Friday, March 15, 2013

snow joke...




I couldn’t write this earlier. I had to wait until now to make sure I’d made it back intact. I can hardly believe it’s been months – yes months - since our BIG SNOW ADVENTURE.

I was nervous about going in the first place. You see, I’m not exactly new to snow holidays – oh the irony – I actually used to sell snow holidays.  Perhaps I should start at the beginning.

I made friends in Grade 1 with a girl who was the “only rich kid in the village”. All the same, she was very nice and wherever she is in the world today, I imagine that she’s probably still very nice, though I have no idea if she’s still rich or not.  

Anyhow, what made them rich amongst other things (such as serving Yorkshire pudding on Sundays), is that they were the only family I knew that went on ‘skiing holidays’.  Let's call this rich girl “Leggy” because she had fabulous, long legs (as you know, being rich just isn’t enough.)

Growing up, I didn’t know exactly what a ski holiday entailed but one time, at a sleepover at Leggy’s house, such was the fun we were having that she asked her parents if they could take me along the next time they went skiing.  Woop! Was I the kind of fun sleepover person that people spontaneously invited to tag along on family holidays? I don't think so, I think kids are just weird that way.  (Incidentally, this was the incident planted a seed of fantasy in my mind, one that continued to grow into my teens when I met Exotica and mixed up the whole Luxembourg/Lichtenburg thing – please refer to postcards and other lies on 12 April 2012 for the full story).

Leggy’s parents looked like they’d been put on the spot but said yes, they would certainly think about it and at the time I was sure they meant it. A long family conversation ensued about “which slopes would be best for a beginner” and how “at Seefeld they have so many friends”. Months later, what with no firm travel plans having been made, I realised that her parents were just placating her. My dreams of swishing down the slopes were dashed.

Fast forward to when I was around 22 years old and desperate to get out of the boring admin job I was stuck in. I’d heard there was a job going at Leggy’s dad’s tour operating company and I was wildly keen to get a job in travel (what with invitations to tag along on family holidays not materialsing.) Bless his well-spoken cotton socks, Leggy’s dad told me at the end of the interview “better the devil you know than the devil you don’t” and hired me to be part of the ski-holiday team.

I could hardly contain myself when he said that I should ‘be prepared to take an educational travel trip' two weeks into my job so that I could ‘experience what I was about to sell’.  

Being new to the game, I wasn't prepared for the backlash from one of the girls in the office who took a fierce disliking to me upon news of the trip.  I finally asked one of my colleagues what the problem was and she replied,

“It’s because she’s been working here a whole year and still hasn’t got to go on an educational”. 

Come to think of it she was pretty cranky in general. I put it down to her really weird eyelashes. I used to stare at them for hours.

I was so amped for the trip. I imagined that I’d ski like an Olympic skier in no time.  You see I’d never actually seen someone learn how to ski. I didn’t know how fucking tricky it is. Weird eyelash girl did know though, because she could ski, so in the end she probably had the last laugh. 

For those who have never given it a whirl, it feels like you’re trying to control your limbs, that have been soaking in Novocain overnight, whilst trying to stay upright on a sea of writhing eel.

What I’m guessing didn’t help me was that I started off every skiing day a bit schizzeled. In the mornings before we hit the slopes (some of us harder than others) we did a quick tour of some of the pensions that our clients would be staying in.  With total disregard to the early hour we were greeted with a “welcome schnapps”. Yes, at EVERY pension we visited.  (Note of warning: this appears to be a popular custom in countries with cold climates). As my boss was diabetic and couldn’t drink, he’d slyly wait until I’d politely downed my shot and then would switch my empty glass for his full one.  My hands were tied. He was my boss after all. So whereas everyone else had, say, five early morning shots, I had ten.

Over those 5 short days of skiing I managed to cause untold mayhem. I imagine that some person in Austria is blogging about it as we speak. I succeeded in halting several T-bar lifts by falling off them. I regularly managed to cross my skis on the journey up (a special talent particular to only me, it seems) causing me to fall off the lift, mostly into the deep snow alongside.  Every time the instructor looked at me he looked nervous and slightly upset - on one occasion he was nearly reduced to tears.

I spent more time on my arse and on my face making facedown snow angels than anyone in the history of skiing. People think I’m kidding when I say this, but I was such a clumsy idiot that absolute strangers would buy me drinks in the bar at apr├Ęs ski hour because they mistook me for someone who was employed for their entertainment. The clown of the slopes if you will.

To add insult to injury, my hair totally frizzed, and then froze in the frizz, broken only by my ear warmer headband thingy. This made me look almost exactly like John McEnroe in the 80’s.

I’m still traumatized by my skiing experience and as a result gave snowboarding a try on the recent BIG SNOW ADVENTURE. I have a few words of advice for people if they ever see me in the snow…clear the fucking slopes if you value your life.