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Snow and Ice

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Speed, excitement, adrenalin, half-pipes, grabbing air - all words tightly associated with the ultra-cool sport of snow boarding. Unfortunately, not with the particular style that we specialise in. Despite both the physical and mental pain from repeated falls we keep coming back to this sport, partly because we mistakenly think it makes us look like we're in with the kids.

We first went snow boarding in January 1999. We took the opportunity that work travel afforded us to go to Whistler, Canada, which is meant to be one of the world's best places for winter sports - and indeed it was fabulous.

We were going to be there for six days and we started with a day's skiing but as we were not any good, switched to snow boarding. We rapidly discovered that we were not born snow boarders either, but decided to stick to it in order not to loose face in front of our just departed skiing comrades.

Slowly after much falling, sulking and screaming in terror we got better. Enough, at times, to finish an entire blue run without leaving imprints of our faces in the snow. The mental trauma of the days were easily forgotten every night, masked by exquisite French cooking and fine wines.

Overall Whistler was a fantastic experience, not only was the snow great, but the food and the location left little to be desired. If we had one quibble it would be that the town was relatively artificial, somewhat like a winter sports Disneyland.

A long time passed before we hit the slopes again. I don't really know why, given that we had enjoyed ourselves so much the first time. I suppose it partly because there is so much other stuff to do and we had been spending a lot of time learning to rock climb.

In February, 2001 we went with a group of our friends on a package skiing holiday to Livigno, Italy. As this was a package holiday, to a popular European destination and given that we had been informed that we would never see snow as good as in Whistler, we were expecting this holiday to be winter sport blow out. However, we were looking forward to the inevitable booze fest, that were rumoured to being central to package holidays.

Well our preconceptions turned out to be misconceptions. Livigno was great, possibly better than Whistler. The slopes were more suitable to beginners, everything was cheaper and there was none of the plastic fantastic of North American resorts.

When we first got out on the slope we were initially very disappointed that we had retained so little from our previous trip. It felt as if we had to relearn what little we had acquired in Canada, with all of the agony and anguish that that implied. Indeed this was basically the base, although we did get the hang of it a little bit quicker this time.

We did 6 days of snow boarding here (taking one day off because our muscles were screaming for a break), half of each day was taken up which snow school. This worked out very nicely and allowed us to get the most out of each day. Our instructor turned out to be excellent, once you got used to his Italian ways.

By the end of the week, I was fairly confident on red runs and B was fairly unconfident on the same. We really did feel that with a few more days we would have seen a dramatic upturn in our skills and have vowed to hit the slopes again as soon as possible.

We are hoping on our "Really Big Adventure" that we will get to snow board in India, New Zealand and South America.

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