Each evening, after a day of skiing, where I work we have to do a quick summary of the day and hand out what is called a ding-a-ling. This is basically a little cow bell awarded to whichever kid does something remarkably stupid and they then have to wear it for the next 24 hours or suffer a forfeit if they fail to do so. So, in an effort to boost blog productivity I thought I might as well share these stories with you.
Today, in the Swiss Alps, an international school based outside Lausanne turned up for their week on the slopes and after briefing them of what the week entails, we headed out to the snow. And there is a lot of snow. Over the weekend it has dumped nonstop in the mountains, producing a fluffy few feet of powder to play in and create moguls with. The ski locker is only a short walk of a few hundred metres to the lift station but before my group even began walking I already had my first contender for the nights award. As the kids threw their skis over their shoulders and began to head over to the ski area, one of the boys had a bit of a disaster and somehow got the brake of his ski caught in the chin strap of his helmet. With the planks dangling from around his neck, in a concerned and confused tone chirped up “sir, help me”. I’ve never seen or heard of anyone managing this impressive feat of tangled tribulation but it made me laugh nonetheless. As I tried to undo his mistakenly marvellous work the poor kid kept moving his head so I couldn’t grab hold of the ski and attached brake to separate him until it finally broke free and allowed us to start the skiing.
Falls are inevitable in kids lessons and there are always a few good ones with skis flying off and children rolling down the slope but in the cloudy conditions where visibility was minimal and powder was thick and high, the chances of epic stacks were on the rise. After a few runs on an easy blue slope, to get things rolling we took it up a level and up the mountain to a more challenging red run. It only a took a few turns before I looked back up at my group to see a girl wrap her skis around a nice big bump, emit a piercing squeal and then lose both skis and slide down the hill. One of the louder, more annoying and boisterous boys adventured off into the deeper, tougher powder of the side piste before flipping over the front of his skis face first into a lovely mound of soft snow.
My group for the week consists of six good skiers in their mid teens and they have been a fun bunch so far. They are a very loud group who all love shouting and going fast and don’t seem to keen on slow controlled drills, they are more focused on going fast and ripping around the mountain with not too much focus on technique. The joker of the group is one of the boys who is particularly fond of not listening, ignoring instructions and just skiing off. During one of our stops on the side of the slope as I explained what the plan was for the next bit of skiing, I noticed that everyone’s attention was elsewhere. It’s been a windy day and I thought the tapping against by boot and heel binding was just my ski pants blowing about, but as it grew heavier and more inconsistent I turned to this kid stabbing my heal binding with all his weight pushing through the top of his pole onto my ski, attempting to unclip my ski, presumably with the intention of trying to make me fall over (I know this as I had done it to him earlier). The cheek and audacity for a kid to try this was outstanding and although he lacked the power and weight to succeed I was just gobsmacked by the attempt and after a brief pause to stare at him, I pushed him over and then skied off.
It was this act and his multiple falls that earned him the weeks first ding-a-ling.