In the last fourteen years, I have only managed a scant week of skiing, and in that week (back in 2004) I managed to break my wrist while trying to snowboard.
In moving to California, I was rather excited about the prospect of living within shooting distance of some serious mountains, so when a team of designers, architects and webby people invited me along, I immediately bit their hand off.
Located to the south of the main Tahoe areas, Kirkwood has some of the best snowfall in the region, and while not quite waist-deep in powder, we at least had some pretty soapy white stuff to mess around on, with minimal ice.
I was pleasantly surprised by the difference in experience between skiing in Europe and America. The super resorts in France are huge in comparison and really set up for a solid week of action; this is in contrast to here, where people get less vacation and want a weekend get-away.
Skiing with a couple of Dutch people, it was interesting to discover just how many of the cultural references we shared from family holidays in the Alps; the Raclette and Fondue, the mixtures of European nations vying to be first onto the ski lift, and the uniform ridicule of mono skiers and their strange sense of fashion. I would also argue that, since people are only going for the weekend a few times a year – instead of saving for six months and going for 9 days – that people don’t invest to the same amount in lessons. You do see plenty of groups of ‘roll-ons’ though (we dubbed the wee kids in the helmets by this name, since they look like cans of roll-on deodorant) and the skills of some of the snowboarders, in particular, was breathtaking.
But I ain’t complaining; skiing and hotdogs is a fine combination, and one I shall be partaking in again at the earliest possible convenience.