Monday, 7 March 2011

My love affair with Chimbulak

Our local ski resort, the piste of which I can see when I wake up in the morning (once I have located my glasses), has had a massive upgrade this year as a result of hosting the Asian Winter Games in January. This six or seven nation championship saw approximately 25 contenders in every competition, and there must have been upwards of 200 million dollars spent on upgrading the infrastructure! Madness in some ways, quite amazing in others. The facilities are greatly improved, even though they never did manage to completely finish them in time for the games. And despite all the money being spent, they have still not quite decided whether to spell the resort as Chimbulak or Shymbulak so it will probably never feature successfully on any search engine. But who cares? For the lucky people who live at the foot of the slopes, the lifts are much, much faster.

I watched one session of the Asian Games ski jumping on the specially-constructed ski jumps for which they had to bulldoze a whole hill into a special shape. 

That was a wacky morning. And I also witnessed Kazakhstan take gold and silver in the men's super G downhill slalom race thingy (I am not as up on the technical terminology as my Norwegian friend) which was a very good Tuesday morning's activity indeed: by the end of the morning, the sight of the super-hotty men with their sculpted thighs clad in downhill lycra had reduced our group of middle-aged housewife spectators to the state of giggling school girls! 

And since the Games have finished, we have been able to use the brand new telecabine ski lift system to whisk us up to the top of the mountain on numerous occasions. It is so much better than last year, when we had to trek through mud and clamber under JCB diggers to get to the piste. But my days of housewife heaven (drop kids off at school, on the chair lift 30 minutes later for a morning's skiing) are now numbered. I am down to just 11 days left in Kazakhstan and then we are packing our bags and moving to Moscow for the forseeable future. 

I have truly relished every second I have spent on the slopes while kids were at school or being looked after my someone else. The freedom and sense of being alive I get from skiing here has been amazing. And as a mother of four, I truly savour every second I get to myself doing something as glorious as skiing under a bright blue sky on fabulous snow. So I will miss it for sure. But I will just need to find new things to do in the big, bad city of Moscow when I get there. 

Sadly today I cannot upload my photos because the internet speed is too slow, so I will have to refer you to here to see an old snap of my preferred Kazakh habitat! 

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