There was more light snow overnight, and the temperature rose to minus eight. Rachel took Jasmine into school for her first day back of the New Year then we lunched with next door neighbours George and Kirsten up at the Fairmont Hos Springs Resort Hotel, almost deserted now the holidays are over. Following this, Clare and Rachel went to the spa, John and I went on up the mountain to ski - he for the downhill runs as usual, me for the cross country course which we'd not succeeded in finding and following properly last week.
This time I found the sign posts, few as they were and spent an hour and a half winding my way up the mountain side. It was stunningly beautiful but unrelieved hard work. The photos start here. Every time I thought the trail was about to turn back on itself, it turned in the opposite direction and went even further up hill, weaving its way along the contours in a generally upward direction. The trail crossed a running stream twice in the 6km ascent, before the trail turned in what I finally decided must be the right direction. Within 500m the trail ran out on to the downhill piste, about 400m below the top of the run where you come off the chair lift, where the first set of snow cannons are sited for this piste.
It was high up and very steep, and by this time I was too tired to attempt to ski down it safely, so I dismounted and walked down a very steep slope, fortunately flattened for skiing and easy to manage at a steady long stride. I descended about 800m until I was within sight of the ski lodge before I felt it was safe enough to mount my skis again and glide down the last half kilometre home. The exercise was more demanding than anything I've done in several years, and although tired at the conclusion, was well pleased that my body hadn't let me down. When I thought about it, I was daft to have gone out alone on an unknown badly indicated trail with a very difficult last leg, especially as I'd forgotten to take my daily pills this morning.
All's well that ends well, I guess.