The last time I was on a ski slope was Friday 16th January 2009 and I did not believe I would be back so soon (if at all). A great deal has occurred in the 1087 days (or 2 years 11 months and 23 days) since my last group ski trip. My friends would probably say that they are pleased I have returned to the slopes. Personally I am perhaps looking forward to touching down at Gatwick (injury free, God willing) on 14th January more than anything else. (Although a week off work so soon after two weeks off for the Christmas break are not something to be frowned upon)
This could have been very different. If I had gone on that first ski trip with school way back in 1994, I may now have been an accomplished skier (or boarder) rather than a complete waste of space on the piste as I am now. The ‘statue’ as I am called by my friends (in particular Emily) or perhaps now the portly statue with all the weight I have put on in the almost three year break from the slopes. Perhaps the biggest criticism I received while on my first ski trip in Kitzbuhel back in January 2008 was, after a four days of lessons (not to include several hours of lessons at Escape MK) was as follows. “You are not really skiing!” Thank you so much for that great piece of positive feedback on a sport based ninety nine percent on confidence and a mere one percent on technique.
You are probably wondered why am I going all the way to Austria for a ski trip if I am not a big fan (or even accomplished) skier. The social aspect of the trip is perhaps the defining part of the holiday. This year the group is different (no Paul S or Mel or Ben) so we have new members in the form of Joe, Paul and Kate. The rest remain the usual suspects. The dynamics between t_dogg and The Prof will be interesting to say the least and you have to refer to Pav’s Stag do in Berlin, last year as a preview to this, the main event.
Based on previous trips, and particularly 2009 in Tignes, I have decided to very much play it safe this year. There will be no mistaking red runs for blue runs based on the name (Bluet not Blue A). I will keep myself occupied on the nursery slopes wherever they may be. Although Pav continues to remind me that Mayrhofen is an extreme resort. I will discover that for myself within the space of a few hours. While some may find it boring to complete the same basic run on repeated occasions, being a routine person I quite enjoy the monotony of such a day. My biggest regret from previous ski holidays has always been about ruining other people’s holidays. This is something I do not wish to repeat, there was Geoff chasing me down to the main gondola in Austria back in 2008 and then Emily moments away from raising the alarm to mountain rescue in France in 2009 (while, it should be noted, the rest of my so-called friends had a drink and joked at my demise on the mountain). My dearest wife was quick to respond to my thoughts, “Make sure you still have a good time, it is your holiday as well Teg!”. This of course is true but at times I have felt I am a burden on my friends for my lack of both skill but also winter sports experience. Being in a foreign country and not being able to say more than please and thank you does not help either (but that is a common sentiment with the British abroad). I do try I confess but I am sure most people in most places around the resort will speak English. Although it will be hilarious to watch t_dogg with his spoken English with a German accent once again!
With so many events taking place over Christmas and heading up to Edinburgh for Hogmanay (blog post and photos to be uploaded the moment I get back from holiday) this ski holiday has kind of crept up on me. There are mixed feelings here, meaning I have to rush around to get everything ready tonight, pack, ensure I have all the important items at my disposal (passports, Euros). On the other hand there is no long countdown waiting for the holiday to arrive, as has been the case with the 16th December. (Hardly Olympic standard but since starting my new job I have worked all the way up to my Christmas break from mid August).
One thing for certain, on my return I shall be blocking Pavneet Singh Khural on G-Chat (on Google Mail). He has already been a pain, chasing up this specific posting onto my blog. Even leaving off topic comments on my Facebook status updates throughout Christmas and New Year. The PBE (the preview blog entry is written before any major events I go on with my group of friends (Reading Festival as an example). In recent months, due mainly to my lack of time I have been unable to write these up, as by the time I get to blog, the event has already taken place and writing from a historical perspective is not easy, even if at times it does require a Orwellian style of journalism.
I must end by looking on the bright side. While most of my relatives, friends, colleagues and even complete strangers, head back to work after the Christmas break, they face the January blues. I will do, but I have just delayed them quite purposefully by heading to the Alps for a week with my friends. I wish you well, until I return. I will try to update Twitter and Facebook from time to time, should I find an internet cafe somewhere in the resort. Although the temptation to go fully cold turkey is actually quite appealing, even for me!