Thursday, 4 August 2011

Skiing (snowboarding, actually) for the first time!

Da crew. Click for more pictures.
That's right; up until yesterday I was a skiing virgin. I've actually seen a real snowboard for the first time in my life. What does it matter that I'm almost thirty years old - better late than never, right? Now that I'm back at the hostel, in my usual "computing" position (in bed, burrowed under two blankets with electric laptop heating), I can resume the events. The following text has been in fact written last night, but I was too tired and sore to finish it up.

Bloody chains
First of all, we almost didn't go because of snow chains (lack of snow chains, to be more exact). There's only one place to rent them in Blenheim and that place is just a house whose owner runs the business when he's there, which he wasn't when we needed him... After wasting two hours trying to get hold of the fucker, we decided to go anyway and take the shuttle bus up to the mountain instead of driving, although the bus costs three times more than the chains.

Bloody vineyards
The morale was quite low as we were leaving the city, frustrated as we were for having wasted so much time in vane, but as soon as we drove past the last vineyard, we all cheered up. The  ride from Blenheim to the Rainbow Ski Field is quite an enjoyable one and the change of scenery, after two months on planet vineyard, couldn't have been more welcome. It made us all realize how sick we were of the bloody vineyards and how glad we were when the last one disappeared from view. If the car weren't so crammed (five people plus gear is quite a tight fit), we would have made leaps of joy.

The electric post.

Bloody lethargy
To me the trip meant a lot more than that, though. It finally woke me from a lethargy I've been trapped in for some time now, and it injected new life into my veins (hopefully it'll last). During the past two months I had keenly slipped back into my domestic habits and I had no desire for adventure. It really worried me, since adventure is what I came to New Zealand for, and with a domestic attitude it would be quite hard to enjoy anything. As we were driving through the valley, I was excitedly plotting future travels, and it was in that positive frame of mind that I reached the ski field.

Matt tackling the big slope,
Peter sitting and watching.
Bloody rookies
The snowboarding, I must say, was quite an experience. There were only two people among us with previous ski experience, though they never snowboarded, and everyone else was an immaculate skiing/boarding virgin. We all started on the beginners' slope and you can't imagine the excitement when I managed to slide all the way down without falling (or knocking anyone down, since I didn't know how to steer). It was almost as exciting as getting all the way up with the lift without losing balance.
I was a bit disappointed with myself later on, when the guys moved on to the more advanced slope and I didn't have the guts to follow suit, but at least my falls were a bit less painful and I didn't feel so sore the next day (unlike Matt, whom I quote: "I'm in so much pain right now, my butt is so sore, both cheeks are red... do you want to see them?". Needless to say we politely refused).
The models say hello.

Fancy vineyard gloves.

How do you drive this bloody thing? Where's the wheel?

Bloody fractures
Amber stuck to the easy slope, too, but she was definitely in more agony than me. The poor girl didn't even know she had broken a bone as a child, until she fell on her butt a few times. The body reminded her... It was quite funny, considering what she had said at the beginning of the trip: "I've never had anything broken in my life, I wonder what it's like".

Anyway, I'm too sore to continue writing, and there's a poker game waiting for me downstairs, so I gotta go.

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