Saturday, 23 February 2008
Thus begins our week of skiing in the Alps. Doesn’t it sound scary? Skiing in the Alps. I’m mostly a green (in more ways than one) skier, and the thought of skiing part of the famous mountain chain makes me quite nervous. Those who have had the experience of skiing with me know that I like control (yeah!) when I ski. Never going too fast, I make lots of turns with my skis in a continuous wedge shape, and I sort of lean into the mountain, which is totally wrong and makes me the biggest dork on any slope. As you can imagine, no one much likes to ski with me. I even had a foul-mouthed (that’s a lot coming from me) Vietnam vet ski instructor give up on me. But despite me neuroses, I have gotten a bit better.
We had an enjoyable train ride to our destination of Aime/La Plagne, of just under five hours. The route was very scenic with little towns at the base of hills and later mountains, complete with church steeples and farms with sheep and cows. We passed beautiful waterways, some wide and peaceful and others mere streams where one might see gnomes carrying firewood. I noticed gardens along the way growing lettuce and chard.
After a bus ride of 30 minutes we arrived at La Plagne 1800, so called because of its elevation. We are definitely in a beautiful setting, with mountains all around accented with pine trees and ski lifts.
During our tasty pork and duck dinner we finally had time to fold out the map of the slopes, the exciting beginning of any ski trip. I looked and looked and looked some more, but just couldn’t find les pistes vertes. Being a newer skier, it’s very important to locate the green runs, especially on a new mountain in a new country, because they’re the easiest. We chose this area because it said there were 12 green runs, maybe 30 blue, and frankly, I didn’t care about the other colors, because we all know I’m not going down ‘em. Finally, I see about a centimeter length of green run. That’s it? Now, I’m really nervous. Either I’m going to spend 6 days going down un centimetre of green run 30,000 times, or I’m going to break my neck going down a scary blue run. At least that’s what my brain tells me. It has been wrong in the past, and I can only hope it is wrong again.
Let the adventure begin.