Anders Karlsson, Andreas Thelander and I packed my car full of ski gear and headed east, out of the Alps, toward the Tatra Mountains of Slovakia and Poland. Our first destination was the ski resort of Jasna, in the Low Tatras, near the town of Liptovsky Mikulas. En route to Jasna and Mt. Chopok, Anders began teasing me about the practices of ski journalists.
“I think it is very odd,” he related, “how in every article I have ever read in a ski magazine, some journalist has discovered some formerly unknown ski village, where his arrival just happens to coincide with a meter of fresh powder. On his first morning in Snowyodel, Austria or Pastapowder, Italy, through some stroke of good fortune, he rides up the lift with some local yokel who turns out to be a combination of Jeremy Nobis and Hermann Maier. The local hero, out of the goodness of his heart, then proceeds, over the next three or four days, to reveal to our snorkel-bearing Shakespeare every secret powder stash on his whole mountain! Now, does that sound believable?”
I laughed. I had also, at times, wondered about my own credibility when I wrote about conditions that were too good to be true.
“It’s just the ski writer’s prerogative to use poetic license,” I answered.
I must admit that he did get me thinking. So in the interest of truth in the media, and so as not to further sully the already tarnished reputation of my journalistic brethren, I promise here to relate the story exactly as it really happened. May God strike me down in my ski tracks or may Anders write a scathing letter to the publisher if I divert one iota from reality.
A day’s drive after leaving the Alps, we pulled into Jasna and checked into the Druzba Hotel. At dinner, we noticed that the cutlery at the Druzba still bore the engraved “IH” of the former state-owned chain, Inter-Hotel, but the Druzba had been in private hands for quite a few years already. The only other remnant of the old Warsaw Pact was our rather cute waitress who seemed to be under police orders not to smile. Then again, maybe it was something I said.
In any case, everyone else was friendly and the food was excellent. We occupied a clean room with a TV and a bath, and the price tag was suitable for a ski bum…
The complete story is in the coffee table book Skiing Around Volume I the World by Jimmy Petterson.