Group 4- Jerry of the day #2- The Slow Walker

Unfortunately I lost my Jerry from yesterday and thus today was a much easier but less entertaining day. I didn’t lose her in the sense she disappeared off the edge of the mountain in a outrageous yet unsurprising lack of concentration and skill, I just had to send her to another group more suitable for her ability. In the brief few minutes she was with me this morning she didn’t fail to make me laugh whilst I refrained from pulling my hair out.

Rather than opting to walk along the road to the gondola station we chose to take a small rope lift up to a cat track which would then gently guide us to the gondola. After a few failed attempts and frustratingly long lie downs she eventually managed to grasp onto the tow rope to be dragged up to the track. Hard part over, I thought. The following piste is as flat as you can get whilst still being able to ski down but somehow, it all went wrong. The final turn into the lift station is simple enough for any skier and the rest of the class breezed down it no problem. This girl, however, decided that rather than follow the flat, easy trail to the end, she’d veer off into a fence and fell into a tangled mess on the ground. The following shambles then took ages to sort out as she tried to dig herself out and unravel her skis from around herself and the net. It genuinely amazes me how slow people can go and how, when holding up a group of their peers, they can still just sit their blankly and not move. This was the final straw and after the long struggle to get her going again, I sent her down to the beginner group.

After that my group were free to explore more of the mountain. We had a great day going to new pistes and covered ground all the way from the summit back down to the village which massively helped the skiers.

All this activity and new ground took its toll on the kids and towards the end of the day, tiredness set in. On the last run of the day I turned around to look back at the group to the glorious sight of a kid uncontrollably skidding across the ice, losing his balance before his skis hit the side and suddenly stopped, he went flying out of both of them off the side of the piste into some powder. A classic fall. When I asked him what had happened his answer was even better. The reason he had lost control, according to him, was that after a prolonged ski without any stopping, he began to see brown spots as if he had stood up to quick and this threw him off balance. A very concerning reply suggesting light headedness and maybe the negative affects of altitude, but it was absurdly funny for some reason. Luckily he was fine after that suffered no more hallucinations. Another girl in the group who was the new super slow sloth on skis was also suffering after a long day up the mountain.

We needed to traverse across a flat section to get to a button lift and normally it doesn’t take long to cover the short gap. Lower level lessons always need a bit more time to walk across as they are not used to walking on the snow in uncomfortable ski boots and they also struggle to find an easy, effective way of carrying the skis. Some can push themselves along with their poles but this girl couldn’t really do anything. After failing to push herself and then failing to sidestep she eventually opted to take off her skis. This whole process took a few minutes. When she finally decided to walk, to get her skis off she thought falling over would be the perfect way to do it as they had been falling off all day on the slopes. By this point my patience was wearing thin but this does happen occasionally so I waited by the lift for her to arrive. A few more minutes went by. By this point she was still only one hundred metres away but had moved nowhere in five minutes. Then she began to walk. Juggling her gear she dragged her fatigued self across the snow, covering the sprint distance in another five minutes. This is an average speed of a metre every three seconds, about 1km/h. Watching someone walk this slowly, whilst the rest of the group are going up a lift is painful. When she finally arrived, with the sun a little lower in the sky, there was no sense of urgency or awareness that it was freezing and the rest of the group and I had been stood still whilst this saga unfolded and she just dropped her stuff and stood blankly and immobile, in no rush at all. The struggle for her to get her ski on then took over and after that debacle she was finally on her way up the lift.

It was only at the end of the day that she mentioned she had been struggling to breathe since the first lift after lunch, which probably contributed to her marathon walk. Although the reality of her problem is still seemingly unfounded as she let out a pain free sigh after the revelation. I still refrained from pulling any hair out.

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