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Ski Holidays


Schladming March 2020 Team Taylor

Prof, Annette, Holly,
David, Debbie, Max and Dom,
Robert, Christine,
Brian, Janette,
Dog and Sarah.

Saturday 7th March - Annette up at 4:30, taxi at 6am, I still don't feel very well. Have beer in Frankie and Benny's, David has green tea. Fly on time at 9am. Get taxi with Brian and Janette for 160 euro. We check into the Charly Kahr apartments, room 1. The women is surprised when I can remember the old stairs going down to the boot room under Charly Kahr's bar. We get gear and then Billa to shop. I head up at 4pm with no helmet. Consider having a spin down to the middle, but decide just to do a smaller run. Ski down to the Märchenwiese lift, it closed at 4pm, just like it always does. I walk up to OWH, takes 25 minutes. Manni has a beard and girlfriend. Asks us to leave at 5:30. Brian falls a lot on the way down, rather tired. Drinks in the Niederl bar. Enjoy Dobble with Holly, Max and Dom. I actually do quite well. Holly enjoys crawling under the table. We both have a kebab on way home. Very noisy all night from people walking past from the Tenne.

Sunday 8th - Coco pops for breakfast in our apartment. On the 9:20 lift. I queue for lift passes, so a little behind. Holly is in a group for Blues and Reds, meets at OWH at 10am. Meet up with B&J and head down paradise. Janette’s first time, goes well. Drinks in the hut on the bottom. Back over to OWH for noon. Janette has a fall just before Märchenwiese, hurts her wrist. I do two runs to the bottom with Brian. Sit outside at OWH, row 1. Holly leads us round in the afternoon, and then we do blue to middle. I head back to OWH for 4pm, have a couple and leave at 5:30, Mr Dog has a couple of falls on the black. Niederl for one, we buy spicy pizza from there. Bed for 9pm, a lot quieter.

Monday 9th - Up for an early ski with Holly, she goes really well down the blue path past the Planaihof. She goes off at ten and we do red 12 as was and then red 1 to the bottom. Stop for 11's at Kessler Alm, hot chocolate. Pick up Holly at noon and have early lunch. Sit up stairs, with a Russian couple. We ski with Holly from 1pm and then back to OWH. I do a quick spin down red one with Robert, Brian and Max. Janette is not skiing any more this week, wrist and knee problems. Back up the new gondola, takes 13 minutes. Back to OWH and we ski Holly to top station. Back to OWH for 4pm. Mark talks about tax issues, big plunge in oil price. I get a text from Planai ski school, “Please come down NOW, Annette and Holly are waiting with no key”. I head off straight away, down in 12 minutes. I go to the locker to change my boots and find her key there. We arrange to meet at the supermarket, however she goes to Billa and I go to Spar. Meet Robert and Brian in Niederl. We go to Kirchenwirt to eat. David and the rest join us. Good meal.

Tuesday 10th - Sleep well and awake from 7:30. On the gondola for 9:15, David joins us. Overcast in the morning. Drop off Holly and then spin down red four and across to Fastenberg. Down the music piste, good run. Stop in Kessler Alm at 11 for beer. Joined by Robert, Max, Dom, Deb, and then later David, Dog, Sarah and Brian. Collect Holly at noon and head straight to paradise. Holly skies top to bottom in 11 minutes. Back to OWH, sit downstairs, I have spag bol, Annette has the pork. It starts to get a bit snowy. Annette and Holly head down. Holly checks that Mummy has got a key. We all do a spin down red 4 and 5. I go to OWH for 4pm. Patrick is behind the bar, he tells us that they do 700 to 900 items per day in the kitchen. We get 7 free baseball caps. Poor visibility on way down. I shower and we walk over to the City house for a ski party at B&J’s. Annette and Debs make me and David a very nice semmel each. We then play a game of dropping hints to try to get another. Holly enjoys playing with Dom. Back home for 9pm. We have had pillows delivered.

Wednesday 11th - Very overcast and misty to start with. Gondola up at 9:15. Drop off Holly at 10am, meet up with the full team. I lead the way to Haus. We go past the needle and down to the Quattralpina. Very heavy snow. Go up the blue, on the way back. Get back in good time to collect Holly. We go into OWH and sit in the Stammtisch with a girl from Holly's class. They do some colouring together. They have driven from Frankfurt. Holly wants to do the afternoon class, for 20 euro. We go back into OWH for lunch, I have soup with cheese dumpling. The boys drink thru. We go for a quick ski with Holly, find her sun glasses on the moving carpet. We have two runs down the slalom course, tomorrow's race run. Holly and Annette head down. I go back to OWH for 4pm. We get the news that today is the last day of the season for OWH. We are all a bit shocked. Talk with Manni and Johnny. Leave at 6pm, have a nice run down. I go to Billa for some food, and get some chips for Holly. Annette does a chicken curry for tea, very good.

Thursday 12th - Holly is up early and we try for the first lift. See Brian from our window, off for first lift. I get some express wax and wax all the skis in the boot room. On the gondola at 8:50. The snow is very crispy. We have a good ski round and them take Holly for her lesson, Race Day! We head over to the blue eight slalom course. Holly goes very well, 29 seconds. We have a run down the music piste and then to Hopsi land for noon. Holly gets the gold medal. They are presented in reverse order and in German, so she thinks that she came last. By this point it is very warm. We do a couple of runs on the fun park and then sit at the top of the Planai on a large deck chair for our lunch, egg cob. Very relaxing. Me and Holly make a snowman. We have a couple more goes on the slalom. Meet up with the boys at the Schaf Alm at 4pm. Very busy outside, closes at 5pm. Good run down from 5:30. Quick shower and then walk to Die Tischlerei. I go to the wrong bridge over the river first, so we are a little late, a few jokes about What Three Words. Enjoy the food and company, everyone is there.

Friday 13th - On the lift for 8:45, we have a spin round the fun park and down to the button lift a couple of times. At OWH for 10am, the ski instructors have a bit of debate, but in the end Lara takes the class, as usual. We have a spin down paradise. Meet up with the crowd and go to a new bar, Wieslech Alm, above the Fastenberg lift. Enjoy a gluewein. We rush to get back to OWH for noon. We have a bit of a go on the fun slope and then head to the Schladminger hutte. My first time inside. I feel good, so have Vienna schnitzel and two pints. After lunch most people seem settled in, so we go out with Dom. We have another go down the slalom, I get 21.4 we also have a few good runs down the fun slope. I then have a run to the middle with Dom. Back to the Schladminger hutte. Everyone gets a text in the afternoon from Jet2 to say that our flight will go ahead. Just me, David, Max and Dom for the 4pm session. Robert and Brian have to take their skies back early. We talk about maths mostly, Fermat, irrational numbers and SETI. An easy ski down at 5pm. I take my skies back and head to the Niederl. Me, Dom and Holly play tag outside. I stay for an extra one and get back at 7:30. We get an email saying that the flight is cancelled. I go out for a kebab for Annette. I have spaghetti carbonara. Later on we all get an email to say that all Jet2 flights are cancelled and do not go to the airport. A couple of hours later another email says, go to the airport. We watch Donald declare a National Emergency and then sleep from 11pm.

Saturday 14th - Annette is awake and packing from 6am. The taxi arrives at 9am and we check out of the apartment. Pick up Brian and Janette and then off to Salzburg. Nice sunny day. Long, static queue to check-in. We eat after security check, the chips are very stale, my baguette is fantastic. Fly on time. Annette takes her salad bowl on to the plane to have with wine. I have a G&T. We hear that Mark and Sarah will be self-insolating on their return. Taxi back with Steve’s taxis. Almost as soon as we get back Annette goes off to Morrison’s, there are a lot of shortages.

Schladming February 2019 Team Taylor

Prof, Annette, Holly,
Thomas, Amandine,
David, Debbie, Max and Dom,
Brian and Janette.

Saturday 9th February - Alarm at 5am, Steve’s taxi at 6am, pick up Brian and Janette. Bit of breakfast at EMS, fly on time with Jet2. We have a taxi, booked with Taxi Maxi, we go straight to the Planaihof. Arrive at 2:10pm, quickly carry in the cases into the ski door. We get changed and Gondola down on the dot of 3pm. Long queues at Tritscher ski hire shop. Back on the Gondola at 16:20, drop the skies and into OWH at 4:40 for some beer. David and Debbie, Max and Dom ski down with Brian. We have some more drinks. Back to the Planaihof for evening meal, very good, very smart hotel. Have more drinks in the sun lounge, bed for 11pm. Holly is sick at 3am and has a temperature of over 40 degs C. We give her some Ibuprofen and she goes back to sleep. She had three Kinder eggs at OWH and ice cream after dinner. We are in Room 101.

Sunday 10th - Thomas is up early and takes pictures of the view. We are a little delayed. Fantastic breakfast, includes salmon and prosecco. Skies on at 10:30am, Holly has her harness on. We go down Blue 8 and then up the Märchenwiese lift. Holly loves it. From the Sky Toilet we go down the path to Paradise and back again to the top of Blue 8. Annette and Holly have a rest at the Hut and we do another circuit. Back to meet up with Annette and Holly and round again. We go down the blue past the hotel and into OWH for lunch. Annette gets wiped out coming past the hotel. Ski with David and team in the afternoon. We head over to Haus, Mark falls on the way and needs four blokes to put him out of the snow. Do the run past Harry’s pavilion. Back to OWH for 4pm, my legs are tired. Sit round the end of the bar. Annette, Amandine and Holly joins us at 5pm, just as David and Brian have to ski down with Max and Dom. We eat early, at 6:15pm in the hotel, and early to bed. The fire alarm goes off at 8:30pm, Holly goes on about it for the rest of the week.

Monday 11th - Lots of noise from the next room from 6:40am, stamping boots and crying. Down for breakfast at 8:10pm, loads of snow overnight, still snowing. We watch Heinz clearing the snow and also the Tractor clearing the car park. Long relaxing breakfast, I feel a bit more with it. At 10am, Me, Thomas and Amandine do a run, the Märchenwiese lift is shut, so we go through the trees and across to the Fastenberg lift. Down and up Red 9a and back to OWH, rather windy at the top. Glühwein for 11’s, they are all at the Schladminger Hutte, but come across. Me and Annette then do a similar, but continue to the bottom. Gondola up and back to OWH, sit downstairs, everybody except Janette. Annette, Amandine and Holly go down to Schladming shops. Me and Thomas ski with David, Brian and Mark, run down the Black to the bottom. Me and Thomas go up to the top and then ski straight down to the Umbrella bar to meet the shoppers. Back up the Gondola, OWH for 4:40, David and Brian are there. I have a beer and they ski down. Shower before dinner. Play Dobble with Holly after dinner, I feel really tired, but play well.

Tuesday 12th - Up for breakfast at 8am, watch Heinz clearing more snow. Windy and snowy. Me, Thomas and Amandine head off at 9:30, Fastenberg and then middle Gondola, very busy. They queue and I go down to the three-man chair. Holly has Ski School in the morning, a bit cold, Annette stays with her. We eat early in OWH, everyone else is at HW. Holly is enjoying being outside. Brian and David get talking to one of the Danish women in OWH, she talks about the Middle Classes, down the mountain. Holly plays outside with Max and Dom, makes a snowman. Good meal, beef for three, I have turkey curry. We play Snakes and Ladders and then Dobble.

Wednesday 13th - Thomas and Amandine up early again. Thomas does work emails from 7 till 9am. Skies on at 9:20am, blue skies. I ski with Thomas and Amandine down to Planai West. Amandine gets on at the top and we ski down Black 6, wave and then get in at the middle. Long queues to get up to the Tauernalm. Annette and Holly leave the Planaihof at 10:30 in a taxi. We do the Sun Jet lift a couple of times and then the long blue path back for 11’s. Me and Annette go and check out Blue 37 and then take Holly down with the harness. She skies well, parallel by herself on the flatter bits. Back up for pizza and chips. Down Blue 37 again and turn right onto the Tritscher drag lift, we have three goes on there. Annette falls and spends 30 minutes trying to put her skies back on. First time for me to take Holly on a drag lift. Annette and Holly get a taxi back from the Schwaigerhof. Me, Thomas and Amandine ski down and back up Planai West. They get ready to go into town and I have a spin down Paradise. Get to OWH at 3:59 and realise that I was supposed to get Annette’s skies from the top station, do another quick circuit. In OWH from 4 till 5:30pm. Doris has more than three Flying Hirsch, so has to ask Christian to drive. I have to call Brian back in to have his free one. Thomas and Amandine go down on the Gondola, we eat early and have an early night. They taxi back up for 11pm.

Thursday 14th - We are down for breakfast at 8am, I clip in for 9:10, I check out the Tritscher ski school, 140 euro for two hours private lesson. We decide to go with the Planai ski school, we check her in at 10am. Me and Annette ski down Paradise and back. We see Brian and Janette and ski with them a little. Me and Brain are released from 11:15 till noon. We have a right blast down the black and then down to the three-man chair. Holly has won a gold medal in the Ski School race. Thomas and Amandine have done a lot of skiing on Haus. After lunch we take Holly down to use the Ski School travelator, she can do some by herself. I have a late nip down to the three-man chair. OWH for 4pm, we sit round the Stammtisch table. One of the Danish women has broken her leg. Annette enjoys the drinking. The town team leave at 17:30pm, we have a few more Flying Hirsch, Annette is a little drunk, we drag her out, she recovers a little at lunch. The others have a Valentines meal in the town.

Friday 15th - I am awake from 2am with Red Bull issues. Room next door are very loud from 6am, get a bit of sleep till 9am. Thomas and Amandine are down before 8am, we are a little delayed. Me and Thomas clip in at 9:20am and head to Haus, at speed. We go via the Gipfelbahn and down the big red and blues all the way down to the Gumpen bar, past it at 10:30am. We lift up and do a lift more runs on Haus. Annette texts to says that she wants to ski with Holly from 11:30, so we head back. Go down the path to the Gipfelbahn. A helicopter lands just in front of us on the path and we have to wait, delayed for 20 minutes. We get back to the Planaihof for noon. Thomas goes to ski with Amandine, I ski with Annette and Holly, we do the blue path and the travelator. About 1pm decide to break for lunch, we go to the Planaihof sun lounge, surprisingly cold. We take Holly for a final ski to the top of the Planai and then down to top station. I ski down and wave at Holly and Annette in the Gondola. Down for 15:30, drop off the skies. Back up on the Gondola and walk down to OWH for 4pm. I don’t really fancy a beer, but after the first Flying Hirsch I feel a lot better. They ski down at 17:30, I stay a little longer with Thomas and Amandine. Amandine feels the need to drink more Jäger. Meal shower and bed for 10pm.

Saturday 16th - Annette is up and packing from 7am. Nice breakfast from 8am. Thomas, the taxi driver arrives at 9am, we depart from 6000ft and head back to earth. Easy drive to the airport, apparently there is a crash just behind us. The aircraft does a low speed taxi along the runway before returning to the stand for a brief fault investigation. The flight seems a little rushed after that. The Border Force man says, Where Do I know you from, we decide that it might be the Spotted Cow or the Hollybush. We hear that FlyBMI has gone bankrupt. The heating is off so the house is down to 13 degs C when we get back. Large curry from Viceroy Duffield when Holly goes to bed. We watch quite a few episodes of Anthony Bordain, Parts Unknown.

Schladming February 2018 Team Taylor

Prof, Annette, Holly,
David, Debbie, Max and Dom,
Brian, Janette,
Dog, Sarah,
Dawn, Archie, Tate, Bill and Chris.

Thursday 22nd February - Set off at 4pm and arrive in Hull for 6pm, priority boarding, Pride of Rotterdam, room 10191. We are eating at 7pm. We have a bit of an explore round the ship, bit of an issue getting seats by the stage.

Friday 23rd - Awoken at 6am, breakfast is not very busy. Start driving at 8:30am, head to Utrecht and Bonn, then Frankfurt. Stop a few times for coffee and toilet. Loads of roadworks and delays, takes approx. 10 hours. Have a hot dog at Benny ?? and Fritz. Arrive at the Ghotel in Wurzburg by 8pm, room 709. We eat in the restaurant, Annette has a burgher, I have spag bol.

Saturday 24th - Text from DT wakes us up, breakfast in the room. Back on the A3 for 10am, first stop is Passau. The road seems to go downhill for miles after that. Google takes us on an interesting shortcut via the Pyhrn pass. Arrive in Schladming at 4:45. David and Brian are up at OWH, shortly after Mad Dog and Sarah have just left. We check into room 205 at the Kirchenwirt. Meet some of them for drinks in the Niederl cafe and bar. Very nice lamb for diner. Very cold minus 16.

Sunday 25th - Blue skies, the three of us have breakfast and do skies and passes. We then head up at 11am. Annette and Holly walk down to Hopsi Land to have a look and then get the Hopsi Express back up the hill. Dinner at OWH. I ski a little in the afternoon. Drinks at 4pm with David, Brian and Mark. We cannot find anyone when we get down, all wander round a bit then find out that Annette and Holly are with Janette and Sarah drinking Prosecco. Niederl for one and then evening meal.

Monday 26th - Up from 7am to get Holly ready for her first lesson in Schladming. Get here there for 9:40, we watch her first few runs. We try to have a ski, but -20 is just too cold, Annette has no thermals. She goes and sits in the Märchenwiese. I ski top to bottom, no stops, to try and get warm, still bitter cold. Annette and Holly are first at OWH, I have the Planai Grostel. Ski non-stop in the afternoon. At OWH for 4pm, no DT, they arrive at 4:30. We have a warm honey schnapps, first time, made by OW himself, very special. A little late leaving, too dark, fast run. Straight back to the hotel for tea. Play Dobble and then an early night, 9pm. It was -28 on the Dachstein.

Tuesday 27th - Snow on the ground in the village, another -20 day. I am out of bed for 8:30am, nice slow breakfast with Bill and Chris, up for 11am. Cold and Misty, I ski in goggles. Ski all over Haus, back to the Planai for 1pm. I meet Team Gilbert for lunch at the Kessleralm. I ski to the bottom with Dawn and Archie and Tate, then up to OWH to get Annette and Holly, bottom again. Back up to OWH. Dog is suffering with his sinuses. Long chat about the future of Datum, no time for schnapps! Good run down. Meet Annette, Janet and Holly in the Niederl Café, they are drinking Aperol. Back for lunch with Bill and Chris. Annette tries to drag some people to the Tenne.

Wednesday 28th - I sleep well and feel good in the morning. Stomach cramps and tiredness are a little better. Nice breakfast, egg cob and Nutella cob. We walk to the Planai and then taxi to Rohrmoos Hopsi land, there for 11am. Holly skies a bit. Dog has driven to Salzburg hospital overnight. I ski most of HW from 11 till 12. Taxi up to Tauernalm, we get a table upstairs, I have a Diavolo pizza. We all do the sledge run, Holly is with me and enjoys chasing after Dog and Sarah. We go a bit fast at the end, rather icy. Some rush back to OWH. Some taxi down. We sit in the Stammtisch and look at the pictures. Corner Cushion. We ski down in the Moonlight. Bill tells me that there is never a full moon on a Wednesday, I bet him $50 that there is. Waitress drives from Hungry.

Thursday 1st March - Up early and try to talk Holly into a ski lesson, but she says No. I catch up with DT & family, we ski down to the Igloo bar as was, now called Gumpen bar. Meet up with Brian, Dog, Sarah, Dawn and Archie and Tate. Head up to Berggashof tent bar for 11’s at 12:30, sit outside. Down and cut across to the Quattralpina. Get to OWH for 2pm, I have Planai toast, sit upstairs. Move down at 4pm, a couple of Red Bulls with Doris. As we prepare to go, I make a terrible mistake, Doris gives us two more pints. Leave at 6:20, we meet loads of kids from the Almrausch. Brian and Dog tries to help one. Gasthuas for 7:30, good meal, I have the liver. Holly enjoys playing with the boys. Hotel for 11pm, Annette is in pain.

Friday 2nd - Slow start, a bit warmer. After some debate I go up the Planai and ski to HW. Annette and Holly get the bus to Tauernalm and go bumboarding. I arrive at 11:20 and reclaim my Credit card. Do some bumboarding with Annette and Holly. Do the full sledge run with Holly, takes almost an hour. Eat at Tauernalm. I ski back to the Planai and meet the rest at OWH at 4pm, we stand at the bar. A drunk man comes in late on who can barely stand up. Doris confirms my observation from yesterday about the way that the Stiegel beer is served. We leave at 5:40, down at 5:50, lots of issues with the light. Take gear back and then to Café Niederl with all except David. Have some banter, move into Bar Niederl, more banter. I accidentally tear a 100 Euro note. All come to Kirchenwirt for food, all good.

Saturday 3rd - Check out of room 205, on the road for 10:35. Bill and Chris are heading to Prague. Blue skies. It is very nice driving, all the fields are snow covered and the roads are clear. We let the Sat Nav dictate the route, Salzburg, Munich, A2 towards Stuttgart, then A61 towards Venlo. During the drive along the A2 we are passed by some very fast cars. About 6pm we decide that it is time to stop and drive into Speyer, we try the first hotel that we see, a Hotel IBIS. A bit expensive, but very friendly. We order pizza in and eat in the bar. Bed from about 10pm. Holly says “Mummy has gone for a cigarette” for the first time. We are in room 222 and 220, and Holly can recognise the number.

Sunday 4th - A very good breakfast followed a a very brief look at the Cathedral. Then back on the A61. A nice drive with lots of large bridges. The Rhine tidal range is about at Nijmegen. We get into a large queue almost as soon as we enter the Netherlands, which lasts for almost an hour. I miss the turn whilst we are in Europort and go on a large detour. We board at about 6pm on the Pride of Hull. We have a very nice five berth cabin, 10305. The ComicCon festival has been on over the weekend in Rotterdam, so a lot of strange people are on the boat. It is rumoured that Billy Connolly will be eating with us. We enjoy the variety of food as always. In bed from 10pm.

Monday 5th - The bell goes at 6am UK time, I rush to the shop and get three cases of red wine, one from South Africa, Australia and France. We go for a quick breakfast and are almost last ones off at 7:30am. A long queue for Passport Control and also through Hull. I decide to go over the Bridge and it turns out to be quicker, home for 10:30pm. All rather tired, J&J come round from noon, and play a lot with Holly. She gets out all her toys. Tired in the evening, glad when Brian declares that he is too tired to go out.

Schladming February 2017 Team Taylor

Prof, Annette, Holly,
David, Debbie, Max and Dom,
Brian, Janette,
Dawn, Archie, Tate, Bill and Chris,
Bob Mac and Will.

Thursday 23rd February - Leave at 3:30 for a very easy drive up to Hull. On the Pride of Rotterdam for 6pm, Cabin 10303, lots of room. Go for dinner Filipino staff, window seat watch a tug pull us out. Holly enjoys watching the boats. Storm Doris is not much of an issue, it is about two hours ahead of us.

Friday 24th - I sleep very well, awoken by the bell. I go for breakfast by myself. The lifts make it difficult to get to the car and we are almost last off. On the move for 9:15. Holly likes the Windmills and big boats. Route is a bit messy until we get on the A3. Burger King for dinner just before Koln, I have a double espresso. Route drags a bit towards Wurzburg. We stop at the GHotel, rather cool. Walk over to Aldi, get some food for the room. Holly enjoys the view from the Window.

Saturday 25th - Drive over to Aldi and get stuff for breakfast. On our way for 10:15, get straight on the A3, and the Sat Nav says go ahead for 200 miles. Stop for Petrol at nice Bier garden, near Nurnburg. Slow traffic to start with. Follow the A3 all the way past Passau and into Austria. Loads of tunnels, which Holly enjoys. For the first time we arrive from the East, via Liezen, see the Haus needle first. In Schladming for 4:15. Get the key from near the Golden Jet. Go shopping at Spar. Holly enjoys playing in the apartment. I get the fire going and we have steak and chips.

Sunday 26th - Up for breakfast with Annette and Holly. I get over to the Planai for 9:30am, total melee. I have to queue to get my skies. On the lift for 10:40. They have all gone to Haus so I ski by myself in the morning I ski down to meet Annette, Holly and Janette and we go to OWH for lunch outside. I play with Holly and we walk around, watch the boys playing in the snow. Rob Mac does not find us. At 4pm, Me, David and Brian meet up, David's first line is, in the next five years one of us is going to say that we don't want to do this any more. Three pints and a quite a few shots. A bit too dark to ski down. Large mounts of heavy wet snow, we all fall. We eat in the Kirchenwirt. Me and Holly enjoy playing Hide and Seek. We play on the swings in the dark on the way back.

Monday 27th - Up from 7:30am. Meet Brian in the locker night at 9am. Melee at the Planai, so we get the bus to Planai West. Bit of a queue for the two man chair, do the Sun Jet lift twice and then head down to Pichl for 11's. We are heading up to the top when Annette phones me from Pichl, they have arrived on the bus. Me and Brian ski down to get them and accompany, Annette, Holly and Janette to the top. We all eat to the top of HW. The skiers head back over to OWH. I stay behind to help Rob Mac and Will with navigation. They all eat at the Winter Garden, we stay in and I fetch a pizza from the end of the road.

Tuesday 28th - Small breakfast and meet Brian in the locker room at 8:15, at 8am the lift was empty. We are queueing from the top of the stairs. DT and team are a bit behind us. We head to Paradise and do a run and wait for DT, excellent, fast runs. Over to Haus and down the Blue. There is an igloo at the bottom, but it only has snow mobiles in it. Stop for 11's at Mitterhausalm, I enjoy a coke and a Mars bar. Back to OWH for 1:30pm, snow and wind are getting up. A few decide to drink through. I do paradise then Red 5 with the four boys. Quick session at 4pm and ski down. Carnival has been going on all day, Fasching. Drink and dancing by the Niederl bar. We eat with Brian and Janette in the Neue Post, my first time inside.

Wednesday 1st March - Up at 7am and other to the Planai for 8am, we join the melee at 8:05, gates open at 8:15am, just me, Brian and David up for the first run. We do a run down Red 2 and up the six man chair. Fresh snow on part of it makes it rather heavy. By 9:20 I look at the clock and think, Is it time for 11s yet ? Very tired legs, thighs in particular. We stop at the bottom of Paradise for 11s, we all have chocolate cake. My stomach is an issue. We then do a quick run to Haus and back via the Black and the Blue. OWH for 1pm, I struggle down a beer and a Grandma's soup. Me and Brian ski down at 3:50, do the old Red 1 route, terrible after the bridge, legs are burning. Taxi to Rohrmoos and go on a sleigh ride. About 45 minutes each way, with a stop at a bar half way, very pleasant. Most go for a meal at the Tischlerei. We call at Billa and have chop and chips.

Thursday 2nd - Sleep a lot better. Stomach is a lot better in the morning, started taking the charcoal last night. Meet in the boot room for 8am. Brian is just in front of me, and my pass does not open the locker. I have to find him in the queue. I am in the queue for 8:10, but it still takes till 8:35 until I am on the way up. Down Paradise and over to Haus, rather busy for the time of day, head back and play on the Fun park for quite a bit. 11s at Harry's Larch Pavilion, I enjoy a beer. Over to OWH for 1pm.

Friday 3rd - Breakfast at 7am and boot room for 8pm. Rob Mac and Will are with us, 8:20 am on the lift, straight to Haus. David and Brian are ahead, meet them on Paradise. Head down to the bottom of Blue 2, long queue. Back to the top of Blue 2 for 11s, I enjoy the beer. DT goes to get Max who was not too well. OWH for lunch. Annette and Holly come up for 12:30pm. We get there late at 1:40pm. I have the liver dumpling soup. David and Brian stay till 4pm. I ski in the afternoon with the four boys, Rob and Will. Back up from the middle for last run down. We have to queue to take the gear back. Back to the apartment and have a bath and a shower. Go to the Gauthaus for food. Cheese starter, I have a very good rump steak, other not too pleased.

Saturday 4th - On the road for 10:15, bright sunshine. Stop at about 1pm for egg, cheese and corn beef sandwiches. Nice to sit outside in the sunshine. On the A3 from Passau all day. Work out that the hotel booking which I made last night for Wurzburg is for the wrong day. So we book another in Frankfurt. Arrive at about 7pm at the Holiday Inn. Cross the river and see the bright lights. Have a burgher and some beer in the bar.

Sunday 5th - Good breakfast and on the road for 10:15, most off the day on the A3. We come off because of road works before we get to Netherlands. We stop at Bedburger Land, very busy. When we arrive I realise that we have stopped here before. See the Garzweiler open cast mine. Arrive at Europort for 4:30pm and board about 5:15pm. Straight to the top deck to watch the ships. Go for an early meal and enjoy it again, very good roast beef. The Pride of Hull has French canteen staff.

Monday 6th - The bell goes at 6am UK time. The ship is stationary while we eat breakfast. We drive off at 7:40. Takes an hour to do the first mile, easy drive after that, home for 10:30am.

Sauze D'Oulx Jan 2017 Brian's 50th Birthday and Spondon Lot

Prof, David, Brian,
Bob Mac, Snowy, Pete,
Dave Pusey and a lot of the Spondon mob.

Wednesday 25th January - Brian picks me up at 18:30 and we head to Rolleston, David drives us down to Stansted. We check into the Radison Blu. Have a few drinks in the bar and watch the Wine Angles. The Belper gang joins us, Bob Mac, Snowy and Pete. DT is amused by a couple of small holes in my underwear, goes on about it for the next two days. I have a fantastic sleep from 1:30 till 5am, I snore a lot apparently.

Thursday 26th - Walk across to the airport and take off on time. Use paperless boarding pass for the first time. Luca from Snow Cab does the transfer to the Hotel La Torre. When we arrive nothing has changed with the hotel. We get changed outside the toilets and head up. The ski hire shop will not give David 150cm skies, because they are for children. He has to risk going to 160cm skies. The first thing that we notice is that the disused chalet on the run from the Marmot is how open, called La Capanna Mollino, with a nice fire. Also the lift past the Marmot bar is not running. Do a few runs, spend some time in the Great Bear bar at top of Cotes. Meet up with the Spondon gang in the Village bar, great free food on the bar. Pusey has got the fever, so I have to leave a pint. DT and Pusey go on to the Grotto, and we try the Ghost bar, great atmosphere. We all move on to the Derby bar later, have a few PVRs.

Friday 27th - David seems to have some problem remembering where he put his helmet and gloves. He has just brought a new set when Bob Mac finds it in their room. The four of us ski together and we head down to Sansicario. We eat at the Soleil Boeuf. After lunch we head down to Sansicario itself. Work our way back up and do a run to the half way station on the Sestriere cable car and then back up. Foggy at the top and we nearly take the wrong path. Go to the Ghost bar straight from the slopes. I have a walk down to the Gran Trun, closed for the night. Later on Brian falls asleep in the Derby bar and the Spondon lot just leave him there.

Saturday 28th - I make a mistake with my shoes and just leave them in the foyer. Do a good few runs. We meet up with the Spondon crowd in Sportinia and eat three pizza between us in Capanna Kind. Do some more in the afternoon, I enjoy the run towards Jouvenceaux. Have drinks at the top of the mountain. Back to the hotel for a shower and to change and pack. Walk back up to the Schuss bar, have some beer and food off the bar. I go with the Belper gang to L'Assietta and have a large T-Bone steak, very nice. Have a last one in the hotel bar with the Belper gang and Brain joins us for one.

Sunday 29th - Alarm goes off at 5:30am. Have a small breakfast in the hotel. Heavy fog on the drive into Turin, lot of hanging around, fly on time at 9:55am. David drives us back to Rolleston and then Brain home.

Schladming February 2016 Team Taylor

Prof, Annette, Holly,
David, Debbie, Max and Dom,
James and Laura,
Brian, Janette,
Dave, Dawn, Archie, Tate, Bill and Chris.

Saturday 22nd February - Minibus taxi comes round at 4am, pick up Brian and Janette. Fly from EMA at 7am. Holly's first flight, she is happy most of the way, playing with stickers and watching the iPad. We have booked the transfer with Crystal. In Schladming just before David at noon. We are staying in the PostHotel with Brian and Janette. David and family are in the Taxi Maxi apartments. Me and Brian get ski gear, get eight day pass and get going. Meet David at 4pm at OWH. Heinz and Moni are pleased to see us again. Rhiney and Rat boy (Hilly) are still there, Mani is now driving a lorry. Have a few and ski down. Brian is not drinking this year. Meet up with everyone and go for one in the Niederl bar, we are served by Martin, Walter's son. I play beer mat flipping with Dom. Enjoy the meal in the hotel. Sleep in ski gear for first part of night for some unrecorded reason.

Sunday 21st - We all eat breakfast together at 8:45, on the lift with Brain for 10:30. David was up at 9:30 with the full team. Sky toilet and Haus connecting lifts are closed to start with, probably due to wind. Me and Bri have a shoot down Paradise and then up to top of Haus when it opens. Down to bottom at 1pm to meet the girls at the hotel. We go to eat in the little Planai bar, first time. We all go back to hotel. David phones and I go up at 3:30 for drinks at OWH. They are closing at 4pm because of staff Christmas party. We have a couple sat round the bar and leave before 5pm. Nice ski down, meet the rest in the Tenne for a couple. I injure my right thumb somehow.

Monday 22nd - Awake a bit earlier, breakfast at 8:20. Brian goes on ahead. I get caught in the melee at 9:20. Meet Brian plus David and Debbie at OWH at 10am. Head to Haus. Down the blues to where the igloo bar was a couple of times. Flying Hirsch at top bar and then rush back. David and Debbie are a fraction late to meet Max and Dom at noon. I meet Annette, Holly and Janette at top of gondola and walk across to OWH. blue skies all morning. At my suggestion, we sit in the new OWH sun terrace, a few complains. I have spaghetti. Somehow the decision is made to drink through. I carry Holly back up to the top of the Planai. Me, David and Brian sit at the end of the bar. I feel a lot better after some red bull. Ski down to the Tenne as yesterday. Both skies come off in heavy snow. We have one in the Tenne and another in Niederl. Rumours start about a Holly / Dominic match. Annette and I take evening meal in turns.

Tuesday 23rd - Annette is up with Holly from 1am till 4am. Holly then sleeps well till 9am. Annette was planning to ski today, but does not bother because of late start. I meet David, Debs and Brian for elevens at the Fastenberg bar, Flying Hirsch. Snow is heavy even at that level. Me and Brian ski down the black to meet the girls at CK for dinner. They have burghers, I don't feel that hungry. Go up and meet up with James, Laura, David etc., on Paradise, still very heavy snow. OWH for 4pm, a few legal stories about gate access. Ski down a bit too late, poor visibility, everyone has left the Tenne. I enjoy evening meal, walk round with Holly, I wander over to Niederl bar to see them eating pizza later.

Wednesday 24th - Annette up early to meet Brian and David, they ski to Hochwurzen. I eat a relaxed breakfast with Holly and Janette. Me and Holly then do a lot of walking up and down the corridor till 11:20 when I start getting her ready. Taxi at 11:40 to Tauernalm. Blue skies and cold air. When we arrive have a bit of a wander around and have the idea of maybe walking back. Everyone arrives at the Tauernalm at about 1pm. The Griffsters all sit outside, the rest go inside. Lots of tables are free. I have the Diavolo pizza as normal, they seem to have changed the recipe a little. At about 3pm they all head back and so Me, Holly and Janette set off walking. Start off just going along the road, we then follow a couple of footpath signs and go across a few nice fields. See a sign for Onkle Willies Skischule. Back for 4pm, walk around the square for a bit. We go for coffee and cake at the hotel. Annette skies down to middle with Debbie. Max and Dom first time on the last run down. Also Dawn and Dave, Archie and Tate. It is James's birthday, I meet them in the igloo for a couple. I enjoy evening meal, my stomach is getting used to the place. Annette goes over for one in the Niederl with James.

Thursday 25th - On the gondola for 9:30, David and Debbie are watching the boys in the ski school race, so me and Bri head over to Haus and meet up with Laura and James in the queue for the Quattralpina. Do the path to the bottom of the Gipfelbahn (Gipfel means Summit) a couple of times and down the other side. Stop for a Flying Hirsch and also spin down to the bottom. Me and Brain head to CK to meet up for dinner. We see DT on his way over to eat near the Quattralpina. The boys had problems in the race, people cheered and they stopped. Dom says “it has ruined my life”. Nice lunch in CK, rather quiet, have spaghetti carbonara. After lunch Me and Brian head back over to meet them, get to the top of the Quattralpina and find them. Have a few at OWH, we sit in the Stammtisch area, I have the idea of making a corner cushion. Down for 5:30, Laura and James's last day, they decide to always stop at the AQI, great breakfast. Annette has one in the posh Alte Post outside bar whilst I walk around with Holly. Most go for a meal in the Winter Garden.

Friday 26th - Annette goes down for an early breakfast first, whilst I lie in bed, looking after Holly. Brian is on the gondola for 9:20, I am there for 10:10, total melee, queueing down the stairs and into the foyer. When I get up, we do the Fastenberg lift a couple of times. David is still in apartment. Fantastic blues skies. Meet up with Team Taylor at the top. Ski red one, as was, again. Me and Brain ski to the bottom in about eight or nine minutes to meet up with the girls, eat outside at CK. Annette and Holly have been to the swimming pool. David stretches lunchtime drinks into early afternoon drinks. I ski with Brain, do top to bottom again on the red, not quite as nice. Meet up at OWH at 4pm, a couple and then a run down with everyone. I take Holly for a walk round town for forty minutes, back for drinks in Niederl.

Saturday 27th - Me, Annette and Holly meet Brian for breakfast. We walk down to the bottom of the Planai for 9:15, I comment to Brian, "Do you think that we are early enough to have missed the mayhem ?" They are queueing 20 yards out of each entrance to the building. We have to walk round to even get to the lockers. Get the bus to Hochwurzen, there are almost no queues there. We do all the runs there and then head back to the Planai. Get to the bottom for just before noon. Get changed in the hotel and check out. We eat in the Gasthuas. I have Wiener Schnitzel. Me and Holly walk around the square in the sunshine. We get picked up from the Kirchenwirt at about 14:30. Holly sleeps almost all the way on the transfer. We go from terminal two, not too busy.

From Total Slope distance 181km, Total vertical distance 37.0km.

Schladming February 2015 Team Taylor

Prof, Annette, Holly,
David, Debbie, Max and Dom,
Robert, James, Christine,
Brian, Janette,
Dawn, Archie, Tate, Bill and Chris.

Thursday 26th February - Leave at 4:30pm, drive to Hull. Sail on the Pride of Hull. Have the all you can eat meal. I sleep very well.

Friday 27th - Breakfast and off the boat for about 8:30am, head East. Arrive in Karlsruhe, stay at the Leonardo hotel. Eat in the bar.

Saturday 28th - Awake from 6am, On the move for 8:30am. Stop for McDonald's at Merklingen, and again near Augsberg. Last stop in Golling McDonalds, for a nice cup of tea. Arrive in Schladming for about 6:30pm. Some are in the Niederl but we don't make it. Brain and Janette get take away Pizza and a bottle of wine.

Sunday 1st March - Up the mountain for 11am, I ski by myself in the morning. Red Six has become Black Six, and a few other runs have been renamed. David has booked a table for us at lunchtime, we all sit downstairs. Mani greets me when I walk in. Annette comes up with Holly in the wrap and double coat. In the afternoon I ski with Robert, James and Brian. We have a great blast around, top to bottom a couple of times. Back to OW for 4pm, sit upstairs just to annoy David. We have a number of attempts at getting a particular red schnapps, but keep getting the wrong one. Probably just have one too many. Ski down and meet all the others in the Niederl Cafe for one. I walk back by myself and watch some of the ski show. Walk back to the apartment and watch the rest from the balcony. Sleep on the settee till 2am.

Monday 2nd - A bit of rain to start with. I have a slow start and hang around the apartment till noon. Go up and have a little ski around and then OWH, Annette does not come up. I ski with Robert, James and Brian in the afternoon, do Paradise a couple of times, then Black Six. Steady session at 4pm. Some eat in the Kirchenwirt, we have takeaway burger from Taxi Maxi.

Tuesday 3rd - Still not sleeping very well, very thin curtains, and too much time thinking about work. Up fairy early, ski by myself in the morning. We join Robert, James and Christine for evening meal in the Kirchenwirt. We have a large plate of meat between us, very good.

Wednesday 4th - I get up and over to of Hochwurzen early, ahead of everyone else. They have renamed the Fun Jet, but the runs are numbered the same. Just before lunch Dawn gets a message that Max and Archie have fallen in the fun park. Max has short term memory loss and goes into hospital for 48 hour observation and Archie ends up with his arm in plaster. Annette, Christine and Janette come over to join us for lunch at Tauernalm. We eat inside, I have lasagne. DT does not make it to OWH, we are a bit quieter. Have apres-ski drinks in the outside Alte Post bar with David and Dawn. Kirchenwirt for food, I have the Luxembourg kebab.

Thursday 5th - Annette goes up with Brian and Janette, Christine, etc. Heavy snow. I have an easy morning, Holly sleeps. I work out the wrap and meet David and Christine at noon to go up on the Gondola. Holly is in my ski coat asleep. I few of the gang come round to our apartment for drinks after work. I light the log burner. We have cheese fondue.

Friday 6th - Lots of snow overnight. I am on the first lift with Robert, Brian and James. We have a spin down Paradise valley. The sky clears and I announce that the conditions are fantastic, but the snow is a bit heavy. I then proceed to fall on the slope above Quelboden hutte. I break my small sun glasses, hurt my ribs a little. We met Christine and Janette at 10am and set off on the blue route which we had reconnoitred the other day. We go across to OWH and then blues, then pole up and across the get to middle station. As soon as we get on Red 1 (was 3) Janette has a fall. Brian calls for a rescue and I carry on with the others. Blue paths and runs down to the six man chair. We stop for hot chocolate. I then ski down to the bottom to come up with Annette and Holly. OWH is very busy, we have to wait a long time for a table and then a long time for service. Quick spin around in the afternoon and then back to OWH for 4pm, we have lots of Jaeger, and build a small tower. When we get down, take the skies back and then have drinks in the Siglu, rather quiet. We all go to the Winter Gardens to eat. Robert and James are very good to swap with us and sit at the boys end of the table.

Saturday 7th - Leave the apartment at 10:20am, fantastic blue skies as we drive up the valley. First stop at is at McDonald's for a Big Rosti. Delays round the Munich ring road and along the Munich to Stuttgart road. We see an incident involving two cars arguing, the Police soon turn up and catch them. The traffic feature of the Sat Nav gets confused and at one point adds in a three hour delay. Stay in an apartment of the Hotel Acora in Karlsruhe. We have an Indian curry takeaway for tea.

Sunday 8th - Set off fairly early. We stop just after noon for the first feed near Augsberg. I have a very good Pork knuckle. Stop for coffee in Holland and sit outside by the side of the motorway. We had set the Sat Nav to go to a Lidl near Rotterdam, and are confused when it tries to take us there. Arrive at about 6pm in Europoort, strangely the Pride of Rotterdam is not in dock. We discover that she has spent the day in the Keppel Verolme yard dry dock in Rotterdam. All you can eat again.

Monday 9th - Sleep well in the nice dark cabin. Called by the tannoy at 6am UK time, breakfast and off the boat for 7:45am. Because of traffic on the M1 we go over the Humber bridge, and avoid motorways. Back by 10:45. Thierry and Heather come round with Louis, ten days old. Holly starts making a few noises. I am rather tired but make the effort to go the Windmill, enjoy it. Robert and Simon are there.

Schladming February 2014 Team Taylor

Prof, Annette, Brian, Janette,
David, Debbie, Max and Dom,
Laura and James,
Gary and Linda, Ed and Sue. (Two Days)

Saturday 22nd February - Land on time at Salzburg from Stansted, there is a Russian 747 there. Get the bus across town and get on the train. Very crowded, we sit in the restaurant car and have beer and sandwiches. Change at Bischofen, I misunderstand the platform attendant and we stand on the wrong platform until almost too late. Very nice train with glass roof for second part of the journey. Somehow the whole team gets in one Taxi Maxi bus to the Taxi Maxi apartments. Me and Annette share with Brain and Janette, great views over to the Black. We all meet in the Niederl bar for drinks and then move on to Giovanni's for pizza. Sit in the little cavern at the end, rather slow.

Sunday 23rd - Breakfast in apartment from 7:30, boiled eggs, cereal, etc. on the gondola for 8:30 meet up with James and Laura at top of Planai. We head down Red one, Brian touches down and then heads down to meet Janette. We ski over to Hauser-kaibling. Go up the Gipfel (summit) lift to the difficult red. Down and stop at Knappl's Bergschlößl for the first time at 10:30 for drinks. Down to bottom of Haus, the snow is like Canderel. Up again and down Blue 3, after some debate carry on to the bottom. Find a proper igloo with a bar inside. Stop for our second elevenses, have a quick Flying Hirsch. Get to Onkel Willy's for 1pm. Mani is first to greet us, he asks, everyone here ? all week ? and then has a big smile. Sit inside, same menu, I start with a Planai toast. Do a club run down Red 12 and Red 5. Back to Onkel Willy's for 4pm, sit in the Stammtisch area. Down to Manage bar for one and then on to the Niederl bar for another. Eat in Papa Joe's, share a steak burger.

Monday 24th - Up and breakfast for 7:30, on the lift just ahead of David and the boys. Meet up with Laura and James at the top. The A team ski on the Planai till 10am, when we meet up with David and Debs. Head over to Haus again, do the difficult high Red from the top then straight down Blue 2 and 3. Get to the igloo bar for 10:50, have to wait for it to open. David is actually going quite well on his long skies. Have a quick Flying Hirsch. Ski back over towards the Planai. The A team does the extra Haus Blue 8 lift, great views from the top. We go quite a way off piste through some beautiful snow, great fun. Get a bit of far off piste and struggle to get back through some deep snow. Lunch outside at Onkel Willy's. I share a crispy pork with Annette. After lunch we have a club run down paradise. Then the A team plus Brian go and do the Haus Blue 8 again with the off piste, Brian is not that keen. Annette has a fall when we go over the big rollers at the end. Onkel Willy's at 4pm. It is James' birthday, so we have a few extra, even a prune one. Down Red one to finish, drink in Manage. Dump the ski gear and head to the Niederl bar. I am really in the zone, dance on top of the tables. They play Hells Bells and I bang the table very loudly. Have four pizzas sent over from the cafe. I play a game with Max and Dom where I let them punch my stomach until they get tired. Also do some beer mat flipping, I manage about 500. Move on the Siglu bar for more drinking and dancing. Home for 10pm.

Tuesday 25th - Holly! A bit slow getting going. Laura and James are on the 8:30 lift as usual. We get to the top of the Planai for just after 9. Ski down Red 6, very icy, not very nice and get the Golden Jet down. Large queue to go up, takes about twenty minutes. We go up the Fun Jet to start with and then up the new ten seater Gipfelbahn to the top. We are all feeling rather down on power. My right hand is badly bruised, as is my stomach, my legs are tired and my throat is sore from too much shouting. Stop for elevens at top of Hochwurzen. Try a Flying Hirsch and some chocolate cake, but still a bit short on power. Ski down and sit out side at Seiterhütte for lunch, I have spaghetti. Ski down to meet David and family at Tauernalm and have a drink with them. Ski to Onkel Willy's for 4pm, a bit more of a quite session. Reindeer cum. I ski down at 5pm with Annette, Laura and James. We have a very nice ski down in the light on deserted slopes. Brain and David stay for one more. We go for a look round the shops. James has moved David's ski. Niederl bar and then pizza at Giovanni's again, bed before 10pm.

Wednesday 26th - Head over to Haus again in the morning with Laura and James and have a good blast around. They ski down to the bottom of the Planai to meet Garry and Linda, Sue and Ed. They have driven from Munich. When we all meet at lunch I realise that I went to New York with Tony in '97. In the afternoon, the Reds are all chopped up so Annette and I do lots of paths, discover a new one from the bottom of the three man chair to the bottom of the six man chair. Back to Onkel Willy's for 4pm, Gary stays up for the late drink. On the ski down as Gary arrives at the top of the black he goes over the steepest part of the ridge, falls and starts to slide down. Laura tries to stop him, I see them and rush over to bring them to a stop. We get Gary back up and after another couple of small tumbles he is at the bottom. Some emotion comes to the surface. Niederl bar with everyone, wait for Gary and the others to return. Some of us them move on to the Siglu bar. Annette is enjoying it so much, she takes a lot of persuaded to leave. Best kebab in the world on way home.

Thursday 27th - On the lift just after 10am, and stay on the Planai. Annette has early elevenses and some deck chair time at the Märchenwiesenhütte. Watch Max and Dom do their ski race on Blue 8. Dom gets a Gold and Max gets a Silver medal. Go for an early lunch at Onkel Willy's. I have the grostel, Annette has today's special of rice and meat. Sit outside again. After lunch a large group of us set off to explore a few paths. Do the speed gun, I am a little surprised to only get 67.5 kph. Do the men's slalom, I get 36.9, all the others are over 38 seconds. Do most paths linking Red 3 and Red 1. David and family head back to Onkel Willy's, leaving me, Annette and Brian to explore a bit more. First we do a very flat path from top of the Larchkogel leading back to Blue 8. Then go on a natural trail through the woods which starts at the top of Paradise and ends at Onkel Willy's. Rather up and down, have to take my skies off and walk. As I arrive at Onkel Willy's there is an incident where both skies pop off and I end up on the floor. It is Mani's 29th birthday, we buy him and Rhiny some schnapps and then they buy us some. Ski down in good time. Head to a small Football bar for one. Eat at Da Felice Italian with most of the team, good food again. Team Smith eat in the Neue Post. Dom is very excited about plans for an underground bar that David has promised to build in his back garden. Home for 10pm.

Friday 28th - Annette goes out to get milk and eggs for breakfast. Team Taylor up and on it for 8:30, they head straight to the igloo bar. We ski with James over to Haus. See Brian over there from the Gondola. Down to meet TT at the igloo bar at 11am. I work out that we do not need to do the Quattralpina to get home. The four of us try the new way home. Over to OW for lunch, I am feeling hungry and have Vienna schnitzel, very good. After lunch head to the slalom course. I decide to have a spin past the speed gun on the way for fun. I get a rather disappointing 70.4 kph, which makes me think that the 67.5 kpm from yesterday might not have been false. David gets a very good 84.8 kpm. I can only think that the fact I am giving him a two stone advantage is the issue. We move on to the real race at the slalom. Annette takes my jacket for me to the bottom. I get 36.48, David and the rest are all over one second slower. Down from there on blue paths to Red 1 and then the bottom. The boys go up again, straight to OW. A few farewell drinks, and away for five pm. Nice easy run down, Annette watches from our balcony. Take skies back and then to the football bar for one. Look at a few places to eat, end up at Giovanni's again, slow service, but food OK. Dom falls asleep dreaming of underground bars.

Saturday 1st March - Out of the apartment for 9am. Walk down to Charly Kahr's, I buy a helmet for 160 euro. Walk around town. Go for a long coffee at Café Niederl. Taxi Maxi to the airport. Drink last three beers after we check in. Usual crush, too hot, after security. When we pick up the car, even though we had Valet parking, they have not even washed it. Home for 8:30pm.

Total Slope distance 212km, one more that last year. Total vertical distance 41.2km.

Cervinia Dec 2013

Me and Annette.

Sunday 22nd December - Wake up at 1:30, leave at approx 2am. Drive up via Alderley Edge to Manchester. Fly on time at 6am, wait for an hour to get luggage at Turin airport. We have a very good deal on our taxi ride, so quite pleased when we meet him. Get into resort for 12:30, enjoy the views on route. Check into the Hotel Furggen. Walk into town and hire gear, buy an international ski pass. Do a few runs mostly blue five. Find the way back to the hotel. Have a small sleep and then walk down the hill into town. Have a drink in Ymeletrob steak house. Have Aperol Spritz for the first time. Eat at Jour et Nuit. We sit at the bar and watch the food being cooked, Annette has a fillet, I have mixed grill. Fantastic food.

Monday 23rd - Good breakfast, fresh eggs. On the slopes for 10am, blue sky. Head over to the top and down towards Zermatt. Stop for drinks at 11:30 at the ice restaurant. Message from Duncan about Boeing data. Ski quite a lot on that side. Go up the Matterhorn cable car, very cold tunnel at the top. Miss the left turn back to Italy, go down and get the T bar back. Down to Gran Sometta bar to eat. Very good frying pan full of egg, ham and cheese. Rather cold ski down and back to the hotel. Drinks in the hotel bar. Three from Woking join us. They have been to the same resort and hotel a few times. Walk down into town, go to Pizza Falcone, very average, 36th out of 38 on trip advisor. We both have cheese fondue.

Tuesday 24th - Up a little earlier, good breakfast. On the slopes for 9:30, have a bit of a problem finding the correct cut across to the chair lift. In the end walk down to the gondola. The mist starts at about 2500m. The plan was to go to Valtournenche. But the required chair lift looks a bit cold. Have van chau at Plan Maison lift station. Do a few reds above blue five and then planks bar for dinner. I have spaghetti, Annette has lasagne, with some red wine. In the afternoon the fog comes a bit lower down. Do the same lift a few time and enjoy the reds. Wiz down blue five a couple of times to finish. Back to the hotel, have a couple in the bar, get a lift down. Just get to the supermarket in time to buy a universal plug. Walk to the Metzelet bar by the golf course. Have raclette and tartiflette enjoy the meal.

Wednesday 25th - Heavy snow, a bit of a lazy start to the day. Watch the snow plough on the street. Have a long breakfast On the slopes for 11am. The new snow is very soft. Start with blue five, very busy with ski school. Ski to Plan Maison and stop for hot wine. Up on the gondola and down the red to the village, follow some instructors. Stop for cheese burgher a top of first chair. Enjoy the reds above there. Stop for more wine at Chalet Etoile. Do that run again. Just as everything is closing, meet a group lost in the mist. We guide them to Plan Maison. I then get stuck waist deep and struggle to get out, Annette follows me. Ski down and miss the 4:30 lift. Decide to go for a drink in our usual cocktail bar at top of street. Get lift back to hotel. I have a sleep, Annette does her hair. Get a lift down to the village, walk up to Jour et Nuit. I have massive T bone steak, Annette has the lamb chops, very good. It keeps on snowing. 1m of snow has arrived today.

Thursday 26th - More snow, have a long breakfast. Lots of lifts are shut. Only the small chair lift is open. A bit windy, and poor visibility. Ski down into town to start with. Ski the blue a couple of times. Ski past the hotel a couple of times, very deep. Very deep cutting across to the lifts, get rather stuck. I jar my back when my ski comes off. Call into the chamois bar, for a beer. Do another couple of runs. And then another beer. Ski till 4:30, good fun. Go to Metzelet for tea, I have lamb chops, Annette has the braised beef. I don't sleep very well and dream that I become a bazillionare for inventing some new software.

Friday 27th - Have an early start, almost first on the lift. Blue skies, no wind. Rather disappointed that very few lifts are open, do the red back into the village. Sit outside for 11's at planks bar. Stop at Chalet Etoile for lunch, large lasagne, sit outside. Annette discovers the joys of off-Piste. Good fun. Walk into town and go to super market and then Pizza Rustica, rather sweet.

Saturday 28th - A little late for breakfast, on the slopes 10:30, blue skies. Head over to Plan Maison, Annette has a collision with a small boy, he skied straight into her from a lift queue. Decide it is time for 11's, go to Chalet Etoile, for hot wine. The mist closes in. Then head to Plateau Rosa, it is in the mist, and not very nice. Ski down and stop at Chalet Gran Sometta. Have lunch there, same as the other day, and potato omelette. John and Kay from Huddersfield are there, they have been there before. Have a good chat about all sorts of things. Have a few champagne with strawberry grappa, till 4:30. Set off down the mountain in the mist. Kay and then John go for the skido option. We enjoy the ski down. Take back the ski gear and go for one in the usual cocktail bar. Back to the hotel for 18:30. Annette packs whist I rest. Back to day and night for 8:30 pm. I order the kebab, but end up with fillet steak. Back to the hotel for 11:30 More snow in the night.

Sunday 29th - Alarm from 6am, taxi arrives at 6:45. He was expecting to take us to Milano, so I have to tell him Turino !. Blue skies for drive home.

Schladming March 2013 Team Taylor

Prof, Annette, Brian, Janette,
David, Debbie, Max and Dom,
Christine, Robert, James,
Sharon, Katie,
Laura and James.

Sunday 3rd March - Up at 5am, fly at 7:20. Two off Taxi Maxi straight to the Sonnhof. We are all stunned by how far away it appears to be from the bottom of the Black. Me, Annette, Brian, James and Robert Taylor all ski. I fall onto my face as I enter the gondola. Snow is fantastic. First run is Black top to bottom, then Red 1. Up to Onkel Willy's for 4pm. Initially I don't recognise anyone. Then I see Mani, all is well. He has grown his hair and got a couple more tattoos. Ski down Red 1, to finish. Call in at Charly Kahr's, I eat Spag Bol there. It has changed, they have a loud singer on and it to full of people. We don't go in again. Niederl for one. Annette and I get a kebab and some more beer on the way home. Back to the apartment for quiet drinks.

Monday 4th - Annette and I walk down to Billa and buy breakfast stuff at 7:30am. Back for 8am and eat. DT family and Sharon eat in a café. Janette and Sharon have a lesson at 10am. We ski with DT, Debbie and Brian. Go down to the bottom of Haus, great snow. Back to Onkel Willy's for noon to get Max and Dom. Eat inside at 1pm, Annette and I talk with three Brits who are staying in the Alte Post. Annette has Grandma's soup, I have Planai toast. Family run down Red 5 and 12, first time for Max and Dom. Onkel Willy's for 3:30, sit outside to start with. I ski with Annette to the middle station and back up. Have a few schnapps and leave at 5:45, ski Red 1, great fun. Somehow I manage to collide with David and his blade comes off! I deliberately pop one ski off as I land in the car park. According to Max I go super fast, and David is Captain Slow. Walk to Billa, we all go round and get loads of stuff, beer, pizza, bread, cheese, etc., carry it back. Eat together in the main room. Later on play some cards, Shoot with Rob, James, Christine and Brian.

Tuesday 5th - Another fantastic sunny day, as we walk down, look across at the bottom of Hochwurzen and decide to head over there. Do a couple of runs from the top, then head over to Reiteralm, eat at the Eiskarhutte. James and Laura arrive, I had hidden the front door key in an upside down umbrella for them. They rush up and make Onkel Willy's for 4pm, I ski Annette to the middle. Another trip to Billa, pizza in the apartment.

Wednesday 6th - Robert does fantastic poached eggs for breakfast. We are a little delayed when Annette's boot is jammed shut, we have to go to Tritscher to get it opened. We start going to Hochwurzen, following David, then change to head to Hauser Kaibling When we get there, do a couple of runs and head back. Meet at Onkel Willy's at noon, Grandma’s soup. Annette and I ski down and drop Annette's skies in the locker. Snow is very slow. Meet Brian and then Laura and James as we get on the Gondola. They are wearing their wedding gear. Head to the top of the Planai for photos, lots of people are looking. Go to Onkel Willy's for 3:30pm, we have a special table, two bottles of champagne. Everyone has got changed into smart clothes. Monic says that it is the first time. We eat and drink round the table and then more to the bar for some more. Me and David split the bill between us. . Ski down, Laura holds her dress all the way. I fall and slide on my back a fair way down the black, then get up and carry on. Niederl bar for some more, great atmosphere, lots of Flying Hirsh, etc. Max and Dom touch the ceiling many times. A few move onto the Siglu, it has been redecorated. Walk back via the kebab shop with James Harvey and James Taylor. A fantastic session of apres-ski.

Thursday 7th - Awake from 7am, James Harvey sees my FaceBook pictures and thinks that I am already at Reiteralm. Slow breakfast. Walk down to the bottom of the Planai for 11am, it is very hot. Annette mentions that we could go to the Dachstein, all of a sudden it seems a great idea. Catch the noon bus. Lots of stops, arrives for 1pm, go straight to the top. Blue skies, great snow, very few people. All red runs, all drags, except for one chair. Enjoy the runs, eat at 2:30 do a couple more runs and then the light goes. Head down and back on the 4:50 bus. Meet them at the bottom of the Black. Most people have an easy day. Laura had a couple of hours sleep on Planai beach, David all afternoon in Onkel Willy's. Sharon, Janette and Debbie have been shopping for tea. Spag bol and Chicken fajitas. Me, Annette and Brian walk down the Billa to get more beer, etc, take the wheeled case. Good food, all very tired and in bed by 10pm.

Friday 8th - Down for breakfast at 7:30am, Annette does very good poached eggs. James and Laura eat out, meet up and catch the 8:30am gondola. Blue skies, 4 degs C at the bottom of the Planai. James and Laura, Annette and I, and Brian head to Hochwurzen. Do a run down Red 41, then to the top of Hochwurzen, head over to Reiteralm. Have 11's at the Almbar, at the top, have a couple of Flying Hirsh. (David is a legend on Blades !! I don't know whose handwriting that was) We do the steep Black and Red 1 down to the usual 6 man chair. Pick up Annette and do Red 1 again, loads of air this time. All day, I keep on pointing out the top of the Dachstein lift to anyone that will listen, James claims to have always known it was there, but he was not telling the truth. Have a quick spin down to the Preunegg Jet, then decide to head back. Eat at the Tauernalm, we share a pork loin and chips. Ski down Blue 38, the team give me some funny looks as we cross two roads, but the last part is good. Straight to Onkel Willy's, I ski with James and James on Red 1 to the bottom, then back up. Annette skis down with Laura. Heinz brings us a flaming schnapps. He has to light them with a blow touch. As he tries to put them out we have flaming liquid on the tray and then on the wooden table. We could have been moments away from the disaster. Ski down at 5:45, loads of people are coming out of the Schaflm. Back to the Sonnhof for showers, etc. A number of us walk down to Da Felice, Italian restaurant. I have tortellini, Annette has steak, very good. Great view of Orion as we walk back up the hill. According to the SkiLine website today we skied 41km, however that was only enough to put us slightly above average for the Planai, 42% of people did more.

Saturday 9th - Annette and Brian have breakfast in the café. On the gondola for 9am, single rider works well. Very misty at the top of the Planai. We are at the Tauernalm for 10:30am, good run next to Red 41 over the rollers, Sun Jet and past the prepared race run. A beginners ski race is in progress. We stop for 11's in Tauernalm, gluhwein. Taxi team, Janette, Sharon and Katie, Christine, Robert and James, arrive, we take them down Blue 37. They all do a few runs and all make good improvements. Back to Tauernalm for lunch, I have a Diavolo pizza, good as always. After some debate decide that there is time for one more run down Blue 37. I guide Sharon down in 30 minutes. We shoot off to Onkel Willy's. Take Annette to the top of the Planai. Meets up with Debbie, Max and Dom. Bit of a delay as Dom wants to go down in a coloured gondola. David, Brian, Robert, James and me are in Onkel Willy's. Heinz and Monic say good bye and go down on the Gondola. Robert and James go down at 5pm. Snowing steadily. Down by 6pm, others wait in the Tenne. Car park is full of coaches. Call in at the Niederl for one, I start a debate with Debbie about an allowance. Prof, Annette, Brian and Janette go to La Felice again, very good. See Michaela in there. I collect David's blades from Niederl. Bed for 10pm. Total ski distance 211km.

Sunday 10th - Taxi Maxi to the airport, we have the driver who always wears traditional Austria gear, and does not speak a word of English. Could be the first time that we have flown back from Salzburg on a Sunday, the airport is rather quiet, we manage to get a seat. The disadvantage is that the man giving away free shots of Mozart Chocolate Liqueur only works on Saturdays. Annette buys a very expensive Milka Schoko Carver.

Chamonix January 2013

Prof, Annette, Thomas,
Lauren Muller.

Saturday 26th January - Heavy snow is forecast, decide to leave at 1:30am, heavy snow in Kilburn, Little Eaton and on the A52. By the time we get to the M1 it is not too bad. We see a few snow ploughs going up and down the M1. Stop at Toddington, sleep from 3:20am till 5:40am, continue the journey to Luton and do Meet & Greet. Have a good breakfast and fly on time. Laurent has driven from Bern to Geneva to meet us. We then continue on to Chamonix. Me and Thomas are keen to ski on the first day, however a few navigational problems slow us down. We get our ski gear and head up to Le Brevent lift, walk up a very steep hill. They tell me that there is no point going up, in the end we ski on the Green runs near the village for an hour and a half for free. Meet up with Laurent and Annette, we walk into town to eat. Stop at La Tablee, for Savoyarde food. Thomas and Laurent have Fondue, I have tartiflette, Annette has lamb chops. I am tired and sleep from 11pm.

Sunday 27th - Good breakfast from 8:30am, Annette has been out for bread, etc. Walk down to the bus station for 10am and get the bus to Flegere. Buy ski passes and go up, blue sky. Good easy skiing. At about 12:30 we head over to the Brevent area. Eat at Altitude 2000, table service, The lasagne is fantastic. The boys go to the top of Brevent, no view, Black run back down to Altitude 2000. Ski down from Flegere. Laurent leaves us to drive home. We walk into town and meet up with DT and Dave Pusey in Bar'd Up, they are just leaving. Have one in the Munster Bar on the way home. Annette and I stay in and have Italian meats and cheese, with a bottle of Red wine. Thomas goes back out to the Munster bar.

Monday 28th - Annette goes out to buy breakfast, she says that there is a foot of snow in the village. On the bus to Le Tour. Fantastic power skiing and blue skies. Lots of long blues, go to Tete de Balme. Great run back into le Tour. Have a drink at L'Olympic bar at the bottom. Long wait for the bus. The driver is a young boy and wants to makes up a lot of time. Straight out to meet up with DT and crowd in Bar'd Up, good banter. Thomas talks to someone who recommends the Comedy club. at The Jekyll. We get changed and go there. Eat very good pie and chips in the roof and then get seated for the show. Almost everyone seems to be Brits who live or work in Chamonix. Markus Birdman and Benny Boot do the jokes, very funny.

Tuesday 29th - Out of bed for 9am, breakfast and at bus stop for 11am, bus to Bellevue, go up the cable car. See the old Bellevue hotel straight away, still looks exactly the same. Do lots of reds and blue, the snow is fantastic. We see “La Ferme” restaurant from the chair lift and decide to go there. Very French atmosphere. Me and Thomas have omelette, Annette has tartiflette. Demi litre of Red seems the thing to drink. Very nice place. Me and Thomas ski down the fantastic Kandahar Black run, lose Annette for a little while. We all ski down to the bottom of Bellevue. Bus comes straight away. Meet up with DT in Bar'd Up for one. Move on to Le Privilege for one, rather nice place. Then Chambre Neuf for one. We then walk back to La Tablee again and have hot rock. Very good food.

Wednesday 30th - We have a slow breakfast. Head to the Aiguille Du Midi cable car for 11am, unfortunately the top section is shut because it is too windy. We decide to get the bus to Le Brevent lift. Ski it bit there and then traverse across to Flegere. Thomas goes to Chavanne bar for one, me and Annette go up a couple of times. Eat at the top of Flegere lift, I have pasta. Annette goes down. Me and Thomas head back across to Brevent. Do the Red from the top. We ski down, Les Nants, Black run, to the bottom. We have to ski over a couple of small avalanches, and loads of rocks. Meet Annette in the Flame Bar, Le Kioske, for a couple. We wave goodbye to DT, he will be home by midnight. Annette buys loads of food from SPA and we eat in. Fondue, pizza, two bottles of red.

Thursday 31st - Thomas goes out to buy breakfast. We are at the bus stop for 10:35, but the bus does not turn up. We get the 11 o'clock one over to Les Houches. The runs are very crispy, corduroy, almost un-skiable, We find a few runs which we have not done before. Eat early at Prion hotel, I have lyonnaise potatoes, and chips. Annette and I ski down a red with a sign saying Very good skies only, very firm snow. Collect Thomas and we do Kandahar to the bottom. Leave Annette in a bar whist we do it again. Ten minutes, top to bottom. Very icy. Meet the Spondon lot in Bar'd Up for a couple at about pm. Move on to Elevation 1904, opposite Chambre Neuf, as soon as we arrive Annette is given a shot. The barman then decide glasses are not required and pours it directly down our necks. Move on to the Moo bar for a couple. Get a kebab on the way home. When we get back Thomas cannot find his phone. We walk back round all the bars looking for his phone and coat. Find his coat in the Moo bar, and his phone back at the apartment. It is 2am, before we get back.

Friday 1st February - We look at the forecast and it is heavy rain at low level and the lifts are shut at higher level due to wind. We go out for a bit of a wander and along the main street. Annette and I call into Bar Nash for French onion soup.

Saturday 2nd - We catch the Alpy bus at around 8am to Geneva. Fly back to Luton, I drive back up. Go to a BBQ at David's

Schladming February 2012 Team Taylor

Prof, Annette, Brian, Janette,
David, Debbie, Max and Dom,
Christine, Robert, James,
Laura and James.

Saturday 25th February - At Brian s for 7am, Brian's ski are by the front door, I am a little confused, they will not fit in the car. Annette drives, we almost miss the A52, M1 turn. We do the Meet and Greet at Luton airport, David arrives at just the same time. Fly with EasyJet, probably my first time. We get a Taxi Maxi with David, arrive at about 3pm. We stay at Apartment A9, Strasse Augasse 775. We overlook the new Spar and can see the Black. Laura, James, Robert, Christine and James all travel by rail and arrive at 7pm. We look at a few places for food, we end up in the Alte Poste, very good food. Me and Annette order the mixed grill for two people and it comes for four by mistake. We struggle to make even a small dent in it.

Sunday 26th - Most of us meet at 9am and ski on the Planai. Janette goes for a ski lesson on at Rohrmoos. Have a quick spin down Red 6, Brian goes over to meet Janette for lunch. The rest of meet up at Onkel Willy's at 1pm. I go straight for goulash soup followed by chicken wings. I do the Sky Toilet lift a few times at the end of the day with James and James to clock up the miles. Back to Onkel Willy's at 4pm for schnapps, we have one which is 80% proof, all the bar staff gather to watch us drink it. Robert bets me 100 Euro that he can beat me down and then seems to fall over a lot. Brian keeps him company by falling over almost every 100 yards. The four of us go to the Igloo bar later with Laura and James, I enjoy a bit of dancing.

Monday 27th - Meet a bit later than yesterday, the queue for the gondola is to the top of the stairs. Ski with Brian and David on Hauser Kaibling for the first part of the day then they head back and are replaced by Laura and James. Stop for hot chocolate. Back to Onkel Willy's for lunch, Planai Toast. Janette has a snow board lesson. In the evening the four of us go over to the Stadttor for drinks, play Chase the Ace. Karl keeps on telling us to be quiet. Somehow all the drinks end up on room 305. A few of us go back to the Niederl for more beer. David moves on to La Porta later to see Manni, and meets up with Oliver and Rat boy. They have Black Widows schnapps and Manni tells them he only serves this to people that he does not like.

Tuesday 28th - Meet up at 8:30am for the trip to Reiteralm. Me, Annette, Brian, Rob and James, Laura and James. I announce that we are not going up the pissing man and then lead us left off a small path to the left of Red 3, expecting somehow to get to Red 5. This year the pissing man t-bar has been replaced by a moving walkway, go up for the first time today. Red 12 and then Red 6 and onto the Golden Jet. Whilst getting onto the Sun Jet, James loses 1 ski and both poles ? Up onto Reiteralm and stop for 11's at Jaga Stüberl, have a great chocolate doughnut. Meet Janette at Tauernalm at 1:45, I have a Diavolo Pizza. Back to Onkel Willy's for 4pm, live band. DT dances with Monic. We ski down at 6:30pm. A piste basher driver shouts at us that the Piste is closed. Red 3, Black. Drinks in Charly Kahr's with David and Janette, then Igloo and Niederl. Annette and Janette go to the Tenne till 2am.

Wednesday 29th - Very tired in the morning, indeed all day. Struggle to get going. It is raining in the village as we walk to the Gondola, on the way up for 10am. Ski down Paradise valley and then stop for coke at Mitterhausalm, Annette has a swollen ankle. Brian carries on for a spin down Haus. We meet David at the bottom of the Paradise lift and head to the top of the Planai. Annette goes down. I have a ski with Brain and James, do Red 12 and Red 5. I am going fast down Red 5 in poor visibility when I get caught out by a ridge in the piste. Get launched into the air, land on my skies, but they come straight off, bounce down the piste and end up 100 yards away. Early lunch at Onkel Willy's, see Max in his ski school. After lunch we go down Red 5 again to examine where I took off from. Black and Red runs are closed from the Middle station from today. Eat in Onkel Willy's at 5pm, walk across in the Schladming Hutte for more beer, but decide to ski down to middle. We all get the Gondola down, even David. Drinks in Charly Kahr's. Early night, nice soak in the bath.

Thursday 1st March - Brain is on the slopes for 8:30am, Me and Annette meet up with Laura and James and ski various routes around the 6 man chair, I seem to forget to sit down on one occasion and they have to stop the chair. The snow is fantastic early in the day.Poll across to meet David at Onkel Willy's at 10am. Ski with David and Deb for a while, Red 9a, path Red 1, Red 3, Blue 2. Back to Hopsiland for Max and Dom's ski races at 11am. Have a quick spin down Paradise, the snow is starting to get a bit heavy. Meet up with Janette at the top of the Planai and attempt to give her a lift to lunch, problems with her hips. Brain walks her along the piste. Hot and sunny all day, 14 degs C. Most of us meet up at Märchenwiesenhütte, have a very good pizza inside. After lunch we do Red 12, leave most at Onkel Willy's and I have another go down Red 12 and 5. Ski outside at Onkel Willy's for beer from 3:30pm, ski down to the middle station at 5pm and go down on the Gondola. Have one drink in Manage, very poor service, have one in Charly Kahr's. We attempt to eat in Maria's Mexican, but it is full. Move on to Papa Joe's, I enjoy the ribs, we all have a Pussy Deluxe to finish the meal. Have a few schnapps in Charly Kahr's on the way back. Get offered a Hazelnut one but quickly turn it down.

Friday 2nd - Meet at the bottom of the Planai for 8:30, Brian, Laura and James, Rob and James Taylor are present. Ski over to Haus. Do Blue 3 for the first time, We can see that Red 9 is open and we all want to do it. Down Red 2 and then a large queue for the Quattralpina. Head towards the Planai and do the Black which crosses the path first. Head back up and do Red 9 for the first time, very steep for a Red. Carry on down Blue 3 and a Red to a bottom station which we have never been to before. Head back up and a few stop for 11's at Schmiedhütte. Me and James go and clock up some more miles. I ring up to book us in for this evening meal and phone the Tenne by mistake. Back to Onkel Willy's for lunch. All 13 of us get into the VIP area. Me and Annette share the Genußspech, roast pork and lamb. All of us go for a club run round Blue 8 a couple of times, watch Max and Dom. Drinks at 4pm back at Onkel Willy's, ski to middle station. We race against those in the Gondola, we have to queue to go down. Drinks in the Niederl bar and then most of us go to Giovanni's for pizza.

Saturday 3rd - Up at 8am, leave the apartment at 10am. Wander down to the Stadttor to leave the cases, Michaela is pleased to see us. Wander off round the square for a bit. Taxi Maxi picks us up at 11:15

Schladming February 2011 Team Taylor

Prof, Annette, Thomas and Fiona,
David, Debbie, Max and Dom,
Mark, Mel, Emma and Ellie, Christine, Robert, James and Brian,
Laura and James.

Saturday 26th February - Alarm at 4am, flight to Salzburg at 6:25, Thomas manages to leave his passport on the plane. We both go through a secret door which bypasses passport control. Taxi for 5 people straight to Schladming, arrive at 11am. The apartment is not ready so we get changed in the boot room. What apartment ZZT ???? Walk down to Charly Kahr's and have a great pizza. Get skies from Tritscher and we head up just after 1pm. Take the group round Blue 8 a couple of times to start with. Get to Onkel Willy's for 4pm. Learn that Onkel Willie passed away over the summer. Sit outside and meet up with James and Laura, ask for the more horrible Schnapps and they give us a blue flower one. Do the traditional route down, starting with Red 9A. The piste basher has blocked the path at the bottom and tries to run us over, a great run down. Go to the Niederl for a while, wander around for food, but everywhere is too busy. Meet up with David and the others in the Siglu, get a kebab on the way home.

Sunday 27th - Annette goes to the bakery under our apartment only to find that it is shut today. Great breakfast with food brought yesterday, ski for just gone 10am. The five of us go in the direction of Hauser Kaibling, me and Brian have a fast run down Sepp Walcher's valley which has got a great new lift and is now called Paradise. Fiona and Thomas both have ski off incidents on the way down to the bottom. Brian does not mind waiting next to the Sapph advert. Have one run down the Blue from the needle and head back, three of us tick off the Black above the path on the way back. Sit upstairs at Onkel Willy's. In the afternoon do Red 3 and Blue 2. Starts snowing in the afternoon. Back to Onkel Willy's at 4pm. Initially sit upstairs until David complains too much. A load of lads have been drinking Jager Meister all afternoon and have built a huge tower. Some of them think that jumping out of the window would be a good idea. Günter Mast dies the next day. Drinks in Charly Kahr's after we have come down the Black. We eat in Papa Joe's, have loads of meat and massive beer glasses. Stay till gone 1am in the Siglu.

Monday 28th - The mountain does not seem to have been pisted at all. We all meet up at the top of the Planai, stay on this mountain all day. Team run down Red 5 and then Red 6. Annette falls quite a long way and I hoot past without seeing her. Mark comes to her rescue. David tries to wind her up about it for the rest of the week. A team run down Paradise valley after lunch at Onkel Willy's. Usual 4pm meet, one of the drinks is Baileys with Lemon juice. We enjoy an evening in the apartment, Annette cooks very good Fajitas.

Tuesday 1st March - Early start, on the lift for 9:22, Head to Hochwurzen, we ski together. Annette and Fiona go down the Golden Jet, we meet them at the middle station. I almost wipe out a wooden shed on Red 6. Laura and James are an hour ahead, meet them on the Sun Jet. A few have 11's at the Hochwurzen Hutte, then do Red 33 and 31. Rush back to Onkel Willy's for lunch only to find that we are the first there. We get served our schnapps by a waitress who gets called the Gypsy Princess. We have a flaming schnapps. Drink it and then re-ignite it in the mouth. Fiona skies down the Black. We all drink in the Niederl bar when we get down, get frowned at for having the kids touch the ceiling. Stay in there with Mark and Mel and then move on to the Tenne for a little while. Brian shows us some of his dance moves and stays a bit longer. Try the Kebab place again but it is shut.

Wednesday 2nd - Up early, Annette announces that there will be an A team and a B team today as Thomas and Fiona are resting. Brian briefly considers forming his own C team. On lift for 9:31, Laura and James are one hour ahead of us. Great snow, do the usual route across to Hochwurzen. Me and Brian almost ski off the loading area for the Rohrmoos 6 man. Up the Sun Jet and across and down Red 40. I have not skied past this point before. Up a very long and cold two man chair and on to the Reiteralm. Meet up with Laura and James at the top. Ski down for 11's at Preunegg Stueberl part way down Red 5. Do a very steep Black at the top of the mountain, I stop and pick up two skies on the way down. Eat inside at the Eiskarhutte part way down Red 1. Annette goes fast all day. Get back to Onkel Willy's for 4pm, the whole team are there, we become the centre of attention for our schnapps drinking. They mix a special jug full of liquorice favour schnapps for us to drink. The Gondola runs late, try and keep get with RT and the way down but lose him. Drink in Charly Kahr's and then we all go to Giovanni's for pizza, too many for one table.

Thursday 3rd - A little bit later starting, see Max and Dom all kitted out for their first day on the slopes. We see them off on the Hopsi Express with Christine. We all then get a bit separated and Annette and I ski over to Hauser Kaibling and meet up with Laura and James for 11's at the Du und I in the middle of Red 1. Do some runs over there, the Quattralpina is shut for a while so there is no way back. Ski down to the bottom and up the Gondola and 6 man chair to the top. Meet Thomas and Fiona in the Berggashof tent bar. Do the Red down from there and up the Quattralpina and over to Onkel Willy's. We sit by the bat at 4pm. We try and order a CVR and end up inventing the Royal Hirsch. Also try a Flying Moo for the first time. Laura and James take their skies back. After the run down the Black we meet up in Manege and play the nail game. I am equally successful with eyes open or closed. The four of us eat-in at Maria's Mexican, I try some of each dish as usual.

Friday 4th - Over to Hochwurzen with Thomas and Fiona, meet David at the top of the Sun Jet. Do a quick run down past the bottom of the Fun Jet and down Red 40, more traffic that the day before. Back up the Basic Jet and Fun Jet to the top of Hochwurzen. Decide to top the traditional Team Taylor race course and so go down Red 33 and right at the end along the polling path to the Tauernalm. David heads back, Thomas and Fiona have a drink and Annette and I walk over the car park to get to the Sun Jet, down and across to the Fun Jet and down Red 33 back to Tauernalm. Do the steep finish down to the bottom of the Golden Jet. When we arrive at Onkel Willy's, it is busier than I have ever seen it, the team are sat outside but there is no room. The four of us head down to eat with Robert and James in the Weitmoosalm. Annette and Fiona join the team for drinks at 4pm in Onkel Willy's, they bring a large special jug full of liquorice favour schnapps for us. The four of us eat in Charly Kahr's restaurant. Thomas and I wonder if my score of 66 km/h the other day was actually 88 km/h due to a faulty indicator.

Saturday 5th - During packing realise that the iPhone is missing from the apartment. Decide to travel with Robert to Salzburg. Walk our cases over to the Stadttor for 9:30am, when we work out the prices it seems easier to have Taxi Maxi all the way to the airport. Robert adds up how many kilometres we have skied in the week. None of us quite match Laura and James who did 197 km in 6 days. I did 196 km, Brian did 191 km, Annette 184 km, James T 152 km and Fiona 133 km. When I get back I look on the SkiLine web site, it reckons that on my biggest day when I skied 38 km, 51% of the skiers where better than me! We have a bit of spare time so carry on to the railway station and dump the bags there at 11:30am. Annette and I have a walk down to the river and along to near the castle. Have a beer at the station café and wait for Thomas and Fiona. Get an electric bendy bus back to the Airport, there is some sort of festival going on and the bus has to resort to diesel power and go all round the back streets. Back at Stansted Thomas manages to walk off without his suitcase at one stage. Drive back in the rain, back for 8:30pm.

Pitlochry December 2010

Me and Annette

Flickr Slide Show

Wednesday 29th December - Leave Derby at about 11am, route is Stoke, M6, M74, M80, A9. Annette drives till Scotland, I drive the rest to Pitlochry, arrive at 5:30pm. We do a bit of the A822 scenic route and follow a snow plough. Annette keeps on calling it Piltochy. Stay in an apartment behind the Claymore Hotel, very nice, looks almost brand new. Walk into town after unpacking, go to the Auld Smiddy for food.

Thursday 30th - Up at 7:30am, drive east to Bridge of Cully and then North to Glenshee. Hire skies on the way. The weather is misty in the valleys and clear on the tops. Pay £27 each for a lift pass. Annette falls off a button lift. I go to the top of the mountain, fall with both skies off on the way down. Ski most of the west slopes in the morning. Early dinner of Lasagne and Bacon roll. Cross the road and ski the eat slopes. Blue skies all day, no wind. Go back to Pitlochry, we eat in and have Italian meats to start, followed by Spaghetti Bolognese. Takes a while to work out how to operate the oven, roast a pork joint for tomorrows sandwiches. Keep David in suspense as to whether we have gone to Schladming or Scotland, in the end the lack of an overseas ring tone gives the game away. Borrow a DVD of Dream Catcher from the hotel and then turn in.

Friday 31st - Up at 8am, breakfast of chocolate twists and orange juice. Set off at 9:15am for Aviemore, arrive at the bottom car park for 10:15 and get the bus up to the top car park. A bit windy and poor visibility. Day pass is £30. Hot chocolate at the bottom and then up the funicular to the top, very poor visibility. Do a few greens and blues, have pork and stuffing cobs for lunch. Two Scottish lads feel the need to explain to me in detail how the queuing system works. Enough skiing by 3pm, head down into Aviemore. As we are walking along the high street, see a shop selling Dave's insanity sauce, rush in and buy some. Walk down to MacKay's for 8pm, for Hogmanay. Good food and drink followed by some fireworks. Almost disappointed at the lack of bodies on the floor.

Saturday 1st January - zzt.

Sunday 2nd January - zzt.

Monday 3rd January - Tidy the place up and get on our way. Walk down to the Pitlochry Dam and look at the Salmon ladder, very icy. Loch Faskally is almost completely frozen over. Leave town at about 11:15am. Stop near Torness power station to look at some seals, which turn out to be surfers. Stop at the Purdy Lodge for traditional English breakfast. Listen to the 60th anniversary episode of the Archers on the way. Follow down the A1 and across on the M18, home for 7pm.

Schladming February 2010 Team Taylor

Prof, Annette and Thomas,
David, Debbie, Max and Dom,
Christine, Robert, James and Brian,
Linda, Jude, Laura and James.

Saturday 28th February - We leave at 2:30am and drive down to Stansted. See Laura, James, Linda and Jude as we are boarding. Arrive at Salzburg airport and get in a very nice Taxi. Decide to go straight to Schladming for 150 Euro. Get our ski passes at noon. Blue skies, I ski in just a t-shirt under my jacket. There is a new 8 man chair with a heated seat by Onkel Willy's. Meet the team in Onkel Willy's for lunch. Charly Kahr's at 6pm, the Smith contingent surprise the rest there. Eat on time in the Stadttor. We play cards after tea, I keep on forgetting what game we are playing and nod off a few times.

Monday 1st March - The target of 9am meet at the bottom of the Planai slips a little to the right. Meet Laura and James at 9:30pm. Ski over to Hauser Kaibling, 11's at Schmiedhütte. Go for Après-ski in the Siglu. Live guitarist. Linda, Jude and Annette get into the dancing. Leave them to it whilst we go for dinner. I propose to the full committee that we could eat somewhere besides Onkel Willy's tomorrow, after some difficult discussions, the motion is passed. Go straight back after and stay till 11:30pm. Annette does not want to leave. She takes Me and Thomas on a strange tour of the town, including the church yard, on the way back.

Flickr Slide Show

Tuesday - Meet a little later that yesterday. We all head up the Pissing Man drag lift, no Pissing Man this year, and down Red 12 and Red 6 and onto the Golden Jet and onto Hochwurzen. Avoid the Gipfelbahn all morning. DT calls me from the middle station just as he and the boys are on the way to the top. When we get to the top they are back at the bottom. Eat at the Tauernalm at 1pm, good pizza. Most go on the sledges. David and Max get down first, Brian spins Robert and James by 360 degrees and gets disqualified. I wait for Annette and Christine a few times and still manage to end up with the Bronze. We rush back to catch the Golden Jet to the Planai and then up to Onkel Willy's. For a few minutes it looks like David has not made it, then we see his face at the window. Ski down for 6pm, attempt to put skies in the locker fails. Cocktail party in Linda's apartment at 6pm. Very nice, over looks the black. Max and Dom find the Magic Dragon. Have a few Flying Hirsh, we all get back for tea at 8:29 Karl is not pleased.

Flickr Slide Show

Wednesday - Try the new Snow Park straight after lunch, very good fun, get some big air. A few people try to get an edge in on the final box and all fall. Set off late from Onkel Willy's, rather dark, down for 7:30pm. Sit on the comfy chairs in the lounge after tea, Team Smith come round. I try to explain how the reclining chairs work to Max. He is of the opinion that the Magic Dragon must be doing it. I fail to persuade him that it might be a Magic Chair.

Flickr Slide Show

Thursday - Go down the Planai slalom, I get 39, closest is Brain with 42, most get 45 seconds. David joins us and we go over to Hauser Kaibling. Some stop for 11's at Schmiedhütte again. Do some big, fast skiing. After lunch have a go down the slalom on Blue 8. Brian falls twice on his go down. I go down in 23.7, nobody else comes under 30 seconds. We then move on to the Snow Park. Get some big air. Get a video of DT doing a little jump and a fall. On our last go Thomas falls and hits his head. He loses consciousness briefly and leave some blood on the piste ! Brian injuries his shoulder whilst rushing to the cage bar to see some underwear party. He is soon back in Willies. After tea, David wakes Debbie at 10pm and joins Me and Annette in going out. Go to the Niederl bar first for a few Flying Hirsh. We then move on to the Siglu and then La Porta. Mani is working there, he remembers us from last year. Annette does not like the music and wants to go back to the Siglu.

Flickr Slide Show

Friday - Leave the hotel at 10:40. As we go up Annette gets quizzed by the pass woman about her identity. A rather cold day, -11 degs C at the top. We do Red 1 to the bottom to start with. Very busy in Onkel Willy's for lunch, Robert realises that a pint of Coke costs £4.40, more that the beer! Rather quiet 4pm session in Onkel Willy's. Down for 5:40pm. Very tired, enjoy a bath.

Flickr Slide Show

Saturday - Relaxed breakfast in the morning and then pack. We all travel on the train, very crowded. Say good bye to Robert and the Birmingham team at the station. Have a coffee with David and Debbie before they head off to Stansted. We get a taxi to the funicular up to the Fortress. The snow starts coming down rather heavily. Enjoy going round the castle. Afterwards we walk over the river and find somewhere to eat. We fly at 21:25, a little delayed waiting for the de-icing truck. Back to Stansted for about midnight, back to Derby for 3am.

Schladming February 2009 Team Taylor

Prof and Annette,
Christine, David, Debbie, Max and Dom ( Team Taylor ),
Mark, Mel, Emma and Ellie ( Team Wilson ),
Brian and Trisha.

Saturday 28th February - Up at 4am, down to 37 for 4:30. Bus to Birmingham, arrive in Salzburg for 10:25. David is planning to wait for Mark arriving from Munich and catch the train so me, Annette, Brian and Trisha get a taxi direct to Schladming. Get skies, lift pass etc. and go straight up the Planai. Do Blue 8 a couple of times to get warmed up and then the Pissing man T-bar and Read 3A, Blue 2 to the middle. My feet are in agony with my boots so I have to take my socks off part way down. Trisha goes down and we go to Onkel Willy's for 4pm, Annette has the goulash soup. We start with the chocolate cup with Baileys in and then a schnapps. Ski down Red 1, good run. Meet the others in Charly Kahr's. Have one in the Siglu on the way to the Stadttor for tea. David and Mark are cleared for an evening out so we go to Siglu and the Alte Post bar, bed for 12:30am.

Sunday 1st March - A bit hungover, on the slopes for 10:15, a bit behind Brian and Trisha. Spend most of the morning texting and following them. Go for an early lunch at Onkel Willy's, sit outside fantastic sunshine. The rest all gather for 1pm. The menu has changed very little. After lunch Team Wilson ski with us, Red 2A Blue 2 a few times to the middle. Fun in the queue to the Pissing man T-bar when Brain trips Trisha up. Onkel Willy's for 4pm, have a few Flying Hirsh. Down Red 3, Black 9 David rushes back for tea. Introduce Speed cards to Team Wilson, they are quite taken by it. After Dinner walk into town for the ski show, just arrive to see the fire works at the end. Back to the Stadttor and play cards in the bar.

Monday 2nd - Ski with Brian and Trisha, head down Red 5. Trish and Annette get on the Golden Jet and we ski down Red 6 whilst they watch us. They misunderstand the plan and get off are the middle station only for us all to get back on. Head up the lift system to Tauernalm. They have a new lift, the Sun jet so we go and try it. It has a mixture of 6 man heated chairs and gondolas. Good fast runs down, head up to the Hochwurzen Hutte for lunch at noon. The girls are amused by Brian's Ann Summers sausage and chips. Ski down Red 33 and on past the bottom of the Fun Jet to ReiterAlm. The first time that I have been there. Back up on the Basic Jet, Fun Jet and then top to bottom of the Hochwurzen. Back to Onkel Willy's for 4pm, meet David and Mark there, sit in the VIP area. All a bit wet from rain and low cloud. Make a start on the CVRs Down Black 8, dark and misty. Eat in my ski gear. Play cards in the bar, Speed cards, Cheat, chase the ace and finally PIG. Annette is particularly slow at getting her finger onto her nose.

Tuesday 3rd - Misty again, some sunshine. Full Team, minus Christine, on Planai gondola for 10:15, up the Onkel Willy's T-bar and left at the top to get to SV valley, very misty. Head up to the top of HK and down to the bottom of the Quattralpina and up. David and Debbie head back and we ski down to Haus, very heavy at the bottom. Sunny, so we decide to eat outside. When we have all looked at the menu and decide to have pizza they inform us that Pizza is off on Tuesdays. Strangely David has the same experience at a different location. Up and then down Blue 4, a little less misty this time. Head to Onkel Willy's for 4pm, Annette goes down. Down for one in Charly Kahr's, David rushes back to be late for tea. Make a plan to take Team Wilson over to the Hochwurzen tomorrow.

Wednesday 4th - Me, Brian and Annette get up early for breakfast at 7:30am. It looks a bit misty so Annette stays to meet the others. Me and Brian get on the gondola at 8:30am and it rises out of the clouds very quickly. Do Red 1 top to bottom in ten minutes, very crispy and fast. Gondola up and do Red 3, Blue 2. Go down the schuss and I get 90.9 kph, a speed which I do not see beaten all week. Over to the slalom. See a few people go down in 32 and 33. I decide that sub-30 would be a good time. I get 38 and Brian gets 40. Down the path and up the three man chair. Ski down Red 3, Black 9 to the bottom. Meet the others in the lift station at 10am. Rather a mêlée to try and get on. ZZT More ?

Flickr Slide Show

Les Arcs December 2008

Me, Annette and Thomas

Wednesday 24th December - Wake up at 8am. Taxi at 9am. Fly at 10:45, arrive at 13:55. Great views of the mountains coming into Geneva. Investigate travel options and it turns out that the trains will take two hours longer than the coach and require four changes to get to Bourg-Saint-Maurice. Taxi up to le Petit Auberge, we somehow end up paying extra for the luggage, sets a pattern for the week. Rather small hotel, greeted by a welcome message from Becky. Eat in the Petit Auberge. Some debate about what to have, we all go for beef fondue, very good. Comes with very good Gratin potatoes, chips, etc.

Thursday 25th - Annette gets up at 7:15, breakfast at 8am. Thomas was still ready on time. Short walk down to the bus stop, decide to carry on walking down to the Funicular. Get the ski passes and hire skies from Polarie Star, run by Gordon and Rosie. Up the funicular to Arc 1600 at 10:10. Ski to Arc 1800 and then have a long queue for the TransArc. Some English bloke is very rude whilst pushing onto the lift at middle station. Ski down to Arc 2000. Walk into Les Chalets de L'Arc for lunch, when they ask if we have a reservation decide that it is not the place for us and go into the Snack Bar downstairs. Sun comes out in the afternoon. My ski boots feel too small all day. Annette has negotiated for Rosie to book us somewhere for evening meal. Wander round town to try and find the place, end up in Le Tonneau for a drink. Walk back to the hotel for showers and then down to the Hostellerie du Petit Saint Bernard for 8pm. Get some help translating the menu from Gordon and Rosie, who are on the next table. Me and Thomas have the venison and Annette has the halibut, very good.

Friday 26th - Breakfast at 8:20am, observe and hear strong winds whilst having breakfast. Walk down to the Funicular and up to 1600. When we arrive there is chaos and we eventually work out that all the lifts are shut. They tell us to get a bus to 1800 so we join the queue. However a bus arrives from 2000 and everyone gets off with the intention of skiing at 1600. We get on and miss the queue. At 2000 almost all the lifts are shut, but the Marmotte is open and makes a decent run. We get rather cold and stop for vin chaud in yesterdays snack bar. The lift to the ridge is open so try that one, get very cold on the lift and then ski down a very cold windy valley run, straight to the same bar for lunch. After lunch decide to go over the ridge to 1800, less windy, do some good runs. Thomas tries to ski over a small valley and lands on his head. Big queue to get back on the lift to 1600, we all then rush for the Funicular down. Drink at Le Tonneau. Walk up to the Central bar for one and then back to the Pizzeria for food, very good. Back to the hotel for 10pm.

Saturday 27th - Thomas gets up at 7am, breakfast early. Down to the Funicular for 9:20am. Most of the runs at 1600 are out of the sunshine. Go over the ridge to Arc 2000, more sunshine at the top of their valley. Annette stops for 11's at the top of the TransArc. Ski down to Vallendry and then up again and down to Plan Peisey. Catch the Vanoise Express over to La Plagne. Rather disappointed that it all seems to be in the shade. Go up one lift and decide to head back to Plan Peisey, which is bathed in sunshine. Stop at La Solan for dinner. Me and Thomas share a bacon pizza and a couple of large beers and Annette has bacon panini. Enjoy sitting in the deckchairs in the sunshine. Lift up and ski in the 2000 valley for a while. Back in the ski hire shop Gordon says that we look as we have skied a lot and we agree. Walk along the Le Tonneau again, I play speed cards with Thomas. After some debate walk back into town after showers. Eat at the pizzeria again, we all have a plate of meats followed by pasta. A gas canister bursts in the kitchen, one waitress runs straight out of the front door. Strong smell of gas, interesting with the open pizza oven. Annette has a very large Irish coffee, with almost no coffee.

Sunday 28th - Wake a little later, Funicular at 10am, bright sunny day, head up the Mont Blanc lift from 1600 to start with. Two English girls are dumped off the chair lift as they are getting on, very funny. Stop in Arc 1800 village for lunch, hot dog and vin chaud, have to move table to ensure that we stay in the sunshine. Head up the TransArc and up to the top of the Aiguille Rouge at 3226m. Great views of Mont Blanc and down to Arc 2000. The run is more black than red, but we get down OK. Head towards Villaroger, stop at the Chalet du Solliet for some more vin chaud. Lifts back up to 2000 and then take the Comboreiere lift back to above 1600. Watch lots of people struggling to get down a very moggly black beneath us. Down on the Funicular, rammed as usual. Call in to LeTonneau on the way back, more speed cards. Walk up the main street, call in for one at Brasserie du Bon Coin. Walk up to the take away pizza van for tea, but it is shut! Back to the hotel for chocolate.

Monday 29th - A bit later again, all tired. Go to Lidl in the morning, amazed by the contrast in prices. Go up the Funicular for 10:20. Stay on the 1800 side all day. Follow the long blue down to Plan Peisey. Stop for panini and beer at Chalet du Solan again, warm up a little in the sunshine. Lots of large queues for most lifts. Very cold, almost all day. Back to the hotel to change and then walk down to the Refuge at 810m to eat. Pink salad dressing is rather interesting, good meal.

Tuesday 30th - No breakfast at the hotel. Do the packing and pay the bill. Walk down to near Lidl for breakfast. Catch the coach at 11:15, the sky is cloudy so the views are not as good as on the way down. Fly from Geneva at 6pm. Get a Europcar from Gatwick and I drive back.

Dolomites March 2008

Me and Annette

Flickr Slide Show

Sunday 23rd March - Leave Kilburn at 1:30am, drop the car at Stansted at 4:20, Annette drives. Arrive at Treviso at 9:30. We pick up the hire car, a Renault Scenic, I drive up to Vigo di Fassa, go up the Autostrada to Belluno, over the Passo Pellegrino. Quite a lot of snow on the road, we should have taken snow chains, but didn't bother. Arrive after 2½ hours. Stay at the Hotel Cristallo. in the Val di Fassa. Get boots, skies, etc. from Ski Edy in Vigo di Fassa. Go up the cable car from Vigo di Fassa. Rather a small ski area at the top with a lot of polling, but OK for a start. My hire boots are rubbish so buy a new pair in the evening. Look at some piste maps and learn about the Sella Ronda. Eat in La Grotta, Italian meats and rump steak with sauce, very good. Very tired, in bed for 10pm.

Monday 24th - Up early, breakfast for 7:30. More snow has fallen overnight. Have to use a brush to clean snow off the car. Leave the hotel at 9:10, most of the snow has been cleared off the road. Park at Campitello. Buy the Dolomiti SuperSki pass. Queue for 40 minutes to go up the 125 person cable car. Follow the green Sella Ronda signs. Rather foggy on the top. Ski down to Lupo Bianca and up the other side. I am puzzled that we seem to miss Pass Pordoi. Nice ski down into Arabba, the church bell is familiar. Bad light and unpisted snow limit peak speed. Eat at Rifugio Fodom, very busy. Take hire boots back and get some inner gloves. Eat in La Grotta again, I have pizza. Annette starts to develop a cold. Have a beer to end in the hotel bar.

Tuesday 25th - A bit later for breakfast, the weather looks better. Drive to Campitello and go up for 10:15, brighter that yesterday. Ski towards Val Gardena. After the Pass Sella it gets very cold and we shelter at a Rifugio for glühwein. After 30 mins we carry on, but still cold. A few good views, some sunshine, -11 degsC most of the day. Have more glühwein at Rifugio Piz Seteur. Eat in Rifugio des Alpes and watch the snow blowing past the windows. Decide to knock it on the head and go down the cable car at 3:30pm, cold. Back to the hotel for shower and sleep. Drive to Canazei and then decide to push on to Arabba for pizza. Start driving up towards pass Pordoi. After we pass the hotel BellaVista the snow is being blown onto the road and driving becomes difficult, limited visibility. Push on towards the top of the pass. Get to within one turn of the top and we come across a pair of Italians in a car which is sideways across the road. We get out and give them a push. I decide that maybe Arabba is not such a good idea and turn round. The Italians stop us and tell us that they are very worried and can they follows us back down. Slow drive down to Canazei. Stop to eat at Hotel El Ciasel, I have pizza, Annette has lamb cutlets, very average. Pick up an Italian hitch hiker on the way back. Back to the hotel for 11pm.

Wednesday 26th - Wake up refreshed to a blue sky. Breakfast and up the Campitello cable car for 10:15, follow the orange Sella Ronda clockwise, great skiing, blue sky, +2 degsC, so different to yesterday. Good ski down to Selva and then St Cristina. Go on an underground ski train and up the Col Raiser. This is yet another great ski area, have a fast run down their black. Have a rest late on just down from Piz Seteur, enjoy sitting in the sun, bratwurst and chips. Ski till the lifts shut. Exchange Annette's boots after a big bruise develops. Walk up to La Grotta for another good meal. Longer chat with Eric, the bar manager, beer and whiskey in the bar.

Thursday 27th - Late breakfast. Drive over the Sella pass to Plan de Gralba, start skiing at 11am. Follow the orange Sella Ronda. Go past Rifugio Cir where we had been in the summer after doing Piz du Cir. Ski down to pass Gardena, see Tridentina and the bridge. Quite fast through Corvara and on above the Campolongo pass and down to Arabba. Stop for a glühwein in Mister X and look at the map. Realise that we are halfway round and decide to carry on and go all the way round. Very misty above Arabba, ski fast past Lupo Bianca and on to pass Sella. Quickly down, could have been back at the car for 3:30 but go down to Selva for a last run. Drive back, stop for a couple of drinks at Bar Miro, rather quiet. Eat at Grotta again, OK.

Friday 28th - Late breakfast, after a lie in. Drive towards Passo di Fedàia, cash machine refuses to give me any more money. Get to the pass for about 11am. Start off by skiing down to valley to Malga a few times. Annette stops at Rifugio Fedàia for coffee, while I go up onto the Marmalarda glacier, takes 15 minutes on T-bar. At the top the T-bar connecting to the cable car is shut. Eat at 2pm at Rifugio Padon, dumpling soup, decide to ski down to Arabba and back. Annette skies down to Malga Ciapela to end the day, I drive down. Realise that we are at the top of the Sottoguda. Drive back and have a couple in the bar at the bottom of the Vigo ski area. Back to the hotel, Annette fetches some beer from the bar and stay in.

Saturday 29th - Wake up to bright sunshine. Drive to Corvara, takes about an hour, from 9:30. Head towards La Villa, lots of reds and blues. Sunshine stays most of the day. Problem ordering Tiramisu at Rifugio Uita. Problem with the horizontal chair lift, fail to get off at the middle station. Ski down towards Corvara, stop at Rifugio Marmotta for usually glühwein. Ski until the last minute. Drive down from Colfosco to Corvara and park. Have one in the Piz du Lech underground bar, empty, and then onto the Fornella restaurant. Very good meal. Drive back at 8:30pm. Couple back in the bar with Eric.

Sunday 30th - The hour goes on overnight and I do not realise until the Sat Nav Pocket PC tells me that it is adjusting its clock. We are thus a bit short of time to get to the airport. Drive down to Moena and over the pass Pellegrino. Good views of Monte Civetta on the drive back. Have a bit of a delay on Stansted when the meet and greet does not work very well.

Schladming February 2008 Team Taylor

Prof, Andy Best, Christine, Robert and James Taylor, Bro, Doll, and Hope, Brian Booth and Trish

Flickr Slide Show

Saturday 23rd February - Round to the Taylor's for 7:30am, very tired. Up to Doncaster airport, first time. Fly at 10:50, Salzburg for 2pm. Most get Taxi Maxi, Christine, Robert and James go on the train. Doll says “It's almost like being on holiday”. Me and Andy are staying in the Hotel Kirchenwirt, near the Rossl. The others stay in the Hotel Stadttor. Go and get all the ski gear from Tritscher's. Have a few in Charly Kahr's at the usual table. James and Hope build a very good tower of cards. I do some beer mat flipping. Move on to the Siglu for a couple and then to the Hotel for tea. I sleep very well.

Sunday 24th - Up refreshed but still a little shaky for 7:30am. At the bottom of the Planai for 9am, meet Brian and Trish and Team Lindsey. Ski on the blue near Onkel Willy's mostly. We all meet for lunch at Onkel Willy's standing room only outside, rather slow service. Brian makes a bit of a navigational error and has to walk up to the top station. Back to Onkel Willy's for 4pm. Robert decides to work his way down the schnapps menu, have three to get things started. Good run down R1. Quick tea and back to the bottom of the Planai to watch the welcome show. See some very good skiers and the bloke on the motorbike going zooming up the black, but Michael Tritscher does not make an appearance. A group of us go to the new Tenne bar. Good music, have some Red Bull and vodka and dance with Doll. Back to the Stadttor to try and get Doll a key to stay out later, but Karl says no.

Monday 25th - Bottom of the Planai for 8:45, great sunshine. First party is me, Andy, Brian, Trish, Bro, Hope and Doll. Do the Blue run to the middle. I get 81.3 km/h on the measured schuss, don't see anyone beat that all week. Onkel Willy's for 4pm, 4 schnapps and then down the black, most people watch us come down. They say that me and James both skied very well. Have a few in Charly Kahr's then move on to the Siglu for some more. Eat late and then over to the Stadttor. Play a little pontoon and then later Robert teaches us how to play poker.

Tuesday 26th - Me, Andy, Brian and Trish meet at 8:45, do R3 to the three man chair, snow in very good condition. Drop Trish at Onkel Willy's for her lesson and we meet up with Team Lindsey. Trish gets run into by some bloke during her lesson. Her instructor takes her to Onkel Willy's. Doll goes for a rest and meets her there. The skido takes her and Brian to the top of the Planai and then they go down the Gondola and straight into an ambulance and to hospital. It turns out to be a fractured pelvis. Onkel Willy's for lunch, Robert re-discovers the Flying Hirsch on the menu and buys me one. Just the four of us at Onkel Willy's at 4pm, we quiz Trici about which schnapps to have, she tells us that she can drink 20, no problem and that the one which we have given the highest rating to is only really for girls. Down R1 for the last run. Have a few in Charly Kahr's. I go back for tea, Rob and Bro decide to drink through. Meet back up with then and Brian in the Siglu. Me and Robert dance loudly standing on the backs of the chairs. The bar staff seem to have a problem reading our music requests, so the writing gets larger and larger. Kebab shop and then bed for midnight.

Wednesday 27th - Ski with Andy and Brian from 8:45. Go over to the top of the Hauser Kaibling mountain and then back to Charly Kahr's for 1pm to meet Trish, sit outside in glorious sunshine. After some debate decide to do the tobogganing this afternoon. Get two Taxi Maxi over to the Tauernalm. Me, Brian and Andy have singles, Bro and Hope and Rob and James go on doubles. Rob has got the cornering sorted. I had forgotten how much snow goes in your face when cornering. Due to a combination of a slow sledge, bad luck, inappropriate footwear and lack of sufficient training, I come somewhere near the back on both runs. Get a special concession from the committee not to go to Onkel Willy's for 4pm. Enjoy a few drinks at the Tauernalm and then taxi back. Me and Andy wander over to the Stadttor after tea, but not much is going on, so back home to read Wild Swans.

Thursday 28th - Bottom of the Planai for 9am with Andy, Bri, Bro, Doll and Hope. Do R5 and then R12, the snow is crispy. When we get to R6 it is very icy and steep, we watch a women fall and then slid to the bottom just before we have a go. Bro has a fall and slides down head first for quite a way. Relieved when we get to middle station of the golden jet, nice rest to the top of the Hochwurzen. Stop for 11's at the top, have Flying Hirsch. Do R31 and R33. We call a halt at 12:30 as we have done a lot. Trish gets a taxi over to meet us. Enjoy sitting outside in the sunshine at lunch. We all get a taxi back to the Planai. Me, Brian go up again. Rob has just skied down and beaten his mother and James down on the Gondola. All a bit tired at Onkel Willy's, my legs kill on the way down. A few in Charly Kahr's, we talk with an Aussie guy which Robert met yesterday. Steak for tea, Me and Andy have a schnapps afterwards, sleep from 10pm.

Friday 29th - Team Lindsey, Me, Brian and Andy go up the Planai at 9am. Bro decides to do a few blues and the rest of us ski down Sepp Walcher's valley. We stop at Mitterhausalm for 11's and all have a gluewein. Ski on to the top of Hauser Kaibling. We then head back to Charly Kahr's for lunch. I am cold and my legs are tired so go down in the Gondola from the top. Brian skies down by himself. We sit inside at Charly's, very slow service. I cannot get warm and am in some debate whether to go up for the final run. In the end I feel a little better and me, Brian and Robert go up to Onkel Willy's for the final session. Heavy rain at the bottom turns to heavy snow as we get to the top. David phones just us we get sat down, he is pleased to hear that we are having a good time. Have beer and four Flying Hirsch, strangely I feel a lot better. Say bye to Trici, Marie and Mani. The fresh snow has been partly pisted and we have a great run down. Have a good blast down the black only to get to the bottom and find that nobody was watching. I complete the week without a single fall. Most of us go to the Siglu for a few. Late tea and then over to the Stadttor. Me and Doll go to the Tenne for dancing till 1am. It is absolutely rammed, all Austrian, enjoy dancing to Push the Button.

Saturday 1st March - Nice easy morning, leave Schladming at 10:30am. We experience very strong winds on the way to the airport. It was shut for an hour at 11am. Strong head winds make us a couple of hours late into Doncaster.

Schladming March 2007 Team Taylor

Prof, David, Debbie, Christine and Max Taylor, Bro, Doll, and Hope, Mark, Mel, Emma and Eli, Brian Booth and Trish, Nick and Kate, Garry and Linda Smith, Laura Smith and James, Robert Smith and Sam

Flickr Slide Show

Saturday 17th March - Awake most of the night, due at Brian's for 5am, but the alarm does not go off. Brian has to ring me to wake me up. Bill gives us a lift down to Birmingham. The FlyBe flight has been re-scheduled from 8:30 to 12:30 so we have to drink in the Wetherspoons Bar. Taxi from Salzburg to Schladming for 150 euro. Eat in the hotel, very quiet night. My jet lag is affecting me, I arrived from two weeks in Texas yesterday, I almost fall asleep at the table. Laura and James, Robert and Sam arrived yesterday.

Sunday 18th - All head over to Blue 8 for a couple of runs. Bro is going faster than Doll. Me and Brian go for a spin down Sepp Walcher's valley. Onkel Willy's for lunch, we all sit outside in the glorious sunshine. Ski in the afternoon with Laura, James and Robert. Onkel Willy's for 4pm, have a quick beer and a couple of schnapps. Brian has an idea to drink 40 schnapps for his 40th birthday. Leave at 4:30pm, ski down to middle station, catch the gondola down, first time for Brian. Have loads of beer in Charly Kahr's. Debs lets David stay out since it is Brian's 40th birthday. We all move on to the Siglu bar, more beer and shorts, lots of singing and dancing. Brian has lots of strange coloured shorts, containing anything which they happen to have behind the bar. Him and Trish get lost on the way home. Me and Trish have to remove his ski boots later when he attempts to sleep in them.

Monday 19th - Feel moderately well in the morning considering, Brian is a little hungover. Bottom of the Planai for 9:30am, I find my skies outside the hotel. Snowing heavily. Meet Nick and Kate and we all go up the Gondola. Ski Red 12 and 5 in the heavy snow. My head is very cold from the snow, I forgot to take a hat or goggles. Whilst we are drinking in Charly Kahr's Brian mentions to me that he has just ordered a white wine for Doll and three turned up. He tells me that the same happened to Mark last night. I ask him exactly what he ordered and when he says a dry (drei) white wine it all becomes clear. Garry and Linda arrive today. Play cards in the hotel later on. Brian comments to me that it was almost an alcohol free day today, I agree with him and then we calculate that we have had 8 pints of lager.

Tuesday 20th - Due to the large amount of snow me and Mark decide to have a snowboard each. Go straight to Onkel Willy's with Mel and Doll for a quick vodka, red bull for breakfast. Bro is having a ski lesson. Have a couple of good runs on Blue 8, I fall off the button lift first time. Have another vodka red bull to get us up the Onkel Willy's T-bar. T-bars seem to be easier. Board down Red 3 to middle station. Taxi over to Rohrmoos to meet the kids from ski school. Eat in a hotel over there, not bad. While waiting for the taxi back we nip in a bar and have a crafty Jager Tea and red bull and a TVR. Doll claims that is not affecting her at all. Head to the top of the Planai and then down to the middle. Meet the rest of the gang and we ski down Red 1. It has not been pisted and is very deep in snow. All the skiers fall on the first part of the run and I briefly think that me and Mark will be OK. After a little while my board get buried and I am soon at the back, very hard work to get to the bottom. Go back up on the gondola, catch up with David and Brian as they are walking to Onkel Willy's. We get there at 4:30pm and it is shut. Board down to middle station, I am rather knackered and the snow is falling very thickly so I decide to get the last gondola down. When we get to the bottom and go into Charly Kahr's I am rather shocked that Mark went up behind us and is skiing down on his own. We take bets on how many times it will fall on the final Black, ends up being about 12. A few in Charly Kahr's, then some more in Siglu. A few go for a kebab, I go for Pizza and Pasta up past Blue Tomato with Mel and Doll. Me and Mel have to press the night bell to get into the hotel, Karl is livid.

Wednesday 21st - I take my board back, Mark keeps his. Brian has a problem remembering that not all girls are called Doll! Go on the bus over to Hochwurzen with Brian and Trish, Kate and Nick. We have to change buses half way there. Ski Red 33 top to bottom is fantastic. Meet up with Mel, Doll, Mark and Bro, some confusion about the plan, Trish gets left by herself in a bar. Do Red 31 most of the way down and then across on a path, very good, difficult for Mark on the board. They meet the kids for lunch, like yesterday. Ski down beneath the 6 man and 2 man chairs, awful run. Up the Golden Jet with Mark to Onkel Willy's, sit outside for one with Mark in the sunshine. The gondola runs till 7.30pm so everyone comes up. We have a few CVR. Me and David ski down in the dark, 7:15 till 7:45 Quick one in the Siglu bar and then just make tea. Early night.

Thursday 22nd - In the evening have a few drinks in the bar outside Alte Post with David. The others come back out after having tea so I decide to drink through. We all end up at the Hanglbar, lots of singing and dancing.

Friday 23rd - We all ski on Red 3A, blue path across and down the schuss, then on to the middle station. I get 77 kph, closest is Brian with 74. We have three goes on the slalom course, my first go is 34:88, I get tired after that. Closest is Brain with 36.95. The blader boys both struggle to get under 40 seconds. Mani tells us a lot about Onkel Willy's family, stay for three pints. Not of us realised that he is Heinz's son. The four of us ski down to Charly Kahr's, the rest have been there a long time. Eat in the hotel. Have a few drinks sitting around in the lounge of the Stadttor.

Saturday 24th - Arrive at Salzburg airport at about 1pm. Lots of hanging around, fly at about 5pm. Get texts from David and Mark that they have been in the Almrausch bar all afternoon watching the Go-Go dancers and have spent 420 euros each, this later proves to be a fabrication. Back into Derby for 10pm, have a cup of tea with Brian and Trisha.

Andorra Dec 2006

Me, Annette and Thomas

Flickr Slide Show

Friday 22nd December - Get up at 5am. Fly at 07:15 from East Midlands to Carcassonne. Wave to Alex and Emma when we arrive. Get Alex’s car from the car park and drive up to Pas, via Limoux and Quillan. Takes 2 and a half hours, book into Hotel Eslalom. Get ski gear and head up the mountain. Get to the James Bond bar. Very cold on the way back. El Carlit for a meat fondue, followed by chocolate fondue for me and Thomas.

Saturday 23rd - I buy a new pair of gloves and wear more clothes. Do the red run down from the James Bond bar mostly. Go to the Bond bar for lunch, I have a rather good chicken curry. Eat in the El Carlit, I have a pizza. Move onto Mulligans for beer, pool, darts and racing later. Annette talks with the pair behind the bar, they have only been there a few days.

Sunday 24th - Cheap burger for lunch in Grau Roig. Have a good hot bath when we get back. Paddy's for a quick beer, rather noisy. Move onto Auteuil to eat, Thomas has an entrecôte, rather ropey, memories of Ben’s terrible steak. I have a fillet, very good. Move on to El Carlit for pudding. Mulligans for more beer and racing. I win a couple of races.

Monday 25th - Drinks in El Carlit after skiing. Back to the room and watch the start of Bridget Jones’s Diary. I feel very full, but still go to Chez Paulo for evening meal, we all have a Pave, very good meal and relativity cheap. Back to the room and watch Thomas’s DVD player.

Tuesday 26th - Ski the usual area, I have a small fall when landing a jump. Beer at James Bond bar. Buy a Samsung X680 for 149 euro. Some debate about Annette or Thomas are going to get a iPods or a video iPod. Beef fondue in one down from El Carlit. Back to the Hotel room and watch Fellowship of the Ring and drink cheap schnapps.

Wednesday 27th - Leave Pas at 7am. Easy drive down. Take the route via Quillan and Limoux, I enjoy the drive, Annette and Thomas sleep. Get to Carcassonne with plenty of time, end up driving into the centre of the city and see no signs for the airport. Get to the airport with only a short time to spare. impossible to find a car parking space. Leave it right on the end, for Paul and Emma to pick up. Taxi back for EMA, tired in the afternoon. Watch some telle, etc.

Schladming March 2006 Team Taylor

David Taylor, Robert Taylor, Brian Booth, Mark Wilson and Me

Flickr Slide Show

Thursday 24th March - Pick up Rob and Brian at 2am, drive down to Stansted. I trust the sat nav to direct us to the parking which I have booked, the cheapest available. A bit of stress when Jane declares "You have reached your destination" when we are in the middle of nowhere. Relived to make it to the airport. I fall asleep on the plane and wake up to see us on the ground, I am little disappointed when I realise that the flight is delayed and we haven't taken off yet. Land at Salzburg and get a taxi across town to the train station. Travel first class because of the very reasonable cost. Great views of the mountains and a couple of beers on the train. Go straight up the Planai to ski. Go to Onkel Willy's for our 4pm appointment. After a few we are told that the bar is shut and we have to go. We stay in the Hotel Stadttor again, very good food. Mark goes to bed half way through the main course. We have a long heated, debate about the pros and cons of picking cabbages for a living.

Friday 25th - Ski over to Hauser Kaibling in the morning, stop for 11's over there. Robert remembers that we have emailed a lunch booking to Onkel Willy's and we head off back there. Sit in the locals area, they have no details of the booking. Mani brings us a free schnapps over, to apologise for being rude yesterday, a very good investment on his behalf. I ski a little better in the afternoon. Head to Onkel Willy's for 4pm. Start off with a quiet drink. David decides that we are being a little too quiet and orders some Champagne, vodka, RedBulls. After a few of those we all feel a bit better. Decide to try some of the Jagermeister with RedBull, they go down well so try some TVR, i.e. Tequila, vodka and RedBull. We also buy loads of schnapps. The bill comes to 297 Euros. In a fit of madness I pull out my credit card and pay it all. Leave at about 7.30pm. Call in for another beer on the way down. It starts to get rather dark. We get separated from Brian and Mark. I struggle to see anything and fall over at least 20 times on the way down, takes about an hour. Call in for a pizza next to Taxi Maxi. The chilli sauce is very hot. Brian seems to think that I will not notice a spoonful of it in my beer. I explain politely to a few Germans that the British like fighting. Bed for 11pm.

Saturday 26th - Very tired in the morning, ache all over. We have a go down the slalom course. I get the fastest time, it is then decided that this is a practice go, and we will have two proper goes.

Team Taylor 2006 1st Run 2nd Run Total Position Comment
Prof 40.57 39.29 79.86 1st !! (again) Winner !
Robert Taylor 40.75 43.32 84.07 2nd Suffering with a cold
Brian Booth 42.29 45.10 87.39 3rd
Mark Wilson 44:63 44:74 89.37 4th
David Taylor 41:21 DQ - Last tried his best

After the official two runs, it is decided to have another few goes. I have nothing to gain but everything to lose, however I keep on winning and we move on. My best time is 38:20, whereas no one else breaks 40. Onkel Willy's for 4pm, we have a little less that yesterday, ski down in the light. Have one in Charly Kahr's and then on to the Heckl bar. David, Mark and Brian take on a lot of Austrians at the nail game. The outcome of which is a lot of Jagermeister being drunk. The loser, double loser, McDonalds, Worker goes down very well since one of them has just taken a job at McD's. Just make it back for dinner. Karl does not seem too pleased too see us, maybe because we spill beer all over the table.

Sunday 27th - Not sleep very well, the Red Bull paradox. Lose an hour due to the switch to Daylight Saving Time. It is raining in the village and snowing at the top so we go straight to the Schaf-Alm hut for the first time. Start with a coffee, and then progress onto beer. Long chat about the Da Vinci code and the Masons. Leave at 4pm for our 4pm appointment at Onkel Willy's. Have a load of chicken wings at the bar and get going on the CVR and schnapps again. We ask Mani what 'Auf Gehts' means which is written on all their sweatshirts. He says it means 'It starts here', seems very appropriate. We stop in the woods just down from Onkel Willy's on a small path through the trees. We all stand round in a circle and leave some of JT's ashes in the snow. We ski down and bad light makes it difficult to see, David falls and hurts his shoulder. Him and Mark go off to hospital. The young lady doctor asks David to remove his shirt for an examination and exclaims WOW, I have no idea why. They X-ray it three times and agree that it is a bruise. He has to endure a lot of ribbing when he gets back and they have not even given him a sling.

Monday 28th - Bright clear day, we have a bit of a slow start since we have to pack etc. Do a few runs near the top but Robert is suffering with the altitude. Ski down and meet David in Charly Kahr's for some lunch. Me and Brian go up for one last run. Walk through the square on the way back and enjoy a relaxing beer outside the Landgraf hotel. Catch the 17:09 train to Salzburg. Train Timetable Back in Derby for 3am.

Andorra Dec 2005

Me, Annette and Thomas

Flickr Slide Show

Thursday 22nd December - Leave at about 8am. There are problems on the M1 due to an accident. Take a detour across onto the A14, helped by Jane. Pay £60 over-weight. Fly to Girona, get there at about 3pm. A few problems finding the right direction. Arrive at the hotel Sporting at about 10pm. Park in the underground car park, go down in the car elevator. Eat just opposite the front door of the Sporting.

Friday 23rd - Enjoy a good breakfast in the hotel. Hire skies and get lift passes, first up at 10am. Have dinner in the James Bond bar. Thomas does not like his cold burger, so I have two, red wine not so good either. Have a walk round town with Annette, eat in a small place near Mulligans, very good duck.

Saturday 24th - Ski over to the bowl above El Tarter, disappointed by the food choice again. Drive over to Andorra La Vella. It is dark when we get there and heaving with people doing last minute shopping. Eat in McDonald's. I enjoy the drive, park in the centre of town, lots of space.

Sunday 25th - Open presents in the morning, not get skiing till 11am. Ski down to the bottom of Soldeu for the first time, go over a bridge and up a lift. Eat there, nice views, food not so good. Up in the gondola from Soldeu. In the evening eat in the restaurant underneath Chez Paulo, only ones in. Thomas and Annette both have steaks and enjoy them. Back to the hotel bar and playing a bit of Trivial Pursuit.

Monday 26th - I don't sleep very well and feel ill and tired most of the day. Ski down to Soldeu and then also down to the bottom of El Tartar for the first time.

Tuesday 27th - Ski from 10 till 3.30pm. Lose Annette for a while when Thomas and her ski separate directions. I phone Paul Moorhouse to tell him that I will not be joining them next week. Ski down to Soldeu again, just to go on the lift. I enjoy spaghetti and chicken wings in the James Bond bar for lunch. Queue for an hour to get out of Andorra, a little concern that we might not make it on time. Head for Barcelona, take the tunnel de Cadi. Stop and buy a map to find the airport. Dump the hire car in the airport car park. Only pay 32 euros overweight this time. Arrive back to a covering a snow at Stansted. Hire a car and I drive back. Back for 3am.

Andorra Mar 2005

Me and Annette,
Paul Moorhouse and Kirstie,
Ben and Alex.

Friday 11th March - Annette arrives on the 15:35 flight, pick her up from the airport, go to my hotel to get my stuff and then up to Pas de la Casa, roads have deep snow at the side of them. Arrive at about 9pm. Paul Moorhouse and his girlfriend, Kirstie have found a couple of hotels, book into the Sporting for the first night and the Casada for the second night. Go out for a meal and some drinks. Ben and Alex arrive later, I start calling him bad boy.

Saturday 12th - Headache in the morning. A lot of queuing to get skies, passes etc. Start at about 11am. Spend a lot of time on the radio, calling bad boy. Fantastic days skiing, very impressed by the linked area. Not very impressed by lunch stop in La Tartar, bowl. Annette is a little unsure to start with but does very well, has a great day. A couple of beers straight off the slopes. Geoff takes us to the his favourite restaurant in Pas, Chez Paulo, very good food, BBQ.

Sunday 13th - Get going for 10am. Do some very fast runs with Ben late on. Stay for a meal and drink in Pas with Annette and then leave at 7pm, back in Toulouse for 10pm, tired. I have a very burnt nose.

Sauze D'Oulx Jan 2005 Team Taylor

John and Christine Taylor, David and Debbie Taylor, Brian Booth, Prof, Annette and Thomas Fitchett, Robert and James Taylor, Chris and Phil Howe, Doll, Linda Smith, Jude, Nancy Davis, Georgina.

Flickr Slide Show

Sunday 30th January - Down to Brian's for bacon sandwiches at 10.30am. Derek Durose drives us down to East Midlands airport. Fly to Turin and coach to Sauze, travel with Crystal. Register Annette and Thomas for ski school. Eat in the hotel, a few of us go to the Cotton Club.

Monday 31st - Me and Brian take Annette and Thomas up to Sportinia for their first ski lesson on snow. Meet up again at 3pm. I go up to the Marmotta for 4pm. We all go to the Cotton club. Lots of amusement caused by the "Chavs welcome here" sign. Chavtastic.

Brian BoothTuesday 1st February - Windy day. Ski school at 10am for Thomas and Annette. Triplex chairlift is shut due to the wind. Me and Brian follow a path heading to Sportinia. However when it goes up a little we head further down, go over lots of sticks and soil, take off skies and walk. Eventually get down to Jouvenceaux. We were expecting to have to get a taxi, but thankfully find a chairlift. Late for our lesson at 1pm. Lots of jokes about whether the instructor would be able to keep up, in the end he just keeps going on about turns! Marmotta for 4pm. Lots of tequila in the Cotton Club, miss tea. I fall asleep whilst watching the Man United against Arsenal match. Brian drinks through and goes to the Black Sheep with the women and then the Gran Trun.

Wednesday 2nd - Skies on at 11.30am. Everyone skies together in the morning, lunch at Cicci's bar at 2pm. I ski with Annette down Red 11 to the bottom. Rush to get up to the Marmotta for 4pm, ski down to Sportinia. Mark Wilson and his friend Glynn Howells meet us there, to my surprise. Very fast run down from there. Meet for drinks in the Hotel Derby and then move on to the Black Sheep.

Thursday 3rd - Race Day ! We all go off at the start of the field. Start is a little below the usual. This puts DT at a disadvantage since lots of polling is involved. Early indications put me ahead. Lunch in Capanna Kind. Marmotta for 4pm. Thomas skies down with Robert and James. Straight to the Queens Lounge. Home to get changed and then Black Sheep. Back to the hotel for the last one. Glynn has entertained everyone in La Torre by playing the piano for 1½ hours, David is very impressed.

Team Taylor 2005 Time Position Comment
Prof 44:06 1st Winner !
Robert Taylor 45:35 2nd
David Taylor 45:57 Third !!!!
Brian Booth 49:53
Glynn Howells 50.72 Second week skier
Phil Howe 51:98 Second Go
Doll 54.88
Debbie Taylor 59.42 Missed Gate
Thomas Fitchett 1:00.60 Fastest child
John Taylor 1:01.22
James Taylor 1:01.71
Chris Howe 1:07.72
Linda Smith 1:29.93 Navigational error
Annette Fitchett 1:29.95 Slowest but also category winner

Friday 4th - Me and Annette down some easy runs in the morning. Annette comes up to the Marmotta for evening drink and the last run down. Collect the DVD, eat in the hotel followed by coffee.

SportiniaSaturday 5th - Lunch at Cicci's bar again. The last run down is a little curtailed when there is thick fog on the bottom half of the course. Everyone down safely. Watch the England Wales rugby in the Cotton Club. Me and Annette go to the "Godfather Pizzeria" late on, very good Italian meats.

Sunday 6th - Strange arrangement where we have to get our cases downstairs at the hotel for 6.30 and then walk down to catch the coach at 7.45pm. Some problems with luggage not getting itself onto the coach. Home for 1pm.

Schladming February 2004 Team Taylor

John and Christine Taylor, David Taylor and Debbie, Prof, Brian Booth, Robert and James Taylor, Bro and Doll, Chris and Phil Howe, Linda Smith, Jude, Nancy Davis and Sue Edwards.

Saturday 21st February To be added

Flickr Slide Show

Sauze D'Oulx Jan 2003 Team Taylor

Me, David, Brian, John and Chris, Robert and James, Mark, Mel, Emma and Ely, Carlie, Georgina, Linda Smith, Jude, Nancy Davis, Doll.

Sunday 26th January - We arrive at the Hotel La Torre at about 2pm. Me and Brian ski in the afternoon. The others re-discover the bar. Our first time on blades, goes well. Meet the girls at the bottom of the piste. We all get asked to leave the New Scotch bar for being too loud. Go to the Cotton Club, lots of drinks, Liam has moved here from the Gran Trun. I go back for lunch the others stay out. I wear my Team Taylor t-shirt with the deliberately miss-spelt Sauze D'Oux logo on. A great opening night to the holiday.

Monday 27th - We get up at 9am and ski. I go with Brian and DT. Do lots of runs, go half way down to Sestriere. Sportinia for lunch. Marmotte bar for 4pm drinks. After dinner most of us go to the 'Gran Trun', Chaddy is singing but not as loud as before. Jimbo, the new landlord kicks us out at 1am, this does not go down well with the party.

Tuesday 28th - The three of us ski over on Generis all morning, very windy. The chair up from Pian Della Rocca is shut all day. Go down some very small paths to get to the bottom of the Sportinia chair. Go up the double chairs and then down to Malafosse area. Mark is pretty good, he had blades for Christmas. Up the long drag to 'La Marmotte' for drinks, everyone is there. Fantastic run down, very fast, Mark falls just behind me. Cotton Club straight off the slopes. We all go to the hotel for evening meal. Doll wants to go the Karaoke bar but the machine is broken. Trun till 1am, DT does a dance for some woman from Liverpool. Cotton club till it shuts at 5am.

Wednesday 29th - Not bother till noon, have a fantastic breakfast in Paddy's. Very cold on the mountain, go to the Marmotte for coffee to warm up and sleep. David talks for a long time in the evening about a 'serious life change', i.e. stopping drinking, he is apparently allergic to beer. The woman from Liverpool turns up for 4pm drinks at the Marmotte bar and mistakes Robert for David. She asks Robert if he is a Stripper and Christine says, you must be getting him confused with his brother. Then James says, "Dad, what's a stripper ?" Go out for a quiet drink in the Cotton Club with David, Robert and Mark, serious talk about life, etc.

Thursday 30th - Register at Capanna Kind for the Andy Capp ski race, David goes off number 6, me 7 and Brian 8. Start just after 1.30pm. After the race early indications put me slightly ahead. At the presentation in the evening David comes second in the overall blade category and wins two medals with a time of 1:06, I come fourth in the blade category and get one medal for 1:08, and Brian gets nothing for 1:13. I decide that my ski boot and David's head should become much better acquainted. A few drinks round town and then Black Sleep for a meal, end up at the Cotton Club till 4am. I make a conscious decision to try and forget about the whole day.

Friday 31st - Very slow to get going in the morning. Breakfast in the Cotton Club with the girls. Long drag next to the icy black is open for the first time this week, go up and ski down to Sansicario.

Saturday 1st February - I swap my blades with John's skies to see now it feels to go back, they seem to have no edges. Up the long drag again and down to Soleil Boeuf in Sansicario. Talk to an Italian family from Turin who ski every weekend. Chaddy is great in the Gran Trun, stay till 1am. Move on to the Karaoke bar, but only the girls are in. David, Brian and I talk with Gill, a hairdresser from Liverpool. Call in for one last one in the Cotton Club, the girls are in there and do not appreciate being disturbed. Get to bed for 3am. The girls decide to drink though the night.

Sunday 2nd - We all get on the coach at about 7am. The driver has some difficulty starting it and uses jump leads. Shortly after this it starts to roll down the hill out of control. Very fortunately a passenger leaps forward and pulls on the handbrake. Back home for 2pm.

Schladming January 2002 Team Taylor

John and Christine Taylor, David Taylor, Prof, Brian Booth, Robert and James Taylor, Bro and Doll, Chris and Phil Howe.

Flickr Slide Show

Friday 25th January - Round to David's for 2.30am. Drive down with Brian to Stansted. Meet the others there at about 6am. Fly out on Ryan Air, a first for Team Taylor.

Saturday 26th - Arrive at the Hotel Stadttor at noon. Me and Brian go skiing straight away, the snow is very icy. David, John and Bro go drinking. Me and Brian call in at Onkel Willy's at 4pm, Walter left a year ago to be a bus driver. We meet the others in the Siglu bar, David is hammered, he is very aggressive and then suddenly goes to bed at 7.30pm. I remember how good the food is at the Hotel.

Sunday 27th - David texts me at 3am and asks to be woken for breakfast and at early ski. Go up early with Brian, Doll and David. It rains quite heavily later, Doll insists it will not stop till Tuesday morning and will wash away all the snow. Go out to a new bar with Bro, Doll and David for a quiet one.

Monday 28th - Due to the rain of yesterday we don't bother getting going till later. In the end the weather is good. A crowd go to Onkel Willy's for a 4pm drink. Doll, Chris and Phil ski down Red One in the dark, it takes them over an hour. Go out for a drink after dinner. We try one bar and they take one look at us and say, 'No drinks' even though there are ten people at the bar. Robert recognises the guy that I threw beer over in the 1999 karaoke incident. He comes in the Siglu bar later on and I introduce myself and we have a chat. He works all over the world and only occasionally comes back to Schladming. We stay till the Siglu bar shuts, the bar man is playing all the music that we ask for, Hell's Bells seems to get played a lot.

Tuesday 29th - Up early with Doll and Brian. She comes down Red One in 15 minutes. Me and Brian then come down top to bottom in 7 minutes. I feel ill from mid morning. On the way home from the slopes call in for beer in the square, end up dancing on the bar in the outdoor Hotel Alte Post bar. Doll and Chris try to tear my ski suit off me. After dinner me and Brian go out for a quiet beer with John, we walk to the river looking for a bar he went in 20 years ago. It is now a shoe shop.

Wednesday 30th - Ski over to Hochwurzen. Usual Onkel Willy's Hutte at 4pm then ski down with David and Brian. After the damage sustained to my ski suit yesterday I decide it is time for some new gear, call in at the shop Buy a new Killy ski jacket and black salopettes. Go and dance on the bar again. Go to the karaoke bar till 3am, we all sing brilliantly and help everyone else with their songs, even the ones in German. Brian hurts his back with some help from Bro.

Thursday 31st - I don't bother with breakfast, I feel rather tired to start with. I feel well later when the others are rather tired. Just the three of us at Onkel Willy's, we are a little quieter than often. Pleased to get to bed early. Forget to turn the phone off and Helen phones at 2am and wakes me up.

Friday 1st February - Just me and David stay late in Onkel Willy's, have a few schnapps. Go to the karaoke bar again with Doll, David, John and Christine. John starts barging the other dancers off the dance floor. Stay till the end, at 3am.

Saturday 2nd - Leave the hotel at 11am, back in Derby for 8pm.

Courchevel March 2001

Me, Andy and Helena, Gilly, Sal, Jayne and Dave, Mark and Amanda, John and Suzi, James.

Saturday 10th - Check in at 5am, fly at 7am, ski at 2.30pm with Andy. Drink a hip flask full of Baileys and Cognac between us. DT phones us just as we are just going up Vizelle, he was almost hoping that we had got delayed by a bomb scare at Manchester airport. We stay at the hotel/chalet Isba. I am very full of myself at dinner, good food. Play a lot of bar football in the bar downstairs.

Sunday 11th - First full day. We all ski together. Ski high up on 1650 for a while. After some debate we go to the Kalico for lunch. I hurt my back on takeoff over a small jump. Lots of pondering about the organised bar crawl. Eventually decide to go along with Andy, Gilly and Sal. We go to the same places as last year.

Monday 12th - I don't feel very well in the morning. Ski over to Val Thorens for lunch. Very poor snow in Mottaret. Feel much better after a beer for lunch. Ski back with Andy, very slowly. The others only just make it back before the lifts shut. Talk with Andy and Helena in the bar mostly. We all have a snowball fight till 1am.

Tuesday 13th - Stay in bed with a bad back most of the morning. Do one run before lunch. Meet the others in the Kalico. Ski a good afternoon. Physio comes round to sort out my back, she says that it is just a stiff back, it feels completely cured when she leaves. Down to the Jump bar before lunch. Very good fish for tea. Play computer games with Andy and Dave. Pool with Andy and Helena, a very long game. Down to TJ's for a late one.

Wednesday 14th - Wake up in agony at 3am, decide to sleep on the floor. Just lie there on my back. Lie there most of the morning. Struggle down to the doctors. He gives me an anti-inflammatory injection, more physio appointments and a certificate of unfitness to ski for ten days. Lie in bed and wait for the physio. After she goes I feel much better. She says that I must never let my back be stationary all evening. Go up to the Altibar for the fondue and torchlight descent. I go in the bus with Helena. Drinks in the hotel and then dancing in the Kalico till 3am. Keep my back moving all night, even though it looks silly when I am sitting down.

Thursday 15th - Lie in all morning. When I look outside at the sunshine I decide that my back feels much better. Walk down to the Tremblin to meet the girls for lunch. Andy gets out of bed and meets us at 1pm. Enjoy the afternoons skiing, nice weather, good snow.

Friday 16th - Full days skiing. Go over to 1650 mostly, very good conditions. Lots of talk about staying up all night. In the end me and the girls stay up till 2am in TJ's drinking.

Saturday 17th - Fly back early on. Andy goes playing Lacrosse. I go with Gilly to watch Man Utd. play Leicester. After a lot of time with the ball in Leicester's half Man Utd end up with two goals. David Taylor and Helen Smith drive up from Derby and arrive at about 7pm. Go for an Italian meal in Wilmslow, then to the 'Samuel Finney' and then 'The Rectory'. Very lively pub. Move on to Brasingamens, later, very up market night club. There till 3am.

Bardonecchia January 2001 Team Taylor

John and Christine Taylor, David Taylor, Me and Helen, Brian Booth, Robert and Dan Smith, Bro and Doll, Chris and Phil Howe all in the Hotel Des Geneys, Simon and Melinda in the Hotel Bettula.

Sunday 28th January - Round to the Taylor's for 3am with Anna. We have to let ourselves into DT's flat and bang on Brian's front door to get them up. 6am flight from East Midlands to Turin. We arrive at about 11.30am. Helen arrives by train from Frankfurt. Me and Brian rush off for the slopes, problem of not knowing which way to go. We walk up to Campo Smith, buy an afternoon ticket. Helen and Anna arrive later. They find us on the slopes. They hire some gear and we get them onto the beginners slope. Go to the Hotel Rosa for the welcome meeting. To our great surprise Garry, Linda, Laura and Robert Smith are there as well.

Monday 29th - Take Helen up to register for ski school at 10am. See Simon and Melinda from the Windmill. Others turn up at 10.30 take them up the second two man chair and do the blue run from the top. Meet Helen at 1pm at the bottom. Go to the MeDial bar in the evening with the adults, have some serious conversions.

Tuesday 30th - Ski over to the Melezet region for the first time, discover blue 25 run, on the second run down Garry does his knee in. Realise that we have done most of the runs in the resort. Meet Christian, the head waiter from the hotel, on the slopes. We had arranged to ski with him but somehow he loses us and skis with the girls. Go to the MeDial bar again later, DT goes on about classic tunes, him and Rob seem to know the release date of every record. Arguments about the date of Snap, Rhythm is a dancer.

Wednesday 31st - Go to the Jeffrau ski region for the first time, a lot higher mountain. Doll is really enjoying skiing with the A team. I have a high speed fall and end up in a large pile of snow off piste. We do lots of ski runs. Get a taxi to Sauze for the evening. Have a meal in the Black Sleep, lots of arguing about what to have. Gran Trun later, Chaddy ( Michael Chadwick is playing ). Laura recognises Chinney from Rubicon and we speak to him for a while.

Thursday 1st February - Go to Jeffrau again, go straight there, still have a late start. Helen comes over after ski school, she has hurt her head and is not happy. She stays in the button bar for some time. Play cards in the hotel bar till late on. Chase the Ace, Helen wins 25,000 Lire.

Friday 2nd - Go for the last drink in the bar Colomion at the top of the mountain. The owner follows us down on his skido. I talk to Gilly on the phone all the way down about my next ski holiday, she is at work. Find out that the bar owner is Rachael, the ski rep's husband. MeDial bar later with Laura, meet the others in there and then on to another bar.

Saturday 3rd - Late start, head over to Melezet, go up to some of the top runs. Helen goes up to the top of the mountain with her ski school. Resort is busy at the weekend. Dinner at the usual bar and then up to the top bar with Helen. DT and the others stay there all afternoon. Rachael is serving. Ski to the bottom with Helen and then back up for the last drink and run down. Get the bus to Sauze after tea, as before Hotel Derby, then Karaoke bar and then Gran Trun. Very good night, some of them drink litres glasses of beer. Stay till 1am.

Sunday 4th - Delayed for three hours at Turin. Take Anna back to Kilburn and then back to the Windmill for 10pm.

The next four pictures are courtesy of Steve Wheeler and are from a ski trip to Courchevel 1850 in March 2000. The first shows the full team enjoying a Fondue at the Altibar. We had lots to eat and drink for an extremely reasonable price. We then skied down carrying a flaming touch, except for Andy who had the wrong boots.

This is Steve trying his best with Melissa the rep.

The Sunglasser Boys, from the left David Taylor, Spuddy (John Judson) and Steve Wheeler.

Sal and Gilly in a queue at the Col du Loze. Me and Andy in the background.

This bar served the cheapest beer in the resort, £3.30 a pint.

Sauze D'Oulx Feb 2000

Me and Brain Booth, David and Robert Taylor, John and Christine Taylor, Mark, Mel and Emma Wilson, Garry and Linda Smith, Laura and Rebecca Smith, Phil and Chris Howe, Mark Hammond and Sally W

Sunday 30th January - Round to David's for 5am. Arrive at the Hotel La Torre at 2.30pm. Me and Brian take a short cut across to the hotel and get ready. Wait for Laura. Ski for a couple of hours. Only the Clotes lift is open due to high winds. I have too much dinner. Go to the Gran Trun later, I feel very full and tired.

Monday 31st - We all ski together, good sunny day. We have a nice spaghetti at the Ciao Pais. They bring us out a free bottle of spirit. We are all very impressed by the hotel, it is visible from any where on the mountain. Go down to the Gran Trun, an Aussie called Chaddy is playing there. I decide to drink vodka and coke all night after feeling too full on the beer last night. I drink a lot in the Hotel, Gran Trun and then the Schuss bar, home for 3am.

Tuesday 1st February - Wake up and give the command 'Brian, I am awake, lets go' still hungover all morning. Lie on the snow at lunchtime and fall asleep. Get bad shakes after a while. Ski a little and then accompany Mel back to the hotel. First time that I have not been for the 4pm drinks meet. Sleep for a few hours. Wake up and have dinner in the hotel. A lot of the others stay in the 'Andy Cap' bar till gone 9pm and then go for a meal in the 'Black Sleep'. I walk down to meet them with Laura and Rebecca. We go for a drink in the 'Gran Trun', Chaddy plays again.

Wednesday 2nd - After a lot of discussion about whether to have handicaps or not Me and Mark decide to work out a set of handicaps.

Thursday 3rd - Race day, all the usual anticipations before the race. Race down the same course. Christine Taylor snaps a cruciate ligament during the race. We all gather in the 'Andy Cap' bar for the results. We get loads of medals. I come second in the 12 week plus male race. I am rather disappointed to get only the fourth fastest time. Go back to the Hotel for lunch. We all go down to the 'Gran Trun'. Go clubbing with Laura, Rebecca and Mel. Me, Mel, Laura and two lads from Somerset go for a pizza at 'Kaly's', I dance on the table. We all get home for 5am.

Friday 4th - Me and Brain had agreed to go out early with Mark. Rebecca comes along to. We head for Sestriere. The only way is to go down on the Gondola so we do not bother. Ski down to the bottom of Sansicario. Ski back and have lunch in Sportinia. Some of us go for a curry in Sauze, basic but nice. After that we go to a smelly Karaoke bar for a while and then we all go to the 'Gran Trun' again. I insist that I am going to go to bed early, but I soften after some vodka and go to Bandito's with Laura, Rebecca and Rob, I dance all night and enjoy it. We go to the Schuss bar briefly but decide to head home at 4am.

Saturday 5th - We all have a video made by Chaddy in the morning, split into two groups. Lots of fun trying to trip David up. We end up having to push him over. The first group of Me, David, Brian, Mark and Laura ski over the top and head for Sansicario again. Start heading down the black and Mark falls and cuts his head. We decide to head back home. Go to 'La Marmotta' bar and enjoy some beer, think about Eric Thompson a lot, feel very content. Steady run down, call in for a beer at Paddy's and watch the football results. Go shopping for Helen with Rebecca, Laura and Mel, buy a Versace jumper. Gran Trun everyone home for 2am, I was ready to go again but Robert says no.

Schladming January 1999 Team Taylor

John and Christine Taylor, David and Robert Taylor, Sandra, Dan Smith, Mark, Mel and Emma Wilson, Brian Booth, Gary, Linda and Laura Smith, Me and Mark Hammond

Flickr Slide Show

Saturday 30th January - Facebook Post Stayed at Brian's the night before, sleep very well, get up at 5am and walk round to 37 Rectory Lane. Fly from Luton. Me and Mark Hammond nearly miss the flight since we are having our photo taken, 'the aircrew are prepared to take them' was the phase. The rep tells us that it is not possible to ski on the first day but we do anyway. Go to Onkel Willy's for the first time, we see Walter and Herman the waiters and Onkel Willy himself. Have three schnapps and then ski down Red 1 in the dark. We stay at the Hotel Stadttor, we have very good food all week. Lots of us go to the Siglu bar and sing American Pie till late. The picture shows me demonstrating how to land a large jump in total control

Sunday 31st - We all decide to meet at 7.45am but only me and Laura do. Eventually some of the others arrive. When we are all ready Laura decides that her pass is on the same form as her parents and cannot come. We all meet in Onkel Willy's as usual for the rest of the week. After lunch the lads are keen to check out how good Team Smith really are, they are not bad.

Monday 1st February - Take Team Smith over the top to Sepp Walcher's valley, my skies are not running well at all. When we arrive the piste clears in front of my and I just let them run to the bottom. Unbeknown to me David and Brian are going up on the drag lift and see me. David turns to Brian and says 'Hey look at him, he really knows how to let them go' then after a short pause he says 'Oh my god it's Prof'. He makes Brian swear to secrecy but it comes out after a day or two.

Tuesday 2nd - The lads go down into Sepp Walcher's valley and find a couple of new lifts down a path at the bottom of the two drags. The lads have an afternoon at Onkel Willy's. Me and Laura go out skiing, but she has a bit of a nasty fall. We all go to the Alte Post to start with. It has changed, the usual bar is not open. Robert and Garry do a strange musical trio in the lounge. We all go over to the Erlbacher and they have a good games room. Play quite a lot of bar football, shooting and driving.

Wednesday 3rd - Ski over to Hauser Kaibling for the first time with most people. I have some big falls and decide to tighten my front binding from 7 to 8. I made a brave statement that I will never go down in a gondola unless I am dead. Stop for eleven's over there. Onkel Willy's stays open till 7.30pm. Linda and Sandra persuade me to stay after everyone goes home. We dance on the tables and I am quite merry. I am tempted to ski down in the dark alone but decide to go down on the Gondola. Sandra heaves on the way down. I am very loud at dinner, Sandra goes straight to bed. Play cards in the lounge for a while.

Thursday 4th - We have a few runs down the slalom course but I still cannot beat him down. Cocktail party in mine and David's room. We get through £60 worth of schnapps, champagne, etc. We get very loud at dinner. Move on the Karaoke bar till 2am. We all sing very loudly. The bar is very full so we dance on the tables. When we are told not to I dance on a seat back for most of the night and hold on the ceiling. As a bloke is singing 'My way' I fall off my perch and throw my beer all over him. He carries on singing without a hesitation. Robert Taylor recognises him when we return to Schladming in 2002. Ring Helen and leave a message after I have to ask Brian to remind me what her name is. At 3am we wander round looking for other places to go.

Friday 5th - Neither me nor David bother with breakfast, I feel good all day but tired. We go up the mountain at about 10.30am. Do a run to the bottom before lunch and see Christine and Mel having a lesson. After lunch we have the ski race on the slalom course. David is one second in front of me. A few easy runs in the afternoon. We say good bye to Onkel Willy's Hutte for another two years. Play cards in the Hotel lounge and go to bed early.

Saturday 6th - It snows through-out the night, about 1 foot in the morning, all the lifts are shut. Leave the Hotel at 8am prompt. Land at 3pm.

Courchevel Jan 1999

Andy Higson, Steve Wheeler, Andy Cookson (Cookie), Gill Oxley, Sallyann Ellis, Jayne Burrell, Justin Schroder

Here is one of me and some friends at Courchevel 1650 during a weeks skiing in January 1999. I am just about to order Steak Tartar. I knew that it would be raw, but I did not expect it to be cold !

Saturday 16th January - Get up at 4am and drive to Manchester Airport. Meet most of the GenRad ski team, Andy, Steve, Cookie and Gilly. Andy phones me in the airport to find me. It was Steve Wheeler's 30th birthday party last night and the boys come straight from the club. Arrive at the Chalet Triolet at about 5.30pm. Meet our Chalet Maid Lizzie Culverhouse. Meet the American Justin, he arrived at about 3pm. Andy, Steve and Cookie go to bed to catch up on the sleep. Walk down to the Ski shop with the girls, we call in at L'Equipe for the first time, have three 'Van Chaud' and I am in a good mood. Back for the meal at 8 o'clock, good meal and lots of red wine. Me and Sally take on Cookie and Gill at 'Spit it out' board game, lots of sexual innuendo and laughs.

Sunday 17th - First skiing day, We all stay together except for Jayne who has ski school all day, every day. I fall above the Verdon station on a steep slope and loose my Ray Ban sun-glasses. I lead the way go over to 1650, take the girls down a steep slope into the Parmeruel Station. Justin and Sally do not like the drag lifts. Meet in the Kalico for lunch, great burgher and a couple of pints and sit outside. Meet Jayne after her ski school in L'Equipe for three more 'Van Chaud'. After tea go out for a quite drink. Go to the Kalico, the rounds of beer are expensive so we drink Champagne instead. I am in a good mood and we dance till 4am.

Monday 18th - We get going by about 10am. I feel very ill at the Meribel gondola and nearly don't go up. Get over to Val Thorens for lunch but I can over manage a couple of bites. Just manage to get my tea down. Feel very similar to Sauze D'Oulx last year, I decide that I am allergic to red wine. Andy and Justin go back to the chalet early. Decide to drink Cocktails in L'Equipe all night.

Tuesday 19th - We have a slight navigational problem in the morning, after a few phone calls we find each other, but they are not happy. Ring Helen for the first time this week, on the mobile. Lizzie knows someone living in International House. After tea most people say that they are staying in so I go out with Gill and Sally to TJ's for a couple of cocktails. Andy and Cookie come down later.

Wednesday 20th - The girls decide to navigate today. They always seem to ask me which way to go before they decide. Lizzie's day off. We go out for a meal Carpaccio du Boeuf starter and Hot rock for everyone to follow. The boys are most unhappy with the meal and walk out. Me and the girls go up to TJ's and they moan about the boys. Meet Andy and Cookie in there. Try to go to the Kalico later but the queue is too big.

Thursday 21st - Ski in 1650 in the afternoon. Helen phones whilst we are at a restaurant for a coke in 1650 Call her back in the evening. Take my skies in for a service after a slide on the ice a lot. I try to demonstrate to Sally how to go through the trees, start by falling over and then get my skies ever side of a tree. I hurt my knee and Sally dies laughing. Go to Le Kalico with the Girls, meet the others and we watch 'The Sureshank Redemption'. Out with Andy and Cookie till 4am drink more Champagne, Gill gets followed round by a French lift operator.

Friday 22nd - I feel good all day but Andy and Cookie both feel very tired. Go to Mont Vallon in the Meribel valley in the morning, meet Jayne at noon in 1850. Ski over to 1650 for lunch. The service in very slow so we change to another place. I order Steak Tartare after Gill tells me what it is, raw meat, eat half of it with chips. Take Jayne right up to the top of the valley and then over to the 1850 side. I guide Jayne most of the afternoon. Me, Gill and Sally go for a couple of last runs on Coqs. Go shopping after the last run with the girls, I buy a Fat Face fleece for Helen and a White Stuff top for me. Go for a drink in L'Equipe.

Saturday 23rd - Wake early and catch the bus at 6am, have a good sleep on the bus. Gill gets increasingly ratty with me towards the end of the holiday. Spend a lot of time wandering round Geneva airport. I don't feel the need to buy anything and there are no chairs. I am bored, tired and just want to get home. The takeoff is delayed as always. I get home for about 6.30pm.

Sauze D'Oulx Feb 1998 Team Taylor

John and Christine Taylor, Sandra Taylor, Dave Taylor, Robert Taylor and Rebecca Smith, Brain Booth and Joanne Carr, Mark Hammond and Me

Flickr Slide Show

Sunday 22nd February - Turn up at Rectory Lane for 6am, David is not there. He stayed at Annie's house, which used to be where my friend from school, Grant Reed, lived. They do not hear the phone so Robert goes to collect them. JT goes spare. Leave at about 7am. Use the same coach from Willington. Stay in the Hotel Chaberton in the old town run by Pam from Kent. Share a room with Mark. Desperate to go skiing on the first day. Get into all the gear and walk up the hill, unfortunately go to the wrong lift. When Brain and Mark have got their skies the lift is shut. Dump all the stuff in the ski store. Go to the Black Sheep for a meal and then over the road to the Gran Trun pub. An Australian is playing the guitar and we all sing and dance around till late. Two of the Stoke lads spend a night in the cells after stealing a motorbike.

Monday 23rd - Meet for breakfast at 8.30am, very meagre, I order a bacon sandwich, very small. The queue for the Cotes lift extends almost all the way across the piste and moves very slowly. Everyone sticks together for the day. JT leads us to the Ciao Pais for lunch, bean soup and Pork and Chips. Meet back there for 4.30pm drinks, after a few beers David buys a round of Grappa on Eric Thompson. Have a good run down to the bottom. Robert falls many times on the way down. He is very drunk and goes home to bed. Go to the Black Sheep again.

Tuesday 24th - The Stoke lads wake us all up at 5am and shout till 7am. We complain to Pam and she gets the Rep to inform the police, they confiscate their passports. The early party is established as Me, Brian, David and Mark. We get to the Cotes lift for about 9.30am. Go over to the Generis area, great skiing. Meet back for lunch. We all enter for the Andy Capp Ski race. I have been for 14 weeks and so race with JT in the 12+ week category.

Wednesday 25th - Phone Helen, Robert buys my Italian phone card off me and phones Ruth, she is not pleased that he has not phoned every night and got drunk. Go to the Griglia for the first time, a huge tortilla starter followed by pizza.

Thursday 26th - Race Day: Me, David, Brian and Mark go for the usual blast around Generis. Head back over to Sportinia to meet the others. I go at number 5 at 1.15pm. Mark and I go for another couple of runs and then go to meet the others in the Andy Capp bar at 5.30pm. Watch the video of the race and have a few drinks. Rebecca gets first place in the female first week skiers with 1:26, Mark get first place in the male second week skiers with 1:10, Jo gets a third place with 1:20 Christine gets a fifth place with 1:35, David gets a third place with 1:02 Robert and Brian cannot work out why they have no medal. In my category the fifth place is 0:56. Go for a meal at Del Borgo's for a meal, intense speculation about my time, Brain thinks that I must have missed a gate and after some blackmail I am forced to agree with him. All the starters and main courses come in the wrong order after a long wait JT and others get stressed. Go back to the Andy Capp bar. Discover that I got a time of 1:01:22, Robert got 1:06 and Brain got 1:08 Lots more drinks in the Andy Capp, I am in high spirits.

Friday 27th - I don't bother to wake anyone till 9am, we have a relaxed breakfast. Phone Helen after the meal at the Griglia. Go to the Gran Trun to listen to the Australian again. Me, David, Brian and Mark decide to do a few night clubs. I am full of beer so drink coke most off the night. Go to the Schuss bar first, almost all blokes, see Jim the rep again. Then Paddy McGinnty's Irish Bar go for a quiet chat. Go to the night club under the Andy Capp, full of Italian's. Then up to Bandinos, a bit modern, Mark likes it and stays. 15 Minutes after I go back Mark returns and then throws up.

Saturday 28th - Have an even more relaxed breakfast, we all still together for the first couple of runs. Go to the Black Sheep again for 7.30pm have a rather rushed meal till 9.45pm. Go to the Gran Trun until 1am, Jo asks if I am still in the mood and we go round the same clubs till 4am. She has to fight the Italians off in Bandinos.

Sunday 1st March - Stoke lads make a lot of noise about packing all their stuff from 5 till 7am. I feel wreaked in the morning for breakfast. Sleep on the bus from the Hotel to Turin airport. The plane is delayed due to a baggage dispute at Birmingham. We have a meal at the airport and I do a manual calculation of the value of tan 6 degrees on the back of a paper tray with the help of Rebecca. Wait over an hour in Birmingham luggage area, get back to the Taylor's for 6pm after dropping off Sandra in Findern.

Courchevel Jan 1998

Andy Higson, Jane (his girlfriend), Steve Wheeler, John Judson (Spuddy), Steve Lockyer, Rob Pallin (Ex-Gen Rad), Jill Oxley, Jayne, Me, Mark Reeve (RR), Craig (GenRad), Julie (his wife), Mike Longworth, Dave (friend of Andy), Debs (his girlfriend), + 5 of their friends from the South

Saturday 17th January - Mark Reeve arrives at my house shortly before midnight. Set off for Sale. Go via Macclesfield, Wilmslow, A34. Arrive at Steve's at about 1.30am, go to bed for 2am. Taxi arrives at about 4.45am. Some of the others go straight to the airport from the night-club, "Brassers". Take off at about 6.30am. fly to Grenoble, very good weather there. Ski in the afternoon with Andy, everyone else has a lot of problems getting their skis. Go up to the top of the mountain on the Saliure lift, 160 person cable car. Meet Steve, Jill and Mark later at 1850, go for a drink in a small French bar. We have had no food so get quite merry, ski back down to the chalet in time for tea. Stay at the Ruffier II chalet in Courchevel 1550. Everyone is very loud at tea time, drink lots of red wine. Manage to stay up till about 11.30pm.

Sunday 18th - Wake with a slight hangover and a bad back. Ski with Steve Locker, Andy, Craig and Jill. Meet in the Calico bar for lunch, French onion soup followed by Chicken Tikka Masala, very good. Drinks in the French bar at 5pm. It is Steve Wheelers 29th birthday so we all go down to the Chanrossa Bar (also called Jackson's) for more beer. Walk down with Julie and Craig, push Julie in the snow a lot. Try to push Steve Lockyer in the snow but end up bending my glasses. Home for about 1am.

Monday 19th - Welcome meeting from the boring rep Simon. People from the other chalets come round. Get about 3 feet of fresh snow overnight. Down to the same bar, talk mainly to Julie, back for some Port and bread.

Tuesday 20th - Lots of us go down to La Praz to start with, race along a small path, some close over-taking. Spud forgets his lift pass. Go down to La Tania for the first time. Everyone agrees to meet at a rather smart restaurant on the piste. Me, Craig and Steve arrive there and decide to go on after seeing spag bol for 145 francs. The others turn up and have a great meal there. We made a bad call. Walk down to the Brigens Hotel, has a hole in the roof with snow coming through. Phone Helen for a long chat on the charge-card.

Wednesday 21st - Bad visibility, do some of Courchevel 1650 with Craig and Steve L, very difficult to see. See Spud on his skis for the first time, very good. Meet him, Wheeler and Andy high up above 1650. Fall to the deep snow, realise spuddy is so much better than me. Go over the snow-board jumps in the afternoon, great fun. Tamsin's day off. Hot rock night at the Calico bar. Rush to catch the 6.50 bus up to 1850. Lots of beef and chicken cooked on the hot rock. Have another drink in the bar and then I buy a bin bag for 5 FF from the bar and the others use sledges to go down the blue run to 1550, fantastic run down in the dark. The people on the bus hear and see us coming down. Home to get dry.

Thursday 22nd - Wake up to brilliant sunshine. Andy Higson is keen to ski to the fourth valley. Have lunch at the restaurant there, sit outside in the sunshine. After skiing go shopping with Steve Lockyer at 1850 wearing all our ski gear. We buy a green White Stuff top for Helen, purple Fat Face top for Rachael, red jump suit for Alistair Ben. Phone Helen on the way down to the bar, they are watching football. Try to teach Mark who Alan Shearer is.

Friday 23rd - More great weather, ski with Spuddy, Wheels, Steve, Andy and Craig, go through the Meribel valley and Val Thorens and up the glacier, unfortunately the top lift is shut. Craig heads back to meet his wife, Andy and Steve head off for lunch. Me, Spud and Wheels decide to skip lunch. We go off and do some great off-piste deep snow. Ski the last couple of hours by myself. All but the girls go up to 1850 for a Tex Mex meal, excellent chilli. The girls invite their Dutch friends round to eat half cooked duck. We have an early night.

Saturday 24th - Up at 4.15am Take off at 11.30am

Banff Canada January 1997

Steve and Dave Wheeler, Andy Higson, Martin Lunt and Mike Longworth

Flickr Slide Show

Sunday 26th Jan - Get to Andy's house for 6.20am. Meet the other lads at Manchester airport. Some beer in the departure lounge. Take off at 9.30am, 8 hour flight to Calgary, it is -35 degs C when we land. Drink Tia Maria and whiskey on the plane, get told off for drinking our own supplies. Two hour bus ride to Banff. We stay in the 'The Inns of Banff'. Go out to the 'Beef House' for a meal. I have a massive steak. Meet Steve's brother Dave, he works for Microsoft and gets paid a fortune. It is my first time across the Atlantic so I take my lead from the others and have a few drinks, get very tired by 9.30pm, and go to bed. I sleep for a few hours and then just lie there from 1am onwards. Perhaps some coffee would have been a good idea. I room with Mike.

Monday 27th - We all go down for breakfast at 6am, unfortunately everyone else could not sleep either and there is a large queue. Catch the bus to the Lake Louise ski area. Do a lot of skiing from the top to bottom of the first lift. Martin starts on a snow board. Go with Dave for a few runs through the trees. Very busy at lunchtime. Catch the 4.30pm bus home, very busy. Back to the room. Order room service and early bed, still cannot sleep.

Tuesday 28th - Breakfast at 7am, enjoy eating lots of food. Catch the bus at 8am. A lot of hanging around in the morning and then some good runs before lunchtime. A lot warmer ( -2 at lunchtime ). Go to the White Turn restaurant, good cheap food. Go right to the top of the hill, ski down with through deep snow with Andy, Mike and Steve. Go down and try the back bowls and the Larch area. In the bar for 4.30pm, have a huge bowl of nachos. Catch the 5.30pm bus home, go straight to the hotel hot pool. Catch a taxi into town and go to the 'Rose and Crown', a few beers and go on the skiing game. Me and Mike come back at 1.30am. Other have suicide tacos. I still feel very tired all evening.

Wednesday 29th - Only Me, Mike and Martin make it for breakfast. I am very tired and hung-over. Only Me and Mike go skiing, do lots of runs, good conditions. Go over the far side, sleep on all the chair lifts. Do the long blue, 39 a couple of times. Go out for a huge Chinese meal, eat loads for $25.

Thursday 30th - Still not sleep well, catch the bus to Sunshine mountain, very windy and snowy. Twenty minute gondola ride to the base of the mountain. Only one lift is operating when we arrive. Have lots of fun in the powder. Another lift opens and we go up there. Stop for lunch at 11.30. I get through to Helen on the phone from the bar. After lunch ski down to the bottom of the gondola, very disappointed to find that we cannot go back up since it is shut. Back to the hotel. Have a long soak in the outdoor hot tub.

Friday 31st - Decide to go to Sunshine mountain again at the last minute, very good weather. Do some runs on the Goat's Eye mountain, some very steep runs. Also do some runs on the Continental Divide mountain, very good skiing. Get to the hotel for 4.45pm. Have some fantastic cheese and bacon skins. Go night skiing on Mount Norquay. Have a big wipe-out and break my ski pole. Everyone on the chair lift cheers. Go down town and meet Steve and Martin, they have been to the sushi bar. Stay in the 'Rose and Crown' all night.

Saturday 1st February - Only Mike goes down for breakfast, I am very tired. Only Me and Mike go skiing, excellent weather, clear blue skies, crisp snow. Meet Andy and Martin at the Whitehorn lodge. Take Martin over the top of the mountain to the back bowls.

Sunday 2nd - Land at 5.30am at Manchester. Home for 9am. Go straight to bed.

To be added - Flaine March 1996

Schladming March 1996 Team Taylor

John and Christine Taylor, Brian and Jo, David and Michelle, Sandra and Judith, Mark and Mel, Eric Thompson and Prof.

Flickr Slide Show

Saturday 2nd March - Arrive at the Hotel Alte Post at about 10pm. Eric gets into the hotel first and grabs us a huge room, everyone else get very small rooms. Meet in the bat at 11pm. Initially they are unhappy to serve us. I forget the words to 'I once knew a farmer', when I remember I sing a loud solo. Drink Schladminger Beer first, dreadful, move on to the Post House brew. Stay up till 2pm with barman Alfred.

Sunday 3rd - Have breakfast together. Meet in the boot room at 10.30am. We all go to Charly Kahr's to get our boots, lots of delays. Brian tells me about his nightmare, where it gets to Wednesday before the group actually gets round to skiing. First run at about 11.30am. Go for a late lunch, down stairs at Onkel Willy's.

Monday 4th - Me, Brian and David go up for an early ski, get on the gondola for 9am. Do some very fast runs down. David is impressed by the early morning snow. See Jo and Mel for a couple of minutes. Ski over to Hochwurzen for 1am to meet everyone, but they do not turn up. Very cold on the lifts on the way over. Onkel Willy's hut for 4pm, Mark turns up, everyone else has gone down. Have a load of schnapps. Have a champagne party in our room. Eric has brought 5 bottle of champagne as well as other spirits. I am sent down to the bar to ask for some glasses, not many get returned the next day.

Tuesday 5th - Me, David, Brian and Mark go up early. We are still under the influence from the night before and in high spirits. Do a lot of skiing top to bottom. Brian is going fast. I am following him down Red One when it just accelerates away from me. I see tracks going straight over the road bridge and into fresh air. I set off in search of the wreckage. After I fail to find a body in the trees I ski to the bottom and he is waiting for me. Meet the others at lunchtime, I feel very tired in Onkel Willy's. Go over to Sepp Walcher's valley. Do lots of fast runs down the schuss piste, starting from higher each time. Brian starts from ridiculously high up, we see him disappear over a ridge and then see a ski fly up into the air as he does a spectacular wipe-out. Go to the Brewery for a meal, pork, beef, apple schnapps.

Wednesday 6th - The group catches the 10am bus to Hochwurzen. We do a few club runs. A few follow me and we get lost. Meet at the top of Hochwurzen for lunch. Do a couple of runs and then over to Onkel Willy's for 4pm. Have the first schnapps party of the week, start at 6.30pm. I get over familiar with Mark on the floor in the restaurant. We all comment on how miserable the Manageress looks, Christine makes a suggestion on how to cheer her up. Snow ball fight outside with David and John. They then go on the Erlbacher for more beer and to play darts. John has problems hitting the board. I go for a drink with Judith and Sandra.

Thursday 7th - No records exist.

Friday 8th - Me, Brian, Judith and Sandra catch the 9am bus to Hochwurzen. Me and Brian talk about the race all the way. Do a couple of practice runs. Meet the others on the race run. Start at 1am. Christine has 12 mins start, Mel 8, Jo 6, Sandra 4½ Judith 4, Mark and John 40 secs, David 20 secs, Me and Brian scratch. Joanne wins, I come last bar one. Back to Onkel Willy's for 4pm. Have a few more schnapps. Everyone comes round to mine and Eric's room for more schnapps.

Saturday 9th - Almost everyone gets up early for breakfast. Me, Brian, Judith and Joanne go up early and come straight down the black. Jo's first time down a black run.

Sunday 10th - Eric gets up his hip flask out on the coach and the party continues until the very end.

Anna Whitehead, Me, Steve Lockyer and Mark Reeve ( taking the picture) at café Le Bissac in Flaine in March 1995.

St Johan February 1995

John and Christine Taylor, Richard and Dorothy Robinson, Kirsten, David and Michelle?, Brian and Jo ?, Robert

Monday 27th - Rich Robbo falls almost straight away, and does not ski again.

Sunday 2nd March - Some of us decide to have a go on a Snowboard. We had a nice green slope lined up, but the man at the shop says, "Go to the top of the mountain, when you get down you will be able to do it", so we do. I can only get across the slope one way, we do a lot of taking it off, lose the others. I have visions of breaking both wrists.

Saturday 4th - After lots of pleading Kirsten is allowed to go on the Black.

Schladming March 1994 Team Taylor

John and Christine Taylor, Dave Taylor and Michelle Hart, Brian Booth and Joanne Carr, Mark Wilson and Melanie, Sandra Taylor, Robert Taylor

Sunday 6th March 1994 - Taylor's for 4.30am as decided, no one is about, have to ring the door bell to wake them. Fly at 7.10am to Salzburg. We stay at the Erlbacher. Everyone decides to ski, do Red 1 and Blue 2. Call in at Onkel Willy's. Ski to the bottom, very slushy. Wander round for a long time for something to eat. In the end we all have Vienna Schnitzel at the Kirchenwirt.

Monday 7th - Brian throws up in the night. Breakfast at 9am. Ski well, feel confident. Big fall in the afternoon, Dave skies straight past. Talk about the final black slope having a gradient of 1 in root 2, lots of talk about the volume of a sphere and "Pi" fish.

Tuesday 8th - Hurt my arm on the final black run, lots of moguls.

Wednesday 10th - Breakfast at 7.30 with Brian and Sandra, good fast hard snow. We are the first people up the mountain, ski top to bottom a couple of times. Meet the others at 10.30am at the bottom. Go over the top of the mountain and down Sepp Walcher's valley.

Thursday 11th - Go up early with Brian. Try the Slalom course, 50p a go. Cut my right leg on my left ski. Snow is good in the morning and slushy in the afternoon. 12 degs C at the top. They don't bash the slopes below the middle station. Snow disappears very fast.

Friday 12th - Robert gets up with me and Brian for 7.30 breakfast. Run the traditional race at 1pm. Jo wins, JT second. I pass Robert. Michelle, Mark and Dave. Dave and Mark both fall. Cocktail party in the evening. Three bottles of Peach Schnapps disappear in an hour. Also do a few flaming Drambuies. Brian and Jo retire drunk, Dave and Mark fall asleep, the rest of us go out for a pizza.

Saturday 13th - Only me in the morning. Hard snow, I do lots of skiing. See a helicopter take a heart attach victim away. Brian comes at 10.45, others at 1pm, they go straight to Onkel Willy's. Go down the Slalom, Dave does the best time. Straight to the bar off the slopes and I win at darts!!

Sunday 14th - Breakfast at 7.30am, 150 mph head wind on the way back.

Chatel March 1993 Team Taylor

John and Christine Taylor, Robert Taylor, Dave Taylor and Michelle, Brian Booth and Julie, Allison Hill

Friday 5th March 1993 - Meet in the Sitwell for pre-trip drinks, Eric and Julie phone to say that they cannot go.

Saturday 6th - Fly at midday. Minibus to Chatel, brilliant sunshine. JT leaves his boots at Geneva airport whilst ensuring that we all have our stuff. Arrive at about 4pm, a bit of a problem getting in, nice apartment. We get our skis. Have a problem at the ski shop where the man says "You are in France now, you must speak French !!", it does not go down well with Team Taylor. Catch the bus down into Chatel. Have a pizza and beer in a French only bar.

Sunday 7th - No breakfast. Very long queue at the lift pass office. Find a good blue run. Flod does lots of teaching. "La Leche" for dinner, £5 for a spaghetti, £3 for beer. Ski to the bottom on a green run.

Monday 8th - Go to Chatel in the morning on the bus with Chris, Allison and Brian, find a supermarket. Absolutely blue skies all day. Flod in pain from a burnt face.

Tuesday 9th - I do the breakfast run with Allison, hot croissants, etc. Ski over the top with Flod, JT, David and Michelle, very wide open slopes. Start to really let them go. Start running low on money.

Wednesday 10th - Into Chatel with Dave and Brian, buy lots of drinks for the party tonight.

Thursday 11th - Just me and Julie on the breakfast run. Determined to get going early with Brian, but not manage it till 10.50, ski to the bottom and then over the top. Ski by myself for a while, go as far from the resort as I can and then back to "Le Schuss" for 2pm, left knee hurts. We all do some timed runs. Rob, Dave and Michelle don't ski in the morning, resting for the big race. Go over the top in the afternoon, Michelle has quite a tumble.

Friday 12th - Have a lie in, easy breakfast. Do a couple of runs. Drink at "La Leche" before the race. Start at 1pm, Christine has 12 mins, Allison 9 mins, Brian 2½ mins, Dave 1 min, JT 50 secs, Rob 45 secs. Dave falls, both skies off. I fall on the path, finish in 3:50, Rob wins. Me and Brian go skiing all afternoon. Others stay in the bar. Take our skies back. Miss-understanding about the dinner arrangements, we cannot find them. Play card till late, make a start on the Southern Comfort.

Saturday 13th - Up early, taxi at 9.45, have a good look at Geneva. Home for 5pm.

Schladming March 1992 Team Taylor

John and Christine Taylor, Robert Taylor, David Taylor, Sandra Taylor, Me, Eric Thompson and Julie.

Sunday 8th March 1992 - Get up at 5.15am, drive down to the Taylor's for 5.50, wait for Sandra and leave at 6.20am. Uncle Andy drives down with us. Check in and get on the plane for 8.15am. We miss our slot and have breakfast on the ground. Take off at 9.40 for Salzburg, coach to Schladming. Do lift passes on the bus, I use a picture of Rob. Get to the Hotel Rossl and go to get skies, on the gondola for 3.30pm. Ski Red One all the way down, I fall over three times, quite difficult skiing. Get the last lift up, ski a little better next time. Go into the square on the way back and try to buy two beers, end up with two cokes. Back to the Hotel and they are all asleep. Go to the Alte Post, meet Eric and Julie in there. A few beers and then a meal, liver soup and Spaghetti Carbonara. Bed at midnight, sleep till 6.30am.

Monday 9th - Breakfast, nothing really except coffee or tea. Go up the mountain for 10am, do some blue runs. In the evening go for a meal in the Alte Post after a few drinks, I have Vienna Schnitzel, we have plenty of wine. I make myself the butt of many jokes.

Tuesday 10th - Not go for breakfast, try go catch the bus to Hochwurzen but miss it. Go up the Planai, Eric teaches Christine and Sandra. The lads go with Julie on lots of runs. Have a few schnapps at Onkel Willy's, have an incredibly fast run down. First cocktail party in the hotel. We practice singing 'London's Burning' after hearing Barber's shop singers in Onkel Willy's. We get told to be quiet at 9pm. Go out for a pizza later.

Wednesday 11th - Do a lot of fast skiing on Hochwurzen, good runs but the lifts are not so good. Go to a café across from the Alte Post for a meal. We go tobogganing for 8pm. Take the gondola to the top of the Hochwurzen. We set off half way through the crowd. I go with Flod, Sandra with David, Chris and John, and Eric with Julie. We all overtake a lot of Germans and all finish in the first four. Celebrate in the bar at the bottom, then back to the Alte Post. 'Taxi Maxi' comes in and sings very loudly, and badly, till 2.30am, lots of drinks.

Thursday 12th - Neither Rob or David make it for breakfast, they meet us at lunchtime in Onkel Willy's. I go up with Sandra, John and Christine. I need a new ski pass. I leave them on Blue 8 and go off by myself. Do Red 6,5,3, go up the three man chair. They go for 11's and shout me but I don't hear. Get my skies almost parallel on Blue 8. After dinner I go blasting with John and Julie. Have another cocktail party, no singing this time. Joined by Kirstie and two lads. I challenge her to a race, she is after all, only a woman. Go for pizza, I have 'Speck and Ei'.

Friday 13th - Race Day. Go over to the Hochwurzen. Eric gave out the times last night, I am scratch, John has 45 seconds, Rob has one minute, David has two, Sandra eight and Christine twenty five. Do a couple of practice runs and then have a gluewein at the top. Eric sets us off. Christine finishes before most of us start. I find it difficult polling along the flat bit along the bottom. Finish almost a minute behind Rob. Go back to the Planai after a meal on the bottom. Meet Kirstie at 4pm in Onkel Willy's, the lads come in later. She is very proud of the gold medal that she has won in ski school this morning. We race down after a few drinks, she has no hope of keeping up and exclaims 'Don't they ski fast' after we leave her down Red 9a. Wait and help her down the steep bits. Drinks in Charly Kahr's and then a meal in there.

Saturday 14th - Get up and see a lot of snow coming down. Go up the mountain for 10.30. I do a couple of runs before joining the others in Onkel Willy's, stay there all day. We watch 8 inches of snow fall in the meantime. Ski down Red One. Meet in Charly Kahr's for more drink. Meet Steve and Kirstie in there, arrange to meet later. Take the skies back. Go out for pizza again. Go to the Alte Post for 10.30pm. Steve and Stuart are in, Kirstie has gone in bed. Sing and drink till 3am.

Sunday 15th - Get up at 7.30am and go down to breakfast, not feel too bad. Joined at breakfast by Kirstie, Steve and Stuart. Bus arrives at 8.30, very heavy snow. Blizzard whist we are on the bus, see lots of snow ploughs. Fly on schedule at 11.30, head wind of 85 mph. Back to the Taylor's in David's Granada, cup of tea. My car won't start. Home for 5pm.

Aviemore Feb 1987

Heather and Clive, Min and Me

Saturday 31st January - Pack all the gear in the morning. Min goes round to Heather and Clive's first to get their stuff. Gets to my house for 10.50am. Min is driving the Chrysler Alpine, pretty battered. All of a sudden the car starts juddering, Min said that the fan belt was loose. Stopped to tighten it up and then had great trouble starting it again. Had dinner just up from Scotch Corner. Very cold and clear day. Tried to ring to find somewhere to stay but could not get through, eventually stopped at the Cockburnspath Hotel at 6pm, about 30 miles short of Edinburgh. Have a meal in the hotel and a few drinks and watch Telle. Very good place for £11 per night.

Sunday 1st February - Get up at 8am and go down for a very good breakfast, we are the only people staying there at the time. Get the things into the car and then try and start it. Push it down the car park and then up and down a small slope, change the spark plugs. Eventually use some jump leads to start it. Drive through Edinburgh over the Forth bridge and then through Perth. Have dinner at Killiecrankie, Little Chef. I drive for a bit. Have a look round Aviemore and get Min's ski's and boots. The man says that the snow is very hard. Drive up to Grantown-on-Spey and get into our house. Very nice, fully central heated, colour T.V., fridge, washing machine, cooker, everything looks new. Watch ski Sunday. Have a huge tea set up the settings on a set of points, work for a long time on loosening the front bindings on my skis. After a lot of hammering and some oil they come loose. Go to a local bar for last orders. As we walk in the barman says 'This is not the place for you'. We have one drink, there are a number of bodies lying on the floor. We ask if there has been a party and the barman says this is normal.

Monday 2nd - Get up a 7.30am. Have a good breakfast. Have a little difficulty starting the car. Get to Cairngorm chairlift for about 10am. Everywhere looks short of snow. Min goes to ski school. We three queue a long time to go up the main T-bar to the top. I am over-confident, lose my grip, and have to hold on with my hands all the way to the top. Ski some easy routes and meet Min for dinner. Do a few runs with Clive, getting a bit more confident. Lifts shut at 4.30pm, get to the top of the lift system without noticing it, snow is very sparse. Clive and Min cook tea. Go out for last orders, to an even rougher bar.

Tuesday 3rd - A very little snow falls overnight, hard frost. All the runs are very icy. Huge queue for the chair lift. Do a couple of easy runs and then down for lunch. Min stays at the top for lunch. Gets quite windy on the top. Do two long runs with Clive, great fun. Quite misty on the top. Very tired by the time we get home. Have pasta for tea. Go to the Ben Mhor Hotel, a little upmarket, still manage to get accosted by a drunk, but at least he is wearing a tie. Phone home, Amstrad shares are up a lot, enough to pay for the holiday, goes down again later.

Wednesday 4th - I cook the breakfast. Very windy at the house. Get to the slopes and all but one of the drags are shut. All the runs are very icy. Stay in the bar all morning, watch people falling off the long exposed drag lift. Have our packed lunch, clear blue skies. After lunch me and Clive go up the mountain on the drag. Extremely windy on the top, the hail is very painful. Do the White lady a couple of times. Ski down to the bottom, sheet ice and bare rock. Call in for pizza for tea on the way home. Stay in and play cards in the evening.

Thursday 5th - Raining and very windy. Most of the lifts are shut. Heather insists on going up. Have a coffee at the middle station, do a run or two. Have dinner in the car. Meet Min in the middle bar. Do a couple of runs with him, he is snow ploughing. Watch telly and stay in at night.

Friday 6th - Wake up to the usual weather, mist and rain, get up the mountain for 10am. Heather is not feeling too well. Min and Clive go up the long drag and across to the middle station. Do the West Wall run once again and up the long drag, do the M1 lots of times, the White Lady and Genball. Enjoy doing a lot of skiing. Meet Heather at the middle station for dinner. After dinner do lots more runs, not fall much, go pretty fast. Meet Min at 3pm and do a few more runs. Come down the chairlift as it shuts. Have fish and chips for tea. Go to the Ben Mhor Hotel for drinks, they are still serving at 2am. Quiz Min about the girl at Drum Hill until well gone 3am.

Saturday 7th - Get up at 8.30am and start packing. Have a late breakfast and wash everything up. Very hard frost on the ground. Set off at about 11am. There has been a substantial fall of snow overnight on the hills. Stop for lunch at Kinross service station. Drive into Edinburgh and have a look round Princes Street. Find a dreadful, dirty old hotel to stay the night in Musselburgh. We have to sign the visitors book, I don't understand why most people seem to have come from the next town and a lot seem to be called Smith? Have fish and chips for tea, since we don't trust the cooking. Heather and Clive put their own sheets on the bed.

Sunday 8th - Get up at about 7.45am. Get a close inspection from a Dobermann Pincher. Go down for breakfast at 9.20am. Heather refuses to eat hers, due to the dogs in the kitchen, so I have it. The whole place smells of dogs. Set off about 10.30am, we were only 26 miles from Cockburnspath. Very sunny day. Stop for dinner at Washington and then Clive drives. Drive through the Tyne Tunnel. Get home at about 5pm.

Bormio Feb 1986

Heather and Clive, Wayland Tansley, Me

Sunday 23rd February 1986 Set off at 8.30am from Derby with Heather and Clive and Heather's dad. Arrive at Gatwick in plenty of time to dump the car. Fly at 15.50 to Milan, foggy most of the way. A 4½ hour coach journey to Bormio. Drive alongside Lake Como for 40 minutes and thru many tunnels. Stop at the end of Lake Como for pizza and beer. Arrive at 11.45pm at Pensione Serena.

Monday 24th - Awake at 8am, breakfast of rolls, on the ski bus for 9am. Get equipped with skis and boots. Take the big cable car, holds 75, up to Bormio 2000. Ski round with Heather and Clive on the nursery slopes. Do snow plough turns early on. Have pasta for dinner. Ski school at 2.30pm till 5pm. Do traversing and snow ploughing. Go to the Hotel Piccolo Mondo for drinks and then meal at our hotel, do crossword books in the evening. Ten lads from a Rugby club are staying in our hotel, they come in at 3am, after a disco. They wake everyone up, I don't get back to sleep.

Tuesday 25th - Rise at 8am, very tired. Walk up to Celso sports shop to pick up the skis. Go up the big ski lift. Do a couple of runs with Heather. Go to 'La Rocco' for dinner. Have at least one hour for dinner, then go down some steep runs with the other three. Go pretty fast, feel confident about turns and parallel downhill. Do a quick run with Wayland before ski school. In ski school do traversing, do a lot more long runs. Very tired by 5.30, beef steak in the hotel.

Wednesday 26th - Go up the Gondola lift and then the single chair and then ski down to Bormio 2000. Go down part of a black run, fall over a lot. Take double chair up to 'Cimino', ski down a blue/red route down to 2000, my first long run, knees and shins very tired. Take the big cable car up to 'Cina Blanca'. Fantastic views, have dinner at the top, pizza for £1, red wine 25p/glass. Ski down to 'La Rocca', sunbathe for a while. Top is 9900 feet. In ski school do Stem Christie turns and then parallel turns. Instructor takes us all the way down to Bormio, temperature at the top is -15 degrees C. Instructors name is Plachito.

Thursday 27th - Have a look at some ski boots in Celso Sport. Go up the gondola lift. Fresh falls of snow overnight. Cloudy in the morning. Go up the chair and ski down to 'La Rocca' do a lot of parallel turns. Have dinner of spaghetti and ham at 'La Rocca'. Do some more practice with Wayland. In ski class go right to the top 'Cima Blanca' and slowly ski down right into the village. Do some slalom practice, go very fast. Evening meal of pasta and hamburger. Go down to the 'Chem Pub' for an evening drink.

Friday 28th - Clive buys some boots from Celso for £60, I buy my hire boots for £14. Quite a misty day. Go up the Gondola and across to 2000. Do one before dinner, at 'La Rocca'. Go to 2000 for the ski school race. All the beginners have their race together, three slalom poles. I fall in practice but go OK in the race, I come 3rd, one second behind the leader. Go to 'Kings Club' in the evening to have the awards presented. I get my bronze medal, have some nice cocktails. Good disco and lots of videos of skiing.

Saturday 1st March - Lie in bed till 9am, Wayland stays in bed. We go up the mountain. Very leisurely dinner at 'La Rocca'. In ski school go up the chair lift and ski down to ski down to Bormio. Walter's ski class stay in 'La Rocca' for a Groller, 10 sided drinking cup. Go to the Piccolo Mondo for a few drinks with Richard. Have a few gluhwein and play Clive at chess. Stager back for dinner, veal steak. Talk to a few of the rugby crowd, one is an investment consultant, one a CID inspector, estate agent, etc. Sit in the lounge and watch telle, have a huge vodka and orange.

Sunday 2nd - Joyce, the rep, recommends that we do not ski today since in will be very busy. Wander round the back streets of Bormio, have a proper pizza. Go to an ice skating stadium. Back to the hotel for more drinks.

Monday 3rd - The weather starts off fine and we decide to take the cameras up the mountain. Go up to 3000 and take pictures all the way down. Ski the steep way down to 'La Rocca', fall over a lot in the deep snow. Go up to the top of the long drag and down the north side of the mountain. Go down a black run with Wayland, we are the last ones down, the body man follows us down. Upgrade my skis from 175 to 185 in order to get more speed. Go to the Piccolo Mondo and play Clive at chess.

Tuesday 4th - Bright sunny day, change £60 at the bank, very neat, security doors. Go round the market. Go up to 3000 and have dinner. Outside it is a little gusty and very cold. Use the chair lift to the top a couple of times. Ski down to 2000. Go up the long drag with W, very icy on the way down, fall over a couple of times, feel that I am not getting much grip on the ice, my skis are too soft. Ski down to 2000 with Heather and Clive, even more icy, not very happy. Catch the ski bus and bring my skis back ready for Santa Caterina tomorrow.

Wednesday 5th - Catch the ski bus to the bus station and then the coach to Santa Caterina. Go up a deep sided valley. Long queues for the lifts, very open slopes, pay £1 for a small plate of chips, 20p for a glass of wine. One long drag which goes over the top of the mountain. Snow is in good condition but icy later. Hottest day yet at +5 degs C, do a lot of sunbathing. Do all the slopes by 3.30, bus back at 4.30. Fantastic lasagne starter followed by beef steak. Watch telly and fall asleep in the lounge.

Thursday 6th - Cloudy start to the day. Go up the Gondola as always. Ski down to Ciuk with Wayland to fetch his glasses case, very icy. From 2000 go up the chair lift, Clive falls off. I try hard to get the turns correct by keeping my shoulders pointing down the hill. Have a lasagne at 'La Rocca'. Go up the long drag and down to 2000. My legs hurt first thing in the morning, but recover as the day goes on. Go up to 3000and ski right down to the bottom, takes 55 minutes. Buy a Bormio sweat shirt for 27,000 L at Celso sport and then the Piccolo Mondo for some gluhwein. Very nice tea, sample a bottle of Valtellina Superiore Inferno, the top of the range local wine, very good. The memory of this wine stays with me for decades. Heather and Clive stay in our room all evening and chat.

Friday 7th - Snowy start to the day. Clive has a lie in. We go up, do one run, leave Heather at 'La Rocca', do another run before dinner. Clive comes up and goes down with Heather for some shopping. Ski down to Ciuk and then up the drag. Get the bus back at 5pm. Very windy and snowy at the top. Read a lot of 'First Amongst Equals'. After dinner go to the 'Kings Club', good music till 2am.

Saturday 8th - Low cloud. Go straight to 3000, windy, ski down the south side of the mountain. Go down a long run for the first time, via houses and trees, very exciting. Heavy snow by lunch-time. Heather gets caught smoking by her dad. All the lifts are shut because of the snow. Ski back to Bormio. Go down the slalom course but fall over. Evening in the hotel.

Sunday 9th - Only me and Wayland go for breakfast. He first went skiing in 1947 when he was 17. Also tells me about the RAF, he was an instrument mechanic. Pack suitcases in the morning, difficult to get the boots in. Have lunch at 11.30, depart at 1pm. 4½ hours back to Milano. Buy a bar of chocolate in the duty free shop and almost miss the plane. Have to run across the tarmac in the dark. Back home for 2am, back into work the next day with a nice tan.

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