Last week I left you in the middle of my short career as a ski tour director all over Europe. In Badgastein one of my tour members was suffering from a badly broken leg without any medication while I found a doctor to take care of him. Our concierge located a doctor for me and the message we got was, “Just bring him in and I can take care of him.” The doctor was four blocks from the hotel so I slogged through the narrow streets of Badgastein with my customer on my back. The tour was scheduled to leave after skiing the next day so the injured skier caught up with us 10 days later in Davos, Switzerland. When the tour was finally over I spent the next two weeks just filming for my next feature.
While leading the third annual tour I showed up with my new wife and 17 other people. In St. Anton I left the tour for a night and caught the night train to Mittendorf for the ski-flying tournament. I knew that the ski flyers had already broken the 400-foot mark and wanted some footage. I arrived in Kufstein after staying up all night on the train. The weather was perfect for the event. It would be the last time any ski flyers would hold their arms out in front because the new technique was so much better. However, it would be a lot of years before the jumpers held their ski tips apart as they do today.
I was back in St. Anton the same evening and in time to have dessert with the group. I outlined what they had to do the next day in order to enjoy some untracked powder snow in Zurs. Everyone had to be ready to get on the train. In Langen everyone would transfer to the bus and ride up to Zurs for a day of powder snow skiing. When the lifts closed that day, we would travel by the same bus to Davos, Switzerland for the final five days of the tour. One of the men on the tour almost missed the bus because he had left his teeth in a glass beside his bed and had to go back and get them. One of the ladies on the tour had a budding romance with her private ski instructor and barely located the train through sleep deprived eyes. In Zurs, some of the tourists rode up the Zurserzee T bar and climbed the rest of the way to the pass to ski down to Lech and have lunch with Martin Strolz. (Martin along with Haderer, produced the most famous, popular boots of that era.)
Those who stayed in the lobby of Herbert Joachim’s Hotel Lorunser had a long leisurely lunch and French 75. For those of you who don’t know what a French 75 drink is, it is five parts of champagne and two of vodka with some lemon juice and sugar. Apparently this is a slow-acting drink so someone can put away a half-dozen of them before the first one starts to hit. When they start to hit make sure you are near a place to sleep.
The skiers all had a good time as did the drinkers. When the bus stopped in Langen so people could get a snack before the long drive to Davos, one of the French 75’ers started to cross the road and was hit by a Volkswagen.
When he got to the hospital the doctors could only find a broken thumb and a broken leg. Apparently he was so relaxed with his stomach full of French 75 that his injuries were minimal.
When we got him into the ambulance I slumped into my seat on the bus and quickly made up my mind that this would be the last tour I ever led and I’ve stuck with that vow.
I finally added up the numbers and my customers were paying about $900 for everything, including airfare from New York to Munich, ground transportation and room and board for 21 days. I calculated I was saving $43 a day. A short day would be 12 hours and a long day might be 18 hours.
Thus ended that small part of my overall business plan as if, in fact, I ever had a business plan of any kind.
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