a week on the slopes or an exercise in festive nihilism by cory haas

It should come as no surprise to anyone that skiing is about the whitest and most expensive hobby that any one person could participate in. In fact, when deciding to take that winter holiday in the mountains, the one you've been saving up for for about three years and spent countless overtime hours in the office, photocopying project covers and imputing numbing expense reports, convincing yourself ‘Hey! A week in _______ (insert ski resort name here)this oughta be great’, it would have been much easier for you to listen to that nagging voice in your head saying ‘GET THE FUCK OUT’. But no, you signed away the life you lead with little enjoyment and you made a shit deal, my friend. The type of deal that amounts to the devil stealing all you money while simultaneously fucking your wife and fingering you in the ass (Ironically, doesn’t feel as good when the red man himself does it).

Maybe human need for success took over a little and convinced you that you needed to make room for yourself at the top of the food chain, among the MBA’s and PHD’s and SIRF’s (Snotty Inheritance Rich Fucks). Freezing your ass off seemed appropriate. Are you doing it to impress your boss, so that he could see what type of man you really are and promote you out of the windowless cubicle to the corner windowless cubicle, with ‘You should have seen the tits on this broad’ Peter and ‘Why can’t I get anyone to love me?’ Marcy next to you? Or is it to show your surprisingly more attractive and successful neighbour Mort, that, yes in fact your dick actually is bigger than his? The latter feat easily replicated drunk at the cheaper and more familial summer BBQ, only to find yourself winning by a couple millimetres of skin. No need to mention Mort’s last name is Horowitz.

Small dick Mort is taking HIS family home to upstate New York this Christmas. When you told him about your vacation plans, he was kind enough to spew out his philosophy of skiing. He eloquently described it as going down a snowy mudslide for 37 seconds on two pieces of neatly trimmed wood, only to have to go back up the mountain using a lift that forces you to stick a metal rod between your legs (college days anybody?). 

No, no, it’s true, it’s not only about that, it’s about the enjoyment, about the time off spent with your family. It’s about letting the sun and the good humour spread through your bones, making you forget how you could have spent 3 weeks in Mexico with more booze and visible boobage for a quarter of the price. 

‘Honey, this ski jacket makes me look dumb!’ - Truer words had never been spoken.

You wait in line for the cash desk, among the crying babies and horny college students, in what can only be called fluorescent adult onesies, only to find yourself unsure of what to buy in terms of lift tickets. You hadn’t really realized (Google is hard to reach in the wilderness) that six consecutive days of skiing could have gotten you and Jeanine, your college lesbian roommate, three meals a day AND have money left over for condoms. (Ironically, this was the reason you came all those years ago. You got over excited at the thought of getting post-exam pussy for once and didn’t think that a thin later of forgotten plastic would be primordial in the fast track towards the family life).

‘Do you need insurance?’ - The question comes from a moody seasonal worker who, with a dirty and vicious gaze, is telling you, you have no business here. 

She is so right.

‘Why the fuck would I need insurance? I am a grown man’ - The voice inside your head does not escape your lips because you are in the ‘here to have a good time, nothing will stop me’ mentality. The grin on your face is instantly side-swapped by the freighter train that carries the price tag of sending you, the missus and the two wonderful off-springs to the top of the mountain, with no refunds in the eventuality of shit weather.

You get a rare raging hard on every time you see an image representing anything close to an orange sphere on the daily weather forecast. It’s a small victory in a week which often feels like constant emasculation. The pride in a victory of this size is such that you might even make love to your wife tonight. You’ve come a long way since you and her, drunkenly invited your private parts to slosh together under a mixture of Malibu and cigarettes, all those years ago. 

The morning routine is always the same; you come to life once you put on your ski attire: a wet, damp, sweat ridden armour, which makes your balls tingle while you shed a single tear thinking about that photocopy machine back at the office. You head for Everest, making sure everyone is in tow. You’ve yet to make it to the top of the lift, yet you realize that you would kill for one of those downtown massage parlour foot rubs. 

It’s not even 11 and you take a break for lunch. Break is a term used loosely here since you’ve only been skiing for 45 minutes. Soggy fries, exorbitantly expensive coke (the drink, though for the same price, you could have really partied with Jeanine back in the day) and the ugly kind of sunburn, stir up longing images of sandy beaches and flip flops (Didn’t you walk by a ‘FOOTSIE RUBS’ in the village?). You fantasize about the Mexican children selling you pashmina’s, who you’d excitedly throw your money at right now.

‘Hola, umm quatro scarf things for me familia’ - Your high school Spanish coming back to you with such fluidity and precision. French, at that moment, is an insane language for lovers, intellectuals and assholes. 

The rest of the day progresses with the same amount of merriment. Seriously, it’s not that bad…you could get used to this…you think. Maybe even do it again next year? Sure, the money you would have used to send your kids to college has gone into the cold and stuffy cabin you rented for the week. On the bright side, your neighbours are a young Austrian couple who, you’re fairly certain, host nightly orgies, in lieu of an après, après-ski.

You reminisce about the ménage à trois’ Jeanine used to organize in your living room. You never participated, a lack of vagina probably the cause of it, but she was kind enough to let you watch. You never did get the name of that girl on girl on girl sex position, so beautifully executed by your roommate and her friends. It felt a little bit like watching the underage and illegal Chinese Gymnastics team during the Beijing Olympics. The judges all show a 9 and yet you can’t help but wonder if something’s not a little off….mhmm.

Tonight is Monopoly night instead. 

‘It’s okay baby girl, sometimes life ISN’T fair and that’s okay too.’ - A guilty yet extremely satisfying feeling takes hold of you as you assume ownership of the hotel on Park Place. The game sets a great foundation for many of the talks you will need to have as a father down the line. 

It quickly degenerates but the crying subsides into a snore as the evening winds down. The few precious seconds to yourself are reluctantly used the check in with the office. The red bubble indicating new messages lights up, the number 52 swooshing in a few seconds later.  The first one that pops us has an ominous subject header. 

‘New message: Thinking of you’

The night had had its fair share of eventful passages already but this one could act as a welcoming night cap, since you had no liquor in this haunted wooden box. The excitement is such that you almost immediately open the message. You whole life flashes in front of your eyes, except, instead of your life, it was the cute Swedish women you met in the last 24 hours. Was it Johanna, pronounced with a Y sound? The attendant who had taken your email down at the ski rental place. Or was it Malin, the waitress who didn’t deserve a tip but got one at the restaurant last night because of her cultural heritage?

‘Pictures from Mexico. See you back at the Office. - Peter

Only 5 more days to go. 

You wish you still talked to Jeanine, she had the best weed in college.