A guide to skiing by Shange Lao
After an illustrious career in skiing spanning two decades and millions worth in medals I decided to finally go skiing in the Alps in Austria. Any great skier worth their salt should try these mountains at least once in their lives. And as the mountain hadn’t come to Mohammed, Mohammed would go to the mountain. This was no small feat and could not have been attempted by just anyone so before I left my home in Czech Republic, I made sure that my affairs were in order. My two beloved demon-dogs Coco puff and Dante would go to my cousin Aby in Canada, who God bless her kind soul had enough shoes and things for them to chew on.
The rest of my belongings would be spread among my friends and family in the hope that ghosts are real and that I would get the chance to haunt each and every one of them in the afterlife. My almost there savings and zero bank balance would be used for my funeral and the remaining balance (ahahahahahaha…. remaining balance) would be given to my parents to help them in their old age. My body was to be preserved in the Museum of Natural History somewhere in Europe/America/anywhere in the very highly likely event that aliens finally colonized the earth and wanted to clone me to rule over it as overlord. My debts would be passed on to my good friends (the evils) because after all everything belonging to me is precious.
So there I was bravely going to face death and look it in the eyes, daring it to take me. To be honest death took this challenge a bit too seriously as I almost never arrived at my destination. My driver Lord Voldemort had a death wish of his own and was determined to not die alone. At least that’s what I gathered from his erratic driving. After six hours of him playing God with our lives (it could have been caused by my non-stop singing/screeching to every song on the radio I can’t be too sure), we finally arrived in Kaprun, Austria. Kaprun for those of you unenlightened ones is a famous ski town name after the Czech word Kapr which in English is carp (ehm….sure, why not?). For the adventures of the spa and disco which both took place there please read ‚The adventure of the Spa‘ and ‚The adventure of the Disco‘ each sold separately.
Fast forward to the 28th of February, the year of our Lord 2014 and stop. I woke up, showered (maybe, maybe not, the events of that day are muddled), had a light breakfast and kissed the owner of the establishment goodbye. He/she (not quite sure) was astonished but when you’re looking at death in the face unblinking, every moment you spend with fellow humans is precious. So around 11, after more attempts on my life by death disguised as Lord Voldemort I arrived in Zell Am See (CMC in the Queen’s language but with a Czech accent). The time had finally arrived for my very first ski lesson.
Oh yes, the part about skiing for decades and medals was pure fantasy. The reality was that the shoe-like thingys which you attach to the skis weighed a ton and the muscles on my feet were in shock after the first fitting. The man who worked in the rent shop made things worse by screaming for Olga to ‚pleez kuum get her shoos!‘ in his strong German accent (well not really but I was amused. What are the odds of finding an American girl called Olga in Austria and an Austrian man with a strong German accent who wouldn’t stop calling to her to get her shoes? The odds are low). Anyway after amusing myself by repeating after him every time he said something I had to admit that the weight of the shoe-thingys had me scared and I didn’t want to go ahead but my mother hadn’t raised no coward (clearly she had raised a fool instead. A fool that had decided to try skiing after the best years of her life were behind her. I might as well have stolen mob money/drugs if I hated my bones do much).
There was no place to park near the ski place so we had to park about 200m away. I would swear my life on it that I saw several parking places nearby but was simply being made to pay for my love of out of key singing. I bore my punishment with dignity while my insides cried like a little baby for it’s mothers tit. Because the shoes are made from concrete, it is difficult to not only walk in them but to dance as well. I learned that the hard way. The skis and two stick thingys didn’t make the trip to the mountain any easier because they are heavy (not the stick thingys though, just the skis). I also discovered through trial and error that not only can you can force Mohammed to the mountain, but you can also force him to try and learn to walk in the skis and concrete shoes. And after he has reached his target, you can drag him back to the starting point and repeat this for an hour until he learns to walk in concrete shoes attached to skis that are too long for comfort. After hour of trying to get to the lift (it was about 10m away), I finally made it without sliding backwards. The first attempt to get on the lift was unsuccessful so they stopped the death trap until I was seated. Off I went up up up the little slope and hop! off at the top. My instructor gave me a few pointers and I’ll never forget them as long as I live:
a) bla bla bla together.
b) bla bla bla bla spicky bla. (this part was in Czech)
c) bla bla a and that’s how you stop.
d) if you’re scared, fall down. More bla bla bla
I was ready. There was a woman and lots of kids skiing there beautifully next to what the Austrians call the kinderplatz and I just knew in my heart that as a natural sportswoman, this would be a piece of cake. My instructor, whom we shall call The Anti-Christ from now on smiled and said ‚go‘. With confidence I pushed myself downwards using the two stick thingys. The next thing I knew is that I was sliding unbelievably fast down what I had assumed was a gentle slope (there was nothing gentle about it) and all I wanted to do was stop sliding but I didn’t know how. I was approaching the area where you get on the ski lift and my only salvation seemed to be the small space with no snow but a tree and grass. I aimed for that place. It was my Eureka! moment. Did you know that one can actually ski on grass and mud on a slope that at first appears gentle but is actually quite steep? We Africans might not have snow in most places but there’s plenty of mud and grass during rainy seasons. So sensibility and self-preservation aside, we have to reason as to why we don’t ski! That was when I began to pray to all the deities i knew, including the ones I didn’t. They must have heard me and decided to ignore me because I’m not important enough or don’t actually exist because the next voice I heard over my screaming was The Anti-Christ shouting ‚fall down!! You’re going to crash! Fall down‘. The very same instinct that made Eve eat that accursed apple in the Garden of Eden took over and I immediately fell on my back, mentally congratulating myself on my quick thinking. Shockingly the only thing that had changed was that now instead of moving at breakneck speed towards a crowd of people and iron while standing on my two legs was that now I was heading in the same direction lying on my back. I was so good at skiing that I was actually doing it lying on my back!!! If I closed my eyes at that moment I could say to little children and other beginners ‚skiing is so easy you can do it with your eyes closed‘. At this point I felt a great satisfaction knowing that even if I did die, I would be the first person to die from skiing in my family. It was a noble death and one I could be proud of. I had made my peace with it but was still grabbing at the snow with my gloved hands which did nothing and it was then that I realized that the cursed skis had a life their own and only way to stop them was to try and miraculously turn on to my side and cool down the romance between the snow-ridden ground and my skis. It worked. I had stopped. I was covered in mud and snow and my legs hurt but I had stopped. Before I could begin removing the snow that had somehow began to familiarize itself with my bottom on an uncomfortably intimate basis, The Anti-Christ came skiing down like it was child’s play, beaming his demon smile at me. ‚You were great! I forgot to tell you that when you fall, always fall on your side otherwise you might hurt yourself badly‘. I wasn’t fooled. I had seen the disappointment in his eyes when he realized I was alive and how an evil glint had appeared in his eye at the mention of me getting hurt.
To cut a very long and painful story short, this torture lasted 5 hours and I was wet to the bone by the time I decided to call it a day. The Anti-Christ was exhausted in his efforts so he agreed to continue this another time. As a force for good I can’t give up on this fight. A great man who probably had no idea that the fight for good against evil would take place on skis said ‚The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing (in other words not ski)‘. Therefore I must prevail were others have failed and as death drove me back to my hotel, I looked at the rest of the mountains. Some were covered in snow but a lot were not. It was then that I made the decision to keep trying snow or no snow. Mohammed had found his mountain and quite frankly, snow is for amateurs (long story).
The only advice I have for people that want to try to ski is this: Don’t do it!!! No matter how many people you see skiing, they are illusions living in the matrix or inception or something. Even the little parasites (formerly called children) that you see cascading gracefully down the mountain slope are simply there to lure you into the false impression that skiing is real and anyone can do it. By the time I was done I had left my dignity, pride and lots of sweat and calories in that demon hell-fire called snow. I have lost the feeling in the right part of my index finger, the ability to walk and the vision in my third eye. Skiing is not real but if you’re crazy enough to try it the only thing left for us to do is pray for you. My experience has taught me that everything is a lie and that in the real world I’m actually a powerful Jedi….