Monday, 3 January 2011

Ski envy

Very cold again today, and overcast. A stop in day for the most part, although John went hour for an hour of downhill skiing, just up the road, while Rachel and I ventured out for a little ski promenade on the golf course. Clare and Jasmine baked cookies. 

Low temperatures keep the snow surface soft and powdery, but the underneath layer is firmer and more load bearing. This offers excellent conditions to practice manouvering, as opposed to straight line skiing, on slopes without well worn tracks. I'm enjoying getting quite a new feel of how you can use your weight and balance to control movement on skis which are hard to manage if you don't want to go in a straight line or stop on a gradient without crashing. The additional practice is giving me a fresh confidence in how they're meant to be used.

If I say I gained mastery of this kind of ski during our Swiss sojourn I mean coping with something that never felt wholly predicatable, very much subject to one's levels of strength and concentration. I always admired the old geezers who skied past, rarely fell and could go anywhere without hesitation - Swiss army trained if not nurtured in the art since childhood. Oh to be as good as them!

How this experience translates into action in less than perfect conditions remains to be seen, but this month's everyday 40-50 minute outing is more practice at cross country skiing than I could ever achieve in Switzerland where I managed three outings a week in winter, and maybe four consecutive days on ski holiday. I can but rejoice in my exceedingly good fortune to be here, and thrill to the everyday beauty of the terrain, as well as getting in so much time on good snow.
John returned from downhill skiing pretty chilled, but rejoicing in the empty slopes, post vacation, and the pleasure of a fresh powdery surface up there. It's even colder up the hill, what with the cloud  layer up at the level of the top section of the chair lift. To restore us all, Rachel cooked us a fish which I guess we in Wales would call Sewin - sea going trout. It went down a treat with a good bottle of Canadian Chardonnay, and a salad of baby spinach with dried cranberries, mushrooms and tomatoes.

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