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Saturday, March 13, 2010

It's okay to be jealous, I would be

Here in Garmish, on our world renown mountain, we had the privilege of hosting the 2010 Ski Welt Cup (World Cup). The athletes started taking training runs on Tuesday, Wednesday was the downhill competition, Thursday was the Super G and Giant Slalom, Friday was the Slalom and today finished the week with something on the schedule TE which I do not know what that is. The difference between all the races comes down to how tight the turns is and they wear different skis. That is more or less it. Maria Reisch won the downhill. She is actually from Garmisch and had huge cheers. Lindsay Vonn the favorite for the US won the Slalom and the Super G.

Guess who went snowboarding on Wednesday on the very same mountain that the best skiers in the world were competing on? Well if you guessed anyone other than Ryan and I you'd be wrong. It was so awesome to have the opportunity to watch such an event take place and it was even better to be high up on the mountain strapped into a snowboard only 100 meters from the starting gate the downhill racers shot out of.

I have been meaning to write a "catch up" post about the weekend before Ryan and I went to Venice and my goodness that was about a month ago now. The Wednesday of that weekend we went snowboarding for the first time. The first lift goes up the mountain at 8:30, but I bet we didn't drive into the parking lot until a little after 9. We didn't know we could go to the American Lodge owned by our Resort to buy lift tickets, so we wasted 15 minutes or so waiting in a super long line right at the bottom of the Hausberg Bahn (Bahn=Gondola). Once we did figure we could bypass the long line by going to the American Lodge and were ready to head up on the Bahn we joined the blob of people all pushing to get through the turnstiles. The cool thing about lift passes here is they are magnetically coded, so all you have to do is have it in your jacket pocket and it lets you through. The bad thing about the mountain is apparently German's don't believe in lines. There were no lines for the Bahn's and there were no lines for the chair lifts, but there was way too many people all crowding forwarding running their skis over my snowboard literally elbowing me out of the way. I have never been on a mountain I felt so out numbered skiers to snowboarders. After snowboarding for awhile Ryan and I decided the reason for that is because this mountain is meant for skiers. There are way too many cat tracks that are way too long. For those who don't ski cat tracks are long narrow and flat stretches that if you don't have enough speed you won't make it along the cat track without taking off your board and walking. Skiers of course have their feet separate and two poles so they are able to push along even if they don't have speed, lucky them. But on this mountain we found ourselves on cat tracks that were literally impossible to to have enough speed to ride out. There were also so many people on the mountain that some cat tracks were packed full and we had to slow down not to hit people blocking our way and ended up once again not having enough speed to finish the cat track. Ugh! Also some German, who I would not be friends with, invented somthing called a "T Bar." I have never seen anything like this in the States. At first I thought it was a rope tow. It is an upside down "T" that you pull down and two skiers can sit on either side, but snowboarders have to pull it down and straddle one side of the "T." Ryan and I missed a turn and ended up at the bottom of a run where the only way back up other than hiking was a "T" bar. So we waited to see how a snowboarder did this which took awhile since everyone coming down were skiers. So eventually I tired to do it and fell making them stop the "T Bar". Then I crawled back to an empty one and got on. A ways up I fell, but was dragged along until I was able to get up right. I rode a bit more and fell again this time seeing no chance to get upright since we were about to go up a steep hill. Thankfully a minute later it stopped and Ryan was there on the flat. I was able to crawl to him and get on for the rest of the rocky ride. Once we got to the top of this one there was another short one, except this one was not a "T" it was a disc you put between your legs. The mountain has way too many of these and I think it must just be because they are cheap. Personally I would expect a bit more out of such a "high class" mountain as this, but honestly if I was a skier I don't think I'd mind them and as I already said I think this is a skiers mountain. We boarded until about 3:30 I think and then headed in because we wanted to miss the rush at the end of the day to the parking lot. Overall we were glad we went, but definitely didn't feel compelled to buy a season pass and go up every chance we get. In fact we weren't even sure when we may go up again.

Coming back to this week. My Mom had told me that my Grandpa and my Uncle were watching Skiing on TV and saw that the World Cup was coming up in Garmisch and that they'd have to look for me on TV if I went to spectate, so it was in my mind that it was coming and maybe I could somehow watch. It was a bit expensive to go sit in the stands at the finish and watch the race on the big screen. Tuesday night Ryan and I went to Bible Study for the first time and in conversation with people there learned that if we bought a lift ticket and went snowboarding we could actually watch the very beginning of the race from the mountain, plus we'd get a full day on the mountain. So we decided the night before to do it. And we are both so glad that we did. Not only was it fantastic to watch the race so close, but it was a phenomenal day to be on the mountain. The forecast called for it to be snowing, but it ended up being sunny and bright blue skies. Lately we've had snow again though after basically thinking winter was over as everything was pretty much melted. Thankfully this meant we have a little bit of fresher snow to board on. Also this time we got to the mountain a bit before 8:30 so we were on the first lift up and got a run in before heading to watch the guys downhill which started at 9:15. Then we boarded some between the men's finish and the women beginning at 11:15. At the bottom of the Alpspitz was where the stands were set up right beside a restaurant. Ryan and I shared a glass of gluwein (hot spiced wine, mmm so good) at the restaurant and had a perfect view of the big screen set up. I don't know why anyone paid to sit in those stands when they could have just watched the way we did. It was so perfect. We stayed away from the cat track areas and stayed primarily on our favorite black run that took us back down to the bottom of the Hausberg where we started and then taking the Bahn back up. The mountain was way less crowded this week too. Talking with someone on the Bahn we learned that it was probably so crowded last time because it was right before Fausching (the festival right before lent begins, I think I may I written about it previously). Of the two parking lots one one was partially full of cars this week where as last time we were parked in the back lot and it was packed. There were so many things that went into making this day such a better day on the mountain than last time. I think it also helped that we were familiar with it this time too.

We had a GREAT day and were so glad we spent our weekend in Garmisch and were able to watch the Welt Cup and snowboard!

Nothing to report from Thursday. We went grocery shopping, I cleaned my room, and we went to several bakereis. :) We only had a treat at one. The other we had delicious pretzels. Mine had pumpkin seeds on it and Ryan's had sesame seeds on it. And at the last bakerei we just got a loaf of bread for the week. Oh and we went to the natural food store in town. I got natual peanut butter, which I am excited to try because Germany does not sell peanut butter (actually it is not a European food at all), I also found tahini to make hummus, and soy yogurt. Unfortunately they did not have some of my other favorite ingredients I get at natural food stores at home, but my Mom has been kind enough to send me some of those already. All in all we had a really good weekend.

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