I came, I saw, I boarded the Pyrenees

Sorry it’s been so long, but you have to understand that the commitments of my indolent lifestyle are very great: loafing, eating a bit, loafing some more, maybe shifting to change channels… OK, my life isn’t like that at all. But unfortunately, dear reader, I’m quite a busy bunny these days and something’s got to give – in this case, my random online musings. But I’m here now, so on with it!

When last we eased ourselves back in the comfy chairs in the virtual drawing room and tilted a glass, I was speaking of a trip to Andorra, was I not? Well, that’s been and gone, and here I am to recount my adventure. And what an adventure it was…

My first impression of the holiday was ‘what a palaver!’ – getting to Gatwick for stupid o’clock in the morning, then having to endure the ridiculous queue for security whilst clutching polythene bags filled with toiletries (and having to take our shoes off to be scanned), then flying to Toulouse and transferring to the resort – it all gets to you, eventually. I’m feeling ever greater sympathy with my pal Howard, who never flies anywhere unless he absolutely has to; it’s too much aggravation…

But once there, it was all good fun – out onto the slopes the first morning with my Argentinian snowboarding instructor Pablo (an absolute diamond!), and I learned all the fun & games of bindings, edges, heels, toes…. and falling over. Lots of the latter. But I picked up the basics pretty readily (amazingly!), and spent the first day hurling myself down a red run(!) with abandon. One spectacular early afternoon wipeout put paid to my efforts for the day; I couldn’t take any more pain!

The second day found me more hesitant and stiff, much to Pablo’s consternation, but he got me back in the flow of things soon enough – particularly once he’d sorted my bindings and got my weight off my heels. Playing on the slopes in the afternoon with Fi & Simon, Fi commented that on occasion she had problems keeping up with me – I think that was more down to being out of control than anything else, but it was fun. One fall too many on my wrists prompted me to give up for the day and go buy some wrist guards. Belated? You betcha. But anyway.

Third day, final day of lessons, and it went pretty well – until Pablo drew to my attention that I’d shredded my boarding pants. So a slightly early end to the lesson, and off I went shopping again. Out on the slopes in the afternoon, I managed to compound my misery by falling onto my back from a position facing up the slope, and banging my head – a few times, and the last time I’d had enough and went to buy a helmet. Yeah, I know – could’ve done that the first day. If I’d only known!

On the Thursday, it was out on the slopes again, and I had fun trying to keep up with Fi & Simon, the veteran skiers. By this time, all sorts of aches and pains were manifesting themselves, but I went for it and enjoyed a few good runs. And lots of falls, but c’est la vie. Mid-afternoon, we stopped for a coffee at a place halfway down the slope, only to be caught in complete white-out fog. Now that was an interesting experience, navigating down the slope in two- or three-metre visibility while avoiding being wiped out by ski classes snaking down the slope. By the time we got to the bottom, my legs were burning. Off to one of the many local caf├ęs for a vin chaud, and we were sorted.

Friday was my big injury day: my hyper-extended thumb. Going down a run, I fell and landed on my left hand and bent my thumb way back towards my forearm. Now that hurt, I can tell you. Off to buy a support bandage, then out in the afternoon for what turned out to be my final run. Too nervous, favouring my increasingly painful hand, I called it a day. And Saturday, it all looked too icy; my legs were shot and I just wanted to chill out. So I wandered around the shops, bought a couple of items of clothing, resisted the urge to buy a board, bindings, boots and bag, and enjoyed the social life of Andorra.

Overall, a good time – I’m definitely hooked on snowboarding, and I’ll be going back next year for sure. Meanwhile, the doctor tells me that injuries of this nature can take a couple of months to heal up, so I’m still wearing the support bandage. But he tells me that if it had been broken it would have been several months! So we’re thankful for small mercies.

Pics are up in the gallery, but I’ve not had time to give them all clever captions. In time, hopefully I’ll get them all updated. Howard managed to capture some of my graceless boarding in a lesson on video; I’ll look into getting that online for you to have a chuckle at – particularly the bit at the start where I go a-o-t…

I’d love to stay and chat, but duty calls. I’ll post some more as soon as I can. Take it easy!