The timing of things all worked out surprisingly well, especially as the lift we were on to get back wasn’t quite the lift we thought it was and it wasn’t quite going to where i thought it would do. Not that we were massively out, just enough out to render us a little uncertain, suddenly there was more than one gondola each with its own version of a top. Daud’s meeting place so clear when viewed from other angles now seemed to have options but as we reached the top of our next connection it was just in time to receive his inquiring phone call, unnecessary as we could see his bright and familiar jacket through our gondola window. Also through the window i’d glanced something more interesting and less familiar, another little race course but this one was one of those were you actually go down together and race your friends.
I forgot what that was called but remembered for the apparently hazardous mania it had brought to the winter Olympics .. transpired to be one of the most interesting parts of those games, but not all together the safest. While it wasn’t clear that this was angled all that well for the beginning of the intended route home it had shone out and called to me, i just want to go down these things, in much the same way when as a child i’d been unable to leave the mountain streams and rivers of Switzerland alone and none to professionally dammed.
There was only room for four in the line up, Charlie was not so inclined but the others indulged my fervent and clear enthusiasm. As i approached a thought occurred that i would rather not have any need to overtake or conflict for space, it wasn’t really about racing but i might have felt the need, better to get clear of any clustering earlier, let the others race. So i went for the furthest start box with the closest line , the first flag. It didn’t disappoint while the track was again overly undemanding, well it would probably all to risky on a more vigorous gradient, the efforts of the group made up for it and was available after the fact as a video download. Milton was a tidy back marker while Cirrus and Daud actively races, coming quite close at times and equally very far away at others, as Daud opted to play down the role of the flags in these proceedings and take a more direct route. It did all right by him as he ended this little bought ahead, if somewhat contestedly so.
This time we made our first few connections back and were reassured by the timings displayed on the lifts as their closing time. The temperature was dropping and in early Jan a little bit of sun disappearance goes a long way, the wind got up, on a very long char lift with an unusual L shaped kink in it. We were not warm.
Up on high above Zell am Ziller the mood for stopping took over the group once more, Cirrus seemingly having gone ahead was in this way cut off from the rest of us. A hot chocolate perhaps, there’s something very suited to ski accompanying about hot chocolate. We hadn’t quite completed our lolling about when someone came wondering over, it was hard to determine what this was about, though it sounded like a question on the first couple of times, it wasn’t a question, it was something to do with the mountain patrol people and they were offering the now not unfamiliar advisory notice about Gondolas shutting.
Time then to head down, as the ski patrol people mounted their snow-mobile and also headed off a sort of very loose herding.
I’ve never seen Milton move so fast, a veritable bullet down as the idea of the closing Gondola perturbed him no end. Daud on the other hand was struggling, what effort he had in him, having rolled himself out of his hotel, was done. The Gondola was happily running, we headed down.. In the morning i’d spotted a little app kiosk for the http://www.skiline.cc thing … there were people using it but having not seen any of my tracking info, videos or photos it seemed worth a look.
I was quite chuffed when the loiterers behind who were peering at the device and wondering when i might not be between them and their turn, commented “oh, you go far” and seemed impressed, going on to note the lack of a lunch break… they had a keen eye, these additional screen inspectors .. i didn’t indulge to much in reviewing the days, feeling my blocker status so watched a video, printed a couple of days out on something akin to uber-sized receipt roles.
In the end as it transpired this was the longest days skiing of the holiday, after all we had managed to migrate fully from one end to the other – we’d completed all that we really could, somehow in spite of or oddly due to my preparation for the day, i’d finally gotten to grips with skiing again, we’d had a comedy race which had been successfully recorded (courtesy of skiline) for posterity and been among the last to head down on the gondola, a pretty good day.