This is not strictly about sailing, rather what some sailors get up to
Sailing apart, one of my other passions is skiing and for years I have been promising myself a trip to Colorado to experience ‘the world’s best powder’. This year was the year.
It was an inauspicious start. When there’s a marquee and free tea and coffee outside Terminal 4 at Heathrow you know you’re in for trouble. We were.
British Airways has become notorious over the last year or so for losing baggage so I could only assume that the fact that they were refusing to accept check in bags was some kind of fiendish plot to make amends. I mean if you’re not checking in bags then you cannot lose them. 100% fool-proof. The excuse they made was that the new baggage handling software had gone awol. Strange but it seemed to be working perfectly for Club and First Class check-in.
They gave us three options.
1. Risk checking in and the bags would take around 10 days to be delivered.
2. Send them FedEx or DHL.
3. Leave them behind and only take carry on bags
1. was no go as we’d be flying back in 10 days
2. I phoned FedEx. It would take them three hours to collect the bags. We were flying in two. It would also cost several hundred pounds.
3. Even without skis you take a lot of gear skiing, from boots to helmet, salopettes, socks, thermals and so on. But this was really the only option.
So, in the middle of a heaving Terminal 4 there we were with open cases stuffing ‘essentials’ into our boot bags and hand baggage. What next? Left Luggage of course, except the queue was two hours long and our plane left in 90 minutes. In a moment of inspiration we rushed to the Heathrow Express station, got a train to Terminal 3, left our bags at Left Luggage there and got the train back to Terminal 4. It was now countdown minus 30 minutes.
Somehow we made in through security (and saw one bloke wearing his ski boots) and onto the flight. And our clothes and bags? Luckily there was a Wal Mart in a town about 10 miles from the resort.
But for me the trials were not over. Breckenridge is high. 10,000 feet high. I woke next morning with a splitting headache, dizzy and feeling rotten. Altitude sickness. ‘Just take an aspirin, drink plenty of water and rest’ was the advice. And ‘down at the City Market you can buy cans of oxygen which help.’
A word of advice: if this ever happens to you do not get the Tropic Breeze flavoured oxygen.
So did the Colorado powder snow live up to its reputation? The picture says it all.