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.

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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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