Sunday, 2 November 2008

Let it snow let it snow let it snow

We are still without a permanent home, and the weather is getting colder and colder, the snow getting closer and closer to the town, creeping down the mountain sides every day. Our container of possessions (and all the ski socks) is still somewhere in China, due to arrive next week. But without a home to unpack it into, we are a bit stuck. 

But with husband in the UK this weekend, empty suitcase in hand to collect my multiple internet shopping purchases, at least the kids will have winter wear when he gets back from his trip. And with this in mind, the girls and I drove up the hill to see what Chimbalak Ski Resort is like. 

It was raining all day in town, a really grey Sunday, and it was all I could do to muster the troops and get them dressed, wrapped and booted up and into the car. But at least, with Almaty being a small place and there being one road to the mountains, it is not hard to find your way around. We drove up Dostyk Avenue into the mist and rain that has been hanging around all weekend. The outside temperature dropped from 4 degrees at home to minus 2 when we stopped in falling snow, just past the ski lift start. It was so wet and cloudy that I couldn't really get a great idea about the place, but the kids were delighted to jump out of the car and cavort around in the white stuff for an hour or so. 

Then we went to the cafe (note the use of the singular) at the point where the piste ends and the lifts start for a cup of tea and to have a mooch around. There were people snow boarding and skiing and sledding, but it was such a wet day, it was not packed and the snow is still not deep - light enough for there to be the odd bush pocking out of the top of the snow at the bottom of the run! It was snowing steadily though, and in a couple of weeks there will be piles of it everywhere. Quite a contrast from desert-like Korea where the only snow is on man-made pistes, and the surrounding hills are tinder-dry with leaves and sticks of winter trees. 

We are all really looking forward to going back for some skiing action. 

Next weekend we are due to go back to Big Almaty Lake for a night at the astrological observatory and I think we will need the snow tires on the truck to get there. Today, I was turning on the road with not a big covering of snow, and the car started to slide sideways down the hill mid-turn which was a slightly unnerving moment. It is a very large car, and would definitely get up momentum pretty quickly if the gradient had been steeper. One of the advantages of having despatched Grannie back to Scotland last week - if she had been in the car she would have had a fit, but the kids didn't even notice that Mummy was slightly out of control, sliding down the mountain side, and were too busy tickling each other in the back. 

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