Today we have upgraded from falling off button lifts to falling off T bars. After a couple of days of successfully staying on the simpler lift and cruising around easier runs we escaped from the beginner area and out further across the mountain. Once again the snowy descent went really well as the small group slowly turned across the slopes, occasionally managing to match their skis in a perfect parallel position and gradually sliding down the hill. There weren’t even any falls on what is a steep intermediate run at some points and it was all going well, until we got to the bottom.
Even before the lift itself could inflict damage on the progress of my lesson, there was a literal barrier preventing getting that far. Having failed to realise that the lift passes we obtained for the day were specifically just for the beginner bowl the turnstile refused to let any of the kids through to the next stage of the queue. Once I realised this I thought the simplest solution was to tell the kids to just sneak under the barrier, which should’ve been easy for the three foot tall ten year olds. It was not. The first girl just collapsed onto her back and got stuck under the gate, laying there helplessly flailing on the floor. The sweet little boy that was the hero the previous day for getting in a round of hot chocolate tried a different approach to even less success. He decided that his little legs would squeeze through the gap on one side of the turnstile and after some agonising squeezing, it finally popped through. However, he hadn’t considered the next step and failed to notice that there was no such gap for his other leg to go through so he was left stranded and straddling the metal bar with nowhere to go. He didn’t even buy it hot chocolate first.
Eventually the lift tenant came to his rescue and released him from his skis and to freedom, but also towards another cause of pain. Once all the kids had wriggled through the gate they had there first encounter with a T bar. Having struggled enough on the single person button lifts I was a bit apprehensive about introducing them to the trickier two person T and rightly so. The first two girls jumped on successfully and were whisked away, and then the same for other two. So far so good. And then, around halfway up, it all got a bit wobbly. Struggling to maintain a shared balance, the girls started drifting from side to side. And then further to the sides. So far to side that one of the girls was forced straight into the snow bank and was smashed off the lift. The reaction to this was that it sent the other girl hurling to the other side where she hit the bumps and was forced into a battle against the machine to try and stay on. A battle that is never one. As she fought to maintain her place on the T she frantically tangled herself in a worse position and after a few moments of holding on to false hope, she was flung off backwards from the lift. Unfortunately for her, the T then caught itself on the backs of her knees and dragged her ten metres up the snow with her led down on the snow, arms outstretched with no idea what to do.
The pair behind, watching it all unfold, then had to dodge the bodies as they tried to navigate themselves to the top, but the task was to tall and the efforts of steering were to great. As soon as they escaped from colliding into their friends they then joined them on the floor as they hit each others skis and took each other out.
This meant that we had to ski all the way down again and pick up the fallen children. The second pair were easy and just a few metres off piste but the girls who had initiated the chaos had a bit of a trek on their cold, snowy hands. Normally the short walk would’ve been no bother, but as we had just had two feet of fresh snow the journey became considerably more arduous. Considering they weren’t too much taller they were practically swimming through the shoulder high snow to get to the piste and it was quite the entertaining sight.
Eventually they emerged as living snowmen and returned to the tricky turnstile to start the whole process again.