Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Wall skillets, moguls and Bearsss, oh my!

Heyho all and happy holidays! I am writing this post from the community center in our complex, the Summit. They've got Internet service working, but it doesn't reach our place. Which, by the way, I forgot to mention two peculiar things about. No. 1, the heating vent in my bedroom, the second, smaller bedroom, of course, doesn't work. So they've got this 2 foot, by 2 foot metal plate, which is painted the same color of the room. It's got a switch on it and is plugged into a thermostat at the wall socket. It radiates heat and, heats the room. We've come to calling it the wall skillet. My goal is to heat it up real good one day, and throw an egg at it to see what happens. Second, we discovered a hidden loft in our washer/dryer room. It's got a ladder that the owners blocked off with a piece of plywood. Ziggy peaked up there the other day and noted the room is big enough for a blowup mattress and friends. Now there's the matter of making sure they're all roasty toasty warm. Where did they get that wall skillet?
But I digress. We had to take two tests on Saturday and then were tested by one of their longtime instructors on our teaching ability that afternoon. Turns out this guy (his name is Michael Rogan, another amazing wealth of skiing knowledge) and his longtime gal Robin lived in the very condo the Zigster and I now inhabit. The world is even small on the giant ski hills. Michael asked if we'd seen any bears yet. I said we'd be finding a place to watch them on Monday night against the Packers. Apparently, it was the other kind of bears, the real ones. Our place is a 9-minute walk from the base of the California side of the mountain and high enough up that black bears are very commonly seen roaming around.
We bar hopped a bit on Saturday night. It was deader in every place we went. But our scouting uncovered a great big sports bar called Mo's that was great for watching the Chicago Bears win last night. We did find a hottie bartender at the Brewery who comped us a couple shots of Jaeger!
Sunday we shadowed another instructor for a lesson and after showing up for work on Monday only to be dismissed because there wasn't enough work, Zig and I got up early today and got first tracks in about 18 inches of fresh powder. A black diamond named Double Down had its ass thoroughly kicked! Or maybe it was the other way around. Either way, Rossignol Smith rides again! For those who don't know, that is my "ski name," my alter ego on the slopes. It was dreamt up from a day of skiing with Team Snark--Chip Chaney and Jeff Ladin, aka Scott Aspen and Sky McAlpine. On the trip out, I made Ziggy commit to his ski name and he need only about 10 seconds to come up with Hans Volkl.
We had to get down to base camp by 9:45 for morning "lineup." Since we're new and have no seniority, we get work last. And after most of the instructors got lessons, there were me, Ziggy and our new buddies from training, Eric and Mike, getting cold standing around. Finally, about an hour later, I was given my first class--two very pretty sisters from Bolivia. So I taught Donna and Stephanie how to ski today! I had Donna starting Level 3 skills at the end of the day and Stephanie did what was the goal of Level 1--turning in a wedge. Pretty cool feeling and we had a good time. They even took a photo with me. I gave them my email and hope to post the picture in a future blog. Zig got a lesson, too, but not until the afternoon session at 1:00. He had six in his class and had them rockin and rollin by the end of the day. We can do this!
So they had a dinner for us after we got done--turkey and all the trimmings and pumpkin pie for dessert for only $4. And we stopped at the ski shop and made a big haul. One of the benefits is we get 50% off work-related items like thermal underwear, socks, helmets and yes, skis! I picked up a couple pair of thermal tops and bottoms, some socks and some cool leather ski gloves for $100! Then we jumped in our hot tub, which is beginning to become a daily ritual. It's right outside the room I am typing from.
It's going to get real busy for the next two weeks, they tell us, even on Christmas and New Year's Day, although it's understandably slow in the morning. I'm on the schedule through Saturday. Sunday will be my first day off, and I can't wait to have at that mountain!

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