Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The trip took seven hours but that included a stop for lunch and to accommodate nature. The hotel where we stayed gave us a choice of a boring double or a king with a spa – no brainer there. We freshened up and went out for dinner and then wandered about stopping a couple of interesting bars. We called it a night early in anticipation of a long day on the mountain.

We were at the lift before it opened and were among the first to mar the fresh snow. I feared that I’d forget how to ski and was surprised that it all came back pretty quickly. Just when I’d get cocky I’d catch and edge or cross the tips and I’d land face first in the snow. After a couple of runs with Anne Marie it was time for my lesson and she was off to find the expert terrain. Last year I took group lessons but this year I though I’d try a private to see if it would accelerate my progress. My instructor was a pretty blond about twenty with a cute butt accentuated by stretch pants and a short jacket. I’d have no problem keeping my eyes on her, at least till I fell.

After the lesson I practiced what I learned for an hour or so then met AM for lunch. We got talking about expert terrain and I expressed curiosity as to what it was like. After lunch we rode up the lift together and started down. This time AM crashed and I caught up to her. We rested a few minutes and she suggested that I take a trail and wait below where a second trail joined the first. The second was a particularly nasty bit and from the junction I could watch her ski it.

I waved my pole and she waved back and pushed off. Almost immediately she disappeared behind the ridgeline and then exploded over it going 4-5 meters through the air. Her landing was almost violent with snow spraying to the side. I couldn’t understand why she didn’t fall but she tucked in and came toward me. She skidded to a stop and pulled up her goggles, her eyes bright with the adrenalin rush. “Let’s go” she shouted and pushed off heading across the snowfield.

I guess if she were alone she would have simply dropped straight down that bowl but instead she traversed the face and that allowed me to follow. Often when I neared my limit I began to feel a bit of trepidation, but Saturday I felt a rush and then an edge…

We skied that bowl a couple of more times and called it a day. On the way back we bought a bottle of wine to enjoy as we soaked in the spa. It was near dark when we got to the hotel, when we got to the room I drew the water and opened the wine while AM broke out her stash of candles.

We settled into the water, sipped wine and talked. I brought her up to date on my escorting plans. She knew of Marie’s retirement and she was glad to hear that I wasn’t joining a different agency or advertising as an independent. The bottle of wine nearly finished we decided to order room service and a second bottle rather than go out. While we waited for our food, AM gave me the latest on her pending promotion. It was possible that her company would ask her to relocate. I asked her where and she said Berlin or Dublin, but nothing was definite and she was as likely to remain in Paris. She’ll know by the end of January. This is something else for me to fret about.

When our food came we dined in the spa, how decadent. Finally the candles were burned down and we were too tired to even consider a nightclub so to bed it was.

In the morning we were again among the first on the mountain. Today AM would follow me and when we’d stop or I’d fall she’d point out things that she noticed I appreciated the feedback. AM is a bit of a show off and likes to show up other show offs, particularly hot dogging guys. Last year a couple of guys stopped to help me up when I lost my battle with the mountain. That day AM and I lunched at the small lodge at the summit and as we sat down the two guys came in and asked if they could join us. Over lunch the two bragged about their skiing and the trails they had been on. We didn’t say anything but boasting guys do get boring. After lunch we all got our skis and AM announced she wanted to take ______, a very challenging trail. The guys pointed out how difficult that trail was and suggested she reconsider, she smiled and pushed off and they followed. Me? I skied and bum slid the moderate trail back to where the beginner slope was. An hour or so later I caught up with AM at a lift and asked her what happened to the guys. She told me that after the first hundred or so meters she never saw them again. That evening we saw them at a bar. They kept their distance till we waved them over. They didn’t talk about skiing.

But Sunday AM may have met her match. As she tells it she noticed this fairly obnoxious guy in the lift line being a bit of a jerk. Later on the slope she noticed him skiing well, but slowly so she decided to blast past him. To her surprise he followed on right behind her, which made her press on even harder till she lost it and fell. The guy stopped, which was when she realized he was a former world-class racer.

Knowing we had a long ride home we left the mountain around two and found Waldo, cleaned the snow off him and started home.


Juliette and Dad return to Paris this evening. They asked that we not all show up to welcome them so only Juliette's son will meet them. I plan on stopping by tomorrow evening.



Blogger Pete from Cal said...

Your ski trip with AM sounded fun! I love how AM show up the 'hot dogging' guys until she met her match. :D Hope your skiing skill improved as well. So glad the pugs are back! :)

3:27 AM  

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