Assorted Acclimatisation, December 19, 2006
Neil has been pestering me like a small, ankle-biting child for this report, and in the end I observed the majority of it being written from the recliner in a state of slumber with my headphones on (see accompanying picture).
Well we have just started our second week of solid training, everyone has eventually arrived, with Simon taking out the award for the longest and the most painful transit to Canada. It took him 3 long tiresome days to travel from Obertilliach to SilverSstar. However he was closely rivalled by Callum, who was fully boarded and waiting on the runway for 30 minutes then told that they were not able to start all the jet engines and had to return to the airport. After a day spent in the airport, he caught a United flight through the dreaded Los Angeles Airport. Anyone who has ever discovered the true meaning of the "Allow 2 hours for all international airports, except for Los Angeles where a minimum of 3 hours is required," printed on every ticket will understand the joys of customs in LA. To date Callum appears to be the current scapegoat of the team- walking past his 95% deflated air mattress on the first morning, one found it difficult to see Callum in the huge crevasse. [Note - he now has a spring mattress, though it is on the floor]
Callum, Simon and Chloe were unfortunate enough to miss d'Arcy's special tour of the Silver Star mountain - given to the others free of charge upon arrival. The tour involved skidded turns (preferably on skis, some on pants) down the black runs to the Comet Express chairlift. Last runs on the chair (always a thrill) followed by an audience of d'Arcy's pleading to the Aussie lifties at the top of the chair to take us home. They provided little help, but did cheer loudly from the other end of the street when we finally appeared, legs shaking, back in the village. When asked how they felt about us being their national ski team, they replied with "It's hilarious."
As our navigational skills improve, so do Chloe's guitar skills and Callum's ability to remember what a bower is in 500 (he is forgiven mainly due to his illegal supply of folate-containing Vegemite for the team but also due to claims of being jet-lagged). We have discovered the various flavours of fudge - Oreo, Espresso, Peppermint, Maple Walnut and Chocolate. Still unsure of the closing time at the lolly shop, there have been many dismayed athletes (and tears on coach Jacinta O'Neill's cheeks) at finding the lights inside turned off after a session in the gym.
Georgia is still struggling to contain her continual excitement (the rumours are true- she volunteered with zest to do all the snow shovelling), while Neil (fully-equipped with turquoise bikini briefs and red fingernails) struggles to contain the effects of eating lentils and assorted dried fruit in excess (purely for scientific purposes). Juliette keeps the team alert with bouts of sleep-yelling, and Aimee keeps Sam (our New Zealand ring-in) entertained with her nocturnal laughter. Mark keeps himself entertained with allocating unfavourable (and hopefully unpopular) nicknames (G-dog Merritt and Darcymon for example), and Simon has been testing his theories on the dried fruit with the kind assistance of Neil. d'Arcy continues her rigorous vocal training for Silver Star Idol (in between maths assignments and English essays), aided by tips from Don and Irene (the couple living downstairs) when they are lucky enough to witness her bursting out the back door on the last note of "Roxy."
Two unofficial "races" are planned this weekend- most likely a classic sprint and freestyle distance to get everyone started before our major competitions in Rossland in early January. I am certain Neil's ankle-biting tactics will have another report up here soon.
[Note - anyone wishing to guess who ghost-wrote this report should email to marslandf @ compuserve.com (it is one of the athletes mentioned above)]