09 February 2010

The Cooler Kids Will Live Forever

That's my boy.

Yep, after only three lessons in Austria, the little guy is straight-lining like a pro, making graceful, arcing turns, and stopping on a dime. For the most part, anyway. We spent the afternoon at one of our local hills, Les Jouvencelles, in the Les Rousses complex of the French Jura. The boy had a great time.

To be fair, it wasn't all smooth sailing. We spent the morning listening to him moan and cry about how cold it was going to be and that he hated skiing and that he hated when he went too fast and that skiing was boring. Everything changed when skis were snapped onto his boots.

He took the first run without problems and from then on everything was bliss. On the second trip up we reminded him of the difficult morning and how next time he should remember how much fun he was having. "Yes," he said. "The next time you ask me to go skiing I will say: I love to ski. It is so much fun." Then he squealed with laughter as the chair bumped us off at the top.

The only thing we weren't able to do was to get him up and running solo on the platter lift, an absolute must for skiing smaller resorts in Europe. Practice makes perfect so we'll try it again next time. One major crash was enough.

We skied for half a day and decided to end with an early dinner. Apr├Ęs-ski might have some of its origins in the French Alps but rural French villages don't seem to care much for the after skiing crowd or even the idea of hospitable service, for that matter. I was in search of raclette and a traditional, oxidized Chardonnay from the French Jura but we were forced to settle on Swiss fondue and a Fendant from the Valais. We survived.

One of the great lessons Hank hopefully learned this weekend (besides that skiing is fun) is that skis react differently to different snow conditions. In this second clip we see some of the same kick-ass technique as before. The end, though, turns into one of those home movies that show up on the news channels as the last accidentally recorded moment just before an impending disaster. Here, the disaster is that Hank leaves the smooth, compact snow of the groomed run and turns into a powdery section to avoid some people. What isn't seen are the skis popping off and the face planting in the snow. Warning: there is some seriously shaky filming as I tried to keep up with the speedster. Also, I suggest turning down the video volume (which is nothing but the aggravating sound of wind) and, instead, listen to the Bobby Goldsboro tune below. Start the song and then at the 1:20 mark start the video. If that doesn't warm your heart, nothing will.

Decide now!

Decide now before you continue.
The list is complete without your permission.
I finally know how,
I finally can't quit,
And ancient ideas are on fire, my love.

Completely the rope has been severed.
The night screams for contact and clue.
I must keep a journal,
I must boast a victory,
And the hellfire is dying around you, my love.

Around you, my love.


Jeff said...

Super. I'll come next year and teach him to ride the t-bar.

Anonymous said...

Please telll the "T-Bar freak" that by next year Hank will be giving lessons on the art of backcountry skiing.