Went up the mountain for the first time today, which put a TOTALLY different face on living here (for the better)! Up til now it’s been kinda weird living in a resort town with no resort, if you get me. I was actually pretty excited to be going up, so much so that I had an early night and got up at 7a.m. (unprecedented thus far) to make sure I wasn’t going to miss the early lifts. I’d arranged to go up with Beth to give her a hand with learning the art, and after I’d sat around outside Spicy sports (her place of work) waiting for her to get changed, plus bumped into Dan and Oli outside, we all headed up at around 8.56a.m. I wasn’t sure how much to layer up since it was my first time out so I whacked on 5 layers comprising thermals, t-shirt, microfleece, hoody and (new) jacket. Bloody good job I did cuz I was pretty much on the money as far as the temperature went, although I’m going to have to invest in a balaclava thingy (which I was planning on buying anyway) soon to keep the wind off my face at the top as I nearly got brainfreeze on one of the chairlifts! I also debuted my new helmet ;) should look totally ninja when I have my full face balaclava thing too, lol.
Anyway back to the point… On arriving at the top of the catskinner chairlift I agreed with Beth to go and do a couple of runs solo to find my feet whilst she did the same (at a somewhat more gentle pace, being only her 3rd day out boarding) then I’d catch her up either on the run or at the top of the chairlift and give her some pointers.
The first run I did was a fairly tame green run called ‘Easy Out’. The snow was pretty hardpacked and the first run down was pretty sketchy, but by the end of the day I was flying down at pretty much my regular pace :) I had heard some horror stories about people trashing their boards on rocks during early season so I was a bit wary of that, and by the end of the day the run we’d been doing was pretty trashed at the top with some tree bits and stones kicking about. I managed to avoid doing serious damage though but something has made my edge go kinda serrated in one place, argh.
After my second run I headed back up to the top and, predictably, Beth was nowhere to be seen. Normally I would have been able to get her on the walkie talkies that I have, but the charger for them has turned out to not be multivoltage (seeing as the stupid North Americans run on 110V) so it’s probably destroyed :) bugger. So I tried calling with no success.. Then I decided to hammer it down a black run to try and see if she was on the chairlift, which ran above that piste – no joy, but on the chairlift up I saw her still going down the same green run, lol. When I eventually caught up with her it turned out she’d only managed one run in the time I’d done four and had taken a nasty knock on the coccyx, so she went for a coffee break and I continued exploring alone. Whilst stopping to pick my line down the next blue run I bumped into Jen and her bloke Ant, so I cruised around with them for about another hour before stopping for lunch. I was going to treat myself to something but on seeing the prices I decided to eat my crushed ham sandwiches instead that I’d made that morning, efficient eh?! (Which were crushed when I fell earlier by overdoing it down the same black run, sliding down on my back underneath the snow cannons and getting a trouserful of wet in the process..)
At lunch we met Kash (Ant’s mate from Bournemouth uni), Lewis and Matt, but we made it a fairly short lunch break as I wanted to max my time out after purchasing a day ticket for $41 (although that’s still cheaper than going to Tamworth or Milton Keynes!) so I headed out again with Matt and Lewis to see what kinda standard they were up to ;) after having stopped my legs were feeling some serious burn though so I was glad to reach the bottom of the first run!
After a couple more times down Matt stopped to give Oli a hand (as it was his first day out and Dan had abandoned him) so me and Lewis sessioned the green run a bit more, caught up with Beth and her newly found friend Lara and tried to give them a hand with their technique.
By the end of the day Beth was linking her turns pretty good but Lara was at the point of exhaustion so my efforts with her were somewhat wasted! In fact I made sure she got home ok because they were about to shut the lifts and the only way down was to go down a run which was closed and unpatrolled, which I didn’t think was a good idea seeing as I’d somehow lost everyone else! It’s a good job I didn’t because by the time we got the chairlift down it had started snowing and the lower parts of the runs were shrouded in cloud. Oh yeah, and on the chairlift down, I realised I’d spent the whole day boarding without insurance as it didn’t start until the 24th ;)