Sunday, July 01, 2007

Skiing African Style

Woke up to a brilliant cloudless day which just happened to be -5 deg. C. Frigging cold, especially being an African I am used to the heat not the cold. Nobody had slept well last night thanks to the other tenants who managed to disturb everyones' sleep at various times of the night so everyone was feeling a little green around the gills. Breakfast was very plain fare but quite edible and we hurried through the breakfast to make sure that we arrived at the ski slope before one of the other parties which had at least 40 people in it.

Driving down to the the Afri-Ski resort we were greeted with the following view which was very encouraging, at least there was definitely snow to ski on.

We kitted up in the ski shop without too much of a problem although I heard some people who came in after us complaining vociferously. They had paid about 20k for ski passes, hire etc, etc and Afri-Ski didn't have them on their list so they weren't going to give them their gear. I can hardly blame the customers irritation but the Afri-Ski staff really need a serious wake up call. One just can't run a ski resort like they do - in mitigation, the resort only really opened in 2004 but by now they really should be getting their customer service right. They clearly aren't.

So finally we were ready and after a couple of tries on the baby slope I worked up to the full run quite quickly. I think that this slope has to be the best slope I have seen or can imagine for beginner to intemediate skiers. The half of the full slope which was open could be divided into thirds. The first third was between a green and a blue, the second third more or less a blue and the final third between a blue and a red slope so as people got used to the easy slope they could progress to slightly steeper slopes easily.

By the end of the day, I as well as Kirsten and Carl had more or less remembered how to ski albeit a bit like a robot. All stiff and not smooth and flowing. Caron was doing fine on the lower slopes snow ploughing here way down and complaining bitterly about the stress being put on her knees. I keep on telling her that as soon as she starts to parallel ski, all that stress just goes away and the whole experience becomes a million times more pleasant.

We actually stopped mid afternoon because we were all getting tired and that is the time when one has accidents so we retired back to the lodge where we could sit in front of coal fire and drink wine and whisky and relax.

Carl had to get a report finished and sent to one of his colleagues - a simple task or so he thought as the following days were to show. We asked about internet connection at the lodge but they only have a satellite phone for emergencies. There wasn't even a cell phone signal at the lodge. There was a cell signal at the ski slope but only caron who has MTN was able to actually make phone calls. Carl and myself are Vodacom subscribers so we had absolutely nothing.

The kids struggled to get to grips with the snow, this being their very first experience of snow. Not exactly happy campers at the end of day one.

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