Skiing - the high life
Once I worked for a public company where my boss, the finance director, was a delightful fellow, full of good cheer and bonhomie. Unusual for a chartered accountant you might think but, so he was. We got on well together as he used to give me a lift home in the evenings.
After his winter holiday one year he raved about the Swiss ski resort of Arosa. At the time I knew nothing about skiing, never having skied in my life but, had yet to hear of anyone who didn’t enjoy the sport. Consequently, I was all ears to hear about the pistes and the snow. “Oh! No.” He said: “I didn’t ski; I’m talking about the après ski!” As I was determined to ski one day, I noted the name as it sounded like my sort of place!
Twentyfive years later, by which time I had skied many times but never in Arosa, after spending a Friday in Zurich on business I decided, over the week end, to see for myself if the life of that place was as good as advertised.
I skied up and down the mountain for most of the morning, jumping over small hillocks wherever I could find them. I stopped for lunch at the top and drank a glass of cool, refreshing beer with my meal. A silly thing to do because, when skiing on one’s own at high altitudes, one should limit one’s alcoholic intake.
On my first run after lunch I looked out as usual for the odd hillock over which to jump. As I approached the last of these I heard a heavily accented Swiss German voice on my left saying: “I vudunt do zat if I voz you”. ‘Silly old fool,’ thought I, ‘why doesn’t he mind his own business?’ Taking the air immediately after crossing the hump, I looked down at my skis. All I could see between them was air! The ground must have been at least twenty metres beneath me!
As I crashed onto the snow below, making the typical eggbeater action with skis and poles as I landed, I heard a loud crack like a rifle shot. A moment later my unsolicited guide arrived, skiing with impeccable grace accompanied by his fourteen year old son. He very kindly sent the lad off to collect my skis about a hundred meters further on (so much for safety bindings). He helped me to my feet. After thanking him profusely and replacing my skis, I skied gingerly to the lift and back to my hotel where I discovered I had dislocated my shoulder.
After another twentyfive years, the shoulder is still dislocated but mercifully, there is no pain and no lack of flexibility in the arm. Although my après ski experience in Arosa was limited to telephoning home to arrange an appointment with a doctor as soon as possible and to hiring a taxi, I recommend the place to anyone who wants to ski in near perfect surroundings!
31st January 2009