4 years ago I made a pact with myself that I would snowboard at least once a year, after how much fun I had first time round. Trip one was all about learning to snowboard in 4 hours instead of the forever mentioned ‘3 days’; I didn’t have time for the norm.
Trip 2 was the first time I hit a kicker on my heel edge, crashing and smashing my head into the unmerciless ice beneath. There was more soil than snow and I discovered an invention known to most as ‘The Helmet’.
Trip 3 was with my girlfriend to Verbier, coming off the back of a popped-patellar tendon just 3 months prior, and battling chronic patellar tendonitis in both knees. I made it to the end of each day, but only just.
Recently, the time came for trip number 4; Slovenia. You may be wondering where on the continent that is but I don’t want to show you. It’s currently a well kept secret and I don’t want to be responsible for opening the flood gates.
I was in great health for this one; good knees, good leg strength, better than before mobility and a probably tighter than ever budget. A set of cheap flights plus a too-good-to-be-true rental car deal, and two hours later from London we’ve landed with our lives. In -16 celcius.
The landing was one of the spiciest I’ve ever experienced. Every time I board a plane, I always prime my conscience with the possibility that this could be my last few moments alive. But for the Slovenia flight, there was a moment when I thought we were really going down. The captain had warned us about high winds and turbulence. Normally, I can’t wait to take my seatbelt off but for this trip, all I wanted to do was sleep, so I left it on. Just as well. The whole capsule had their belts on, too, apart from one woman.
We suddenly dropped what felt like to be 100ft in the air, falling so fast that this woman in question left her seat and smashed her head into her air conditioning and lighting control panel above her! Quickly followed by her hands holding her now newly battered brain as she fell back to seatsville and assumed a position of pain. Hopefully thereafter, putting her belt on.
I’d never seen that before in over twenty years of flying. Belts, kids. Belts.