Thrills and spills

Once again today started like all the others, cloud, snow and a good breakfast. Denise had some fun at breakfast saying good morning to a little Japanese boy who suddenly became quite shy, even with his mum & dad encouraging him to say good morning back to her. She then said good morning in Japanese and he thought it was quite funny. As we arrived and ventured up two chair lifts we were amazed to see how many school kids had arrived (approx 100) and how quickly the ski school had them organised and at the lifts by 9:00am with their instructors. Very efficient, some of our ski schools could learn from them! Anyway we continued warming up on our familiar runs, then Denise & Scott went one way and I went the other with a plan to catch each other at the bottom throughout the morning. I ended up meeting Denise at about 12:00pm, but no Scott. Apparently he caught the courtesy bus (medic van) back to the motel after coming a gutser on a red run and injuring his left knee. Denise filled me in with all the detail over our cafe lattes. Apparently Scott wanted to see what the run was like in comparison to yesterday and it turned out some of the soft patches were now a bit harder and caught his ski, twisting his leg one way and the ski the other with the ski not popping off the boot. Unfortunately Denise didn’t get it on video but did manage to get footage of him laying on the slope (although only a black dot in the distance) and being brought down on the stretcher (see photos below for screenshots). Denise said it was very interesting trying to communicate with the office at the base of the slope as she pointed to the symbols on the ski map to indicate she needed medical and ski patrol and which slope Scott was lying at the bottom of. He is OK, probably a bit of muscle or ligament damage to the knee, a bit of swelling, and certainly a bruised ego. At least he is OK and no broken bones! Denise and I ended up going back up the slopes and mucked around in some deep powder I found earlier which got the better of Denise as she stacked it on her first attempt to go through it. It caught her by surprise and she was wearing the helmet cam at the time, so at least we have some funny footage. We had another attempt and made it right through without stopping or falling. Once we finished that challenge we continued around the slopes until the snow started falling heavier and the temperature dropped causing our faces and fingers to freeze. At that stage we decided we had had enough and called it quits for the day. We put our gear back at the rental shop and returned to the motel to check on Scott, collect his skis, and also take them back to the rental shop. We then continued up the street for some souvenir shopping and visiting the bakery for hot chocolate and pizza. On the way Denise slipped on the ice in the street and ended up on her backside. The bakery was busy today with about 12 people coming through whilst we were there. This is the first time we have seen anyone else in there. One group was a number of high school kids who had been participating in racing with one guy (who had a bit of limited English) coming second in the ski races, so we congratulated him and Denise asked if they learnt English at school. One of the boys said “no” and they all laughed and started talking Japanese so we were none the wiser about their schooling. Another young trio came through and asked where we were from and were quite surprised at the length of time we were spending in Zao skiing and that we were also visiting Tokyo. They were from outside of Tokyo and were also skiing for a few days and complaining about sore legs like us. The pizza was interesting, especially given its price. We were advised pizzas were basic, and they were not lying with it being a tomato base and cheese, then sprinkled with lettuce as it was served. Dinner was another interesting mission tonight, we had some sort of meat (we are not sure what) to boil with veggies, then dipped in wasabi and a sauce. As usual there were also many other courses including a plate of raw fish slices which was also interesting. We try to eat as much as we can as to not offend with large amounts of food left over, but given not everything is to our taste there is always something left when we leave.