As people who have lived in the mountains for many years, moving to France has been a dramatic shift in our topographical landscape. Most noticeably, we have no big mountains nearby. I do miss the mountains of VT, but Tim? He gets plain antsy without them.
We managed to find some mountains to ski on in south eastern France after Christmas and it was amazing. Great conditions, great sun and very, very good melted cheese dinners. Oh, and the wine. Yes, there was wine. But when it came time to think about what we were going to do for the February school vacation, Tim was already on it. I was thinking something warm and sunny and he was thinking…….mountains.
I was in a holiday fog when he booked some cheap flights to Venice to get us to the Dolomites for some skiing/snowboarding. And, hey, who can complain about having to go to Italy to get in some turns, even when you’re dreaming of the sea? Not me.
After our outstanding visit to Venice, we headed up into the mountains with our gear to Cortina d’Ampezzo. As it turns out, Cortina was not only the setting for scenes from The Pink Panther (1963) and James Bond: For Your Eyes Only, but it was also home to the 1954 Olympics.
Since I never had any Olympic dreams of my own, hanging around in an Olympic town is about as close as I’m ever going to get to the thrill of victory………..or the agony of defeat (yes, I did just quote ABC’s Wide World of Sports). Rather than set goals to get something really big like an Olympic gold, I tend to set my personal goals much lower. And when it comes to snowboarding, my goal at the end of every day is to walk, unassisted, off the mountain. To me, that’s a pretty thrilling victory. I definitely don’t feel old, but I know I’m just one fall away from ending up in traction. That would be a bigger defeat than I am willing to face.
When I wasn’t trying to avoid ending up in traction on the mountain, I was hanging around on the town plaza with the many other locals and tourists. I’m pretty sure that the anti-fur campaign by PETA hasn’t made it to Cortina yet, because I saw more giant fur coats in that town than I’ve seen in my entire life. What was even more hilarious was that there were so many people who seemed to layer ski gear under a giant fur coat to spend the day sitting on the plaza. That’s another way to avoid ending up in traction. Don’t go down any slopes.
We didn’t end up at the beach on this vacation, but we did get some incredible sun and on the last day, it was so hot we were skiing in short sleeve shirts. Good thing I left my giant fur coat back in France. I would have really been sweating it out on the slopes.
ps – This is a joke. I don’t own a fur coat. Small fuzzy animals belong in the woods, not on a coat. And they certainly do not deserve to be layered over ski gear for plaza sitting.
I must have sent an ESP message to my (imaginary) friend J. Peterman, the guy from the catalog who I wrote about here. I guess that J.’s been hanging around in Cortina too because I happened to see this just the other day.
I wonder if J. Peterman was on the plaza writing this text at the same time that I was wondering why so many people were wearing fur coats over ski gear? I guess I’ll never know………….