“Holy shitballs” was the first thing that I said yesterday morning, (Friday). I have been using my upper body muscles to push myself forward, to spin myself left and right while stopped to practice getting myself in to position for starting the ski and to get to the ski lift. I have also been using the said muscles for balancing on the slope before setting off, while Kev and Hannah set my tow rig up for the ski lift and also when travelling up the slope on the ski lift. This is on top of the balance needed on the way down the slope and also the muscles that are used to put pressure through the “Riggers” to turn and keep me upright when skiing. The thing was that this morning I could barely move my arms or shoulders and I had to not only get dressed but once this task had been completed I then had to try to get on to my chair. This would then be followed by the transfer to the toilet and back to the chair. All this before breakfast. Then to get out of the chair on to the seat of the bus to then get in t my chair and then chair to ski. My muscles are seriously aching and I am struggling to do even the easiest of tasks and even though it would be easy to simply tell my instructors that I am simply unable to participate for those very reasons, it would be a waste of a day and as a result I simply went along. Hopefully I would achieve some of the goals I have set.
Meatloaf was the tune of today, loudly booming from the “Happy bus” from the lodge to the slopes was the long version of “Bat out of Hell” which whilst only Ash knew all of the words to it, it did not stop the other three of us bouncing and singing the bits we did know. This morning though we may have drawn a certain amount of attention to ourselves at the traffic lights as the woman in the car next to us turned to look at us. We paused briefly from the bobbing and then returned to our normal routine. She gave us a wave and as the lights changed to green we headed our separate ways. The song lasted all the way to the slopes where we parked in the usual place and got out for our normal brew. This morning I gave my team a debrief of the previous day and the look forward or the goals that we wanted to achieve today. The weather was warm and the sky was hazy today, the snow is noticeably stickier as well and is disappearing at quite a considerable rate. The small patch that was green yesterday was a hell of a lot bigger today and the lower slopes are really beginning to show the grass now. I am glad I managed to get on to this serial as the next are going to have warmer days with the snow becoming sticky very early on in the day.
There were several goals I had set for today. I wanted to be able to turn myself on to the fall from the stationary position which I can now achieve. I wanted to be able to stop at the bottom of the slope by the entrance to the ski lift and hold myself up without falling which I would guess is around a fifty fifty split between staying up and not, I also wanted to be able to practice getting myself to the ski lift which I did a couple of times but being truthful, I simply could not sustain it any longer. I could not put enough pressure through the “Riggers” to make a huge difference without causing me pain. At first ski run I thought it may ease up and so I said to Ash that going on the next run would be good which is what we did. We extended the break as I wanted as much recovery time s possible before going back out to have another go. I was adamant that I was going to be able to do it but my arms were so incredibly sore I knew it would be a short slope run. We ran in but I was not comfortable. Every time I put the right “Rigger” on the ground to push me up to regain my balance I would shy away from it as it hurt until eventually I lost control and not only slid left and right but when I had piled in I actually rolled the sit ski. This was where I told my team that I simply needed to end early in order to get most recovery time and so this is what we did. It was muscle fatigue that made my decision to end as I would end up accomplishing nothing which could potentially cause me to get frustrated or to start a feeling of not progressing which is clearly not what I would want.
My team got me back in to my chair and up to the hotel car park where I took off my ski jacket and packed everything away, I had told my team that I was happy to stay and write my debrief log and that if they wanted to go off skiing then I would not be offended. They argued that they were happy to stay and have a cuppa as we had to wait for “Ollie” to finish but eventually I managed to get Ash and Hannah to agree to go for a ski while Kev just wanted to lay down and chill, so that is what happened. The day was a success though, I can balance on the lift and pull the separation cord at the top, I can almost ski away from the top of the lift a reasonable enough distance for Hannah and Kev to remove the tow rig but not as far as I, or the team would like so Kev has to give the ski a shove to assist me. All in all it was, I felt, a good days skiing and as the Saturday (today) was a non ski day, it would give me a lot of time to recover before getting back in to it on Sunday.
We went out for a meal at the Pizza place for tea, Christ on a bicycle was it a big Pizza. I genuinely thought that it was for me to share it was so big. The plate was around 16 inches across and the Pizza was overhanging the plate at least an inch and a half all the way round. It was MASSIVE. People were falling at the way side trying to eat it all, I had folded mine in half and then cut it up to eat which made it seem half the size but I was eating both of the folded halves with each bite so it didn’t seem too much. I did slow considerably towards the end but I did finish the whole thing! (`Cause I is fat!) Having finished our Pizza and bottles of red wine we left the Pizza restaurant and headed to a local bar which was interestingly enough, downstairs. We stayed in here for the remainder of the evening but as the lodge rules are to be back in no later 23.59, we left in time to meet that curfew. I went to bed having not written the Blog but I was so achy on the muscles I decided to just go to bed.
I woke this morning at 6 am, I could not even think about trying to move as I was in a lot of pain so I went back to sleep for a while until I woke again at a quarter past seven. Again I went back to sleep though as when I tried to move it was agony. Just after eight I had to bite the bullet and try to get dressed, up and out of bed. It took nearly an hour for me to manage to get dressed, the pain from my muscles was excruciating but I did manage to eventually get in to my chair ready for the lessons we would be having with Ash. The lessons were about safety in the snow. It covered avalanches and how the snow builds up on the mountains which make cornices, these can become too heavy and result in them falling which causes an avalanche. It said of the different layers of snow and how skiing works. The lessons were very interesting and were given to make you look at the snow if you are going to go off piste. There were two lessons on the snow and then we had our final lesson which was about how to wax and repair your skis. This was interesting to watch and have it explained. On top of this it explained the significance of waxed and non waxed skis and the effects it will have. This took us to lunch time where after we sat and spoke about what Battle Back had meant for each of us, what it is designed to do and how it may still benefit us later as veterans. It was a really good chat covering a number of other things which will be kept between the group and will therefore not be on here but after the talk, we grabbed our gear, loaded on to the busses and headed out to our pre arranged trip to the local swimming pool.
Now this pool is very nice. It has pool which is for the babies and toddlers, then there is a pool with rapids that simply send you around in a large loop unless you take a turn to the right on the way round where you can chill or get out. Also there is a tunnel ride which you go on inflatable rings to ride and finally there is the pool outside that it is heated and to show how warm it is, steam rises from it. It was sleeting outside and yet the water is so warm you could have been inside as you simply did not get cold. I spent around a half hour in this pool with the group until they went in to muck around on the rapids which left me with Hannah and Ash outside. I knew I needed to get out shortly as I started to spasm but I was comfortable so I stayed in. Ash went to check on the blokes but I was not allowed to be left on my own for obvious reasons so Hannah and I stayed outside for a while. It was only five minutes when I said it was time for me to get out and so I got on to my back and swam in to the steps inside. This is where things really got difficult. I would lift myself up one step and then spasm badly, spasm would subside and so I would go another step, then another serious spasm. This went on for a while until I got to the top step out of the water where Ash and one of the group lifted me in to my chair and Ash pushed me back to the changing room where I slowly squared my dressing etc away, I did require some help which Ash was happy to help with and then with everyone ready, we meant back to the transports and headed back to the lodge.
It has been an excellent couple of days and I am looking forward to getting back on to the slopes to practice more tomorrow. I am not sure if I am going to get to go solo on the skiing but I am really happy with how I have progressed so far. It is raining here right now and has been for around four hours but we can only hope that it is falling as snow on our slopes, I guess we shall find out in the morning! Only a few days left now, work hard and enjoy every last second of it.