Last week I told you how I’d been challenged to have another go at skiing (which I do not enjoy) by some Austrians and how I’d struggled with pain and general uselessness on the nursery slopes in the stunning resort of Lech.
I’d got through day one largely unscathed, but was mildly terrified about day two as Richard, my muscular instructor, had told me we were going on to a proper run up the mountain. He said it was easy, but I wasn’t convinced I was ready. But was convinced that I would fall off the mountain and die. I resigned myself to that fate and left my affairs in order and kissed my baby goodbye.
It didn’t help that I was hungover and hadn’t really slept. Or that I am a coward. The chairlift was a white-knuckle ride for me, swinging precariously above the trees, with just a metal bar preventing me plunging to my doom. I couldn’t believe we were going so high into the mountains.
I assumed we’d ski the easy slope and then get the chairlift down, but I noticed that all of the chairlifts were empty on the way back. It was as if we were all on a conveyor belt heading into a pie factory and suddenly noticing that no one was coming out.
I had been hoodwinked and my first proper ski was going to be all the way down a massive peak on an intermediary blue run.
At least the top of the mountain was peaceful. This would be a beautiful place to die. I prayed that my frozen body would be found in 5000 years time and held up as prime example of 21st Century man who lived on nothing by mini Mars Bars.
I started well, but my tiredness quickly kicked in and the slopes got steeper. I lost my confidence and my balance. Suddenly we were on a section that seemed about two foot wide with a huge drop into nothingness to the right. I wondered if I could do the rest of the descent scooting down on my bum. I was falling more than skiing and considering building an igloo so I could just live up here permanently. Anything was preferable to carrying on.
I still wasn’t sure why people would do this. I am risk averse and assume I am going to die when I am walking down the street, so propelling myself down an icy mountain just seems like insanity. Yet here I was doing it. Not liking it, but doing it. Is there a better metaphor for life?
As we got towards the bottom my wife captured my prowess on video. The clip looks like one of those film special effects where the world goes by quickly as the central figure is static. I move slower than a limping snail, as people whizz by me, then as I come to a halt I manage to trip myself up with my pole and do a perfect pratfall. It’s possibly the funniest thing I have ever done on film. You can marvel at it on my YouTube Channel (www.youtube.com/herring1967 )
That was enough skiing for me. I spent the rest of the holiday in the bar or the spa (I will tell you about the shocking event that happened in the sauna next time). Traversing a blue run is a kind of a triumph and I am glad I did it, but it has still not turned me on to the joys of skiing. Though it may have launched my new career as a downhill Mr Bean.
Not content with being a world-class cricketer and boffing Liz Hurley, Shane Warne has decided to dip his toe into evolutionary biology. He basically asked, “If we evolved from monkeys, then why are there still monkeys?” Richard Dawkins must be furious that he never thought of that. Warne also believes that aliens built the pyramids. The real question is if we evolved from monkeys, why do we still have Shane Warne?