… on February 2011…
Yesterday was the Summer Solstice – so i thought it would be good time to look back upon the cold winter season…
This year we decided it was time to do the "Swiss" thing & spend a week up in the mountains skiing, instead of the normal 3 days, 2 nights which we normally do. The incentive was that we had a good friend, Andrew, who had wanted to come & learn to snowboard. So we booked ourselves into a nice little holiday apartment in Laax – one of the higher (altitude) & nicer resorts here. We had been here some 5 or 6 years ago when Walter’s company had their ski-weekend in Flims – same area, just different villages.
It was quite an eventful trip. & it all started with booking the apartment. i did my research & we settled on an apartment we liked but soon found out that it was not possible to do just 5 days (our initial plan) – we had to do Saturday till Saturday – so we did. Then after paying the deposit, i received an email saying there was a glitch in the computer system & they had that apartment double booked! So searched again for another apartment – cos they provided as much help as they could which was nice. Found one – very near to the talstation (cable station to go up the mountain) – which turned out to be a blessing in disguise as you will see later on. So we were set & off we went!
Here is Tobias with Andrew, waiting to hit the slopes:
Here is Andrew – his 1st day on the slopes with his snowboard instructor:
Here is Tobias on his 1st day on the slopes before lessons:
i decided that this year he should have proper lessons as he seems to not want to learn from me anymore & besides Mummy wanted to go for refresher course (the season before was a painful season as i tried to get my ski legs back on my own after a few years of not really skiing). So everyone was booked for lessons except Walter – who had free & easy time to himself – at least for the 1st few days 😉
Now here’s when i get to tell you about the event which made the whole trip so very eventful!!
Tobias was booked in for a full 5 days of ski school – full days which included lunch with his instructor. He was really excited & we saw him off 1st day. He was in the blue group (beginners group). He came home with a little cold on the 1st day & i was actually wondering if we should let him go that 2nd day – but he insisted so he went for the 2nd day of fun down the slopes. Again he came home a little sick, we gave him some meds & he insisted on going the 3rd day. So we let him as the meds had helped. When i dropped him off that 3rd morning, the instructor said to him that he is switching him to another instructor who had more beginner students. Apparently this 1st group consisted of kids who already had some formal instruction so i said ok as long as he is still with the beginner group. & off i went to my own ski lesson.
i was sitting on the chairlift, on my way to the cable car to get down the mountain, when my phone rang, but i could not reach it as it was in my backpack & the backpack was stuck behind me & i could not twist around to take it off. It rang twice so i figured must be important. It was Walter & i rang him back – the 1st words i heard were, "They can’t find him." i was like, "WHAT!?". So it seemed that when Walter went to pick Tobias up, he was not there & the ski school did not know where he was. It was the longest 10mins of my life as i waited for the cable car to come up & take me down. Another 15mins in the cable car! While in the gondal, the ski school rang to ask for Walter’s handphone number & they still did not know where Tobias was! They had sent Walter back to the apartment to see if Tobias walked home by himself. By the time i finally got off the gondal (i have never been so impatient before, they just weren’t getting off fast enough) & got to the ski school, they had found Tobias. & i found Walter yelling loudly at the school manager & the instructor.
Walter had found Tobias sitting in the stairwell of our rented apartment. Poor baby! After we brought him in & settled him, we got him to tell us what had happened.
So he told us that the new instructor he was transferred to took them for the morning & then came back down before lunch time & dropped off some kids to their parents & a couple to the daycare, then he waved goodbye & left. The instructor had not realised that Tobias’ parents were not there. But the instructor should not have left Tobias – Tobias was a full day student which meant he was to have lunch with his instructor. Anyhow, Tobias was talking with his friend & then when his friend left with his parents, he realised we were not there yet. So he sat on the bench & waited. After a while, he said no one came so he decided to walk back to the apartment (Thank God that our apartment was close to the talstation – the 1st one – the double-booked one – was like a few bus stops away!). He said that halfway an elderly lady saw him struggling with his skis & helped him to carry them up to the apartment. Then when he arrived at the apartment, a man who also rented an apartment in the same block, let him into the stairwell. i truly THANK GOD for these 2 angels whom God sent to care for Tobias!
So he sat there, no lunch, till Walter found – at 4pm!! He sat for 4 hours, no lunch. But i thank God that at least he didn’t have to sit out in the cold & i thank God that he had the good sense to walk back to the apartment & i thank God that God sent his angels.
The ski school was of course very apologetic – the boss personally rang us & met us that evening to apologise & explain. The instructor who took Tobias on the 3rd day was new but the boss said they train their instructors to wait & make sure kids’ parents are there before leaving. But the instructor was not told when Tobias transferred to him, that Tobias was a full day student – he thought that Tobias was like the others – half day students. The entire course fees was refunded. The ski school manager & the instructor also apologised. We, of course, gave them a piece of our minds.
i was too distraught that evening to cook dinner so we went out for a rather expensive Chinese dinner – which was really quite good.
The next 2 days were much better – they were careful & made sure we were there before letting Tobias go.
On the last day, the kids got to listen to a rather cute story told by this man dressed as the school’s mascot (he’s called Amisabi) !
Here’s Tobias with his instructor (who, i think, was mildly terrified of Walter after the lost incident):
Here’s Tobias on the kiddie slope:
Here’s all the kids & their instructors, waiting for the storytelling:
This is the mascot with his little red dog or maybe it is supposed to be a little red fox?:
One thing that stood out was the lack of snow near the bottom of the ski runs – this is normally a resort where certain chalets (built closer to the ski runs) are normally ski-in & ski-out – but this past season it was not, take a look at this:
So that was our very eventful ski vacation: the bad thing was the ski school losing Tobias, but the good thing is that despite that we all had a good time, Tobias learnt more skiing & i can now make it down a slope without painful falls & Andrew is so hooked on snowboarding, even though he fell lots, he’s coming back again next season – or at least that’s the plan 😉
February held another 2 special days for us: My mum’s Birthday & Walter’s Birthday – just a day apart!
We were sad that we can’t be there in person to celebrate with my mum but Skype enabled us to wish her Happy Birthday 😀 Hurray for technology!
This year i decided that i will bake a cake for Walter’s birthday – here’s Father & Son beaming in front of a Football cake (notice all the paper frogs around the cake – Tobias folded all those for his daddy 😉
It was a small simple celebration, just the 3 of us. But it was lovely.
Well, that’s it for now – more catch up posts to come…