When my friend Toni was still alive we used to ski in the mountains around Radstadt, Altenmarkt, Reitdorf, Flachau. Winter was our friend, the long, and beautifully laid skiing slopes ever inviting.
I started skiing early, the first time when I was six years old.
My grandfather would take me to a hill not far from our home, I remember
sliding down the slope on my butt, my hands frozen, toes chilled.
Never will I forget my grandfathers technique to warm hands, fingers.
(I assume he must have learned this technique when serving the K.U.K. Army)
He would rub my hands between his palm till I felt the blood shooting up
my finger tips. It certainly solved the immediate problem. Friction evolving int heat,
a simple physical thought.
This must have saved my fingers from completely freezing up..
The rubbing stopped, still my toes were hurting under the heavy ski boots, made of pure leather in those days. Leather though, yet badly insulated.
Unthinkable in modern days.
Coming home was a real pleasure, warming up near the fire, sipping hot tea made from
lime blossoms, which she had picked the summer before.
This tea served as a remedy against colds, and its associated cough.
Toni was from Reitdorf, Flachau. He was a friend who would visit us in Africa, and we in turn went to visit him in Flachau. I will always remember the day when we first, after a long period of time, ventured to the mountains around Altenmarkt, and I fastened the skiis after a 20 year long period of inactivity on the slopes.
It was almost as if I never stopped skiing, within 15 minutes I was back in my previous form, zooming down the slopes at incredible speed, still maintaining the style as I had thwenty years earlier.
Toni was flabberghasted, he was speechless.
We had great fun and I must say, this was one of my best times I spent in Austria.
Some pictures from those days :
Those days remain unforgettable.
When I came across a posting in a blog read recently, the old memories came back. Gottwald Felix, one of Austria 's top Skiers will accompany a group of selected to the Salzburg Alps in March.
It brought back a nostalgic feeling, not experienced when roaming about in China, Tibet, Thailand and other places of the world.
Lets hope that I stand a chance against the other contenders !
Whatever, whichever, we shall remember the days when Toni and myself roamed the Salzburgian mountains near the 'Sound of music' world.
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