We all got up early to buy lift passes (directly across the road again). Then it was time to get kitted up with our gear, finding out whether you were standard or goofy (stand with feet together and someone pushes you – which ever foot you used to balance is the foot that leads when standing on the snowboard). It was then off to meet up with the instructor -after compulsory photos of all of us standing with our boards in the lightly falling snow. Turned out we were waiting in the wrong area – the ski school rather than the snowboarding school area, but our instructor eventually found us. Our instructor was lovely and friendly. The first lesson was learning to get off the ski lift, which involved exercises in sliding with one foot strapped into the board, the other free. Brendon was marginally in my way getting off the lift so I left it a bit long to get off (or should I say throw myself off), so I didn’t manage a graceful exit. It was then a slow and short journey to a free patch of snow that was on a shallow slope for more of the basics. Everything was going OK, we wouldn’t have wanted any more people to be in the group, but instructor handled us all well, giving us each a bit of time. Lessons involved how to turn right, turn left, go forwards, go backwards, and how to turn over with a board strapped to your feet (definitely an art to that). After our basic instructions it was slowly off down the hill to put it all in practise.
I had a few runs, finding that falling over was a hazard of stopping, when I had an unlucky turn of events. I was heading downhill, gathering a bit of speed, and beginning to turn to slow down when I hit a small drift on an angle, then my body and the board went in different directions, resulting in one really sore knee. I lay face first in the snow, while Brendon and the instructor came to my rescue. After removing the board from my feet and a quite check to make sure nothing was broken, they helped me to my feet. At this point I knew snowboarding was over for the day – my knee really hurt. I limped down the edge of the ski slope until it got too painful, and then I changed to sliding down on my butt. At the bottom, I figured I better go to the medical centre to see what was wrong. After a very, very slow walk (with the help of Brendon), we found the medical centre. Here I was amazed at the efficiency of the staff, they left Brendon to fill out the forms, while I went straight to the examination room. After stripping off my many layers, having a quick but thorough examination, some x-rays, and a Spanish/English diagnoses they strapped my leg up in a knee brace and I was out after about 30 minutes. It turns out I tore a ligament in my knee.
That night we went out to an organised rib shack, where we were fed and got lots of free alcohol. It was lots of fun (I’ll be on a TV show with my leg on a chair with a sign saying ‘Careful, poorly leg’, thanks to one of the reps). The food was OK, the alcohol was awful unless you drank beer (I wasn’t drinking – the thought of walking the steep slippery streets of Pas de la Casa on crutches while drunk did not appeal – plus I was on drugs which had Spanish instructions, so I didn’t want to take any chances).
As we were walking home, Brendon and I finally got some quiet time together, and not too far from the apartment Brendon stopped, turned to face me, dropped down on one knee and asked me to marry him. As you could probably guess I said yes.
The rest of the evening involved congratulations, and Maree being the entertainment for the night.