Going downhill fast at TSA Shred Week, 2019
We Wanderers were wandering up to the French Alps to meet up with a group of old friends and their children. We were in our little hire car, which we had managed to stuff to the gunwales with most of the essentials for a fun week on the piste. I say ‘most’, because there was one thing missing from our equipment. A thing no winter holiday can survive without. No, not a hot water bottle, nor a cuddly toy, not even Werthers Originals. The missing ingredient that would make everyone flow down those mountains with ease was that famous lubricant; alcohol. After a busy five minutes on Messenger, Wally and I had a list. Lidl was the shop of choice, due to us being too lazy to look any further than the one very near to our overnight stop. In no time at all our shopping trolly was tottering about under the weight of our ‘basics’. Things were now in place to aid any friend who felt a need to get plastered.
We had come to Morzine for an end of the season snowboard equipment testing week, run by The Snowboard Asyslum. What an opportunity it was, to have lots of next seasons snowboards, boots, goggles to use, free of charge and to be able to change them every evening for something newer than new to try. The snow and the laughs were guaranteed. Throw in a chalet with excellent hospitality and food and hot tubs, even if you do not like winter sports, you will have a great break; which clearly, Wally and I needed desperately.
We arrived in mid afternoon to an empty chalet and a lonely meal, served up by our fun young chalet hosts Tim and Lucy. Our chums finally arrived just ahead of the witching hour, tired, over excited, and hungry.
Cath, probably showing off in front of the boys, immediately tried busting a move at the top of the shiny stairs. We later decided to score the mishaps of our group and this was a stellar beginning.
She fell all the way to the bottom of the staircase, on her bottom. 8/10 for effort Cath and a 9/10 for the quality and range of that bruise.
Gerry decided to cheat and rocked up to the party with a prior injury to his shoulder. It does not count Gerry. 1/10 for your cheek and 1/10 for your lack of damage to yourself during the week.
The next morning, on the snowy slopes I was bowled over by an elderly French man. Not bad for my first day on the slopes. Not bad at all. Except it forced me to switch from snowboard to skis. I had hurt my back in an attempt to impress him with my amazing flying skills. 3/10 for effort, the old fella did all the work, I had only to fall into his arms, but I missed. 4/10 for the injury, it may have smarted for the week, but there was no bruise.
Wally only had to walk from the living room to the bedroom to sustain an injury. One busted up toe as he stubbed it on a shallow black step in a very black hallway. 1/10 for not taking enough water with it and 7/10 for an impressive mess of a toe; the bruise was good too. Switch the light on next time.
Andy began fantasising about piste-bashers from the first moment one munched and crunched its way past him; simultaneously, the ghost of Bob Ross entered the building, channelled by Tom C. At the far end of the dining table, Bob Ross appeared to be banging on about modern art to Oscar, the son of an artist. All this was probably due to altitude sickness. 3/10 each, Andy, Tom and Bob, as this is not normal behaviour and 8/10 for allowing us to all laugh at your afflictions.
Simon’s phone could take no more; it was only day two. It made a desperate bid for freedom. Simon was extremely lucky to keep his hand, as it and the phone were so tightly welded together at all times. His phone was last tracked to Paris; a very good destination, as there is no better place to be in Spring. 6/10 for keeping your phone safe for one day and 10/10 for such a debilitating loss of limb.
Tom G picks up 7/10 for surreptitiously attempting world domination, but only 1/10 for success.
Jake remained in one piece, despite spending the entire week pushing himself to his beginners limits, in an effort to get enough air to do a backflip. 8/10 for ambition. 0/10 for the injury you managed to avoid. Better luck next year Grasshopper.
Kyra had decided that she could get a high score with just a smidgen more speed and landed on her shoulder. Luckily it was the penultimate day. Cafe culture was her new sport. 10/10 for a stylishly spectacular crash and 10/10 for having to wear a sling and for having a ‘proper’ injury.
Charlie worked very hard for a mention in this section; he did this by waxing and scraping bottoms. Well, what ever makes you happy Charlie. 10/10 for the effort you put in and 3/10 as you avoided an industrial injury to yourself, but you did manage to burn your mentor (watch the video evidence!)
Paul is competitive. Never forget that. He saved himself for the last run of the last day for his Opus Dei and has since spent a lot of time in hospital being ministered by Angels. 6/10 for a great raggy doll impersonation; when will you learn? Smiling through the pain? 10/10 and only 2 bones broken. Top injury!
The rest of the group spent the holiday out of the limelight, which is where most of us wanted to be.
The week shot past in a blur of meals, hot tub moments, snowboarding, skiing, lounging and laughing.
We have learned a lot this during our stay: kids bounce – scientifically proven on this holiday; water is not wet! And if you want to get plastered, winter sports is for you. Who knew?
Thanks go to Gerry for exposing his previously unseen organisational skills to such great effect and to The Snowboard Asylum for orchestrating yet another brilliant week of fun. Also thanks to the young ones for keeping us young at heart.
Now marvel at the video: