Sunday, November 30, 2003

Well, we're back from our snowboarding adventure! I don't think I've ever been this tired after a vacation. I know I've never been this bruised and battered after one.

We got up bright and early Thursday morning (Thanksgiving) and headed off for our first day on the slopes. The morning was total chaos, as there were lift tickets to buy and equipment to rent. Mike and I had found a bargain in boots at the PX in Garmisch (25 bucks!!), so we had our own, but we still had to get Fred and Annabelle fitted for boots and then we all had to get measured for boards. We had a moment of panic when we thought Annabelle might not get to snowboard, as they had no short boards at the top ski depot. Fortunately, the clerk called down to a shop lower on the mountain, and I was able to take the cable car back down to get her board.

After lunch we had our first lesson. Fred and Mike took to it fairly quickly, but Annabelle was easily frustrated and I just stink at most sports. Our instructor wound up focusing on the guys while Annabelle and I played around in the snow. We did practice some though, and naturally she did much better than I.

Friday morning was tough. The weather had been sunny and relatively warm the day before, but that day was very snowy and very cold. Annabelle was disgruntled when Fred and Mike got to go up to the top of the mountain while she and I were stuck at the bottom with another instructor, working on all the things the boys did the day before. We worked really hard though, and after lunch we got in yet another cable car and went up, up, up.

We made it down what was supposed to be the bunny slope but what I swear was really Mt. Everest. I apparently aspire to be the Ginger Rogers of snowboarding--I do everything Fred does, only I do it backwards and on my toes.

Quick snowboarding lesson here: Basically, if your back is to the mountain, and your board is side-to-side, and you're sliding down on that back edge, that's riding backside. I can't do that. I appear to be missing the backside gene, and let's not even talk about my complete inability to get into a standing position when I'm looking downhill. I can, however, do frontside, which is where you face the mountain and slide down on your toe edge. I'm good for about 10 feet, at which time I fall on my knees. Fall on your knees enough times in any given day, and it starts to hurt--even if you are applying ice with each fall!

The worst part though was when we got to the bottom of the bunny slope and discovered that we absolutely could not master the tow rope back UP the hill. We tried a few times, wiped out an equal number of times, and decided that walking back up the hill was our only hope. Our instructor was a really good sport about it, although he did say he had never had to walk up the hill before.

On Saturday, Annabelle and I opted to forego the snowboarding, as we felt we had suffered enough. The weather was beautiful again, so while Fred and Mike took off to conquer the mountain, she and I took the cable car to the top and explored the panorama tunnel. The tunnel itself is nothing much, but the view at the end is breathtaking:

We spent much of the remainder of the day camping out in the cafeteria. Annabelle played her Gameboy while I knitted and sipped hot chocolate. Towards the end of the day, she did agree to put on her boots and board once more so I could get some videotape of both the kids doing their thing. Then we turned in all the equipment and bought a couple of cheap toboggans and let the kids slide around on the lower slopes until it was time to take the 15-minute cable-car trip back down the mountain.

If you think I'm exaggerating about how physically punishing snowboarding is, you should see my bruises. And now through the miracle of modern technology, you CAN see my bruises! (Remember that I'm not putting these photos on the front page, so if you click on the links, you have nobody but yourself to blame!) I've got a bruise on my right leg and one on my left leg. I also hurt my tailbone, but I'm not posting those pictures! (Just kidding, Mom--there are no such pictures!!!)

Here are a couple of others you might like though. Here's Mike with a friend from the slopes:

And here's the snow octopus that Annabelle made for me:

All in all, it was a wonderful trip! We're glad we did it, but we're happy to be home again. And we're so very, very thankful that none of us are on crutches or sporting plaster accessories. Maybe for Christmas . . .

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