March 9th 2017
Today I walked a kilometre down a mountain because I was too scared to ski down it. We were heading into Switzerland from our resort in France, and to get into Switzerland there are two options. There’s a 90 percent gradient black slope that is called ‘The Swiss Wall’ (I assume that it’s named after The Wall™ from Game of Thrones). None of us fancied dying or breaking an arm, so we went around to find another route across the Swiss border. I liked the Swiss’ thinking of having an impossible slope as your border crossing. It’s like ‘pass this test and you’re worthy of entry’
We weren’t worthy.
There’s another slope that takes you into Switzerland, so we went to try that one.
It wasn’t much better.
I can’t tell you if it was difficult to ski down, but I can tell you that it was difficult enough to walk down.
We got the chairlift to the top of it, and I froze. It was steep. It was full of bumps and moguls. The thing is, looking back, it was a wide, wide slope that I could’ve just crawled down. There wasn’t a cliff face either side or anything, so there was no real danger, it was just too steep.
There was another chair lift that scaled back down the slope that I wanted to go down, so I asked the operator if I could just use the chair lift to get down.
He said no.
He said he’d get fired if he stopped the chair lift to let me on, but I didn’t believe that.
He said he’d only let me get on it if I was injured, and then he asked me if I was injured.
It occurs to me now that I could’ve just said “yeah” and gone down clutching my leg like I’m Luis Suarez trying to win a last-minute penalty, but I didn’t.
Instead, I walked down the mountain. I got shouts and jeers from people on the chair lift, and I waved back when they waved. I’m not too fussed about having to walk down – it was more funny than anything.
It took a while, mind. I did try to see if sliding on my arse would’ve been any quicker, and it was quicker, I just couldn’t figure out how to brake.
So, one foot at a time, I scaled a mountain. Looking back, I should’ve just done it on skis, but I’ve never been one to do something that I don’t want to do.
The most annoying thing is that when we got into Switzerland I had to pay €15 for a sandwich.
Until tomorrow, it wasn’t worth the hassle.