Here I am, back by popular demand, armed and ready with material for my online rant, the topic of which, is going to be problems of the piste. We all have them, the beautiful sport does indeed come with some difficulties. If your goggles aren’t steamed up or your hands aren’t feeling like they’re about to drop off, you’re clearly doing something wrong.
1. Ski Schools
Like a deadly line of conga, once you’re in it, you’re not getting out of it easily. Snaking their way down the mountain these stealthy infants might look adorable in their pastel coloured all-in-ones but let me tell you, the manoeuvres I have had to pull off to avoid wiping out a small child have been the closest to death I have gotten so far. Once you find yourself in the midst of that ski school, you are now officially a pupil, wherever they go, you’re going too, hell, maybe you might even learn something new. Good luck, and may the odds be ever in your favour.
2. Cutter – uppers
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a little mess around at the side of the piste as much a the next person and I like to go fast on my board. BUT, would I bloody merge onto the M6 doing 75mph in rush hour without looking? Hell no! So why do some individuals feel the need to cut onto the piste at the speed of light without so much as a sideways glance!?!? Honestly, this isn’t the winter Olympics, there’s no talent scouts perched ready at the side of the piste, let’s all clam down a bit and exercise some etiquette.
3. The French
*DISCLAIMER*: Based on personal experience, I find the following to be true. This is not a generalisation but merely an observation.
The French, they’re arrogant, they’re impatient and they bring their crazy driving habits onto the slopes. And yes, they both smell and smoke one hell of a lot. I don’t know what is worse, the French who can’t ski and insist on teetering down a red run entirely unpredictably and out of control; or the French who can ski and do so as if it is their God-given right to straightline everything equally as out of control.
As a boarder, the anxiety that grips me when I approach the top of a chairlift is similar to how I imagine running full pelt at a wall feels. Only one foot is strapped in, I don’t trust myself to be able to glide off like the slick ESF instructors. It’s a case of strap your other foot in, or take the entire population of the ski resort out when you bail at the top.
So, it’s half term, and the queue for the smallest, slowest, shittiest lift is about half a mile long. You can only get about two runs in in two hours, you can hear Janice from Doncaster announcing that she is feeling the effects of last nights’ dodgy steak tartare (speaking of runs) and everywhere you look there is some overtly British family cladded in the brightest ski gear they could find in Snow and Rock. The cherry on the top here is the oblivious, goggle line-faced, middle-aged couple ramming into the back of your £380 board with their sub-standard rental skis….. don’t you just LOVE brits abroad.
So, crucial ingredient in a successful ski resort is snow – but nobody actually ever wants it to snow when they’re skiing. You can’t see your hand in front of your face, but you stupidly make the decision to go out anyway. It’s chilly on the old cheeks, so you pull up your buff, this then steams up your goggles, making visibility even worse than it already is. Chairlift rides are cold, wet, long, cold, boring, wet, and did I mention cold? Making your way down the piste takes more concentration than you gave in any exam you ever sat in your entire life, as everything blends into white. For all you know you started the top of the run in Tignes and you could be finishing in bloody Japan. Imagine skiing drunk and blindfolded and you’ve probably got the idea. That bump you just hit? Could have been a small child, could have been a rogue mountain goat, or it could have been a block of cocaine, who knows.
Like cat and dog, for some unknown, ancient history reason, we are sworn enemies. If a skier sees a snowboarder dying on the side of the piste – there is a good 60% chance that skier would not stop. Shocking new research shows that snowboarders are, generally, paid less than skiers. If a group of skiers approach a snowboarder, he is well within his rights to issue a pre-emptive strike as self defence. If I had a euro for everytime one of my guests described me as a ‘gay on a tray’ or awkwardly grimaced everytime I revealed I snowboard, I would be drinking unlimited aperol spritz at Folie Douce every lunchtime for the rest of the season. Personally, I am hoping to end this apartheid and campaign for equal rights for boarders. (In all seriousness though – what did a snowboarder ever do to a skier to piss them off so much?)
8. The carrying
I’m not going to lie here – I have it easy. I have my nice comfy snowboard boots and my lightweight board, and I’m all set. But why does the walk to the lift feel so far? Is it the altitude that is making me feel like someone has a plastic bag over my head? Am I really this unfit? Why is my clothing so bulky? How am I sweating so much when its minus bloody 6??? and WHY is this skier walking SO SLOW in front of me? Oh, the joys.