Twelve o’clock high

The one thing you can say most definitely about Japanese skiers is that they don’t let little things get in the way,  As a purely random example of such little things, never having skied at all before will do nicely.

A couple of seasons ago, early on before the snow had fallen much, I was skiing at Mannlichen on the only run open, a long snake of snow from the top, under the Lager lift, past the top of the T bar and on to the bottom of the Lager lift.

On my first run down I passed a Japanese skier fallen on the piste.  On my second run down he was still on the ground, but a hundred metres further along. On my third run, he was on the ground again, but had moved on a bit further down the hill.  On my fourth run….okay I think you have the picture.

Finally, after three hours or so, he was no longer to be seen.  I am sure he made it back to the village and handed in his skis, resolved firmly to take up something else, perhaps golf or origami.

I was reminded of this today when I came across four Japanese snowboarders.  They were sat on the piste when I passed them, which is usual, but I noticed them as they were only just ready for the mountain. Jackets, yes, but no goggles or sun glasses and thin gloves on what was a pretty cold day.

A minute later, they were right above me, bearing down from twelve o’clock high with snowboards scraping and snarling.  They had been on snowboards before I think, but each was having his own problem with the steeper part of Wixi. I baled out to the edge of the piste and they passed me only to fall together a few moments later. I made good my escape.

Today, the cloud was in the valley, but higher up the up the sun shone.

Near Lager in the early afternoon

Later on though the cloud came back and by mid-afternoon, just to keep us all on our toes, the wind was blowing at the top of Wixi.

However, the skiing was never less than exceptional and a good day brought 10,623 vertical metres in 24 lift rides.

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