Monday, October 17, 2005

alpine adventures

We had some fun times after training today. In Hintertux there are three gondolas in a row; this time of year, you have to take all three to get to the top of the mountain, where the snow is. At the end of the morning's training, we ride the top two gondolas down, then eat lunch at a mid-mountain lodge at the top of the bottom gondola. Today Nick had the idea of wheeling down the access road from the lodge to the bottom of the mountain instead of riding the final gondola down; other people have done this in years past and come back with lots of tall tales. Originally I wasn't going to go, but all the other monoskier guys were doing it so I caved in to peer pressure.

It was a pretty amazing ride down — a really steep, rocky road that we had to pick our way down reeeeally carefully. The views around this place are pretty phenomenal; some of my teammates had cameras with them, so I'll post links to pictures when I get them. After about two hours, we made it down through the forest and emerged into the grassy hillsides above the town of Hintertux. The town is still as much a farming community as a resort, and there are farmers out there herding cows and spreading manure around with little tractors that on our team are known as "poo flingers." We came to a road with a sign pointing to Hintertux, but rather than take it, everyone else thought we should go a different way. Hard-headed as I am, I said I was going to go my own way. Turns out that this road (which I soon noticed was grown over with grass) does not go all the way to Hintertux but rather ends by a long fence in the middle of a pasture. To get over the fence and down into town, I had get off my wheelchair and drag it up a couple of steps that led over the fence. I got my chair over the other side, but then I accidentally let go of it and it started slowly barrel-rolling sideways down the steep, grassy hill. I had no choice but to crawl after it at full speed, through the (fortunately dried-out) grass and manure, in hopes of intercepting it. After maybe 50 feet, I successfully wrangled it and got back in. I was picking my way down the hill when I eventually lost control — it just got too steep. I was hurtling toward the fence enclosing the bottom edge of the pasture with no hope of being able to stop, so eventually I just bailed. My chair got hung up in the fence, and I got even dirtier but was pretty much fine. I got back in my chair yet again and went along the fence until I came to a gap which led me onto an actual paved road, which led me back into town. This was all in my ski clothes, by the way.

Turns out that Joe knew all along that the road led nowhere; he just wanted to see what would happen if he didn't tell me.

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