Fourways doesn’t seem immediately the likeliest place for a cold, wet and white ski slope. But who’d have thought you’d find an Italian village respelled as Montecasino this end of Joburg either? Or a stone-age Lonehill surrounded by willows and a burbling befountained ‘loch’?
Heather and I pass the entrance a few times because we’re both thinking it’s a restaurant. It is full of tables, occupied by kids slurping blue slush puppies. But here are also long stands of what look like painted boomerangs – but I know are skis and snowboards.
Among the grownups, Ryan looks like the likeliest ski instructor. That’s what he is and so’s Mike who stamps in off the slopes. They measure us, one for skiing and one for snowboarding. Both the skis and the board are measured to be at our various chin heights.
Heather has on entertaining, transparent red, plastic boots that force your weight forward for facing down ski slopes. Mine are double-zombie boots, preventing me from walking like anything unscarily human. Outside we clomp, under a cobalt sky.
There’s no snow-hush because kids are flinging themselves off the upper heights, yelling, on round tubes. After I sit down on a fountain of iced water spray by mistake, I quickly understand the irrigation system for moistening the slope and have a wet bum.
Scudding down wet, hairy mattressing may not be Cortina d’Ampezzo but it’s probably the best thing before advancing to Tiffindell or Afriski, before arriving at Cortina. Once plugged into my snowboard, I imagine doing flips and sky ramps, my mind way ahead of sliding down the lower slope.
Mike is skiing backwards, an amazing feat. This is because Heather is skiing forwards and I guess he’s there to catch her if she hurtles too enthusiastically down the slope. I’m having a lot of fun. I can’t say I feel the wind whipping through my hair as I do my downhill racing.
There might possibly have been more of that had I been up on the third gradient instead of tiddling about here, just above the first slope. But I think I am building up to some impressively hair-raising whizzing.