Yesterday I took the boys up to 3000m in the Andes (well, a tour operator took us actually), a drive that took over 2 hours. En route our coach stopped at a warehouse on the outskirts of Santiago where the boys were kitted out in warm clothing and “wicked” shades, before we ground our way up innumerable mountain hairpins, pausing once in a while to let a stream of faster traffic overtake.
Once there the boys had a second kitting out session, this time for ski boots, skis and helmets.
Finally we were shepherded up to a ski lift, and took the ride up to the ski school.
Here I was told to leave as it was kids only in the children’s ski school. So I watched from the sidelines as the boys had their two hour lesson.
It turns out they were both naturals. I must admit I felt a bit wistful as I watched them gliding down the nursery slopes, knowing that I’m too old to join them.
Jam shouted out from the sidelines that he was the best in class, and Sonny was apparently second best. They certainly looked surprisingly fluent.
After the class we had a mesmerisingly expensive lunch of chips and chicken nuggets (although bizarrely 20% off with MasterCard), and then the boys returned to the beginner’s slopes for some unsupervised practice.
I suggested to Jam that he practice his turns, but half way down the slope he turned into a group of fellow skiers, and fell for the first time; a fall which naturally was my fault.
Having spent another couple of hours perfecting their skills on the beginners slope, I decided to allow them to ski all the way down to the car park. There was a green route all the way, but at one point a red route diverted off to the left, requiring some pretty crucial navigation.
They made it down with no problems, and professed themselves thrilled with their new sport.
The journey back was hellish, as we got caught in Santiago gridlock, and spent the best part of two hours inching our way through the city streets. Despite Sonny’s bizarre love affair with the city, I shall be glad to see the back of it. Tonight we fly to NY, and straight from the southern hemisphere winter into a heatwave. United are offering to reschedule passengers who don’t wish to travel to the city in such punishing conditions. As veterans of Bangkok, Singapore and KL, we are quietly confident we can cope.