Skiing

Why I don’t go skiing

Skiing isn’t a good idea. You need to be rich, flash and stupid. Let me explain.

First you will need to go shopping. Start with lots of money, you will be needing everything you can lay your hands on.

Now find a ski shop. These are only open in the winter. During the summer months they are usually used by some obscure charity organization selling hand crafted walnuts from Bolivia.

First you will need skis. These are 2m long planks. You may think they are for conveying you gently down a slope. This is not true. They are levers, inevitably your body will not be traveling in the same direction as the skis. Because high tech materials comprising wood and plastic are stronger then flesh and bone, injuries to sensitive parts are inevitable.

Expect injuries due to broken legs, sprained ankles and twisted knees to persist into old age. To protect your legs from protruding rocks, and wind blown snow you will need trousers.

These come in two styles :

The first is a skin tight, body hugging (show every curve) type. You should only consider purchasing these if someone (apart from spouse or family member) considers that you have sexy legs.

If you have sexy legs and breasts you should consider the full body suit. This body enhancing multicolored condom will ensure a quick response should you receive an injury.

The second style is the retro eighties styled baggy trousers. These tents will provide you with an accompanying wind song as you plunge over a cliff to your death. They will also provide men with camouflage should they have an involuntary response to the type one body suit.

You will need torso protection. Here the color is important. You will require something with sufficient color so you can hide in a tow queue. But not too bright or the keas will mistake you for a shiny object to either attack or take back to the nest as a plaything for the chicks.

Eye protection is a must. Again there are two choices.

The first is the dark glasses. These are available in a range of prices to match your social status. Expect to pay more for these than you did for your prescription glasses.

The second type is goggles. These can provide full face protection and camouflage. Especially useful when it’s your turn to clean up the mess at the end of the day.

You will also need pointed steel sticks, with a depth gauge in the end. This is used to prod others in the backside if they get in the way. The depth gauge is to ensure you don’t rupture any bowels. To make things even more dangerous, you will require two.

Now that you have spent several thousands, you have completed most of the spending. Soon you will be expected to spend only hundreds of dollars per day.

At about 11pm the night before your big day, expect your drunk friends to phone reminding you to be up early for the 7am start. They will inevitably arrive about 8am, after some of the company have forgotten to pack sufficient alcohol for the day.

If you are going to Mt Hutt be warned. When scaling the mountain the driver will remark at every bend “It’s about here that the strong winds will blow us over the side to the rocks below”.

If you are fat, expect to be asked to sit on the bonnet to provide traction for the final near vertical climb to the car park.

If you have been spending the first hour of your journey bragging about your gym work-out routine, be expected to push the car. If you have been comparing yourself to Hercules, be expected to lift the car while the chains are fitted.

It is a good idea to inquire of your friends if they have experience fitting chains to the correct wheels. If they hesitate only slightly, give them up for those who know what they are doing.

When you finally arrive you will require tow tickets. The queue should be about 50m long, but don’t worry, this is deliberate. You will need the practice at waiting when you get to the tow queue.

Now for the fun part of your day, getting up that white hunk of rock. The gray things on the snow are not fallen, fashion free skiers. They are rocks. You have arrived either early in the season before the snow maker has been repaired, or late when the snow is beginning to melt, and your family is spending their time at the beach. Remember that in New Zealand the ski fields are covered in tussock during summer.

Your method of getting to the top may vary. If your tow ticket was very cheap, expect to grab a hold of the farm tractor before it leaves.

A club ski field may have a rope tow. Don’t try grabbing the rope with your hand, that’s what a nutcracker is for (and don’t attempt to crack any nuts with it). After a day you will begin to develop upper body muscles. By the second day the pain should subside and you can start skiing properly.

The better ski field will have a “T” bar. This giant hook is for you. Just snuggle up closely to that geriatric old fart trying to reclaim his youth and wait.

When the hook hits you three thing can happen –
1. You could be taken safely to the top, but that is unlikely.
2. You could lurch forward, tangling your skis with your partner and falling in a heap in the path of the next pair of skiers.
3. Or you could sit down (a common error of the uninitiated). This will find you on your bum, sitting on your skis, sliding backwards into the tow queue. The sticks of those waiting should stop you. Just hope that they don’t use them in a horizontal manner, with the depth gauges removed.

Once you have mastered the art of rising gently to the top of the hill and tumbling down again you can call yourself a skier. By about 2pm you will get bored with all this and join your friends in the public bar. Don’t worry about your driver not drinking, this is a kiwi custom. Anyway it’s all downhill to home, you will make it home eventually.

When you finally get home (the same day unless you have stopped at a hotel on the way) you can relax.

Now reflect that it would have been better to stay in bed on a winters day and read.

And that’s why I don’t go skiing (anymore).

Nigel Baker
21/8/96