17 February 2007

there is snow somewhere

while the streets are currently clear of the soft white stuff, the ski resorts are not.


taking advantage of the quarantine my school--and my friend's school--is under, casey and i went to slavske (o) for an adventure. i've lived in this oblast for almost a year and haven't yet seen the carpathian mountains; i figured now, with the little bit of time off, would be the best time to see them. and ski them.

of course, i chose snowboarding instead, and snowboarding is the single biggest thing in the world that i SUCK at. but, more on that later.

first, we took the 730 train from lviv to slavske. i had been reading my return ticket instead, so we hopped onto the wrong wagon. noticing we were in platskart (a whole lotta people) as opposed to koup (not a whole lotta people)--and there was a little boy sleeping in one of our spaces--casey realized our (my) error. so we ran back outta the wagon, grabbed our tickets, and booked it down to the other end of the train, where our real wagon awaited.

three hours, and a lotta flat land WITHOUT snow, later, we were in the trans-carpathian region. there were actually mountains there. slight peaks that jutted out of the earth. rimmed with snow. pulling into the train station, we gotta look at some of the ski runs coming down the side of some of the mountains. i just gotta say, they were mostly dirt and mostly now snow. yet there was snow on the ground, so we had hope.

we walked from the train station, down a crooked road full of potholes, and toward a hotel. across from the hotel was the "prokat"--the rental place. casey rented some skis and i opted for the snowboard. i wanted to try something new.


so, as i was getting geared up, casey asked where a mountain was with snow. the name he got was a mountain that translates as "high on top." now, hearing that, i jumped up and reminded everyone that i was a beginner. i wanted bunny, not treachery. they assured us that there were beginner slopes. we shrugged and headed outside to find a taxi.

now, if you're thinking yellow cab from Crazy Taxi or NYC, think again. well, actually, keep the Crazy Taxi part. for 60 uah (12$) we got loaded into a soviet style green jeep with a nice new steering wheel grip but not new not nice suspension. halfway down the road, the man driving points up



and says, "there's your mountain." I freak again and reiterate: I AM A BEGINNER. he assured us there would be no problem.

so we get to the base of the hill and we see the line for the ski lifts and lift passes and we get cut in front of and we get cut in front of. (ukrainians love love love to cut in line). finally we get a ski lift pass and stand in line for the ski lift and ukrainians cut and cut. then we get to the front and sit down.

thirty minutes later (literally) we're on top. way on top--you can check the pics at the bottom.

and they were right, the beginner stuff was at the top. so i dicked around falling on my ass for about four hours, ate some shashlik, and fell some more. casey did the same thing, except with skis and except without falling.

it was beautiful up thee and cold up there and i'm glad we went up there--despite the height.

after our skiing, we took another cool ass jeep down the mountain (50 uah this time) and returned our equipment. then we toured the small town (five minutes) (seriously) and then sit in the train station to wait for our train, which will come in thre hours.

train stations are much much much better than television.

we got to watch people open wine bottles with ski poles. we got asked if we were foreigners--to which i replied, "we live in lviv." we got to listen to a really really really really wasted old woman sing horribly to people waiting for trains. (which was less funny and more sad and depressing; alcohol is the ruin of this country).

and then we took the train home.

all in all a very very fun day. a surreal day for a pcv.

and all in russian. one person on the entire mountain--besides us--was speaking ukrainian. the rest was russian. boo.

enjoy the pics.

me and a snowboard




the hil (and slavske the town in the distance)




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