/ When the skiing is total pants

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Tim Chappell - on 20 Mar 2013
When you've only got an hour to play with and the snow is calf-deep on your local hill, you might as well have a go at skiing it. Except the snow was (a) melting from underneath, (b) unconsolidated, (c) so porridgey it was nearly impossible to make turns, (d) heather-root-infested. You ski it and you are hardly moving, just sinking in. You leave two trails of black behind you. A lot of the time your skis vanish completely, like submarines.

In short it was comically bad skiing. Great fun, but they won't be putting a chairlift up Auchterhouse any time soon :-)

What's the worst skiing you've ever done, readers?
MG - on 20 Mar 2013
In reply to Tim Chappell: Pentlands at night with a dim head torch in similar snow (with a bit of ice for good measure). Thankfully I couldn't see my tracks.
Chad123 - on 20 Mar 2013
In reply to Tim Chappell:

Early last week I went up to the Ochills and had a similar experience with minimal snow cover, thick heavy snow and lots of obstacles to avoid. The descent over the golf course back to Dollar was the best bit, but it was possibly quicker going uphill rather than downhill! Amazingly there were other ski tracks, so I wasn't the only keen bean!
Tim Chappell - on 20 Mar 2013
In reply to MG:

Yes, that might be a winner.

Of course, one familiar Pentlands venue for Total Pants Skiing is-- Hillend. I particularly love the way they close the artificial slope when it snows :-0
Chad123 - on 20 Mar 2013
In reply to Tim Chappell:

Not true, have been to hillend in very deep snow (when you could ski from central Edinburgh up Arthur's seat without taking skis off) a couple of years ago and done multiple fresh powder laps using the tows. There was so much snow you could even jump fences and picnic tables....
Tim Chappell - on 20 Mar 2013
In reply to Chad123:

Ah, that's good. In the old days they really did use to close it. They've obviously seen sense.
Chris the Tall - on 20 Mar 2013
In reply to Tim Chappell:
I remember skiing at Sheffield Ski Village in deep snow, having walked up there. I know some of the staff weren't very happy as they wanted to go home ! It was the only time I could do the mogul run with any degree of competence
Tim Chappell - on 20 Mar 2013
In reply to Chris the Tall:

Ha! Memories of Grouse Mountain at Vancouver in March 2003. I needed some practice before going ski-mountaineering with the BC Mountaineering Club at the weekend, so I spent a Thursday afternoon going up and down every run in the place. And although there was three feet of old snow lying, it PISSED DOWN the whole time.

I was pretty much the only punter there. As one puzzled ski-lift attendant put it to me, when he saw me for the sixteenth time: "I'm paid to be here, what's your reason, heh?"
Andes - on 20 Mar 2013
In reply to Tim Chappell:
Worst ever conditions were on Antuco out in Chile the first hill I ever skiied out there. It had rained hard the day before then frozen hard so there was a 1cm crust of sheet water ice on a pile of bottomless powder. It was real leg breaking stuff!
Mind you the sunset was nice.
In reply to Tim Chappell: Most of the skiing around Helsinki leaves a little to be desired from a length perspective. Now I'm teaching my young kids to ski it matters less, but to give you an idea there is one ski area www.talmaski.fi whose advertising slogan really is "altitude 5500 cms". At another local ski area I once timed myself from getting off the t-bar to getting back to the gate to get back on it again, and this includes linked teles all the way down, and I think it was 32 seconds.
French Erick - on 20 Mar 2013
In reply to Tim Chappell:
on my 3rd season on teles back in the days (1996).
fog descended upon us on a very long committed off-piste, this coincided with a bizarrely cold wind and hour later...with the effect of a quick thaw (fog) and a quick freeze (wind) making for a weird thin but deceptively hard crust. I have never seen that happen again.

Crust on teles, I find hard. Thankfully, the fog hid my repeated morse code message- namely S-O-S.

I pledged there and then I would set fire to my planks... I was raised a catholic and had lapsed already so thought I could repent of breaking my oath on my death bed.
French Erick - on 20 Mar 2013
In reply to French Erick:
sorry 1997
Michael Griffith - on 21 Mar 2013
In reply to Tim Chappell: I sometimes ski one of the hills in the Clwydian rangs not far from where I live and the first time I tried it there had been a Mole infestation. So what with trying to avoid the Mole hills and with the dog darting around in front of me because I was going so slow it was absolute crap skiing but excellent fun.
graeme jackson - on 21 Mar 2013
In reply to Tim Chappell:
> What's the worst skiing you've ever done, readers?

Went on a school skiing trip to sauze in 1976. Train across europe (schools were cheap in those days) but when we got to Milan we found out there was no snow in sauze so they transferred us to San Valentino where (as it happens) there was also no snow. Spent the week playing table football apart from a couple of coach trips with a girls school from peterboro to Venice (V smelly) and one of the big lakes - garda or como - can't recall.
Slugain Howff - on 21 Mar 2013
In reply to graeme jackson:
> (In reply to Tim Chappell)
> [...]
>
> Went on a school skiing trip to sauze in 1976. Train across europe (schools were cheap in those days) but when we got to Milan we found out there was no snow in sauze so they transferred us to San Valentino where (as it happens) there was also no snow. Spent the week playing table football apart from a couple of coach trips with a girls school from peterboro to Venice (V smelly) and one of the big lakes - garda or como - can't recall.

That's no way to talk about Peterborough lasses!!!
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Martin W on 21 Mar 2013
In reply to Tim Chappell: Two examples spring to mind:

1) In a resort called Limone Piemonte (the second most obscure Italian resort I have ever skiied at), at the furthest point of the resort one afternoon, it started raining. Hard. The return to the resort centre consisted of miserable wet lift rides, including some of the slowest chairlifts ever built by man, interspersed with miserable sort-of skiing on a surface resembling a Slush Puppie on a slope.

2) One morning in Courchevel when the temperature was several degrees below freezing we set off down what we remembered as having been a fun mogul run from a couple of days before. Unbeknown to us, the previous afternoon the slope had been warmed up in the full sun and had got carved up in to huge, shin-high ruts. Which then, of course, had frozen rock-hard overnight. It was like trying to ski on a white water rapid that had suddenly turned to ice, like the waterfall in "The Singing Ringing Tree".

Compared to those two experiences, the white-out/blizzard/blowing a gale/combination of all three which I have also experienced from time to time has provided relatively enjoyable skiing. Particularly entertaining is when the clag clears momentarily to reveal a piste marker pole, and you realise that you have actually been skiing ever so slowly backwards for the past thirty seconds or so because your visual frame of reference had completely collapsed. At least that's quite funny!

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