Thursday, March 30, 2006

Skiing in the Desert

During my last R&R I took advantage of the new indoor ski resort in Dubai. I took two other guys with me on the understanding that I would teach them IF they listened and did what I said. I have taught people before and I was ecouraging them to get lessons but they said they wanted me to teach them.

Teaching cats to jump through burning hoops is easier than teaching adults to ski but I agreed to do it. Two days after we arrived and one giant hang over later I made it there with one of my fellow travellers. One guy ducked out and fessed to be ill. I still don't believe him. BTW - Thats him in the suit standing in front of the sign. Some of you know him. I won't use his name but you know him. Bad travel companion, no more trips with him.

Anyway the guy who was up to the challenge is Dave from Dave's Not Here. He was a great student. He was open minded and listened. We had a great day out. The facility is the most organized and well run ski resort I have ever been to and I have been to a lot of them. You pay for your package up front (About $60.00 for an all day pass, ski-boot-pole rental, suit rental) and then go to the stations for gear. Boots are 4 buckle front entry Rossignol. All the equipment is Rossy. Boots, skis, bindings, poles. I found out later that they have a contract with them for the gear. You get your equipment at the boot station, ski station, suit station. I brought my own parka and gloves. I used Nomex Aviator gloves from the PX and wore my usual backwards ball cap. Dave had to purchase gloves and a flaming skull cap from the pro shop. The gloves are overkill for this place. It is just below freezing and these are heavy duty Vail style gloves they sell at the pro shop. In fact they may even come in handy some place like Kamchatka or Nome.

We geared up and went up the escalator. You go through a glass door and you are in the Disney version of skiers heaven. Dry, no wind, dusty snow, perfectly groomed, perfectly lit. Fake trees, fale rocks, fake snow. One lift that goes to the bunny slope and then shoots up to the top. It is about 600 yards of run and about a 200 foot drop. There are two runs and you can get all the way down in less than a minute unless you are doing some serious turning.

I began by teaching Dave the most important things. How to get the gear on and off, how to turn, and how to STOP! He was a quick learner and the next time we go back I have no doubt he will get better each time. We are already planning another junket soon. Skiing when it is 120 degrees outside will be a real interesting juxtaposition.

During Dave's lessons though we came upon a local who had his two little girls all geared up and trying to ski. It was obvious that they had not had lessons. The little one (4 or 5 years old) was sitting down in her skis and crying. He did not know how to get her out of the skis. I came up and asked if he needed help. He said yes. I popped the skis off with my pole and picked her up. I carried her down in one arm and made lazy S turns. By the time we got down she was giggling and smiling. I asked her if she wanted to do it again. She smiled this huge toothy smile and nodded yes. I took her back up and put her in her skis. I placed her between my skis and held my poles horizontal in front of her and let her hold on. We went down with no problems. I did this twice and then held her hand on one run more. I gave her back to her dad after that. He told me I should be a teacher. I pointed at Dave who was having some difficulty and was flopping around like a fresh caught tuna. I said that this was my student and the real indicator of my skills.

Anyway, it was fun and I look forward to doing it again. I love skiing (I met my wife in a lift line) and it is nice to know that I can get down there and blow the stress out of my system for a day. Skiing is like therapy for me. If I ever have the means I want a cabin in the mountains as a second home. My wife would rather have a beach house but she will have to buy that one herself!


Blogger PelaLusa said...

On some TV show I saw this indoor ski slope profiled. Way cool! Robert

7:54 PM  

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