Thursday, January 12, 2006

The 4 valleys challenge...

God, I'll say. yesterday could be made into a Disney DVD.

Basically, the challenge is to get from verbier to Thyon and have some fun on the lifts and slopes out there; fun is definitely part of what happened!

Everything was going really well, I was tinkering with my bindings when we got to the top of lifts and the results were starting to impress me a lot: more control, more stability, more fun.

We had a brunch of chips at a really nice mountain cafe, then set off for a pair of terrifyingly long button lifts called greppon blanc: I've done button lifts before so I was fairly confident. Got the button, moved off, cool. I was even ok with a humpback bridge in the middle (who put that there?!?) but the problen started with the final ascent; the button started to slip quietly from between my legs. argh. I tried to hold on but eventually I was being hauled, still upright, up a sheer face, by my arms, and I had to let go, ending up in between the buttons. After a climb of maybe 50 metres at 2700 altitude (i'm a desk worker, for gawds sake) which took about 30 minutes with pauses for frantic breaths, I made it to the top.

Only to discover my right binding had shed a couple of clips which held a peg in place, and the clip which holds the back of my binding was flapping about. Eek! After some serious bodging using bits of red bull can, I came down the mountain carefully trying not to stress the binding, and managed to move one of the clips off the left one in veysonnaz by borrowing a pair of pliers.

The rest of the day was fun, but I still didnlt want to stress the binding as it was on half-clip strength.

At the end of the day we all congregated at this cool bar at the bottom of Mayens-de-lours which is basically a wood and perspex igloo! Very cosy.

I got a good tip on a specialist snowboard shop which might be able to help, and to their credit No Bounds had exactly what I needed: clips installed, board good as new, 1f please. I gave him 2 and told him to keep the change (with good humour!) which raised a smile.

So, a full day of fun and frolics. Biggest wipeout of the day was being wrong-footed on a traverse track by deep rutted ski tracks and ending up on my arse sideways at speed. Ouch! No permanent damage to anything.

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