The fourth day of my ski trip with Carl, Chris, James and Lesley.

Morning came and Carl’s illness from the previous evening had progressed during the night. Chris and Lesley headed to the pharmacy to get somethings for Carl, so it was a later start than previously and Lesley stayed with Carl for the morning.

Chris, James and I headed up the slope for a warm up. On the way I bought sunglasses and a cap, as I’d been roasting in the goggles and wooly hat – but still needed something to keep the sun off my head so I didn’t burn.

A self-portrait; Prepared for my second day of lessons

The warm up was the run I’d spent most of the day before on and – despite being familiar with it – I found it tough going. My right knee was tight after I hurt it on the long run to El Tartar the previous day and I was worried that once more being pushed beyond my current capabilities would result in me not being capable of carrying on. Thankfully, after a couple of runs, the knee had loosened and I was making my way down with about as much ease as my current skill level allows for before we stopped for lunch.

Lunch was considerably better than previous days as we brought our own sandwiches. This meant we could avoid the vile, expensive, rubbish that was being sold on the slopes. The dodgy food is one thing on the list of possible causes for Carl’s illness.

My lesson started at 1.30pm with the run down to El Tarter, as promised the previous day. As expected, it was much less daunting when taken at a more conservative pace. We continued practicing turns, loosening up the uphill ski so we’re making something akin to parallel turns. After a few short runs around El Tarter we headed up to the highest part of the Soldeu ski area and stopped for a break.

While on the way up there on the ski lift I saw a group gathered around somebody who appeared completely still on the ground; later Lesley said she had seen somebody being carried on a stretcher on the back of a vehicle. Hopefully it wasn’t anything too serious – there didn’t seem to be any major hazards around, at least.

After a break we headed down the slope, which was steeper than the short runs at El Tartar. At one point I managed to detach a ski when it dug into the snow. This run joined with the same run I had struggled with the day before – with the loosely piled clumps of snow. It was a busy section too and a couple of times I struggled with control, thanks to snowboarders indulging in their customary habit of not looking where they’re going. How they don’t notice the obvious pattern made by 10 people in a ski-lesson I don’t know; especially as they seem to spend five minutes sat down for every minute they travel down the slope. You’d think that’d be plenty of time to see what’s going on!

I’m feeling a lot more confident in my movement now, and make some reasonable parallel turns the feel good to do (and I can pick up a bit of speed too). I seem to be better turning left than right – but perhaps the knee is playing a part there.

Post ski lesson, we met up and ha d a beer at the bottom of the mountain before shopping for tea (curry) and returning to the apartment. Carl was on the mend – so hopefully he’ll be fine for skiing on Wednesday.

The seemingly obligatory terrible film was put on (Van Wilder) for the evening. Chris protested slightly, but the context made the protest rather ineffectual;
Me: “I guess it’s just going to be mindless nob jokes.”
Chris: “I’ll just have to suck it up.”