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Another day in Paradise (warning, very long)

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Monday , April 12th, 2004

At first I wanted to title this thread “You don’t know how it feels to be left outside alone” but on second thought, it was a bit on the negative side, while the day was everything but negative.
Well, alone I was, my mom had a recrudescence of her neck arthritis- consequence of a car accident when seatbelts were not even installed in cars and orthopaedic collars were unknown in hospitals- her “younger” brother had a last minute appointment, and the third (the little one, go figure, he’s 59 y.o.) doesn’t move if his two older brothers don’t say so.
Other friends were already in “let’s go to the seaside” mode.

I woke up at 06.00 with a jolt, before I remembered that Easter Monday is still an
Holyday and I was supposed to go skiing. First thing on the balcony to check the mountains in the distance, mmmh clear skies o’er there, it could be a nice day.
I had explored a couple of options, the day before, to go skiing with an old friend in Valle
D’Aosta, or go totally alone. Since I couldn’t get in touch with him the previous evening, and did not want to arrive at his doorstep unannounced, I opted for a “solo flight”.
That decided, at 07.00 turned the car ignition key and departed, destination Madesimo, some 100 km away.
One hour and 15 minutes later, I was in a bar, at the bottom of the mountain, breaking the fast with other early risers, lift personnel and a couple of instructors.
A clear blue sky announced a very nice day, even if at first somewhat cold.
The first run was not something to be remembered. The snow was not snow, it was ice, and without edges and with cold muscles it required a bit of an effort to keep my dignity intact.
So I decided to look for better “pastures” while waiting for the sun to warm the snow a bit…hence I headed toward the medium height part of the resort, and surprise surprise, traces off piste revealed that a snowfall has occurred in the past two-three days…
Nevertheless I decided to stay on the groomed, I was tempted to ski in the trees, snow inside looked still relatively untouched and nice, but maneuverability in close quarters is not a strongpoint of my old 198cm planks, took another couple of runs here and there, before venturing in the top part of the resorts, the Val di Lei, 3000 mt a.s.l. , a long queue was there, it took 45 minutes to enter the cable car and reach the top, but once there…While queuing I overhear a guy loudly proclaim to his pard ” I don’t care how long I have to wait, today I want to ski off-piste” . The couple of guys looked interesting, a skier and a boarder, acting relaxed, probably locals.
While waiting for the cable car I was eyeing a long run , known as the Canalone, with its off piste variants, the “Camosci” and the “Cavallino” which offered a spectacular view (the two variants names I learned later on). The Canalone, being the most skied down, was full of bumps, of the type to make Pierre’s mouth water (mine was, anyhow) the other two, even if full of track still showed promises of powder, mmmm powder! Ok, not the Champagne powder that westerners are used to, still some serious off piste could be had.
Once reached the top I decided to ski a couple of groomed there, did not want to ski down the “Canalone” immediately and then to have to queue for another 45 minutes…
Well, the runs there are served by a two seats chairlift. From it I was able to observe
the “in-bound” off-piste fields (right under and beside the chairlift) complete with small
Cliffs. I was so tempted that upon reaching the top, I launched myself down the
off-piste fields, instead of limiting myself to the groomed runs.
From then on, it was a whole bonanza of (heavy) powder, jumps from small cliffs
( very, very small, not the sizes you superhuman heroes are used to)
During my third down, and while approaching my favorite jump I suddenly realized
that my approach path to the take off point was not the intended one, so tried to
correct the it, lost balance and one ski and proceed to an Epic face plant, one of those
your back arches itself and you spread on the ground. With only inches to spare before
the take off point, I stopped. All in one piece, had to collect items for a bit, waited
Five minutes to rest and then launched myself again.
Reaching the bottom station of the chairlift, noticed the guy I was queuing with at the cable car. He looked me for a while and then commented :”nice face plant, when I saw you approaching that jump at that speed I thought you must have been crazy, was all that speed intentional?” My answer was, indeed, positive, I did not like the direction, but the
speed was intentional.
We chatted a little bit and decided to ski off-piste together.
Paolo, is his name, is a local, so knows the place.
He was looking for his boarder mate Garga, and once we regrouped, and met with other two
friends, Francesca and Gionni, we skied once again the Val di Lei open slopes, then decided to ski down what is known as the “camosci” off piste variant. I was elated, I wanted an orgy of powder. As it happened, I had my orgy of faceplants and assorted falls, in the powder, every time Paolo an his friend commented :”are you still alive and in one piece?” My only answer was to stand up and grin.
But I couldn’t care less, I had waited for such an occasion, nearly 9 years, 4 of those, the last, spent skiing at a snail pace.
You, people of the west, don’t know what it means to be disallowed to ski powder,
To have to limit one skiing to the groomed only. Not that I do not like that. But I like to vary my menu. What a ride. I was smiling and smiling and laughing, and falling.
Then my new friend Paolo told me we were going down a couloir (called the “witches”) and the speed I was keeping in the open field was something to avoid there, so I had to calm down. Nevertheless I felt elated. I had satisfied my thirst for off-piste once again. Now I could go back to be my normal quiet self, not that I had the choice, I was exhausted, literally. We ate, and then took the compulsory 45 minutes queue to reach the top again. Sadly I was too tired for a second run down the “camosci” so we parted. Still I had found new friends and skied like when I was fit, what could I ask more?
There was still the “canalone” with its inviting bumps, but first, a couple of
groomed to catch my breath.
Down to the chairlift, and there while queuing I chat with two girls, from villages near mine I discover, who were a bit unsure whether to ski down the “canalone” or take the cable car back to the valley…well, I don’t know how it happened but they decided to ski down with me, probably because I told them that the run was white, not black … I don’t know why people is so concerned, nearly obsessed, by runs colours.
I had a blast in the bumps, and again was smiling like a madman.
But the day was nearing its end. Once again I had to part with these new friends, and
headed to my car for the journey home.
Tuesday morning, as I drive to work, I have a sore butt and thighs, thanks to the bumps, a sore lower back and- funnily- a painful left hand index finger and left shoulder, thanks to all the epic explosions (a.k.a. tumbles) I took.
It is now Tuesday night, and the soreness in my thigh and butt has increased and
spread to the inside of the legs. My index finger is still in a bit of pain, but nothing serious. My back, well, it’s improving. It hasn’t helped that I’ve spent 5 hours sitting
in my car today.
Was it worth? Yes, I think so.
I would do it again.
If I close my eyes, I see those open fields again, the culoir, the bumps
I see the lines we skied, the rocks, the Sun, I smell the fresh air, the snow itself…
These memories will keep me company during the long summer ahead.
Another day in Paradise.
Ride on my friends, ride on.

-a mid fat would seem now in order, if I ever plan to do something like that again,
let’s say Salomon Hot or Head monster i.m. 75 or a Rossi Bandit B2.
-It’s so nice to chat to people, in fact I had forgotten how nice it is and
what positive responses few smiles can earn.
-I now have six more friends, I probably will never see them again,
but for one day, we enjoyed the reciprocal company and shared a passion.
-I used the words “powder” and “cliffs” for lack of better words.
Probably “powder” would translate into “heavy slush” and “cliffs”
into “terrain undulations” to someone used to the Rockies.
-Madesimo internet site: www.madesimo.com
-A map of the ski area can be found here:
-A bigger version here
(the runs I skied are the black/orange number 1 and 2 and the red ones in Val di Lei)

Edited to add one person name

[ April 14, 2004, 05:16 AM: Message edited by: Matteo ]
post #2 of 11
Nobody does it better
Makes me feel sad for the rest
Nobody does it quite the way you do.....
Baby, you're the best!
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
Hey, thanks! Queen B, you're a poet!
post #4 of 11
No, I got that from a James Bond flick!!
post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
ROFL! I didn't know that....
post #6 of 11
Great story, Matteo. I once drove up the Aosta valley in the summer up to the tunnel. Some of the most beautiful landscape in the world.

post #7 of 11
Beautiful story! You should submit it to http://www.aspectjournal.com [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 
Well, Lisa, I'll follow your suggestion.
I wrote it to share the day with friends, I wrote it because I couldn't sleep, last night, so I whiled away the hours till sleep came...
post #9 of 11
You're the poet, Matteo. Thanks for sharing a piece from the heart, where all great writing gets its start. Hey, I'm a poet too! Must be the subject matter that brings the rhyming out in us. Right, left, right, left--hmm.
post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
Me a poet? I wish! Monday it was: Right left right, explosion! Collect the pieces, restart skiing, right left right left right, face plant!
Repeat at will.
post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 
Another thing that made me think of Pierre was a guy (another local, known to "my" locals") that was skiing tele in the bumps, on a pair of Nordica Dobermann SL skis about 160 cm long...
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