Monday, February 20, 2006

Skiing pictures







So as I said before, I went skiing last Friday, with Theo and two other ladies, Annabelle and Katherine.

The whole experience was pretty funny but the bottom line is the skiing was not bad. They basically had one chairlift, which went halfway up to a bunny slope then straight up a pretty steep hill to a single expert un,. It was decently long and the middle section had a nice pitch so I enjoyed it. It really did feel like skiing and it was great to get some turns in.

Theo and Annabelle have been skiing regularly and say they are going to go every Friday. I will try to join them on a few more, though I’m not sure I can make it this week.

The whole experience was pretty funny. It was only about 45 minutes away, almost due North, slightly West. We pull into the parking lot, which is dusty and rocky like everything else around here. The whole ski area is surrounded by a fence. On the outside is the little ticket office. You go in there, fill out some paperwork, register your skis, so that they can verify you have the right equipment when you walk out and then give them a deposit of 220 kuai (about 28 bucks). Then you go on the clock, because you pay by the hour.

Theo had gone in to rent her gear. I was happy to have moved my ski gear over, which I yanked from the storage pile at the last minute figuring that there was no use in having it gathering dust for three years.

We took the chairlift all the way to the top, waving off the lift operator who tried to make us get off halfway. When we got up there, there was a ski patrol type sitting there waiting for us. it seemed he wanted to accompany us down to make sure we made it. Theo said they would consider ti really bad juju for one of us to get hurt and they wanted to make sure we could ski before they let us go alone. Their fears were not completely unfounded as Katherine, the fourth member of our party as in way over her head and slipped and slid all the way down with the patrol guy trailing her. She headed for the gentler terrain after that.

My only injury came when the safety bar on the lift would not open and I yanked it really hard and it came up and smashed my forehead. My helmet protected me and I still got a nice knot in my left brow.

The surrounding area around the hill was not exactly beautiful but it was country and the air was crisp and clean and felt good to breathe in. The snow was completely manmade and the top steep pitch was solid ice, but the long steep section was pretty soft. It was strange going up the lift over nothing but brown rocks and tumbleweed, then skiing down.

We skied a little over two hours, then returned and were refunded a bunch of money.. we paid, I think, 65 kuai for the two hours and change. That’s about 8 bucks.

Afterwards we went in and had a Snickers bar. The lodge was surprisingly new and nice, with several decent-looking shops. I thought we were headed for the bar but the ladies preferred to sit on a bench and drink tea they brought. Go figure. I was tasting the Tsing Tao. Anyhow, it was interesting culturally and good to get in some turns.