Sunday, January 24, 2010

My first Czech ski adventure...

This is the view from one of the ski runs on Svaty Petr in the ski town of Spindleruv Myln in north Czech Republic. We stayed at a little family run hotel called Horni Pramen... it was at the top of the hill from the Svaty Peter chairlifts- an inexpensive taxi ride up the hill was preferred over the intense walk, uphill in deep snow! Our reservation got messed up and they didn't schedule our room for two nights so we were upgraded for free to the 3 room, top floor apartment. It had really great views of the opposite mountain peaks and ski runs. The family was really nice and we all three enjoyed our stay here.
The Krokonose mountain range, translates as the Giant Mountains- and that is what they are. As you ski down the mountain you are surrounded by giant mountain peaks, dotted with trees, covered with snow- it is really quite majestic.
In Oregon, I skied every season at Mt. Hood Meadows, where the green circles signify easy terrain, blue squares signify more challenging terrain and black diamonds implicate you as an expert skier! In Czech the red circles are easy, the blue circles are medium and the black circles are for experts! Hey, at least the colors match up with the difficulty of the hill!
Here I am... on my favorite kind of ski day- full of sunshine, cold with no wind, and well-groomed, wide runs for short, fast turns! All you skiers know what I am talking about when I say it was a day to wear a full jacket with only a wooly and a thermal underneath, a neck gator and no liner in my helmet. Lovely day! I rented skis for the first time in many years as I have always had my own skis in Oregon. It was weird skiing on shorter skis and in basic, rental boots, but after the first run I was able to really let my ski skills show as I swiftly cruised down the mountain. (Mom, I tried 163 length and think they are perfect for me! 160 might be too short...) It felt so good. I love skiing. I enjoy the way it feels to keep control of your skis, to jump and get a little air, to tuck your body down low, lift your poles behind you and feel the wind resistance as you breeze down the last bit of the run before the chairlift-- skiing still makes me as giddy as it did when I was 10 years old.
These are my friends I traveled with. Anne is pictured above and Carrie is below- both snowboarders. We are all three traveling to Austria together in February for ski week. It was good to test out traveling together this weekend- I think we are all very agreeable and get along well- which makes the upcoming journey to Austria (in addition to skiing in the alps) something to look forward to! Anne and I are going to put together another ski adventure in two weeks so we can get in another solid ski day before Austria... All in all it was a great weekend. Tomorrow is professional development which means a full day of work at school, meetings and all but without children- so really it feels a little bit like a 3-day weekend! I hope you are all well.
I will blog again soon. -- Ciao Nikki

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Looking forward to a Czech Ski Weekend...

Brother and sister- day after Christmas- Mt. Hood Meadows in Hood River, Oregon- Good times!
Me and my mama- Oregon is so beautiful when we are shredding up the mountain!
Back in Prague... this is what I arrived home to 2 weeks ago- SNOW, SNOW, SNOW! Prague has seen more snow in 5 weeks than it has had in 26 years! It is both beautiful and magical, and it makes hauling your groceries home a considerable workout! As the temperatures have been a yo-yo and the precipitation has bounced between "Oregon" snow a.k.a rain/snow mix and cold dry snow that pellets your face- the roofs, sidewalks, and many of us foreigners don't know exactly how to handle it all. The roof at our school has begun to cave in many hallways- flat roofs not built to see this much snow are now causing leaks all over our school and I hear in other parts of the city. I am fortunate to live in a remodled flat with a sturdy, slanted ceiling that allows the snow to slide off the roof when it is time to melt... The main problem our building has seen is the mass quantities of snow piling up on the roof then slowly melting during the day and re-freezing overnight and eventually becoming big, blocks of ice that pile up on the overhangs waiting to crash down to the sidewalk! YIKES! Yesterday evening, the manager in my building was in my flat for 30 minutes using a large rake to push the melting snow piles off the overhang to avoid anyone getting hurt or an extra shower from the constant drip-drip-drip- try sleeping with that annoyance happening all-night-long!! Needless to say, I am quite prepared with many new pairs of warm, REI socks, a 600 fill down North Face jacket, and sturdy, thermal-lined, waterproof boots!
Just like in Oregon, all this snow may be causing commotion in the city, but it is fantastic for the mountains. This weekend, I am headed to Spindleruv-Mlyn- a Czech ski resort for a bit of skiing with some friends. I hear that many of the Czech mountains are considered "hillls with lots of people." Not a problem when you are excited about new ski adventures... I will tell you how it goes!
Here is the website of the resort if you want to catch a glimpse of where I will be... "Czech" it out! -- Nikki