Monday 5 May 2014

Ski Trip 2014

It's hard to believe that the ski trip was nearly a month ago already. It was lovely to be back on a coachload of teenagers again after having had a break last year, although sad because half of the usual staff weren't able to come thanks to low numbers. But then, this was my hotel room view -

...which sort of made up for it. We stayed in a little town called Bruck at the end of the Ziller Valley, and were able to ski four different sets of slopes through the week. We spent three days skiing in Penken (I think - the piste map for the whole area is so big I am struggling to remember) then moved to the Zillertal Arena for a day, on the day when it snowed so there was about a foot of fresh powder; I had to spend the first couple of hours with a poorly student so I skied through lunch and for the rest of the afternoon, and the area was so extensive that I barely saw any of the students. Result! This was my favourite place: loads of wide reds.

On Thursday we went to Hintertux to give the students some experience of skiing on the glacier, at the request of our partner school. It wasn't a great day for many of the beginners, who found the long periods of standing around in the freezing winds exhausting (there's a lot of standing around when you're in a beginner group) and the nursery slope a bit steep. It was very chilly indeed, and snowed most of the day. After lunch I skied with Yakob and Tom, my colleagues, for a while. Tom decided we should take the long chair to Mordor, as he put it. He had been on it in the morning and realised he was the only person, as he huddled into a corner to try and keep out of the wind. When he got to the top it was a white out and he had no piste map or idea of how to get down. Luckily he was feeling more confident the second time, though he neglected to tell me that there was a long T-bar lift at the top. Utter git. My hatred for T-bars is legendary, and only deepened by Yakob pushing me over when we got to the top (he would strongly deny he had anything to do with it but I am certain I couldn't have just fallen over). It was worth it though: acres of unskied powder and some lovely slopes back. It took me a while, though, and the bus was waiting, loaded with everybody's boots and skis, by the time I made it down from the top.

We spent the last day at Hochzillertal-Kaltenbach but it was very hot and very slushy, so there's not much positive to say about that. I stopped at lunchtime and played cards with the injured students for the rest of the afternoon. Great views, though -

I bought a new helmet, after I attempted to remove the padding in mine to dry it out and it ripped into two strips as I pulled it. It was 7 trips old so probably needed replacing, anyway. I bought new goggles to match and I now have a lovely ski outfit of blues and greens and not a hint of black in sight.

I also decided that my trusty old boots had had their day. They were also 7 trips old, and they weren't particularly expensive so they have done their duty. They saw me through 4 school trips and the very difficult ASCL week in Stubai, where they picked up some eyes so they could see where they were going.

Tom gave me Mother Tom's boots last year after she injured her knee and had to give up skiing. They are much nicer but will need wearing in and I kept going back to my old faithfuls, even though they were sort of not waterproof anymore. I thought about bringing them home and keeping them as reserve boots but realised I would probably just keep wearing them if I did that, so I took Tom's advice and left them on the last bubble we took down on the last day.

Released into the wild. Imagine the adventures they're having!

Other good things about the Ziller Valley? Mayrhofen was having a street party on the night we went shopping there, called the Leder Hoedown (hur hur), which looked like it would have been really fun. We went to an amazing swimming pool one night, which had some very fun slides, a wave pool, a rapids section, an outdoor pool and a salt pool (this last was easily my favourite). The hotel, the Eberleiten, was extremely comfortable and served very good food. All good, really. For our beginner skiers it might have been better to stick with just one set of slopes, but it was great to have the option. I'd definitely recommend it for people who like variety on their ski holidays.

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