Thursday, January 22, 2015

Ski and Sauna Weekend

Last weekend, we took advantage of the three day weekend to go skiing in the appropriately named town of Winterberg, Germany.  The four of us - me, Natalie, Eric, and Amy - left early Saturday morning and drove two hours north.  As soon as we got there, we rented equipment, signed up for lessons and hit the slopes.  We spent most of the day on the bunny slope in our class.  We practiced lots of various movements while skiing, trying to help us isolate motions so we put it all together.  About half of the runs, we had to do without the ski poles, so that we used our body weight to help us turn etc.

After we finished the lessons, the two girls and I met back up with Eric and took on a more difficult slope.  Although technically rated as the same level as the bunny slope, this hill was much steeper.  On the first big incline, I lost control and flew down the hill praying I didn't wipe out.  I was going way to fast for comfort and only managed to slow down and stop when the slope flattened out a bit.  The two girls caught up and I tried to make my way down the second steep incline.  This time I really focused on going side to side and it worked for like two minutes.  The slopes were so icy (it was late in the day) that I couldn't get any traction and I started speeding down hill on each turn.  I fell twice and when I couldn't get back up in the right position the third time, I picked up my skis and skidded down the rest of the hill in my boots.  We went back to the bunny slope for one more run, but even this slope now seemed too icy for me, so I made my way back to the hotel while the others continued skiing.

Funny story - Natalie lost track of time and was still on the slopes when they shut down the ski lifts.  She ended up having to hike up two hills to get back to the lodge.

We learned after we arrived that the slopes in Winterberg are the closest ski slopes to The Netherlands - about a 3 hour drive.  So, the hotel we stayed at catered to Dutch people.  All of the signs were in Dutch and German - no English.  The staff were all Dutch.  Even our ski instructor was Dutch.  To honor this, we ate dinner next door at the Dutch Pancake House - which was delicious.

On Sunday, when Eric and Amy went back out skiing, Natalie and I took a spa day.  I started off with a hot stone massage and then made my way to the spa.  German spas are generally coed nude spas - they actually forbid us from wearing swim suits.  We had robes and towels, so you could cover yourself whenever necessary, but it was still a bit odd.  As we were there during the day (when most people were skiing), I had every sauna to myself.  But, whenever you showered off the sweat (they highly encouraged heat, followed by cold, followed by rest), the shower itself was open to anyone walking down that hallway.  The whirlpool baths were like the final scene in Maverick with multiple baths in one room.  Despite all the potential for awkwardness, no one was strutting around hanging out like a scene from Caligula.  Most importantly, it was extremely relaxing.  I felt so good at the end of the day.

Sunday night we had dinner in town and then stayed up late to watch that crazy Green Bay - Seattle game on my iPad.  Three different times I said I'd turn it off if Green Bay scored again on this drive, but they never managed to put the game away and somehow Seattle came back to win.  Monday morning after a late breakfast, Natalie and I rented a couple of sleds and went sledding down the mountain.  We had a blast, pretending we were kids again.

Sorry no pictures.

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