Sunday, March 13, 2011

State of the Mission

First off-piste, then xmas dinner
Someone asked me how many countries I have skied in. I had to go back and look at the records, because I didn't have a recent count.

This season I have skied in 3 continents, 8 countries, 14 countries or states, and visited 18 different ski areas or sites. I have been on skis on 30 days, though much of it has been an hour or two in an evening, the rest is weekends and some vacation.

And this was supposed to be a season where I'm not particularly trying to cover many places, just do some good skiing. Well, I have mostly been doing that, except maybe for the 48 hour challenge tour.

Lift tickets from the 48 hour tour
In total, I have skied in 5 continents, 17 countries, 29 countries or states and been to about 80 different ski areas. Though I might be missing a few ski areas, particularly local ones in Finland that I have visited years ago. But all in all, not that many countries! There's room for improvement.

Dubai skiing
Here are the countries and states that I have skied in: USA (California, Colorado, Oregon, Nevada, Wyoming, Utah, Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts), Canada (British Columbia), Chile, New Zealand, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, France, Austria, Italy, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, and China. In UAE, China, Indonesia, Germany, and Netherlands I have only skied indoors, however. In Norway I have only skied in the summer (in the great summer ski area of Stryn).

Lonely gondola in Levi, Finland
There are plenty of obvious missing destinations. Skiing somewhere in Africa, Morocco perhaps. I'll probably never get to Antarctica, but that is the other missing continent.

I should also ski in Japan, Russia, Argentina, Alaska, Canada outside British Columbia, Andorra, Slovenia, Croatia, Poland, Turkey, Iran, Australia, on a real mountain in Germany and China, and many other places. If I could go back in time before the glacier in Chacaltaya, Bolivia (world's highest ski area) melted I should ski that as well. Actually, I would have done that on last year's southern hemisphere tour, but the glacier was already gone.

The big turn. Indoor ski area, Bottrop, Germany.

So what's the deal with Mongolia? Why isn't it on my list? Imagine a Friday night in Beijing, on a two week business trip. I had just begun my ski season and gotten back to the hotel from an indoor ski arena. The excitement caused me to want more, and I had the next day off. I'm looking at the map and Mongolia indeed is kind of close. I decide to ski an area near Ulan Bataar, the capitol city. Unfortunately (or fortunately, as it turns out) I can only find a flight that goes there in the morning, but there are no evening flights back to Beijing, and my meeting starts early on Sunday. So I had to abandon the idea. On the next day its pointed out to me that I have only a one-entry visa to China. Like with other great ideas at 3AM, this small detail had escaped me. Had I gotten the flights, I would have gone, would have been unable to get back, and miss my big meeting -- probably with some consequences for my employment.

How many places have you skied in? Are there any fellow ski area baggers out there?

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