easter skiing

At twenty-one, I'm
Invincible!  Just ask the
Piste that my face smashed.

Some of my coworkers and I headed off to the mountains for Easter weekend: a tiny little town called Bourg St. Pierre.  It's about 2.5 or 3 hours from CERN, and it's adorable!  We got a great deal (about 30CHF/person/night) on an apartment that we could all share.  There was a kitchen and a dining room/living room downstairs, then up a spiral staircase sat two bedrooms and the bathroom, and lofted over one of the bedrooms was another couple beds.  The place was full of homey charm.  In the living room we had an old-school radio (like the one my grandparents have!  It lives in a box large enough that it is a piece of furniture rather than a gadget, and it has a record player, but we had no records.), and between the living room and the kitchen were several windows that could be opened so that we were never more than normal-voice-level apart in the downstairs.

Not to mention that the town itself was about 300 people, and at the time we went it was just a little way above the rapidly-receding snowline.  Spring's a-comin'.  Just outside town there were some semi-wild trails leading up into the Alps, and they were populated with a constant flow of cross-country skiiers.  Victor and I went for a hike up there one day, and when we saw some strange chimneys poking up out of the mountainside he explained to me the Swiss military strategy of "piss off to the mountains and cripple the infrastructure for your captors."  Seems like a reasonable enough idea.  :p

As you may have guessed from the blog post title, we did, indeed, go skiing!  I only wound up going once, for reasons which I will explain.  But the place where we went was called Verbier, and it's apparently a haven for too-rich English people trying to get in their last ski weekend before the season's out.  I listened to a couple bantering about their friend who had come to the area, intending to buy an apartment or two to rent, and fell in love and bought two houses instead.  And about their experiences gambling where they lost £250,000 or so.  In a day.  Ugh.

The day after we arrived, we all woke up early and headed over to the slopes (about an hour by car), paid our 66CHF for day passes (and I paid 60CHF more for a snowboard + boots + insurance), cried a little about how absurdly expensive that was, and set off on a telecabine.  It was a gorgeous, sunny day, and we had a lot of fun playing around in the snow.  Victor and Roman and I went off-piste, which was pretty exciting for me since it was only my second time snowboarding, and I discovered that going off-piste on a snowboard is way easier than staying on, if only for the fact that it's much easier to brake.  That, and if you fall, the snow around you is powdery and nice instead of hard and icy.

After lunch, Roman and I headed off together, and by that time the slopes were starting to get even icier as the sunlight and skiers melted the top layer and the layers underneath refroze it.  I was coming down a slope towards Roman when I caught the toe edge of my board on an ice clump and immediately pitched forward onto my face.  Then I continued going forward, my spine bending and my board flipping over my head, until I came to a breathless rest on my back.

Within seconds there were other snowboarders at my side speaking frantic English and French and asking me if I was okay.  Mysteriously, I was.  Teeth intact.  Nose not broken.  Nothing bleeding.  Board okay.  I never got it diagnosed, but in the following days I had sort of hazy thoughts, and I'm quite convinced that I was experiencing my first concussion.  No matter.  I finished out the day and learned a lot about snowboarding.

In the following days, we played a lot of cards (poker, mostly) and Diablo II (oh, those were the days).  The weather wasn't always nice for skiing, so we also spent Easter Sunday afternoon going down to Italy for a nice dinner and some touristing.  So now I guess I've been to Italy.  :)

Anyway,  it was a good weekend, if expensive and concussion-inducing.  I like these kids.  :D

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