The Champagne Express disaster


The last blog that I wrote, wasn't really a blog. It was more of a statement. Which mean it's been 10 days since I last wrote a proper blog entry. Fuckin eh!

And seeing as it's been 10 days, I can't even remember what I wrote last time. And I'm too lazy to look. So I'll just put down the things that come to mind here. In the "statement," that I made, I said I wanted to get away from the way I had been writing. So I guess this'll be something different.

The thing I want to start with though, is one of my favourite stories... maybe ever. It was maybe... 5 days ago? And I've gone around to Jeremy and Ryan's place to have a few beers. As I get there, these 2 are having a cigarette on the porch. So I stand out here with them for a bit. And all I can think, is how their porch is probably about the same size as our whole appartment. Can't wait to see the rest of it... And damn! This place is big. This was even more depressing than the time I first saw Kirsty's place. The place that I could have been living. Well this house was even better. For 6 people, it was 2 floors. A living room the as big as our whole place. And instead of a second living room downstairs like in Kirsty's house, they have a pool room. They have a fucking pool table, in their house. Are you kidding me? This is staff accomodation that I somehow missed out on. How much are they paying for it? $12 per night. What's that? About $360 per month? So $125 per month, less than I'm paying. And they have a fucking pool table. The only comfort I could take, is that we have a marginally better location, and some (or all) of them, have to share a bedroom. But as was pointed out to me, there's enough rooms in the house that you never have to be in the same room as anyone else. And some of these rooms have fold-out sofas. So if you really did want a night to yourself, it really wouldn't be a problem. Very fucking depressing. Once again I have to ask, how the fuck did I not get staff accomodation? I was the first person they interviewed for the whole season. And I cannot see the differential between what I offered compared to what other people offered, whom did get staff accomodation. What I mean, is that other lifty's got accom. Other lifty's who are shit skiiers got accom. People who can offer the company nothing that I can't, somehow got in ahead of me. And I find that very depressing to take. Over the 5 month season, $125 per month, is $625. I said in a previous blog, that after rent, if I'm going to break even for this Winter, I need to be living on about $225 per month. If I had staff accom., that would all of a sudden become $350 per month. And that is a hell of a difference. A hell of a difference. I really do want to know how this all came about.

Anyway, we're drinking a few beers. That's me, Ryan, Jeremy, and the other people who live there, which included Stefan and Sara, who are Danish twins who also work as lifty's. I may have mentioned meeting them in the pub in a previous blog. I don't remember. Though I don't know that I knew their names at that time. Or that they were twins. After we'd been there for a little while, this French chic who lived there came in as well. Lily. I won't talk about her now, but I'm sure her name might reappear later in this blog.

Lily had appeared with some DVD from the video rental shop. And she was pretty much the only person who wanted to watch this. So when these 2 other guys appeared, most of us went downstairs to the pool room. Couldn't disturb the stupid French now could we?

I mentioned that they had a pool table. What I neglected to mention, is that they didn't have any balls, or any cues. What they did have however, is a cupboard that they hadn't been able to break into yet. Maybe through the power of beer, they did manage to break into this cupboard when we were down here this time though. And there was a lot of crap crammed into here. Matresses, computers... all kinds of junk. What else did we find? 5 pool queues and a box with balls, and a triangle, and chalk etc.

So we go back into the pool room, really chuffed with the fact we have all this stuff. And as we're setting up the balls, Stefan pulls out this black cannister from the box with all the pool stuff in. "Look. An airhorn." He wasn't going to press the airhorn indoors. But peer-pressure prevailed. And after a lot of "Do it. Do it. Do it.", with everyone covering their ears, he pressed the airhorn. But instead of a deafening "parp" that everyone expected, this mist came out from the cannister. And the first thing you see, is Jeremy going "Fuck! My beer." His beer was below this spray. And as he reached to grab it, his face goes through this mist. Before he even reaches his beer about a yard away, he suddenly stops, starts coughing, and runs out the door. The rest of us didn't know what was going on. I was assuming it was some deodorant that was sprayed, and he just caught it in the throat. So at the this point, the rest of us are all cracking up. He's the kind of guy it's funny to see in pain. You know the kind.

I was positioned at the other end of the pool table as this was going on, and hence I was furthest away from the spray. So when the others start having the same reaction as Jeremy and running out coughing, I decide that maybe it's time to get out of there. Still not affected by this spray, I hold my breath and run upstairs. Finally one of my talents came to use! Holding my breath for long periods of time is just something I can do. In the past for 3 minutes or more. This is the first time it was ever practically useful. But I run upstairs, still cracking up. I don't know what has been sprayed, but especially after a few beers, is was fucking hilarious seeing Jeremy run outside coughing. So as I get upstairs, I'm laughing. And I say to Ryan, who has been upstairs for all of this, "Whatever you do, don't go downstairs." So what is it that he does? That's right, he runs downstairs. Holding my breath again, I follow him down. And as soon as he gets into the room, his eyes widen, he starts coughing, and he too runs outside. I follow him out, neglecting to breathe until I'm outside. Jeremy's still out here, vomitting up like I've never seen before. His eyes are red. He looks a mess.

3 people look fucking terrible at this point. Jeremy, Stefan and Ryan have all inhaled enough of this stuff to look pretty shit. The other 3 of us managed to avoid it. I don't remember the exact temperature at this point. It may have been as low as -40°C, so we didn't stay outside for long, and soon ended up back upstairs. Jeremy at this point, was ripping all his clothes off thinking that they were covered in this spray, and that they were burning him. He looked a fucking mess. One thing that we never thought, is that this spray, whatever it was, would spread around the house. And even upstairs, the people who hadn't been to the pool room at all started coughing. I was standing near doors this whole time, so probably got affected less than anyone. But once we realised this stuff was getting upstairs, we had to open all the doors, and essentially evacuate the house for 10 minutes.

After it all clears up, we go back down to the basement, and look at this black cannister. You know, all of this could have been avoided had we just looked at the label before spraying it. "Bear pepper spray" it said. "If inhaled, seek emergency medical assistance immediately." Jeremy had just got a full spray of bear mace in his face. This is stuff designed to paralyse a bear, which is what? 5 times bigger than a human? It's designed to take out a bear, in the open-air. I think that gives some idea of how potent it would be when sprayed inside then. Jeremy was vomitting for probably 15 minutes. It was one of the funniest things I think I've ever seen. I wanted to play some games with this stuff. I thought of bear spray chicken. Everyone puts $5 in a pot. We spray the bear mace, and the last one to leave the room wins the cash. No one else was game though. Fucking pussies. My ability to hold my breath could have won me a bit of money there.

I've done my best to describe this story as it happened. But I think it really is one of those things that words cannot do justice to. You just had to be there. You just couldn't pick a better person to get bear-maced. It was genius. Fucking genius!

As I mentioned in that long-winded story, it's got pretty cold over here. You remember those $120 boots I bought? One of the best purchases I've ever made. Over the past week I've been working in -30°C or colder at times. And when you're outside in that for 8 hours in the snow, you need some decent boots. What I will say though, is it's not as bad as you'd think it would be. In these conditions you just make sure that you have no skin showing when you're outside. I have a neck warmer that covers up to the top of my nose. Then I have a wooly hat. And over the top of both of them, I wear my skiing goggles. Couple that with thick gloves, about 6 upper layers, thick ski pants with thermal long-johns, socks good to -40°C and boots good to -100°F, and you just don't feel the cold through all that. It's really no different to being stood inside in jeans and a t-shirt when you're protected so well. I don't know why people moan so much about the temperature. My little neck warmer only cost $10 I think. My hat, $7. It's really not hard to protect yourself. I'm actually enjoying the outside work. -30°C really isn't as bad as I thought that it would be. And although the wind chill is supposedly worse than that, who cares? You don't feel the wind if you're wrapped up properly.

There are a few funny things that the cold does mind. If you breathe in through you nose, it just sticks together. My neck warmer that covers my mouth will be covered in ice, both inside and out, after wearing it for a bit, just because all the vapour in your breath turns to ice. And fucking hell, it's hard to get into the appartment at the moment, as the lock is always fucking frozen shut. But my favourite cold weather observation has to be as follows.

You know how I've always said that your body adapts to it's surrounding if you let it. If you let it feel the cold, you'll get used to it. Well after work the other day, I got given a can of beer. It must have been maybe -35°C at this time. It was getting dark afterall. But I've been out in the cold all day, and I've got used to it. So I'm not wearing gloves and I don't have my face protected. You just get used to the cold after a little bit. And I have a while to wait for the bus back to town, so I go and wait with one of the lifty's who is operating the gondola today. The gondola is a lift that transports people from the lower side of the village, up to the upper side. Save guests having to walk up, maybe 50 stairs. Lazy fuckers. I have to work this lift sometimes. But I go and stand here with my beer. And I guess I've never drank in such cold weather before. Because as I'm standing here drinking this can, in my bare hand, the beer starts to freeze over. And after maybe 15 or 20 minutes, I have to throw the beer away. I cannot finish it, because all that is left in the can, is a block of ice. It was awesome. Maybe my favourite beer ever. I've never had something just freeze as I'm holding it before. Goes to show you can adapt to the cold though. I was holding this with no gloves on with no real problems.

Speaking of work though, I had an interesting first day. Back a few years, when I worked as a swimming pool lifeguard, I had to go through a full week of training. 8, or maybe even 10 hours a day, for a full, working week. And working as a lifeguard full-time for a year, and part-time for a while longer, how often did I use this training? I think, never. Once I had to dive in and rescue some guy who was drowning. But at this time I weighed in at about 130lbs. The guy I dived in for was probably double my weight, so I had to get some help in pulling him up. And that wasn't even taught in this fucking training. So really, I never used shit that I learnt. It was just one of those retarded, health and safety gone mad, experiences that you had to go through. Like you had to look for hazards. And I shit you not, one of the hazards you could say, is someone could climb up some scaffolding, and jump off. That's what you get taught. Not that common sense teaches you that jumping down 2 stories is dangerous, this was the shit we had to go through to become a lifeguard. I'm sure I could have said that one possible hazard is that the earth could get struck by a giant meteor and it would have been good enough. The bottom line though, is that to qualify as a lifeguard back home, you have to learn a load of pointless health and safety bullshit that will never be of use to anyone.

I was assuming a similar thing here. We'd get taught for any eventuality. But in reality, it would never happen. Anyway, in our 3 days of training, one of the things that we get taught about, is hanging guests. That's when a guest doesn't get onto a chair properly, and ends up just hanging from a moving ski lift. Well on my first shift, I'd been shown what I had to do, for maybe an hour, and I'd been left alone. This was on the mile 1 chair, the busiest chair in the resort. And I was quite happy. Sod's law would have it, that no sooner had I been left to my own devices, guess what happens? This dad has 2 kids with him. I guess he must like one of the kids more than the other, because he paid attention to one of them, and left the other one alone. I saw this, so I made sure that the kid left alone got onto the chair ok. Yet somehow, this quite big guy, was somehow not strong enough to seat this little child onto a chair, and what happens? As the chair pulls out of the load station, this kid is 90% on the seat. His dad has hold of him, so I'm happy that they'll be fine, so I turn to the next people boarding. I turn back, maybe 2 seconds later, and somehow this kid has slid off the chair. His dad still has hold of him, but he's dangling down by his arms, not sitting on the seat. I'm still very green at this point. I'm a hour or 2 into my first shift, so I just start to panic. What the fuck do I do? There's an area of a ski lift called the ski tip. This is an area before the chair gets too high, where we have a ladder that is big enough to reach up to a chair. At any point beyond this, if you have a hanging guest, all you can do is speed up the chair lift, and hope that they make it to the top without falling. Because although you can do lift evacuations; I've done one as I said in a previous blog, these take a while. When I did a lift evac., I was sat there for maybe 20 minutes. Speeding up the lift, and it will take about 4 minutes to get to the top. So I see this kid dangling down, and I just panic. The father still has hold of him, so I don't see why he wasn't able to pull him up. But the chair is getting dangerously close to the end of the ski-tip. So in a panic, I just hit the emergency stop. That's one thing. What the fuck do I do now? Do I run out there myself? Do I radio for help? Do I use the phones? I don't know. This is my first shift for fucks sake. After a few seconds of deliberating, I get on the radio to my supervisor. "We have a hanging guest in the mile one ski tip." My god that caused a commotion. Hanging guest is not something you want to head over the radio. And once I'd said that, every manager in the resort wanted to know what was going on. My supervisor was luckily based nearby to where I was. And just seconds after I radioed him, I see him running out over the snow to the chair. By this point, the father has lowered the kid far enough, that as he drops him, he's low enough to the ground that he doesn't get hurt. But fuck. What a way to start! Caused a hell of a commotion by saying "Hanging guest" on the radio though. I guess you do need the training for this job afterall.

After everything had calmed down, my supervisor came over and shook my hand, saying well done. I did everything right. I guess it's just lucky he wasn't there to see all my deliberating about what the fuck I was actually supposed to do. That was an interesting way to start work here. That was my first shift. And thankfully nothing quite so eventful has happened since. I guess if anything, that's about as bad an incident as I'm likely to have throughout the Winter. And now I know how to deal with that ok, fingers-crossed nothing worse happens. It was an exciting start. I don't think any of the other lifty's have had any events like this happen yet. It was a lifty equivilant of having to dive in to rescue someone an hour into your first shift as a lifeguard. I'll admit I panicked. But now I've done it, if it ever happens again, I'll be 10 times more prepared. And if shit is going to go wrong, thankfully it's now, when the resort is still quiet. In peak season, there'd be a shit load more pressure.

You often hear people saying they're having some fucked up dreams when they're out of their normal surroundings. Well I don't normally remember my dreams. But just occasionally I do. And I've had some seriously fucked up dreams since I've been here. I was on the Subway in New York. And I had some hot chic sitting on my lap as we were riding the subway, and I was motorboating her. Then all of a sudden, Arnold Schwarzeneggar, who's sitting opposite me on the subway, was like "that's not how you do it. To give the woman maximum satisfaction from a motorboat, you have to do it like..." And he proceeded to demonstrate how to properly motorboat on this chic on the New York subway. And for the rest of the journey, we were alternating, as he was giving me tips on how to motorboat properly. Good old Arnold. I'd love some dream analyser to tell me what the fuck that one means though. Weird shit!

Ever since the mountain opened, I've been doing my best to ski as much as I can. On every day-off that I've had, I've been skiing. And even on days I'm working, I've made sure I get 3 or 4 runs in everyday. Afterall, that's why I'm here. And not wanting to blow my own trumpet, but I've got pretty damn good considering how little skiing I've actually done. Well at Panorama, off the mile 1, the only runs that were open to the public 2 days ago were green runs. There is another lift called the Toby, which leads to a blue run. But it takes all of about 30 seconds to ski down. And I was comfortable on this blue run, so I figure I'll be comfortable on other blue runs. Afterall, they're classed as such so you can scope the standard of a run before you attempt it. Logic says that if you're comfortable on one blue run, you should be comfortable on other blue runs. So wanting more of a challenge, for the first time, I decided to head higher up the mountain than the mile 1 takes you. And what is the next lift? It's called the Champagne Express.

This was one long, long, lift journey. It went on for miles. And as I got to the top, I start making my way down. I wasn't out to break any records, or prove anything to anyone. I just wanted to test myself on some harder runs. I didn't give a fuck if I was the slowest one there or anything. And it starts off well. I'm going slowly, but I'm comfortable. And it goes well for maybe the first quarter of the run, before on a pretty steep and icy section, I lose my balance and have a pretty spectacular fall. I didn't hurt myself. But both my skis came off. One I keep hold of, and the other just carries on like nothing's happened. It just carries on skiing, for maybe 20 yards by itself. And as this happens, 4 snowboarders are going past on the chair lift. One of them thinks it really helpful to shout down "the longer you watch it, the harder it will be to get back", or something like that. Some kind of really unhelpful comment, that if this cunt was on the ground I would have slapped the piss out of him for. Just completely unnecessary. But as I said, this particular section of the course was pretty steep, and very icy. And obviously I need to get to my ski. So holding onto my other ski and my poles, I attempt to slide down to where my ski eventually stopped. But what happens here, is I start to slide uncontrollably. And I can't stop. I'm clawing away at the ice with my hands and it's having no effect. And I'm trying to dig my ski boots into the snow as well, but again, it's having no effect. And I slide so uncontrollably, that before I stop, I end up sliding past the ski I was trying to retrieve. I'm actually scared at this point, to attempt to stand, or even move, worried that I'll trigger another slide like I've just had. So instead I dig a couple of divets with my feet, that I can get a foot grip with, and gain some kind of stance that isn't laying flat on my front. From here, using the ski that I do have, I can just reach up the mountain to get my other ski. At full stretch with my one ski, I could just hook onto my other ski, and pull it into me. So finally, and several minutes since I first fell, I have both my skis back. But how do you gain enough of a footing to get back into some skis, on such a steep and icy surface? Answer: With a fuck-load of difficulty. Having eventually got to my feet, the hardest bit was getting into my skis again. You need your boot to be going into the ski flat, to lock into the binding. But how do you do that, when the ski is sitting at the angle of the slope? It's a challenge, I'll say that much. I don't know exactly my total time stopped here, but it must have been over 20 minutes just sorting myself out, after falling. And I don't know what it was that did it. Was it the fall? Was it the uncontrollable sliding? Was it the frustration of not being able to get back into my skis? Was it even the snowboarder shouting from the lift? Or was it a combination of the above? But something, had literally drained my confidence in my skiing ability here. I was on a steep, icy slope. Yet I was here with the same nervousness that I had when I first got up the mountain during my training a week or 2 earlier. And I just didn't have the confidence to ski as I needed to. As I knew I should. I was skiing like a beginner again.

This, though, was not a beginners slope. So it almost goes without saying, that it wasn't long until I'd had another, equally spectacular fall. And again, one of my skis started skiing away from me. And as it approached this steep drop off, I remember literally praying. "Please don't fall off. Please don't fall off." I was saying under my breath. And it just... just stopped in time. I think this fall must have looked bad. Because this time, the next 3 people that came past, stopped and asked if I was ok. I was. This time I was able to control my sliding down to get my other ski. But again I had the problem of actually getting back into them. And I don't know how long I was stopped for this incident. Maybe another 20 minutes. And by this point, my confidence was shattered. Even on the easier bits of the slope, I just wasn't able to bring myself to ski. I ended up doing virtually the rest of this run, which was a long way, sideways. Taking side-steps, one foot at a time, pretty much all the way down. And with the cloud over this run, I couldn't see far ahead. So I was almost in a state of hysterics by the end. "When the fuck is this run going to end?" I kept saying to myself. I didn't time how long I was here for. But to ski this run slowly, should take maybe 10 minutes. I would guess, that doing most of it sideways, and falling over for long periods, I was here for at least 1½ hours. Maybe even longer. My confidence was absolutely shattered though. I'd completely lost the ability to ski.

The day prior to this, I'd been working on the gondola (mentioned previously). This is a bit of a dull place to work, mainly because nothing happens. But one advantage, is that you finish work earlier than everyone else. And the day prior to going up the Champagne Express, I'd got an hour of skiing before the other lifts closed. In that hour, I made it up the Mile 1 chair 7 times. Appreciating that this lift takes around 5 or 6 minutes, I was skiing down the runs from the Mile 1, in maybe 4 minutes. That was before going up the Champagne Express. Now though, all my confidence in my skiing ability had been absolutely shattered. And I was falling down, hard, on what yesterday, had been easy runs to me. I don't know how long this first run down the Mile 1 took me. Maybe 20 minutes. Up from 4 minutes previously. I had to do this run once before I got to the bottom. But once I was there, I thought it best to take a break. Have some lunch. Give myself an hours break or so, to forget about the Champagne Express disaster. So after lunch, I head back up the Mile 1. The break didn't help me. Even now, I still can't ski. I'm having some kind of mental blockage. My mind simply isn't translating to my body, what I know that I should be doing. It was like nothing I'd ever experienced. I knew what I should be doing, I just couldn't do it. And after lunch, I did one run. It was horrible. I fell. But I didn't want to end the day on a bad note. I wanted my last run to be a good one. Otherwise for the whole night I'd have doubt in my mind over my ability to ski. So I did a second run. And again, it went horribly. Again, I fell. Again, it took a long time. So I went up again. I decided on the way up, that whatever happened, this was going to be my last run of the day. I just wasn't enjoying this. I was getting hurt everytime I fell, and my skiing ability was regressing. I was getting worse everytime. Every bad run that I had was draining my confidence even more. So on this next run, I fall early on. And something just went in my brain. Some switch got flipped. Yesterday I was the cocky skiier everybody hates, going unnecessarily fast, just because I can. Skiing closer than I have to, to other people. Today, I was a jibbering wreck. And for some reason, after this next fall, I just couldn't get my ski back on. I just couldn't do it. My boot just wouldn't go into the binding. And it must have taken me 20 minutes or more, to get my ski, back into my boot. By this point, I was angry. I was angry with myself. But at the same time, I was scared. Even on the flattest parts of this green run, I couldn't bring myself to ski like I knew how to. I don't know if it was the fear of falling or what, but something was stopping me.

It was like nothing I've ever experienced before. An absolute mental block. Through an inability to ski, this final run, of what had been taking me 4 minute previously, took me over an hour to complete. I was a mental wreck. An absolute wreck. Something had switched in my mind. Something had gone, when I fell over on the champagne run, that just blocked my ability to ski. It's really hard to explain how this felt, in words, but I was just in fear, of skiing. I had almost developed a phoebia of it. I was stood on the mountain in skis, but was more scared than the first time I ever put them on. And I cannot explain this. I've fallen over before. Hasn't everyone? I've fallen over hard before. And never before had I ever experienced anything remotely similar to this. It was one of the strangest experiences of my life. I always consider I have control over my emotions. I can block out fears, or ecstasies. I can even block out the cold if I focus my mind. Be standing in a t-shirt and shorts in sub-zero temperatures, and just by thinking about it, I can make goose-bumps disappear, as well as any feeling that I'm cold. Yet this, I couldn't control. Something had just changed within me. I'm really struggling to express in words how I actually felt at this time. It was just some mental block. Something that I can't explain.

And that whole night, I was in fear of the next day. I didn't know if I'd be able to ski again. I had a day off again yesterday though. I'm not someone to run away from a problem. I was determined to face these demons. That first ride up the chair-lift yesterday; that was a long, long ride. The whole way up, I was quoting the line from the film, The Replacements. "You know what separates the winners from the losers? Being able to get back up on that horse when you've been kicked in the teeth." This was my motivation.

But as I started this first run, at the first corner, I slipped and again had a pretty spectacular fall. And all that I could think, was "oh no. Not again." Things picked up from there. And by today, I was back to being that cocky S.O.B, skiing too fast, showing off. The demons are out now. And if anything, I'm better now, than I was before I went up the Champagne Express. But that trip, was exactly as the title says. A disaster. Never in my life have I experienced a mental blockage like that. And I'm not someone who gets scared. I don't hold a fear of injury. So I just don't understand what was running through my head after that fall on champagne. By the end of the day though, I was nearly in a state of hysterics. Taking an hour to do a 4 minute run. Never in my life have I had a mental block like that before. And never again do I want to. That, simply, was not fun. I just wanted to curl up into a ball until everything went away. Never again.

You remember the French chic, Lily? Well what a fucking bitch, that's all I can say. I was in the pub, with her, as well as other people a couple of days ago. Well you know how all French people are fucking retards. Well that might sound racist, but I'm just reiterating the same tone that this ugly cow was using in the pub. We were having an argument about overtime laws. I think I may have once addressed this in one of the early blogs. I'm not sure. But the issue was that no one at Panorama can work more than 40 hours or something, because the company would be required to pay an overtime rate. I was just saying that this was a stupid law, because I cannot get more than 40 hours a week, even if I need the money to pay my rent, or anything like this. And the stupid French's argument, was that the work should be spread around, or something retarded like that. Now I'm all for a debate. I don't require everyone in the world to share the same view as me. Where would the fun in that be? I love proving people wrong. But what pissed me off about this retarded frog, was that every argument she tried to put forward, she started with "That's the problem with you British..." Fucking, racist, bitch. Do all 60,000,000 of us think the same then? Is that what she's saying. I've spent the past 6 months keeping blogs that at times, go into great detail about the many things that I think are wrong with British society. I cannot stand people so fucking dumb. And by her logic, that's all the fucking French. Never shaving and smelling of garlic. Man, nothing pisses me off more than being put into a generalised category. If there's one thing that I am, it's unique. Fuck anyone who tries to put me into any demographic. Especially a dirty French. And I'm just using their logic to explain this. Apparently all the folk from one country are exactly the same. My God nothing pisses me off more than the French. They're just people who think they have all the best ideas, but can never do anything right. "Hey, you know how we can win the war. Why don't we lay down and let the Nazi's walk all over us." Fucking dirty French bitch. I don't wish pain on people often. But she pissed me off enough, I genuinely hope she breaks both her legs skiing. Or gets hit by a car. Or dies of AIDS. I have a long wish list. I hope to update the progress of it in a blog in the near future.

It was a while ago in one of the pre-departure blogs, possibly in September, that I got offered this job here at Panorama. And at that time, I remember listing in this blog, some of the perks of working here. And I think I even put in a quote about how the parties here are Panorama, are something legendary. Then if I remember correctly, in a later blog, I put in something about a Christmas party that was happening on December 18th. A pirate fancy-dress party. So come last night, there was a lot to be lived up to. I won't spend long on this, but what I will say, is what a fucking disappointment. This "party", was simply in the great hall. That's the main food hall at the resort. And really, it was no different from going in there to get lunch as I had done earlier in the day. It was an absolute disappointment, is all I can say. Possibly the worst party I've ever been to. The only positive, was that there was a buffet there. So I stacked my plate up with so much food, mainly meat, I should barely have to eat for the next week. It was not worth even being there though. But it brings me onto something. The cunts over here, they don't know how to party. To put it nicely, they're socially inept. To put it not so nicely, they're social retards. Put in plain English though, despite what they like to think, no one here knows how to drink.

I was bored in the pub the other day. The same night I had an argument with the soon to be crippled dirty French. And as a joke, because I was bored, I put a penny that happened to be sitting in the table, onto the top of this guys bottle of drink. See if he put it into his mouth. That's how bored I was. I didn't think a thing about it. Afterall, back home, a penny in your pint is just one of the ongoing games you play. If someone puts a penny into your drink, you have to down it. We've been doing that shit for years. Never a problem. Yet this guy, who happens to be a Kiwi, nearly had a fit that a penny had touched his glass. He was all bitching and moaning that he was going to catch some disease off this penny. He was even demanding that I bought him another drink. When I laughed at him and told him to suck my dick, he then demanded a glass so he could pour his beer into it, so he didn't have to touch the bottle. Again, that got a similar reaction from me, so eventually he ended up drinking from the bottle. And guess what? He didn't die of AIDS. But fuck me. How boring are people over here? "I've touched a penny. I'm going to die."

I could give other examples. There just really seems to be a lack, of fun. What they call a party here, I call a quiet night in the pub. A night-off, if you will. There's just no sponteneity. I haven't seen one person get trashed and do something stupid yet. Without wanting to sound too arrogant, I haven't seen any example of people even being worthy to party with me. They just aren't in my league. The step down, from university is huge. From university, whether it was Hull or in Halifax, people would push it everynight. You'd never know what was going to happen. To here. People are just boring. I'm hoping that this is just a temporary observation. But everyone is just dry to me right now. If partying here, is as it seems right now, I'd honestly rather spend the night in the gym. It's still early. So hopefully I've just been in the wrong places. But I came here saying I wanted to escape the party lifestyle. I wanted everything to be much more mellow. But even taking that into condieration, the social life here, isn't up to my standards. And what I find really annoying about it, is the people here think they're so hardcore. I guess that's the problem with skiier/snowboarder types. They get-off on people jumping 5-ft in the air. They all shout "Duuuude" in unison when they see it on TV, and that is an extreme night for them. I do hope that this is a temporary observation. But I came here with expectations about the party lifestyle. But right now, I can honestly say, that no night-out that I've had in Invermere, even ranks in my top 50 nights out of all-time. The 2 nights out in Vancouver, yes. But after 4 years of uni in Hull and Hali, plus my 2005 travelling, plus my gap year, plus Mexico, plus 2 American Football tours, they have a lot to live up to. And right now, I haven't had a night that's made the cut. So far, people here are just... boring. Stuff that normal people find funny when they're drunk; here they just look at you like you've offended them. There's no extreme here. There's no pushing the envelope. Everyone has these views of how things should be. And any veering away from these is a big no-no. Right now, I'm very disappointed with the social life here. Like I said, I hope this is a temporary observation. But my God, I've met some boring people.

On the plus side, the more boring people are, the less I'll spend on socialising. And the less hungover I am, the more I'll be able to ski, which is really why I'm here. I just love life to have an edge. And air of uncertainty. I don't like knowing how every minute of every day will go. But here, I'm yet to see any edge. There is no dare. No walking into the unknown. People have their set ways, and they aren't going to change. And it's boring. I've said my piece now. We have Christmas and New Year over the next couple of weeks, so maybe that can change my views. Though right now, I'm scheduled to be working the gondola on Christmas day. That'll be fun. I don't really mind though. I hate Christmas when I'm at home. And being away from home, Christmas day this year means nothing more to me than any other Thursday. I really couldn't care less that I'm working. I'm sure if I wasn't working, I'd be skiing. So no big deal.

Speaking of working, I just want to very quickly touch on the logic of it. I won't spend long on this. But why do we work? To get a better quality of life, right? That's what people say. And logic says that a better quality of life makes you happy. I first thought of this right after the hanging guest incident on my first day. I was thinking then, I am not happy right now. But we work. And we work. And we work, for our whole lives. And the reward is apparently a better quality of life. But I just don't see the results. Afterall, I'm definitely not happy working. I'd much rather be doing my own thing. And I'm sure that other employees aren't happy working. So would we really be happier, not working at all? Getting our own food, rather than going to the shops. Buidling our own houses. The way I look at it, if you buy a service, say a haircut, only a percentage of the money that you pay will go to the hairdresser who cut your hair. So the value of the service that the hairdresser provided, was not reimbursed to her. So in theory, if she'd exerted that effort on her own project, she'd have gained greater value. The point I'm trying to make, is for all the work we do, a slice is taken off the top, and given to some fat-cat, who does nothing but worry about how much money they're making. This is capitalism. So however happy we say we are in our work, we aren't receiving the value of the service that we provide, because the boss is always taking their cut. Therefore, we can never be truly happy, receiving the quality of life in employment that our service merits, because we will never receive the full value of that service. So in employment, we can never be happy. How about the owners then? The only way you get to a position of power over so many minions like that, is to have the solitary goal of making as much money as possible. And when a person is so single-mindedly orineted, are they ever going to stop to have a look around? Are they ever going to stop, to enjoy this wealth? I don't think so. So if the employees cannot be happy, and the owners cannot be happy, then who is happy? I don't think anyone's happy. I think we've become so set in our ways that we have to work every hour that God sends, that no one ever stops to look around and ask why? Why are we doing this? Because I can guarantee that if I spend the next 40 years serving someone else, I won't be happy. I look after myself. But it just interests me. The human race, particularly the West, feel the need to consume, consume, consume. Build, improve, better. But no one's ever given me a satisfactory explanation of why. Why did I just spend 20 years of my life in education? The truest words I ever heard are ignorance is bliss. Dumb people have it so easy. They never have to worry. That's why the French are so happy. And you know, I'd love to go back in time and fuck about in school some more. Unlearn some of the things I know now. Because there's a never-ending conveyor of problems out there. And the more you learn, the more there is to solve. Dumb people like the French, only worry about what they're going to eat for dinner. Garlic snails or garlic frogs legs. The more intelligent you get, the harder the problems on your mind get. In real terms, a person with a Harvard degree is no more intelligent than the hobo on the street. Because although the Harvard graduate may solve the bigger problems, to the hobo, the hobo's problems are as big as the Harvard graduates. It's just the hobo's brain makes smaller problems bigger. Like with money. £1 100 years ago, is worth maybe £100 today. But just because £100 is the bigger number now, it won't buy you any more stuff. It's just the number has grown.

I don't really know where I was going with that. I was really just saying what came into my head. Maybe it was a long-winded way to have a dig at the French. I guess what I'm trying to say, is has anyone ever stopped, taken a step back, and asked why we have to make everything better? Why we have to keep on improving? If we'd never invented Internet, would we need it? No. If we'd never invented TV, would we need it? No. We'd play cricket in the street. We strive to be better. But if human kind didn't progress another step, would we ever know it? No. Because you don't miss what you've never had. Yet we work our whole lives, trying to be better. We could stop. We could relax. And we could say, you know what, we've gone far enough. We've developed enough. I'm happy with what we have. And billions of people could do so much less. Rather than working 40 hours a week, everyone could then work 10 hours per week, as there would be no need to spend so much time improving. But with no rationale behind it, we just feel that we just have to get better and better. And we work and we work. And honestly, I just don't know why. Because like I said, you don't miss what you've never had. So if we all stopped now and relaxed, we could just enjoy life. Enjoy what we've already made. Because right now, no one has stopped to enjoy this supposed better quality of life. We've created a better quality of life. We've just forgotten to stop and embrace it. Instead we're going to bypass it in the hope of making it even better. But at some point, you need to stop and say; "I'm done." Like an artist working on a painting. If he keeps on trying to improve it, eventually he's going to make it worse. We need to stop one day and just say, "we've developed enough. Why do we need to carry on?" That's how I see it anyway. Because right now, working everyday of your life, do you feel you have a better quality of life? I don't. I'd rather build my own house and farm my own food. I don't care if I never get to play a Playstation 4. If Nintendo had never invented the SNES, I bet I'd still be happy playing my old NES. But now I've played an Xbox 360, am I going to be happy with my old NES? No. Because I've tasted better. But if I didn't know that the Xbox 360 existed, would I miss not having one? I don't think so.

One more thing; you remember how cold I was saying it gets. -30°C in the daytime. What does that make it at night? I don't know. -40°C? -50°C perhaps? Well in our condo, we don't have heating. Well, we do. But I'm tight, and Greg's poor. And seeing as we aren't in staff accomodation, heating is extra. We haven't turned the heating on yet this year. It's a bit nippy getting out of the shower at 06:00am I'll admit. But if we can live without heating in these temperatures, it just goes to show how much energy is being used unnecessarily in other places. How hard is it to put on a damn jumper? You wouldn't think there was a global warming crisis would you?


Home Back to travel blog Back to top Print this blog