Black is beautiful
Oz Travel Blog› entry 4 of 4 › view all entries
boarders will know exactly what I mean when I say, "it was black, it was
powder, the sky was clear and blue, a few scattered trees on the slope". To
those skiers and boarders this sounds like heaven and it almost was. I say
almost, because underneath the 25cm of fresh fallen powder snow, there was an
icy and bumpy black slope. For those of you who don’t know what that means, let
me explain. There are four types of slopes, ranging from very easy to extremely
difficult. Each type is designated its own color. The easiest is a green slope,
almost level, very wide and down at the foothill mostly. Then blue slopes
follow; a little more steep, but yet still smooth and wide. Red slopes are next
in line; even more steep, often narrower and with bumps or so called buckels
(heaps of snow created by many people taking a turn on the same spot).
It had been thawing during the day and freezing for a couple nights
now, so the basis of the black slope I was on was hard and unforgiving. Due to
the fresh snow on top, you couldn’t see any bumps. The slope appeared as smooth as a baby's bottom with generous amounts of talcum powder. I was gliding in a straight
line when suddenly my body sank away underneath, a meter or so in to the snow between two bumps.
I didn’t see that coming. Neither did I see the next bump coming, so after half
a second, I was launched, propelled almost onto the next bump.
I was half
way down, passed the steepest bit when I had to make another turn. Three
quarters into that turn I felt ecstatic. I was glad my path would miss the tree
I saw nearing. Furthermore, the shallow part of the slope came in sight. Every
fibre in my body thought ‘I survived, I made it alive!’ and you know things can
only go wrong from here. All of a sudden, and as I said, three quarters into
the turn, I lost one of my skis. With lost, I don’t mean it went off, well it
did; it dug itself into a snow bank and my boot shot out of the binding.
Of the six
of us, I was the last one coming down. My friends were way ahead of me and
there was no one else on the slope. At first, a slight panic came over me, but
it was soon followed by acceptance. Prodding with my ski pole, I went looking
for my other ski. First up, then down a bit and then back up again. After a few
minutes, I feared the worst and in my head, I was shopping for new skis
already. It was that acceptance again. I gave up the search for now, created a little
seat for myself, sat down and had a smoke. Then my phone rang. From all the way
down the mountain, my buddies saw me walking up and down the slope, which is
never a good sign.
were coming up to help me look for my ski. It would take a while though. They
had to take a ski lift up and then ski down the black slope I was on. So, I sat
back and relaxed a few more minutes. After I had just lost my ski, I had walked
up and planted my remaining ski together with one pole, in the snow to mark the
position where about I must have lost it. I planted them like an X, the international
sign for distress or to summon caution. I wouldn’t want anyone to trip over my
ski, or even worse, me. After all, I was sitting two meters below the cross.
couldn’t find it we had to widen the search area and break formation.
Logically, I returned to the original crash site, to coordinate from there. As
I reached my ski, I stepped on something hard and a tiny though straight crack
appeared in the snow. No, it couldn’t be, could it? I pushed my boot down some
more, and the crack grew wider. I reached down, put my hand in the snow, felt
around a bit, grabbed a foreign object and then pulled it up to see it was… my
other ski! On my initial walk up, I apparently managed to plant my remaining ski
only a tenth of an inch next to the one I lost, which was hiding under the