February 1, 2005

My Adventure in the Alps

Well, it's been a very long time since I've posted a blog entry. I guess I just haven't had anything new to say. Sure, I could have made a New Year's blog entry, but most people were there, and eh, I'm frankly just too lazy. However, I finally did something interesting enough to warrant my return to blogging -- a day of skiing in the alps. Now, while it was awesome, it was probably also the most ridiculous ski trip in the history of the world. I forget who's law it was about stuff going wrong, but yeah, Saturday was a good example of that.

We were all from either the UK, Ireland, or America, and all in all, there were 14 of us that went down to Garmisch-Parkenkirchen (where the winter olympics were held when they were in Munich). After waking up at 5:45 to catch our trains down to the mountains, we finally got to the top a bit before 11. At this point, I realized that at least five people were skiing for their first time ever. Needless to say, it was about 12:30 before I got my first run in. I may not be an expert, but I was able to walk uphill without a problem.

I spent the first hour and a half at the top of the mountain trying to help people out a little bit. Seeing as how I recently perfected the Pizza/Snowplow technique, I tried to demonstrate it for the others. While most everyone got it, one of the girls just couldn't keep her balance. Worse yet, even with someone helping her, she could not pull herself up after falling. Now, while I didn't mind helping some of the pretty ladies (said in best strongbad voice) learn to ski (it often entailed them skiing into me repeatedly, then doing some awkward bear hug manoveur to lift them up), after an hour and a half, I wanted to go further than 100 yards down the mountain.

Finally I went on my first run of the day with one of the other girls. Both of us were pretty much beginners, so it made sense. She was also skiing on the easy slopes so I figured she could lead me over there; however, she is averse to leading, and insisted that I go on ahead and she would follow. Needless to say, we got somewhat lost. Virtually none of the paths were marked, and we quickly found ourselves flying down a narrow medium difficulty slope with a very, very sharp cliff on the outside edge. After that run (which lasted about 10 minutes), we found ourselves at a juncture of about three more runs. Ignoring the lift to our left-hand side, we took the run that was labelled easy; the sign also indiciated a lift was below. Problem was, this lift was at the bottom of the mountain, and moreover, 100 yards down, the easy slope turned into a black (death) and then a red (medium/death). After several spectacular wipeouts, and a section that Karine decided to walk down (it was as steep as the steepest slopes in Michigan, but it kept going until it ended at a sharp right turn/cliff), we made it to the bottom.

That entire adventure took us around an hour and a half. If it wasn't for the walking, we probably could have finished it in a normal time, but when Karine saw my wipeouts, she was apparently too frightened to try it herself.

So, we went back up the mountain and took a short break. We then heard that two of the guys that just started skiing saturday got lost just like we did, and they were stranded on the middle of that run. Apparently, they were there for more than an hour and looked incredibly cold. They were brought down to the bottom by the Rettungsmänner...umm....rescue guys. Other people told us to wait at this little bar for them to come back up, and by that time, it was almost 4:15. Once they got there, we found out the lifts close then.

Marvelous. I have to go down that damn slope again. Well, now I was joined by two girls; everyone else was already going down the mountain. Karine was too frightened to try it again, and Karen just started skiing that day. Super! We could see that the lift was still running, so we hoped that the people were just uninformed. We ended up hauling our asses up to the top of the mountain again (about 200 yards uphill), and I asked the very puzzled man if we could ride down. Apparently, the lift was running backwards, and it wasn't allowed. After pleaing with him for several minutes in German (I told him my girlfriend was with me and she couldn't make it down the mountain, even the incredibly easy run that almost killed me before), he told us to wait for a second. After making a call, he said we would have to wait for at least a half hour until it starts running forwards again. Ok, awesome, half an hour in the freezing ass cold.

Turns out he meant fifty minutes. By that time the train was leaving in ten minutes, and it was the last one. We hurriedly scrambled into the gondola as the guy came back up, and ran from the gondola on the bottom to return our skiis. The girls got on the train just as it was leaving.

Jeez. That was a long day.

Posted by andy at February 1, 2005 6:41 PM | TrackBack

hey, at least there was no severe knee damage :)

Posted by: hollimer at February 1, 2005 7:45 PM

aww man, I miss travelling so much.

Posted by: Jon at February 2, 2005 6:06 PM
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