For once, we were finally able to use a sled. A toboggan. Being a Wednesday, I had school in the morning. Naturally. It was boring. But while I was at school, Dad went out to a large sports shop near Carcassonne, called Decathlon. They have so many things there, including sleds. Dad got two sleds. One big, red one with brakes, and one small green one that looks a bit like a spade. When I got home from school, we made sandwiches, and Dad, Nicholas and I went into the snow.
We already had the sleds in the car. We had intended to go all the way to Camurac, a ski field and town about an hour’s drive from Quillan. But just when we were coming out of Quillan, we saw an electronic sign saying that from Coudons to Camurac you may need chains on your car’s wheels.
We decided that we would continue on, and if it became risky, we would stop and turn back. Well, when we were about four kilometres from the town of Camurac, we found a whole field full of a thick layer of real snow. We decided to stop there. So we got out, and instantly, my feet sunk deep into the thick snow. It was proper snow. Powder snow.
Me speeding down the slope on the large red sled.
We even had a snowball fight; a larger than life snowball fight. This is me preparing to pound Dad with the heaviest snowball I had ever held.
Nicholas had fun too, even though he was a bit scared of going on the sleds, he made a large snowman, and threw many snowballs at me and Dad
The brakes on the large red sled were simply pieces of thick plastic going through either side of the sled. On the top of the sled, they stuck out, and you could hold onto them like a handle. But on the bottom of the sled, at the bottom of the brakes, they had pointy teeth on them, so that when you pulled up on the handles, they would dig into the snow and stop your slide.
We also found that the sleds slide better on compacted snow, so after we had had a few runs down the hill, and the sleds had flattened the snow a bit, they started to go down the hill increasingly fast. Soon we were whizzing past while the wind speed sent your hoods and hats falling of your heads. It was also quite cold there, it must have been exceedingly cold for Nicholas, since he found part of his enjoyment by eating the snow.
When we went to leave, Nicholas tried to make a joke by staying and continuing to pummel us with snowballs, which exploded whenever they hit us. My gigantic snowballs simply broke into 4 or 5 pieces on impact.
We found out as well that the small green spade like sled was harder to control, and almost impossible to guide, but I soon fixed that by discovering that you simply had to apply your centre of gravity to the sled to make it stay on course and not stop every so often. Even Dad had a go on this quizzical contraption. And we both had amazing fun sledding down the hills on one sled or the other, while Nicholas threw snowballs at us. No matter where we were, he was always there to supply us with a snowball to the face.
Eventually we did come home. The snow had melted slightly over the day, so it wasn’t as bad by the time we began the descent. But we certainly won’t be taking that route when we head to Andorra this weekend. We’ll happily take the longer but lower route, which is also the main route, therefore there will be more of a chance that the snow plough will have been through and cleared the road. There also won’t be as much snow in the first place on that route, being the lower one.