Since moving to Norway I’ve decided to take up snowboarding again. I had my first run down the slopes in January 2013, which is about eight years since the last time I strapped in to my board. When the opportunity to go skiing in the Alps in Austria, I was really pumped.
We flew into Munich, hired a car (ordered a VW Golf and ended up with a Mini Countryman = win), drove fast down the autobahn and straight to St Anton am Arlberg.
Even though Spring has started, it was snowing most of the way. The next day head to the Galzig gondola and up the first mountain. I discover I’m still a bit nervous on my snowboard, but am keen to improve, so we head up higher. From 2650m above sea level, it’s time to head down the mountain again. Did I mention it’s a 9km run! And there was a blizzard! I couldn’t see more than a couple of metres in front of me. Nor could I see whether there was a bump of snow or a patch of ice. What a way to kick-off bucket list item #42: skiing in the Alps!
Somewhere along this massive, blizzarding run I ask myself some questions… am I too unfit for this? Because my thighs are hurting. Or am I just crap at snowboarding and am not doing right and that’s why my thighs hurt? Or is this blizzard interfering with my abilities? The final question… how long is this run?! I need a break. Luckily the mountain is scattered with cafes (unluckily, hardly any take credit card and we didn’t bring enough cash. Doh!).
After lunch (yay for schnitzel!), we headed back to the main mountain in search of better weather. It did clear up and we had some good runs, but I was a bit exhausted from the morning.
I felt a bit bad that I was slowing my partner up, so I said, you do a couple of runs and I’ll take it easy on the way back. Meet you at the bottom. Now I’m not sure if you’ve read “About Planet Lew”, but I point out that I easily get lost. This day was no exception. There I was, happily following run 23/24 down, when the split. One to the left, one to the right. Yes, I could have checked my map, but I could see the gondola to the right, so why bother. So I head down 24. Partly through a child’s ski park, which I hadn’t noticed on the way up. What I also failed to notice was that the gondola I spotted was smaller than the Galzig gondola we took up. Uh oh. I was headed to Nasserein on the other side of town. It could have been worse, I could have ended up on the other side of the mountain! I take off my board and hoof it through town to the bus stop to take me back to the hotel. My partner is there, sitting in the car and ready to go. Oops.
Next stop, Kitzbühel! Just in time for dinner, which was great because I was starving.
I look out the window and see clear blue skies. Yes! Now to find out if I’m unfit or crap. The Hahnenkamm gondola takes up a the nearly vertical mountain and the views are spectacular. Nothing like a bit of sunshine to make everything sparkle.
I’m in a good mood and feeling confident today. Some nice blue runs boost my ego, but I’m quickly brought into check on a black run where I fall, I think tumble would be a better description. I feel like the wind has been knocked out of me. Okay, I thought, I’ll take it a bit easier. So we continue to coast along and I start to relax. A little too much and fall again. I have worked out my problem, I’m a combination of unfit, as I can’t seem to keep my legs bent and the edge of the board in the snow, which also makes me a bit crap at snowboarding. Next time, I’m going to get some professional help to make sure I maintain a good technique.
I’m excited about hitting the slopes again, but perhaps not so literally and with my butt. I can only get better, right?
Have you been skiing in the Alps?