There is something about a last days skiing that ought to have been reduced down to a second last days skiing or something akin on this holiday, after all we had another half day lined up, a pre-departure last half day.. But there it remained the something about a last days skiing, even when it wasn’t.
Daud was staying in Mayrhofen and would join the rest of us in Kalenbach later in the afternoon. We had a quite deliberate reason for skiing in Kaltenbach today, a Friday. Friday was night skiing day in Kaltenbach, as far as we understood things the only resort to offer night skiing in the valley.
We walked to the Gondola station, headed up. There was even talk of fine weather from some as sun cream was dug out and applied. The night skiing was on this side of the valley, on the home run that followed the Gondola down. With that in mind the preference was to head up and over to the other valley earlier, home of the best black run we’d encountered so far, so that we could then return back over here in time for the afternoon, the arrival of others and then, some fair bit later, night skiing.
It was not warm at the top, there was no sign of any need for sun cream, the wind was going and it was throwing shards of ice and snow at our faces. This was not quite matters as they had been expected, we tried to study the piste map as the cold whipped about us, twas not a comfortable time, it appeared to be suggesting that the black run was shut. Uncertainty descended, as going the intended direction became more questionable and meant contradicting the wind with its super abundance of mini missiles which it was happily whipping up and launching about the place. Charlie skied down a little, not far but far enough to require walking back up the way and any sort of walking up the way was always viewed most dimly, especially while wearing sliding down the hill planks, which tend to be notably less of an aid for walking back up it. He was looking back up at us as we stood, less warm than once we had been and might choose to be again, with a shrug that may or may not have happened we took of our breaks and set to follow suit.
The shards needled my face, more of them, more momentum, thwacking in micro comments attempting to pull of extinction events for any and micro orangism that might be attempting to eek out an existence upon my person, i know not if they are there, if they ought to be there and i care not too know about such matters… i know about the beasties that live in the beds and sleeping places of man and i have to say such knowledge benefits me in few to ways that i can think of and has been placed firmly in the drawer marked things not to ponder upon overly, with a possible additional sub-headed, cant do much about it and well just a little bit minging. Besides biology and related matters was never an area or interest or strength in the before times when learning was more freely attempted or for that matter imposed.
Either way the grey, the wind, the cold cold wind and it shards – very nice and very much flying in the contrary direction to the one we were attempting to travel. We didnt have far to travel to where the black run split away to the left, a 90 degree turn of the side of this initial gentle slope, as we got there the wind was already slightly less than it had been moments before, at the top. There was a closed sign and the customary netting but both had been placed to the side of the piste, the sign stood to the side and the netting was rolled and bundled up, leaving the pistes entrance open and utterly unimpeded. This was confusing, a most unclosed sort of look for a piste to be wearing so with a pause and a looking about ourselves in moderate reticence and uncertainty we headed down. It wasn’t the day for loitering, best to opt in or out and go with it, so down the black we went. Turning sideways to the mountain the wind and its missiles were hugely diminished, the sky and world remained grey and quiet but things were much comfier, eyes could be kept open at all times, hands and arms were no longer required to be held aloft to grant the shelter to the face and the piste was actually in a condition far easier to ski than it had been those few days ago. Flatter and generally more uniform under foot, though with more occasional balding or rather notably thinning patches, where white was no longer the resounding colour it was leading with.
After skiing about, only a couple of runs worth we headed to the Gondola base station, it was closed, it had a sign suggesting the bus and train as the alternative route back over to the other side..the side from where we’d come. For us it wasnt time to head back yet at any rate, there was the other Gondola, the one to the furthest point rather than back the way. Arriving at the top I took the opportunity to locate one of the attendance, for the purpose of querying the status of the missing link lift, he wasn’t certain on this topic though that was primary a matter of the weather, it depended on the weather, the wind, if it desisted the lift would probably re-open, it was more information than we had before while changing pretty much nothing.
We paused in the restaurant at the top of the lift. It took a while but i suddenly noticed they had WIFI, the first real connection with a world beyond our holiday. eMails, replies to some messages id sent for Christmas and New Year… broad spectrum seasonal spamming to the once familiar and past work colleagues, not friends or even frequent familiars such as those here with me. Little else.. I was already aware of the real events of the week, Charlie Hebdo, Daud was never long disconnected and had made us loosely aware of that news, though probably not yet in any detail. The world is full of so many unnecessary evils that we do unto each other, oddly it often one unworthy degrading and monstrous act that will be used as the rational for another. Its astonishing at times how we rush to solace and safety in the darkness to escape the dark and how difficult civilisation if not individuals find it to hold true to it wiser and better judgements. An endless battle against the degrading gravity of our more base, cheap and small instincts, its always there it seems, waiting to take every stronger hold whenever troubles set in, whenever the better intentions would be most tested and of most value they loose their footing, gravity wins and down the snake we go. That’s not exactly the optimism of the moment, these are the reflections of after about a topic barley considered back then.
On that day i was on a mountain with low hanging clouds in the company of people who, like myself might struggle to do world improving things but no more than that, things were quiet, relaxed and i had an email from a most amusing and interesting person to digest, a person I’d actually only met the once and briefly. Supplier & work meetings, some time ago – not customarily the place for encountering people at their most interesting or multifaceted, the real life equivalent to the social media of linkedin status updates.