I ended up staying in Barcelona longer than anticipated. This probably had something to do with the good times in the Stoke house. Plus it’s an amazing city. My days were filled with what to eat and drink next. Suits me to a T (not sure what measurement this would exactly be).
So I end up staying for Stoke’s last Andorra wicked weekender. When else will I get to experience skiing in Europe with summer well and truly on its way (thank your chosen worship).
I do a last minute shop for snow gear as apparently they don’t hire it (note, they do in the town of Arinsal, just not on the mountain). I get my myself a bright magenta pair of ski pants with overalls, topped off with a red and white jacket and green gloves. I am rocking some snow bunny fashion from two years ago to save some coin. When I had my white snowboard (moon) boots strapped on, I become a model straight out of whatever snow brand catalogue is cool. Annnnnd don’t forget the helmet. Lucky it’s not about how you look, but how you shred pow dude. Lingo and the look, surely I’m going to be great.
My first night in Andorra, I scored myself a wicked migraine, missing out on the fun of the Snowboxx festival and proceeding evening. I was not a happy camper, but more a head clutching, stomach heaving, bed ridden camper.
I pushed through the next morning to hit the slopes. I had made the the decision to try snowboarding. Not because I’d done it before, or had already tried skiing. No, nothing common sensory like that. I just thought it looked fun and go hard or go home. And I can surf now you know.
After a hearty hot breakfast, my day was already looking up. We get our gear. My struggles begin with my boots. Luckily the staff were very friendly and got me kitted out.
Up the mountain I follow my roomie, who has spent a season on Whistler and is going to give me some tips. I tally my first stack getting off the chair lift.
The tally is soon off the richter as I can’t stay on my feet or actually even get to my feet. When I do, I have a propensity to veer right and as such have no luck learning to use my edge to stop.
I’m a hopeless Bambi on ice. I’m left to my own devices to practice getting up. Which means I sit on the side of the run taking in the scenery. One time while trying to get vertical, I slide right off the edge into the gully. That was fun to get out of with a slab attached to my feet. The girls come back and realise they’ve well and truly led me up the garden path. I am in fact on an advanced path. The only option is to take my board off and drag my sorry ass back up the slope I have just spent the last hour trying to get down.
By the time I get to the top I am hot. I am bothered. I ask to go down the lift. I get a very Spanish no. I become outwardly upset and just sit down in the snow again because I don’t know what else to do. Next thing I know four paramedics cruise off the lift and one comes to speak to me. My Argentinian English speaking godsend tells me to relax and I can go down. But if anyone asks, my board was broken.
I find the magic carpet kiddies area where I belong and where everyone else is wondering where the heck I have been. Oh I forgot about the banana in my pocket. I now am the proud owner of a brand new snow jacket complete with the latest in eau de squished fruit.
My day starts to move on up as I incline on the magic carpet to really give this snowboarding thing a go. My friends provide me a much needed lesson and I progress with each tiny run. Yes, I fall on my butt several times. Yes, I need to take a breather after most runs. Yes, I sleep like a baby that night. Yes, I find it difficult to walk the next day. Yes, post-scary mountain and banana incidents, I enjoy every following minute.
Despite some lethargy, the next morning we are ready to hit the mountains again. Me being me, I get to the top and realise I’ve left one of my snow boots in the gondola. Ten minutes later my gondola and boot show up and I’m at it again. My arms and abs ache. I’m surprised to find my legs and glutes don’t. I get back into my position on the snowboard and I realise they most certainly do. I have a goal to make it down the easy slighter longer slope before I go home.
After plenty of magic carpet practice, I’m ready to take on my non-metaphorical and quite literal mountain. It’s not a long run and the initial hardest part is getting on and off the chair lift with one leg strapped into a snowboard
I strap the other foot in, launch myself up, and I’m off. Deliberately staying on my heel edge as much as I can, I slowly make my way down turning from side to side. I am going well with no falls, until my breathing gets heavy and my body heats up. I make myself fall on my ass. I need a breather and to maybe make a snow angel. This plays on repeat and I make it to the bottom in one incredibly happy piece. I take one more run down the magic carpet on a challenge to see if I can go all the way without falling (mission complete).
It’s great watching everyone progress (and fall). Some people take to it far easier than I care to see. Some people are keen to take a break from falling and have a spiked hot chocolate with me. These are my kind of people.
Get on an Andorra snow weekend from Barcelona with Stoke Travel. Don’t forget to use SHARKWEEK for your free Stoke beanie!