Sunday, December 19, 2004

christmas gifts
It being the Christmas period I suppose gifts are all the rage, but this weekend Christmas came a bit early in Toulouse. I guess you may have noticed the flashy new blog design. Well, this is all thanks to the talent and generosity of Mai, who also redesigned ViVi's blog.

Mai and I, complete strangers until a week ago, separated by the Atlantic, emailed each other a bit after her work on ViVi's blog. I explained the theme of my blog, then she put her creativity to work and came up with this masterpiece. I am so chuffed!! You're brilliant Mai.

For the rest of this weekend apart from this evening, I've been up in Andorra for some skiing and snowboarding with about 60 people from my company. Last weekend I got some training to be a snowboard instructor, and this weekend I was let loose on my first victim. I spent the weekend teaching Sara, who had never seen a ski resort before let alone snowboarded.

A few years ago I would never have devoted so much time to someone else when there was good boarding to be had. But I've been doing it for about 8 years now. After a while, fun though it is, I get quite bored of hairing down the piste as fast as I can. Teaching is a way for me to develop myself further as a boarder, not only because it means learning teaching skills, but also because it gives me the chance to learn new boarding skills too.

My instructor training last week didn't involve learning theoretical skills rubbish though. The lesson consisted entirely of making us snowboard backwards for the weekend, even sending us up the dreaded buttons lifts that way! Going backwards is a bit like a right handed person trying to write with their left hand, so I can tell you, I spent a good few days of last week in pain.

Anyway, it was all worth it to see the joy on Sara's face when she made her first run on Saturday. She was a brilliant student, always following my suggestions, physically very co-ordinated, standing very naturally on the board and even managing to put together some turns before I'd mentioned anything about them. That's almost unheard of!

Despite all the aches and pains and bruises we of course managed to enjoy a good dose of apres ski. The best bit was leaving the pub and everybody falling over and sliding down the hill and stuff. I managed to kill a dustbin at one point, and only narrowly avoided some poor kid whose butt slider we borrowed.

There was one major casualty that I have to report, and that was my snowboard boots. They've done a good job for the last 6 years, but when I looked at them this morning they really were hardly even glued together. They're now heading for some Andorran furnace.

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