8th March 2016
Part 1 of my #BaileySnowSeason blog dealt with last-minute dry slope lessons, YouTube tutorials, a 1000-mile trip to Austria and a warm and comfy Bailey motorhome where I could close the door on the terrifying prospect of propelling myself down a snow-covered mountain the following day.
Part 2 begins with a sleep so deep I initially thought I was at home when I woke. Peering through the curtains, conditions, although cold, looked perfect for a lesson on real snow with Si Cudlip. Caravan fan, Team DC UK snowboarder and 26 year-old all-round nice guy, Si is also blessed with the patience of a saint (thankfully) and with his Yoda-like teaching ability, I was soon feeling the force, albeit briefly.
The techniques took some time to sink-in but, determination bolstered, I was happy to escape the confines of the nursery slope and instead of being a mobile chicane for children of primary school age, it was time to conquer my two newest fears – the chair lift and a blue run.
I may have been the only one walking to the bottom of the 8-man chair but, once on, I was but a tense few minutes of hand-holding away from a steeper but thankfully wider expanse of whiteness. James Bond may make entering a bar on skis look deceptively easy and apart from falling 20 yards short and becoming tangled in the orange safety netting, things were beginning to go rather well.
Granted, I was more Last of the Summer Wine than Ski Sunday but I was making progress and, heck, some of it was upright. Turns were being linked (apparently) and rather than letting the board go where it fancied, I could actually take some sort of control. One minor improvement soon led to another and this is where the addictive nature of winter sports kicked-in. Add a beer and another run to the mix and I was soon wondering why I hadn’t thought of snowboard escapism when I was in my 20’s, trading the rat race for the red run. A quick text to my wife soon confirmed that it’s not so easy in your mid-40’s when you have a family and lots of bills to pay…
Whether from falls or the Hockey Cokey riding-style of knees bend, arms stretch, etc., considerable parts of me were beginning to ache and with Si having the Truma App on his phone, he switched-on the heating in the Bailey Pegasus from the side of the mountain so it’d be nice and warm when we returned for a cup of tea.
Unzipping the Isabella awning, it’s clear that Si & Faye spend a lot of time out here as the decked floor, clothes rail and snowboard workshop make this an awning like no other. Having spent the night in the Truma cold chamber just a few days before, I knew the Combi-equipped Pegasus Brindisi would be up to temperature and it was every bit as warm as I’d hoped. 20 minutes and one cup of tea later, I was so settled at the front of the ‘van that even a trip to the on-site restaurant seemed like too much effort.
I came, I saw and although I didn’t exactly conquer, thanks to Si, I’m itching to get on the slopes again. So what did I learn from the #BaileySnowSeason trip?
- Medical science has yet to discover parts of me that still ache
- Learning to ‘board at 45 makes for aching limbs. Pack some paracetamol
- The caravan is an unbelievably adaptable piece of kit and something which fits-in no matter how you choose to chase your dreams.