Saturday, January 17, 2009

Night Skiing

[Video: Josef Litobarski, 2009, Attribution 3.0 Unported]

I hurt in parts I didn't even know existed.

Last night, Elsje and I went night-skiing with some friends. I've never been skiing before, and here I was about to try skiing for the first time... at night.

Norwegian Pal, my Norwegian pal (his name is pronounced "Paul"), lent me his skis for the night. Unfortunately for me, they were special telemark skis - which means only the toe of my boot was attached to the ski. These were not skis for a beginner - but to be honest, even in normal skis I would have fallen over. In the end, I was "skiing" for about twenty seconds before I started going down backwards accidently, and then fell over... and couldn't get back up.

So I took the skis off and had a go at sledging. "That'll be nice and easy," I thought to myself. Hurtling down the sledge-course at about 200 kilometres an hour, my face started to melt from the g-force. I was going so fast I couldn't hear myself scream... And I know I was screaming, so I'm pretty sure I must have broken the sound barrier.

There were these huge trenches cut into the sledge-course, and I would slam into them at break-neck speed and jump up into the air, hanging suspended for a moment or two of supreme calm, before crashing down again with a jarring thump. The only way to steer was to jam my boot into the snow on either side, causing shards of ice to fly up into my face. I kept blinding myself, but it was the only way to stop the sledge lurching into the barrier seperating the sledge-course from a sheer drop down into the icy canyon running alongside.

Why do people actually pay for what essentially amounts to a form of torture?

After the first time, I swore to myself I would never do it again. But, for some inexplicable reason, I found myself drawn once more into the ski-lift and ascending to the top. It didn't help that sitting in the ski-lift, the view reminded me of the opening to Mulholland Drive - with the menacing hum of the engine in the background and the path ahead appearing suddenly from a shroud of impenetrable gloom.

The second time down, something strange happened... I actually enjoyed it! I finally figured out how to steer and started to feel less like I was hurtling out of control to my inevitable doom. It's not so bad when you don't think of it like that.

The third time down, Elsje and I tried to go down together. This wasn't so successful. Suffice to say, halfway down the course I let Elsje go down without me and walked the rest of the way.

We all met at the bottom and went for an enormous Mexican feast at a nearby restaurant - and then back to Trento we drove.

Great fun! Winter sports: awesome.

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