Archive for the ‘injuries’ Category

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Litany of Injuries

March 2, 2007

In the past week I (Dec) have done myself the following injuries:

Lower lip badly blistered from a combination of sun and tiredness

Jarred my left shoulder such that it felt loose for a day.

Blistered my left wrist through having my guards on too tight.

Scrapped skin off both wrists

Wrenched right hip

Broke the top of my ass which now has a lovely bruise

Wrenched my right knee

Cut my right ankle due to putting wrong part of trousers into boot

Stubbed the living crap out of the small toe on my left foot (by hitting it off the bed)

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Chasing Lifts

March 2, 2007

The chastening of the previous day ensured that the preparations for Day 6 were a bit more thorough. If there are ibuprofen sniffer dogs at Gatwick, I may well find myself in trouble.

With Dave and Aggles still on the dark side, Dec and I boarded up, and headed for the gondola up Stubnerkogel. When we arrived at the middlestation, we soon found out that the top gondola was shut, as a consequence of >100 km/h winds at the summit. With the only run from the middle to the bottom shut, we headed back down the mountain in the gondola, with clean boards. Not the best start…

A short bus ride down the valley to Bad Hofgastein was in order, to sample the delights of their funicular and cable car. Abbreviation-wise, I can’t see the words “Bad Hof” in the same sentence. It just doesn’t ring true…

The proximity of the funicular to the snowy forest brought some unexpected sights, such as two sets of convergent animal tracks in the powder, a patch of red snow at their intersection, then only one set of tracks leading away. You don’t see that is Essex. Except if it’s snowing in Basildon on a thursday night, of course…

The gondola was a huge one; a completely different experience to the 6-man efforts up Stubnerkogel. If Dec and I were ever going to fight on the roof, today was the day. I unpacked the ice axes in readiness, but the conductor chappie refused to let us climb out of the window. Bloody EU safety laws.

The sight from the top was stunning. A blue run meandered gently away to our left, and the whole mountain seemed to be crawling with people enjoying the beautiful weather and snow. It was at this point that things started to go wrong. It soon became obvious to both of us that my yesterday was Dec’s today. He just didn’t seem to get into things. After a few hundred metres, there was a restaurant where we stopped for a late breakfast of a colossal plate of breaded mushrooms and sautéd potatoes, followed by a gigantic strudel. Full, we headed back onto the slope to burn off some energy before we died of carbohydrate poisoning.

With wide, gentle pistes, I practised some of the controlled turns I had dreamed of the previous day. Having achieved the Mother Of All Faceplants (I believe Dec will fill you in on that later), I got up to realise that Dec was in a bit of trouble. In an innocuous low-speed arsefurrowing, Dec seemed to tweak The Shoulder. This could be sticky…

After soldiering on for a bit, Dec realised that he couldn’t really trust his shoulder. It’s completely understandable – with some of my recent spine-based escapades on the rugby pitch, I knew exactly what he meant. Too far down the mountain to get back to the top and with a cry of “Currahee”, Dec slung his board under one arm, and started walking down. I kept on the board, and much as the slopes were beautiful, it’s impossible to enjoy yourself when you know that a friend is in trouble. I mostly slid down at walking pace, or went for 50 odd metres and waited, to make sure that alles was still in Ordnung.

When we arrived at the top of the funicular, a recuperative Fanta was in order, followed by a train ride down the hill, and a bus ride back up it. Back at the Schloss, the sleep in the afternoon was a well-earned one for both of us.

A quiet evening out was – for me – marred a bit by thoughts of home, but a few drinks and a couple of games of poker helped ease me into bed for the final day’s boarding.

The two Pricks With Sticks are joining us again for the day, and we have a relaxing one planned. It has, however, just started snowing again. I must be the unluckiest person in the world – I came here for some boarding in some nice weather, but instead, all I get is this incessant snow. Bah!

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And on the 5th day, god created husky German masseuses.

March 1, 2007

Bah. Bit of a shitter. With a day of free boarding ahead of us, Dec and I headed up the mountain in the morning, in high spirits. One run took us down a blue run, mostly for the purposes of finding out what route the blue run actually took. We were pretty bad, and took ages. On the second run, it suddenly felt as if my calves had been set on fire. Perhaps the previous day’s concentration on Champagne rather than cold showers had been a bad plan.

Whatever the case, I was absolutely shot. My legs just didn’t work. Turns didn’t happen. Straight runs didn’t end up straight, or indeed vertical. Traverses ended up as a heelslide down the mountain. It was all deeply unfulfilling boarding. It was nice doing something so very out of the ordinary, with such outstanding scenery, with a good friend, but I fel that my legs had kind of ruined the day. Seeing Dec slide backward over the crest of a ridge, singing Danny Boy at the top of his voice, and giving a salute just before he popped out of sight was one of the more surreal moments of the day. We quit after a couple of runs, and headed down the mountain in the gondola.

A relaxing afternoon saw a great massage by a short, burly, German woman, whose few lines in English included “Clothes on table please,” and “This tickles, ja?” Perhaps someone should have taught her “This feels like I’m driling through your scapula with my thumb, yes?” or “Despite their recent failings, it would appear from a preliminary inspection that your calves are chisled from teak.” Oh well, small complaints from an otherwise very relaxing afternoon.

A long nap in the afternoon, and a relatively quiet night has hopefully set things up nicely for a good day today. This holiday is in equal measures relaxing and exhausting, enjoyable and infuriating, faceplant and arsefurrow. I think I’ll cope with it, though…

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A game of two halves

February 28, 2007

Our usual instructor today got called off onto skiing duties, so the four of us had to be assimilated into other groups. Dave and I went up one group, and Bingo and Osty stayed with a similarly skilled group. The new group was mostly made up of kids; even the instructor was only 18. The first thing we did was jump into a gondola and head to the top of the mountain. No main problem, but the gondola rises about 1 km in altitude. I was now somewhat scared.

When we got to the top, the difference between our heavily-bashed icy nursery slope and the powdery wonder created by 2 solid days of snow became suddenly apparent. All of a sudden, I could turn in both directions, and board really well on both edges. It was going to be A Good Day.

The morning session was pretty much how I expected snowboarding to be – really deep powder, long luxuriant turns, and soft landings. On one occasion, while heading in the direction the board points, the nose got stuck in a drift, thus catapulting me over the top of it. If I had attempted my particular choice of landing – a graceless shoulder-plant on the nursery slope, I would probably stabbed myself in the ear with my collarbone. Instead, I just dug into the powder a bit, got up, dusted myself down, and carried on. Life was good. I also wiped out a 6 year old boy in our group, but that’s not important.

After a lunch trading insults with a 16 year old Dutch girl, we were off for the afternoon. Brimming with confidence from the best morning of the trip, I promptly got my arse handed to me by a T-bar lift. It’s less effort to walk up the sodding hill. The afternoon was more tailored to the advanced boarders, with a lot of steep, narrow red runs. I just went down most of them on my heel edge, as any mised turn would result in the mother of all faceplants at the bottom of a cliff. It was a bit much for a few other group members – I discovered that 14 year-old Dutch girls can still grumble while slipping backward down a mountain at 20 mph – my first ever Doppler moan. Another moment of stark realisation on a T-bar, and we were ready for the final descent of the day. As I was doing up my bindings, the instructor and group all pissed off, leaving me alone at the top of the mountain. A bad tempered-descent followed. When I finally found the group again, the instructor suggested we try something new. My shouted interjection was along the lines of “How about trying not fucking off and leaving me at the top of a mountain, you twat?” By this time, I was pretty shagged, so just edged my way down the rest of the hill, and that was it for the day.

Champagne Tuesday followed – more about that later – but for now, another day of great snow and blue runs follows. Our lessons are over, and now we’ve just got a bit of time to fool around, and work on some languid turns. There’s been another 6-8 inches of snow overnight at base-camp level, so I’m looking forward to seeing what has happened 1 km further uphill. I have every fear that today could end up being rather fun.

On a separate note, Bingo has chickened out and turned ski on us, and Dec thinks he’s broken his arse, in spite of it being padded by both a Norwegian striker* and 26 years of overindulgence. I’ve never wanted to kick anyone right up the arse as much as I do now. I’m down to my last reserves of willpower, which I fear may be eroded tonight at the first whiff of booze.

Peace out, my homies.

*An Aasgaard

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In the air

February 24, 2007

This seems like as good a time as any for a moment of quiet introspection after what can only really be described as a rather hectic night of booze-sodden silliness. Ginger tried to stop a train using his shoulder, and has already fallen backwards down a flight of stairs. Odds are shortening on him picking up the first major injury of the trip. Osty O’Porosis (Dec) of course remains a firm favourite. I (Mushy) have already picked up the first minor prang, nearly braining myself on the car boot as I tried to get Dec’s bag out of the boot of the Taxi. Blood has been drawn, so I suppose that it’s fair to say that the holiday has started.

As I write this, we’re 35,000 feet over Strasbourg. With Stuttgart straight ahead of us, Salzburg seems a short hop on the in-flight map. From there, it’s a coach journey to Bad Gastein, and our impending doom.

The trip has so far been quite educational for all of us. Dec has learned that I really do snore like a train, and that my olive branch gift to him of a pack of earplugs was not an overreaction. Ginger has (hopefully) learned that writing blog posts when hammered results in utter utter gibberish. Bingo seems to have cottoned on to the fact that to check a blog using a Blackberry the second that his friend saved it on an MDA makes the pair of them look like gits. For me, the real revelation is that if I want to work for St. Margaret’s Taxis, all I have to do, is follow these general rules.
1 When arranging to pick up four men with big bags, send as small a car as possible.
2 If facing a long journey, filling the car up beforehand with petrol is entirely optional.
3 Circuitous routes are always best; “as the crow flies” is for pussies.
4 Wiper blades are to be replaced with oily rags. That squeak.
5 Stick rigidly to the middle lane. Especially if you’re on a two lane road.
6 There’s a fan built in to the car, which can demist your windscreen, so that you can actually see where you’re going. Don’t ever use it.
7 Sharpen the edges of your boot lid so that smart-arsed fatsos have something to occupy their thoughts which isn’t their impending doom.

Righty ho – Stuttgart is now a distant, yet fond memory. Our descent – in so many ways – has begun. I’ll write more if I live that long. Adieu, mes amis.