Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Afriski Winter 2008

Carl, Kirsten, Caron and I purchased a ski chalet last year in the Lesotho mountains so that we could have a short ski holiday without the expense and time required to go overseas. Although technically true, saying that we own a ski chalet doesn't quite describe it adequately at all. What we actually own is 1/26 of a chalet (4%) so the reality isn't quite as grand as it sounds.

Getting to the ski resort we have to pass over the Moteng pass which is over 3000m above sea level and can be very icy and treacherous so, in lieu of snow tires which would be impossible to obtain in SA, both carl and I have purchased sets of snow chains. It looks really funny putting chains on a 3 series but if we need to use them them we're going to really need them.

Carl wasn't able to ski due to his shoulder operation a couple of months ago but I think that a little missing out now will be much better than taking the chance of damaging his shoulder again. Still, it couldn't have been easy watching the rest of us kit up every day and bugger off to the slopes while he was left to his own devices or worse, left with sick children as happened the one day.

In between the frenetic activity on the slopes there was time to relax in the sunshine, indoors of course, and read a couple of novels. We were there for a full 5 days which sounds a lot given the size of the one and only slope pictured below but it goes quite quickly and the slope is actually perfect for learning or working on one's skiing technique.

I think that both the slope for learning on and the instructors were significantly better than we have experienced in europe. The one instructor in particular whose name was rudi from pitztal was particularly amazing both in how he skied and how he taught. Methinks pitztal is going to feature somewhere in my future travel plans.

Taking lessons turned out to be a great idea because we (kirsten and I) were just about the only ones taking intermediate or advanced lessons so we had individual tuition at the price of group lessons. When I was talking to moritz, the other instructor I had, he said that skiing was just such a new sport in SA that almost everyone was a beginner and most people were just happy to leave it at being able to get down a slope safely. Learning how to ski properly will come but at the moment there aren't that many people going the extra step.

Of course, as with any holiday, there has to be some irritating twit that spoils it and mine was an older, grey haired guy on 2' skis that kept on queue jumping. He didn't appreciate it when I pointed his behaviour out in front of the entire queue and tried to edge closer to intimidate me (I guess) because he was plenty close enough to spar verbally.

All in all; a really enjoyable way to spend a week. Work feels so far away when one is skiing.

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