Posted by: martinworster | April 6, 2003

12. LET’S GET READY TO GRUMBLE!

War has kicked off and I’m in France! Val D’Isere, Deux Alps and more throwing myself around mountains of all shapes and sizes…

 So I’m still here and the snow’s still melting to the point where the slush on the moutains actually feels like water, which is good as I like surfing so its good preparation for summer. We’re definitely in for a new dump soon in April I reckon sometime, just before I come home at the beginning of May.

Well the biggest thing to happen is obviously the war and it’s an interesting time to be in France considering Anglo-French relations are arguably at there lowest eb since 1972 when De Gaulle vetod our membership of the Common Market. My how some things never change. Cue some observations on the French.

One of the most ironic is that you’re not allowed to go helli-boarding in France – for that you have to venture to Switzerland or Italy which isn’t too hard as we’re smack on the boarder. The reason the French don’t allow it is due to environmental factors – destroying local natural habitats, bird migration systems etc. I wonder why the French failed to employ such noble environmental values when they were testing nuclear bombs in the Atol in the south Pacific some five years ago? I bet that did a lot of good for the local coral-fields, underwater eco-systems and basically all plant and animal life within a fifty mile radius of the testing ground. Booom see ya! Maybe as it’s further afield they didn’t give a flying fuck. Whatever it was typical French arrogance that they continued despite the chagrin of the whole world. Double standards par excellence me thinks.

I don’t want this to turn into anti-French polemic as I don’t want to upset any of my French friends. I don’t want to generalise and tar a whole nation with the same radio-active brush. And it’s easy to project your own cultural values onto another nation so I should stop getting annoyed when people don’t say thanks as you let them into a queue for the ski lift, to cross the road or any other action of politeness on my behalf which is brushed off with a shrug, grimmace and a whiff of garlic. Or the fact that vegetarians are one step above lepers in the French gastronomie belief system. Or that customer service doesn’t exist here. Or…well this could get boring and I shall stop now.

Had a few good trips recently. Went to Val D’Isere for two nights where I saw Laurence, Conor, Tim et al who were staying in a big chalet at the bottom of La Dai. It was interesting as I’d learnt to board in Val and held very good memories of it. This time round I have to say I found the slopes pretty boring. Admittedly the snow wasn’t that good, but it is basically a big motorway system. I’m not saying I’m fast or anything but I’d spend four minutes on a lift getting to the top of a run and then be down in less than a minute. That’s right, I eat mogul fields for breakfast and spit out double black runs for lunch – don’t even get me started on the main course.

Next trip was Deux Alps for the O’Neil Brits competition. Some good pix of the halfpipe comp are in the action section so check em if you have the time. I really liked Deux Alps – it might be purpose built but it was fun and I liked the terrain. Our trip had to be cut short as Paul hurt his ankle on a huge 360 and both myself and Ryan get a touch of flu so we scampered back to Cham in a blood wagon of our own creation. One of the highlights was finding a jump where you pay 5 Euros for half an hour and you can land on a big inflatable cushion. Ie you can try anything and you’d be going some way to hurt yourself. Somersaults, 540s were being pulled out the bag even though I was landing on my head most of the time to the sniggers of my fellow boarders, average age of 18.


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