As I mentioned in my post yesterday I am back in Arinsal and following the paper chase of getting a work permit. There is not a lot of interest to be written about that, so I will use the next few posts to write a bit more about my fortnight in Tignes race training. I keep hearing reports about how much snow there is there now, and how they have had to cancel the training and go skiing powder. How my heart bleeds for them...
Anyway, I thought I would share my thoughts on security in the mountains. Not in the European sense of mountain safety, but in the sense of avoiding having your gear stolen. This is prompted by the fact that I had a rucksack stolen last week, containing my trainers, sunglasses, spare clothes and lunch. The same day, I know of at least one person who had his skis stolen. Unfortunately the setup of most ski resorts makes things far too easy for the dishonest amongst us (this is where I'm ready to type a string of expletives, but I'm trying to keep the blog clean so I'll grit my teeth and continue). Everybody who goes up the mountain has at least one valuable item with them - a pair of skis - and most people will stop to eat or drink in a mountain restaurant at some point. Since mountain restaurants do not generally allow skis inside, large numbers of skis are left leaning against the wallsoutside, just waiting for some nasty so-and-so to walk off with them.
So, what can we do - the simplest way to make life a little more difficult for the thieves is simply to split pairs of skis. This takes a second to do but hardly anybody does it. Just swap one ski with a friend and put the two odd pairs in different racks. The would be thief then has to hunt for two pairs before they can steal one, and will most likely not bother. If everybody split their skis it would be a lot harder for the bad people (running out of polite synonyms now) to get away with anything. This doesn't help the snowboarders much - probably the best thing there is to invest in a cable lock and run it through the bindings. And if you are on a training course or camp and have to leave a bag somewhere (like me), the top of the lane or the bottom of the park might be a better place than the restaurant as more people from your group will be passing it.
So, back to Arinsal where tonight El Cau, a bar in the village, are having their second opening party for the season. The reason I mention this is that they have been advertising it on RTVA, the Andorran TV channel, all yesterday and today. It is not often that I get to go to a party advertised on national TV - never in England, but this is Andorra. I will leave you with a photo of the bar in question one (beach) party night last year.