Freeride skiing is all about, well if you’ve read some of my older posts you’ll know what I think it is all about. What it is not about is sunny days loafing around resort waiting for the snow to come. The winter is a shockingly emotional time for me, sleep deprivation due to the long hours added to exhaustion from all the skiing, the highs and lows of good, bad and best days on the hill. Amazing guests, lovely guests, repeat guests, regulars that come every year, guests that make me work, guests that really really make me work it’s a roller-coaster of emotion!
Then every once in a decade the snow god lets you down and the winter starts late, 2013/14 is one of those years. A big blob of stable weather is sitting over the Balkans, not a breath of wind, I check the long term forecast twice a day, I watch the satellite images most mornings, snow-forecast.com , Accuweather.com , these are my friends, I’m pretty much stalking both sites and both just predict wall to wall sunshine. The dumb thing is I know it doesn’t matter, a bad start normally means a great mid and end of the season but experience and logic mean nothing all I can see are those little yellow sunshines.
All this pent up emotion is coming out in strange ways, anyone who is positive about the season is instantly hated, friends in Verbier, St Anton, Courcheval are no longer friends. Wars are started over nothing arguments spring up. Weirdly, considering all the rage, I’m feeling huge amounts of affection for Vania, my only partner in the war against the lack of snow! The snow gods are cursed, I’ve even thought about some sort of voodoo sacrifice, madness has set in!
So in an attempt to remain sane I have thrown my brain at some huge tasks, learning about this and that, writing essays, but the body is still craving release so I have dusted off my touring skis and my bike and I’m spending an hour a day beasting myself around the hills.
This is where the boots and blisters bit comes in.Llast week in a fit of rage I stomped off up the ski road, music blaring and mind switched off. I tried to wear myself out. It wasn’t too hard, Christmas and New Year have taken their toll, a couple of pre-season weeks eating too well in Italy and France really took their toll.
Knackered I stopped and skied home to find that my boots and feet don’t get on. It’s strange as I have been skiing in the boots for 18 months but the damage caused by touring was shocking. Claret and yellow muck soaked my socks, skin flapping all over the shop generally a disaster. Fortunately some of our regular guest are marines so a brief consultation and a couple of days in slippers meant I could walk and work but now I need to find a long term solution. The last week has been spent studying blisters and I feel I can almost say I’m an expert! I’m now stocked up on iodine, jelly-like plasters and zinc oxide tape. God willing it will snow and I can go back to skiing via the lifts but in the mean time I’ll wrap myself up like a mummy and keep on keeping on!