Tales of catastophe, sex and squalor from the Alpine Underbelly...

Belle de Neige

Monday, 17 January 2011

Activities for cripples

SbH has broken his back, thereby completing the cycle of you-couldn’t-make-it-up adversity that has characterised this season so far. Having snapped the dorsal off five vertebrae the French doctors tell us he must wear a back brace and cannot sit down for 3 months. ‘Non! You may either lie down, or stand up!’... This is what happens when you launch yourself into the air with your feet tied together and no wings, so think on. It has led to some quite amusing dinners out with friends, and SbH standing in the corner like a manikin, eating his dinner at arms length.

I reckon French doctors like to take the piss out of injured British skiers by making stupid recommendations like this. Not sit down for 3 months? That’s just French. And, while we’re at it, have you ever tried shagging someone who is encased in plastic? It’s pretty interesting. I spend most evenings repeatedly bashing my forehead against what he has proudly taken to calling his ‘shell’. It’s like snuggling up to iron-man's crap cousin Bernard.

So, SbH has broken his back. My knee continues to be too gammy to ski. And yet here we remain. Why do we stay in the mountains? Well, when something is so magnificent and huge and beautiful you don’t know which bit to look at first it’s hard to leave it behind. And even if I can’t ski, surely this is a pleasant view to have from one’s office window of an evening:

Once again, however, I am faced with the burning question: What do you do in a ski resort when you can’t ski? So far I’ve got, sex, drinking and....

Well, SbH’s idea actually. I know I know. He is not the man I knew. To be fair to him, I think it’s all part of some hare-brained scheme to get-rich-quick by knitting piles and piles of oddly coloured beanies and scarves and flogging them to wannabe seasonaires for 20 Euros a pop. He wants to start what he calls ‘Stitch and Bitch’ sessions where the injured of the Alps (of which, let me tell you, there are an alarming number this year thanks to shit snow and too much ice) sit around crocheting and swearing about people who can ski. 50 quid says the whole thing turns into a complete fiasco; he gets bored and goes back down the pub.

Snow shoeing
Once you get over the feeling that you look like a total dick head it’s actually quite fun. Although slightly disheartening when you find yourself marching down what you feel is a very steep incline in a hidden wooded valley, legs akimbo and some ancient crone comes hobbling cheerfully up the hill towards you in trainers and gives you a jovial ‘Bonjour’ before casting a slightly amused glance at your feet. One can’t help think ‘Why the fuck am I wearing these stupid things any way?’ It’s also a bit lonely. If one wants company one’s only real option is to venture out with one of the local groups – no doubt full of creaky septuagenarians – as although many of my friends, including the Man of Leisure, have cheerfully offered to join me on a jaunt (after one too many Mutzigs) so far, no one has pulled their thumb out their arse and actually joined me.

Eat Raclette
You start off enthusiastically tucking into that first scrape of delicious melty goo. Mmmmm it’s so morish.... so...so cheesy!

..................Ten minutes later you’ve lost the will to live. Cheese sweats. The fear. A horrible sense of self loathing starts to creep in. What have i done? I hate myself! Then you make the mistake of drinking a cold glass of water, causing the cheese to solidify in your stomach and sit there for the next three days like a rock, mocking you and your greed. I actually passed out from cheese once. I mean, it could also have been linked to the red wine and anticoagulant injections I was having, but I reckon it was definitely the cheese.

Do your job
Which, for managers Alpwide, basically entails turning up at various chalets with a clip board, wearing a company jacket and sauntering about looking, cross, harassed and important. Criticizing everything your staff do down to the last speck of dust, complaining to all and sundry about how much harder your job is than theirs and yapping aggressively into a mobile phone. One must also be incredibly two faced and good at saying things like ‘Yes sir, I understand the snow ploughs are waking you up too early in the morning, I’ll have a word with the mayor’, while thinking things like ‘Yes, you demanding, finickity, wanker, would you like me to stuff this snowboard up your arse before I drive the snow plough over your testicles or after?’

Insult people who can ski
Dear punters who are shit at skiing and snowboarding. Please fuck off. You do not deserve to be on those beautiful planks, while I languish on the sidelines watching you in jealous agony. Furthermore, why are you wearing racing gear when you clearly learnt to ski yesterday and are flailing your poles around like a terrified Daddy Longlegs? You look a cunt. Get off the piste. And, while we’re at it, YOU are going at speed. Therefore if you see me struggling, nay, limping across the piste with an enormous bag of laundry it falls on you, pas moi, to get out the fricking way! I am neither impressed nor amused by your poorly executed emergency stop, nor the slushy shit that you spray up my legs. Nor your lack of apology. Nor your rubbish, hideous jacket. Oh, and please learn to carry your skiis without beheading me. Oh yes. And please fuck off.

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