an idiot in canada


Sunday, 25th February 2001.
Ski - it ain't yoghurt

In order to catch the bus to Mount Washington we had to get up ridiculously early. 4am, in fact. How did Ian cope? Not too badly, by my standards. I was wearing borrowed ski gear, and I looked like a right dill.

We snoozed on the bus, and arrived at the mountain at 9am. There was snow everywhere, which while not entirely surprising was still a novelty for someone like me. Ooh, which reminds me...

I had never been skiing before.

First of all we had to find out about skiing lessons for me. We wandered down to the ski school, and ran into a chatty instructor called Ed. He asked me a few questions ("Do you have a good sense of balance?" "Well, I haven't fallen over recently.") and said that the "Discover Skiing" course for absolute beginners would be best for me.

After I signed up for the course, Noelle and I went outside and she tried to show me the basic "snowplough" position, or whatever you want to call it. We were on a gentle slope, and I promptly accelerated then fell on my arse in a spectacular fashion, especially considering the gentle slope and short distance involved. I trudged over to where the Discover Skiing course started, and Noelle jumped on her snowboard and zipped off down the hill and out of sight.

Two kids in their late teens were also on the course, one who had had a bash at skiing last night and the other who has been snowboarding before. Me, I'd never seen so much snow in all my life! Our instructor was called Bob. All the instructors had walkie-talkies, Bob's crackled into life as Dianne made sure he knew where he was. Bob knew where he was, but he didn't know what awaited him with...The Skiing Student From Hell!

Basically, I was hopeless. Worse than you could possibly imagine. Worse than Bob could imagine. After the other two flew through the early lessons, I was still struggling in a big way. "Dianne get me out of here!" Bob pleaded into his walkie-talkie. Further embarrassment awaited me at the bunny slope (that's right, I was making a mess of things and I hadn't even made it to the bunny slope!), as I repeatedly fell over while the other two completed everything with ease. "Bend your knees!" Bob yelled. I was bending the buggers, what the hell was he talking about?

Bob was about to abandon me on the bunny slope while he took his competent students off to do something interesting, when Ed turned up.
"Do ya need any help?" asked Ed, unaware of how unlucky he was about to get.
"Well, I was about to take this lot off to the green slope, but Ian here needs a little bit of help," said Bob.
"Help with what?"
"Oh, everything." Bob looked like a man who had just been relieved of a heavy load.
"Mate you must've done something bad recently to get lumped with me," I said to Ed as the others disappeared.
"Why's that?"
"Because I suck like you wouldn't believe."

Ed was a patient soul, and eventually we worked out what the problems were. We took the chairlift up to the top of the green run, and I made an inelegant dismount at the top. We swooshed back down to the lodge, where I was to meet Noelle. Ed nicked off (probably to have a very strong drink) and I took off my skis and waited for Noelle.

I was standing there pondering my complete lack of grace on the slopes, when a bloke walked past wearing a Carlton beanie. "Nice beanie!" I said. Naturally, I was wearing my Carlton beanie as well. Bloody Carlton supporters, we're everywhere!

After lunch Noelle and I did a few runs together ("It's a good chairlift ride ruined," I said), then Noelle went off to tackle some of the more difficult runs. I looked like a cartoon character, the tail of my coat flying out behind me as I swished down the slope. I managed to come a complete cropper towards the end of the afternoon, twisted my knee in the fall, heard things go CRACK, and limped back down to the base of the run. Feeling a bit tender, that was the end of my afternoon's skiing. It was time to catch the bus anyway.

We had a choice of movies on the bus going home. I lobbied for the Rocky and Bullwinkle Movie, and made myself very unpopular when the movie turned out to be complete rubbish.