Sunday, April 09, 2006

Sledding in Cuba

Well, I am back from three great days of skiing at Mammoth Mountain. The mountain was in tip-top shape during our days there.
Over 617 inches of snow have fallen in the area this winter season,making conditions ideal for skiing; although, the town is still trying to dig itself from underneath it all. It is no joke, the sidewalks are gone, finding an address is next to impossible and forget about parking. You walk and take the bus. Imagine a two story home and the first floor is completely covered all the way up the second story. By the way we stayed in a condo unit on the first floor. But nonetheless we had tremendous fun. The only un-fun was filling up the car several times with gas…check out this gas prices!

The lower price for regular was on the way up the hill, on the way down the hill (2.5 days later) the pricing per gallon was up $2.99 per gallon. Ouch!

Skiing always reminds my younger days when I used to go sledding in Cuba. That’s right sledding in Cuba, and I am not talking about those “Y” shaped sleds (rastras) pulled by a team of oxen, oh no! I am talking about downhill sledding, slipping, sliding, speed and all. Let me explain.

This is something that we used to do at the family ranch, but I am sure that at least a couple of readers will instantly remember doing this or have been told stories about it. There was a hill on this ranch of ours that was cleared of all stones, branches and any other type of debris. The only thing left was a nice blanket of green grass. We would take the dried out husk (la yagua) of the Cuban royal palm tree, by “we” I mean my brother and cousins, young and adults, and we would sit on the inside of the husk, while someone standing gave us a push to get started. Soon we would be going downhill and with each passing second gaining speed and more speed. There was no way to stop it, there were no brakes, and using your hands or legs would surely get you hurt. Usually, the only way to stop was to hit something, like a fence at the bottom of the hill, which meant scrapes and bruises galore. We typically did this in the early morning when the grass was still wet from the morning dew making it very slippery. There were no ski jackets, no gloves, no ski masks, no lifts, no crowds, no price gouging, all done under the tropical sun and just pure unadulterated fun. Oh, what fun!

1 comment:

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