Brooke’s Birthday Weekend: In Which Sanchezi Goes Skiing

This weekend was Brooke’s Birthday!!!!!

She decided she wanted to hang out in Tbilisi, go to a Bath House and skiing. A lot happened this three-day weekend (happy International Women’s Day), so I will break it up into several posts.

Skiing:

So FINALLY I would get the opportunity to ski in Georgia. I had brought my gear back from the States and everything. The group that had assembled for this weekend isn’t the most efficient decision makers as a collective. But it was decided that we would wake up early and get a private marshrut’ka to Gudauri and just ski for the day instead of going to Bakuriani. Although Bakuriani is less expensive than Gudauri, and we possibly could have had a place to stay, Gudauri was known to have better ski runs.

We planned to meet at the McDonalds for the marshrut’ka at 8 Saturday morning. That was painful because I had been dancing until 4 a.m. just a couple of hours before. But excitement and adrenaline pushed me out of bed and to the meeting place. Once in the van, I could sleep for the next two hours, which was easy because I had already seen the views to Gudauri.

We navigated the most annoying part of any ski trip- the rentals of equipment. Great patience is needed with this not only for oneself but also for the friends who are beginners. Once that was over, and everyone was laced up, it was obvious that the time had come for us to split up. Only two of us could ski with any competence. The others were either beginner or hadn’t skied in a VERY long time. So Kevin and I went our own way.

I was immediately annoyed, because we had to ski over an incline to the bunny lift, then ride up the bunny lift to ski to the main lift. By the time I got to the main lift, I was exhausted already. Then we had to deal with the baffling norm of Georgian culture- the lack of the concept of a line. There was a throng of people pushing to get on the lift.  Ugh!!!!

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But once we got up to the top of that lift, things started to get immediately better. The resort is organized in a pattern similar to mall escalators. Once you reach the top of one lift, slightly to the left is another to take you higher, until you are at the highest mountain in the range. Also as you go higher, the lines for the lift thin out considerably.

The snow was also questionable at first. But that’s only because of the high volume of people slipping down and continuously using that first lift. It was grainy and had a lot of ice patches. Higher up was nice powder.

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The base of the resort has beautiful views of the surrounding mountains. We had witnessed them in the fall. But the higher we went up the lifts, the views became impossibly more and more beautiful. Going up the last lift, we were so high and weather so cold, it started snowing, whereas at the bottom of the resort, it was so warm, I wanted to take my coat off. I even got a little afraid thinking of how high we were.

I had the best time. And hopefully can squeeze in another trip before the end of the season.

Thank you, Amy Sledge, for introducing this amazing recreational activity to my life.

***

“I was locking down straps on ridiculous shoes,
gazing on beautiful mountainous views.
I must have been crazy but I had been dared.
I couldn’t back down or admit I was scared.

My untimely death danced forefront in mind.
Any thoughts of escape I had left far behind.
A friend said, “It’s easy, just glide with the snow.
C’mon, the Black-Diamond is where we should go.”

With trembling hands, I looked over the crest.
Straight down it appeared as I tightened my vest.
Then somebody nudged me just over the top.
Behind me I heard, “Does he know how to stop?”

(Excerpt from ‘A Dope On A Slope’)

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