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IF GONDOLAS COULD TALK

101 of the very best ski and snowboarding stories.

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101 stories. Here's just one...

Jumping into skis failure with a happy ending for some.


I'm a female and I went skiing with a girlfriend, Anita. She came back from her first one-on-one ski lesson with her ski instructor to tell me that she fancied him like mad. Then she told me not about how she got on with her first ever ski lesson but waxed lyrical about what a dish he was and cool with it. She wouldn't stop. Anita had hardly ever skied before whereas I had so I had gone off for the morning whilst she went and worked out how to ski with a little expert tuition. "How do you put your skis on?" she then asked me. Humouring her I said, "I put the tip of one boot into the front of the binding and push down at the back. Then I repeat with the other foot." "Well," Anita said, "my ski instructor doesn't bother with all that. He just lines his skis up side by side then stands astride them before quickly jumping up and into them, both at the same time. It looks really impressive and I told him so so he showed me how to do it." I asked her if she had done it yet but she said, "No, not properly but I'll have a go. I'll show you after lunch. Then we can do a bit of skiing on the blue because that's where he's going to be this afternoon with another pupil and then we're meeting up for a drink, just the two of us if that's okay." I didn't answer. After lunch and a few too many glasses of rosé, as we both stood on the snow getting ready to do a bit of skiing Anita lined up her skis, standing astride them. Then she planted her poles in the snow, "…just to give me a bit more lift." She bent her knees and then, "One, two, three - up!" She jumped high into the air and as she came down attempted to plant her boots clean into her bindings. She failed. She went in at an angle, only partially succeeding before she lost her balance and fell over as the skis turned on their sides. Then she screamed. Fortunately we were near the bottom of the piste and so help was soon at hand. Turned out she had broken both of her ankles. That was the end of her skiing holiday. She sent me off to meet her ski instructor to tell him that she couldn't come out and to cancel her other lessons. I went out for a drink with him instead. One thing Anita did get right was that he was quite cool and a bit of a dish so then I told him what had really happened. He didn't refund Anita's lessons that she had paid for because he couldn't get anyone else at short notice so every morning I went skiing with him instead of being on my own. I didn't tell Anita, after all it wasn't my fault. Two years later we were married and still are. He's gorgeous! I've never tried jumping into my skis though. Anita no longer speaks to me.

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IF GONDOLAS COULD TALK

101 SUPERLATIVE SHORT SKI AND SNOWBOARDING STORIES FROM THE SNOWY SLOPES AND BEYOND

"...lots of hilarious stories that will make you laugh out loud!" The Ski Guru

"...many of these stories will make you smile." Top Ski News

"Exceptionally funny" Scout & Scouting magazine

Featuring pop stars, royalty and MPs but mostly people like you!

If Gondolas Could Talk includes one hundred and one of the very best ski and snowboarding stories.

John Hemming-Clark writes...

I was sitting on the terrace of La Rosée Blanche at the bottom of the ski slopes in La Daille, part of Val d'Isère's vast Espace Killy ski area, sipping on a large, cold pression. It was late afternoon on a beautiful early March day. My wife, friends and I had just bypassed La Folie Douce, a crazy open air bar at the top of the several runs that we could now see in front of us, and descended OK Coupe du Monde that runs all the way down from the top of Bellevarde. We decided on this more genteel après ski venue as it's an almost obligatory stop after tackling the challenging red slope that is used for the women's World Cup.

I was watching several games of human skittles taking place on the other red, as dozens of hopelessly out of control (mostly) English skiers, fuelled by afternoon excesses, attempted to get down to the valley floor as quickly as possible, not necessarily particularly skilfully. Some were succeeding rather too well. I turned to Will. "That reminds me. Have I ever told you about the time I played skittles in a bar in Austria?" Will sighed; he had heard that story a dozen times before. However the couple sitting next to us hadn't. "Tell us," they said and in return they told us a couple of theirs. "Everyone seems to have a ski story," Will pondered aloud. "You have quite a few Johnnie, you should write them down." So I did and, along with those from various other contributors, both young and old, the best are now in this book. They're mostly an Alpine A to Z, from Alpe d'Huez to Zürs with a few other resorts from further afield plus related ferry, airport, motorway, snow train, over-night stops and a section of ultra-short "Chalet Girl Shorts" and "Shorts" stories thrown in for good measure.


If you love skiing you will love If Gondolas Could Talk!

If Gondolas Could Talk

includes stories from:

Alpe d'Huez: Sharing a shower with a snowboard, disappearing into a snow hollow, snow chain snag and a vanishing hotel. Not bad for one trip.

Les Arcs: Never mess with chalet staff's night off.

Aspen: An unexpected birthday celebration gift that wasn't.

Avoriaz: Red run bombing with a ski glove.

Banff: A janitor in the john causes cringe worthy confusion.

Beaver Creek: Bargain basement skis turn out to be not quite what was expected. Peppermint liqueur with a dash of hot chocolate.

Bourg-en-Bresse: The children are sent out to fend for themselves with their mother's debit card in a pizzeria.

Bourg-Saint-Maurice: Never order anything from a menu in France without knowing exactly what it is.

Brides-les-Bains: Insightful interlocution on the chair lift.

Calais: A playground for the British and an amusement park for the French. The Burghers of Calais weren't what was expected. Mother has a meltdown in the hypermarket.

Cervinia: Safeguarding shocker with the ski instructor.

Chalet Girl Shorts: Burnt croissants. Stale croissants. Double trouble. Massive injury on the slopes. The mystery of the severe allergic reaction. How the French pistes are graded.

Chamonix: A not-very-friendly Café de l'Amitié.

Courchevel: L'andouillette AAAAA. Possibly the worst thing you can ever put in your mouth.

Davos: You never quite know who you might meet on a chair lift.

Les Deux Alpes: CLOSE/rhymes with dose/adjective 1. only a short distance away, or

CLOSE/rhymes with nose/verb 1. bring two parts of something together.

England: Drama on the dry slope with break-a-neck bindings.

Flaine: A very snowy lunch.

Le Fornet: Don't touch that!

Geneva: The four-year-old bobsleigh smuggler.

Les Gets: Live no Lies.

Gstaad: Accidental acquisition by an ageing aristocrat.

Heathrow: A worried wife on her wedding night.

Les Houches: Four young guns meet their match with the Swedish ski bunnies.

Ischgl: Teenage trauma with a black run adventure and a stand-in skier.

Lenk: The day the lights went out. Two Swiss saviours. Scooby-Doo saviour on the slope.

Le Lioran: Teenage translation trip-up when trying to be considerate.

Mayrhofen: A steep learning curve for a group of first-time skiers that takes in clothes, travel, accommodation, food, skiing with no lessons, chair lifts and a hotel spa, with a few lessons learned for the following year.

Méribel: Ski chalet shenanigans.

Méribel Les Allues: If you ski down near the woods today, you're sure of a big surprise,

'Cause there you will see a lady fair, who wished she was in disguise.

Morillon: A very sharp shooter in the ski chalet.

Obergurgl: If you think skiing's expensive spare a thought for someone whose bill could have been more than most.

On the Motorway: The feeding of the five thousand - almost.

Passo Tonale: Schoolgirl skiing crush that ended up with a broken heart and more besides.

Le Péage: Le péage: noun / a bottleneck on French motorways where vehicles play bumper cars when approaching and practice drag racing when departing.

La Rivière Enverse: Mealtime miscarriages.

La Rosière: Skier gets exactly what she bargained for, possibly, on a button lift.

Saint-Dizier: A hotel in town with rooms that come complete with guests already installed…

Saint-Dizier outskirts: …whilst out of town bring your own commune.

Sainte Foy: In France most understand French and many understand English; a fair number understand both. In the Val d'Isère region not everyone understands French - but everyone understands English. You have been warned.

Sestriere: The novice skier who started on a black.

Shorts: Chair lift trauma. Mama Do (Uh Oh, Uh Oh). A lesson learnt from the chair lift. The longest skis. Never take a short cut. We don't need our passports now - we're in the E U. Mullit merchandise. The perils of owning more than one ski jacket. The ski hotel with a dinner dress code and its own tie. The secret is not only knowing when to turn but actually to turn. How to turn on a steep black. "I thought I heard you say that you could ski with only one ski." Never dangle your ski poles on a chair lift. A sparkle in the snow. Like father, like son. Fun with the face paint. Stop staring at my mum! A little misunderstanding in conversation with Spacey, Saalbach's infamous Spitzbub DJ. Manfred makes sure of his customers' skiing ability. Possibly the best café gourmand in

the world. Patience is a virtue. Pie eating competition. A worrying encounter on the Trumpton lift. Don't lick the pole. Sportlov. High-end cough medicine on the piste. Nearly everyone has a role in this group of four skiers, some more important than others. Gin and tonic margarita. Skiing is a rich person's sport. A Top Gun moment in Switzerland. No falling over. Jumping into skis failure with a happy ending for some. Waterslalomskiing out of your boots. Foggy vision after an evening in the Krazy Kanguruh. Never trust a friend who speaks fluent French. French bevvie breakfast. Formidables.

Le Snow Train: A costly brush with authority on the journey home.

Swiss Alps: A summer hike across Switzerland.

Tignes: Double trouble on the Bollin and Fresse chair lifts.

Troyes: Culinary carnage, alcohol angst and parapet prancing all in one evening on the way down to the Alps.

Val d'Isère: Beware of overweight middle-aged men coming down the piste out of control. The lads go lingerie shopping for their wives back home and get a little less than they bargained for. French bistro dining v. Karen and nachos.

Vercland: If gondolas could talk.

Wengen: A big stink in the gents' toilet.

Zell am See: A pac-a-mac hood causes confusion and chaos. Pussy flugels hit the high notes.

Zermatt: The bar that's not what it first appears to be.

Zürs: Helicopter accident above this fashionable resort.

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