they had almost killed themselves off piste and felt we would be impressed with the volume of strange coloured drinks they were pouring down their throats.

By around 2:30 they inevitably started to loose the ability to stand up straight, muscle strain coupled with alcohol poisoning. Marek and David were Cossack dancing and doing hand stands round the pool table. The young lads were starting to see us as a threat. We were chatting to their women, two attractive 18 year olds, showing a genuine interest in them as people with respect, were holding our drink, winning at pool and managed to sprint back up the hill to the hotel. The following evening when we asked them how they had got on that day they informed us that they had such bad hangovers they had not gone out all day, we casually mentioned that we had been up on the first lift to catch the virgin snow. They avoided us after that.

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