All the dumb things I’ve done at the snow
With the opening weekend of the ski season upon us (well, for the slow coaches catching up to Mt Buller and Perisher anyway) I figured it was time for a rewrite of the Alpine Responsibility Code.
I’m sure you’re well familiar with the ARC sign at your ski school or perhaps the individual ‘rules’ stuck to lift stanchions that you summarily ignore as you ride to the top of the mountain.
Well, this ain’t it.
After 20-odd years in this industry I have done a life time worth of stupid and I simply don’t won’t you to repeat my dumb errors. Don’t judge me, just thank me. Ok, maybe judge me too.
Don’t go through the Schnapps list and attempt to match each one with a beer at Thredbo’s Keller Bar
Like a couple of sommeliers gone rogue, me and a mate decided to pair every shot of the heathen spirit with a beer at Thredbo’s infamous club of the night. Good idea for the first one or two. Less of a good idea when the Schnapps list is approaching double figures. From vague memory we got somewhere near starting said list again before one of us decided it was a good idea for both of us to go home. My friend woke up pretty much nude and disheveled with a beer still in his hand. I was lucky to wake up at all. The bar bill cost me a deposit on an unrenovated three bedroom bungalow in Cremorne.
Don’t hit a pink kangaroo and write off your car
I don’t know where to begin, let alone end so I’ll keep it brief. I wrote off my very first car on the Alpine Way not all that far from the Bullocks Flat Ski Tube. On a bus to the slopes the following day, people looked in shock and awe at the mangled mess that was my Ford Laser dragged from the bushes to the side of the road. I probably should have died but ended up with just a fractured bone in my hand. Thank you Keller mate (as above), Jindabyne Police and NRMA (yes, it pays to belong). Stay safe when driving on or in the snow people. Seriously.
Don’t ski race on a public run
The recklessness of one’s youth will make you do many dumb things. Having not entered Thredbo’s Top to Bottom I thought it was a good idea to instead race a mate down High Noon. Not the worst idea. Except that it was in the middle of the day. All things considered this was actually working out reasonably well (not to mention I was winning) when disaster struck. I took an extremely tight line near the trees on Meadows and believed I had just enough room to squeeze past a meandering intermediate at the bottom of the run. I believed wrong. I just clipped him, jarred my neck heavily and took a layer of skin off my arm. It took me another 50 metres to pull up and I essentially left the other skier to fend for himself somewhere in the trees. Twenty-odd year’s later he could still be there for all I know, so perhaps ski patrol could check for me this year. Not one of my finest moments and if you ski over the top of me next time you catch me on the slopes I’ll understand. Dumb.
Don’t run out of petrol
I never tend to take things too literally. To me “empty” is just my car’s way of saying: “Glenn, please give some consideration to filling up in the next 100km”. While working at Canada’s beautiful Red Mountain, I drove what is best described as a 1978 Ford Pimp-mobile. Unfortunately my pink veloured beast was much more a stickler for the rules than I. When that little arrow hit empty the car promptly stopped. Unfortunately this was at 4.30am between Rossland and Red Mountain where I worked and was first in the office every morning. It was, shall we say, a rather brisk 4km walk at -13 degrees. Fun times.
Don’t run into a deer after you’ve agreed to sell your car
I couldn’t do too much about this one. I’d agreed terms to selling the abovementioned Ford Pimp-mobile but had one more trip to do from Rossland to the Selkirks to go skiing. On the way up the biggest mofo of a deer (not pink btw) trudged out onto the road and I could do nothing but hit the medium rare venison with legs, catapulting it into the stratosphere. I got out of the car in a state of shock, to be fair probably somewhat less than the deer’s. That only intensified when I ascertained there was no damage to the car! It seems the heavy duty steel bumper of the Pimp-mobile saved the day. Alas I don’t know what became of the deer – perhaps it is conspiring with the unnamed Thredbo skier from above for revenge one day.
Don’t vacuum paper thin walls of a ski lodge after midnight
I don’t even know why this dumb thing happened. I can only assume alcohol was involved. Needless to say the people in the room next to us gave us a gob full at breakfast the next morning. On the upside the walls had never been cleaner.
Don’t get your child’s penis caught in a one-piece ski suit
Just to prove that being dumb wasn’t limited to my rogue teenage and 20-something years I managed to get this one in before things started to calm down a little. Having children at the snow can be a stressful experience, granted, but you should never, under any circumstance, yank a zip around the groin area of ski clothing. I discovered this the hard way. But my three year-old discovered much more brutally. I vividly recall almost feeling ill at the sight but I quickly rectified the situation and in the chill of a Falls Creek winter he seemed to forget about the horror I inflicted on him to enjoy the day’s skiing.