Monday, 5 April 2010


Around this time of year, a significant section of Scandinavian youth is in party mode. Norwegian Olaf calls Swedish Sven who gets Danish Carsten to bring a car-load of beer from Copenhagen, and they all meet up on a mountain-top. Olaf and Sven are responsible for gathering a team of gorgeous young Scandinavian females, who call themselves 'The Hot Totties' specially for the event, a few other lads are invited along, and that’s everything set. Having been born with skis on their feet, Norwegians see no need to take them off just because it’s time for a knees-up. It’s the holidays, so it’s time to party.

I know this because I was there. For some reason, we managed to go skiing during Party-on-the-Piste Week, an event since renamed Party-on-the-Pissed Week. It is an event guaranteed to make anyone who is married with children feel very, very old indeed. We stayed in the downstairs part of a giant hytte, while upstairs a herd of rampaging elephants got slaughtered. I only found out they were in fact humans when they started to sing ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ at astonishing volume at 4am.

The next morning, having found our ski gear through bleary eyes, we staggered out of the hytte towards the glistening slopes. We roughed it through the flying sick shooting off various balconies, and dodged around the sinister piles of red-diced-carrot that had RUINED the lovely white snow. The huge advantage was that the only people on the slopes before noon were the very old or the very young, two categories into which we fitted perfectly.

Each day of P-on-the-P Week runs thus. Once we, the very old and very young, have looked after ourselves with a hearty hill-top lunch, there is evidence of some of the youth appearing. Olaf or Sven are sent ahead with huge shovels sticking out of their ruck-sacks. Once up the hill, they pick a sunny spot and start attacking the snow. Within minutes a fabulous ‘sittery-ooterie’ is established, with several benches carved out of snow, onto which Carsten artfully lays a few reindeer skins for comfort , warmth and decoration. Some more rifling in the ruck-sack and a barbeque appears, followed by most of the contents of a brewery. Cans and bottles are stashed into the snow to keep them cool (as if they were about to warm up) and then 'The Hot Hotties' arrive ready for the next 18 hour extravaganza. Meanwhile, Olaf and Sven are busy round the back shovelling out a vomitorium.

As I hobbled off towards the ski-lift one morning, I met a young man. He looked a little lost. He had a beer can taped onto each of his ski poles, carefully placed at just the right height so that he could lift the can to his mouth without having to remove his gloves or let go of a pole.

I stood and stared at him for a moment. Why wear your trousers round your waist when you could wear them round your crotch, I wondered. If they happened to be ski trousers with built-in wind-resistant lining, why need that be any deterrent in the pursuit of cool? I mean, it was minus 22°C, and I was concerned for his welfare. He’d lost his friends and I simply did not believe he wasn’t cold round the middle.

It is probably possible to assess the age of a skier these days by the bagginess and crotch-level of their breeks. I was interested that the carefully practised art of dressing to thrill the opposite sex by revealing a significant streak of your undies even mattered up here in the wintery mountains. But apparently it does. The rule seems to be, the more startlingly vivid the underpants, the wilder the human inside. The young man before me was quite clearly displaying his feathers.

The good thing about ski-gear is it covers you up. Completely. When it’s minus 22°C or more, I make absolutely sure of that. Not one miniscule patch of skin is allowed to be subjected to the elements. So this poor lad had absolutely no idea he was displaying his feathers to someone easily old enough to be his mother.Well, I was game.

‘You yankin’ my chain, honey?’ I asked for the hell of it, through a thick layer of fleecy balaclava. He looked at me a little more closely, and burped.

Oh, the simple pleasures of anonimity.


  1. An extremely accurate description - as witnessed over many an Easter (and 20 years ago, as a first hand "partaking" wirness..")