I was keeping an eye out for the others, thinking that given the barrel which was the limited range of available pistes that a crossing of paths mights occur… At one point i did see them from a lift, least i think i did, familiar looking jackets, but at i headed back down it became clear that if it was them, they had been heading back toward bars and restaurants and not headed where i was. Even the interesting little black I’d accidentally stumbled upon went from being open and reasonably engaging, to being closed and no right turns, over the course of what was really remarkably very little time. I couldn’t fathom the rational but there was no denying the notable barriers that had been erected in my intended path. They were in a bar, the others, that that was the update i received after the remainder of the lifts made their last run up the mountain. Regathered we made our way down, the last run of the day was the run back to town and although there was an intention to stop of in any bars on the way down that didn’t quite work out. The top of the run actually has a closing time along with a red and green traffic light to denote when your meant to go on through.. We only just made it to the top in time for that but thereafter the speed of the decent presented problems, it was quite rutted and this caused issues for the back markers. It was this speed of decent issue that ultimately put pay to notions of stopping off.
Once down and having located Damon, the last to arrive over here who was waiting by the valley station, we went over to the kiosk to buy our evening passes. They were old school, pieces of paper completed with the highly skinny elasticated threads that were once common place. Damon was concerned by the piste, its a red run and he’d been on the blues for his lessons. The piste was not in a good way, especially toward the end, very rutted in places, so while eager to encourage his participation and not see anyone head back to Mayrhofen, the questions deserved forthright responses. Daud, whose approach to such matters is less than forthright but more considered, opted then to head over and ask the people behind the counter about the piste basher and whether it would be doing customary flattening of the pistes pre-night skiing. A much more sound idea, which faltered only upon a language barrier, i rummiged around for my German and managed to ascertain that they would indeed be doing the flattening. So with everyone now in i separated off.
It had become clear that earlier intentions to eat at this time were no longer current, so i headed off on a solo mission having half suspected, half hoped, that one of the hut shaped lights in the distance was a Schnitzel burger stand of sorts… The hunger had come, oh yes it had and any further skiing might perhaps be aided by stomach aids. There were multiple bars but most of them had emptied out by the time i headed back to meet up with the others. The bar they were in was similarly emptying out from a not entirely banging starting point. So a migration occurred, a larger bar with big external TV screen flashing out called them hope.
I can’t with any level of accuracy state that any or all of the above were playing during our time in this bar but it was our last night of Apres-Ski and so if the soundtrack of this holiday is ever to be duly noted it seemed like this might be that point.. though they are not THE SKI songs … that remains with the only one true king of the ski tunes
The time spent night skiing was limited, the train did not run so very late and after that it was taxis, not everyone was in favor of this and so it was for the train we would head. Oddly though despite the lack of things going on or probably the lack of energy with which to do them and the extensive amount of time we had to burn, we ended up leaving hurriedly to head back over to the now reopened lift.
By the time we’d gotten back up to the half way station, the top of the night skiing some things had taken hold, one of these was rain, a developing more than drizzle that just never belongs in a ski resort let alone at the top of a run, there is something very not right about that.
The other thing that had happened is a total departure of the legs, this became evident not so very long after as i attempted to ski down. At this point i found my legs had a far stronger memory than I, clearly remembering that all ski holidays were 6 days long ans this was overtime, or as they saw it retirement time though they didn’t seem in full agreement on where they wanted to be going with that time.
By the time Charlie and I were back down i was soaked, thankfully wearing waterproofs it was only the outer layer but it pulled of a far shinier look than normal, it was kinda really grim out, not the level of grim that would be anything remarkable or even noteworthy back in the UK but it didn’t belong here. A few decades ago, winter holidays back in Switzerland at still lower altitudes, so very snow abundant was it that my family would regularly build me a little igloo/snow house in the garden. A place to which i was a little irrationally drawn to dwell for cold defying periods of time, while the car needed quite the effort to be dug out. Its really not so long ago in any scheme of things that isn’t viewed from the perspective of the may fly.
The way down had not been as flat as talk of piste bashers would suggest, certain sections had barley been dusted down at all with the basher seemingly edging up most narrow along one of the sides, leaving the rest largely as it had been earlier. Wherever the others were, our second run began with us setting off in pursuit, we found them on route, Damon was taking it slow, studiously but somewhat stiffly heading down.
We stopped off on route, a place we had intended to pause at earlier as part of the skiing down crawl that wasn’t, time had not allowed for it then especially once Damon had arrived, it wouldn’t have done to stop off while other waited at the bottom for our fashionably late entrance. It was a small, octagonal or round, the bar stood at its center. From within we watched the rain descend and heard from the bar staff about how such troubles had been ever more in evidence in recent years. To a tired mind and person who had perhaps come to the point of over familiarity with the generally welcome JaegerTee, this was all a little depressing stuff… by now the missing of the last train had been insured. Besides Damon was of a mind to give it a second go, having made it down the once his personal objective of completing a red this week was behind him. Now he was of a mind to see he couldnt maybe do it again, take what he’d done, what should now be more familiar and do it better. A sort of admiral obstenance applied to a clear ends, there’s something to be said for that, certainly when its set to solid ends.
Once more back up and round… Once more into the piste side bar.. On leaving the bad, Milton pointed out the visible grass as we left, grass or rather turf that smeared out where snow had been not long past, when we’d headed in. Then down.
There was time for more, the skiing was open until after 9pm but among the group as a whole not the mind for it, dinner was probably coming back into mind. We found a taxi, they loitered most eagerly around the bars and the valley gondola station and headed back, big old people carriers, though surprisingly the price went up as the driver realised there was more of us, enough to all but fill the vehicle.. seemed odd to have some sort of unit price situation going on for a single journey but the difference was small and our options none existent.