スキー部の本体はスキーではなかった

*English translation below

3月某日、時期的に今シーズン最後のチャンスとばかりにスキー部として長野県は白馬村、白馬五竜スキー場へ行ってきた。

シーズン途中からの参加メンバー調整、しかも仕事の都合をつけながらそれでもとにかく今シーズンの活動実績をと参加したメンバーは副社長、デザイナーN氏、そして自分。
さらに社内活動の一環と言いつつも、
「おい、お前だけスキーに行くとか楽しそうだな。」
という恫喝が聞こえてくる気がしたので嫁と息子1歳(かわいい)も参加し合計5名。

予定を組みやすくするため行程は金曜の定時後に車で出発、車中泊して土曜に滑って帰宅、と現地で宿を取らず日帰りにすることに。

行き先を検討する。
条件は以下。
・3月でも雪がある
・日帰りでも行ける
・託児所がある
・スノースクートが使える
と、後半が自分のためであることは特に言及せず白馬五竜スキー場に決定。

嫁から「土日は朝6:30から滑れるらしい! 行くよ!」と言い出したが、運転手にそんな元気があるようには思えなかったので、早朝スキーの生贄は若手のN氏に任せることにした。

そして当日、定時後に嫁と息子(かわいい)が到着したので、近辺の中華屋で夕食をとり出発。
副社長が「ここ(夕食)の払いは俺が出そう」とそれっぽいことを言うも、財布に現金がなく各自で会計したことには特に触れないでおく。

車内。
日帰りの距離とは言え新宿~白馬となると休憩を挟めば5時間はかかる。
社員3人はまだしもほぼ初対面(正確には以前一度会社に来たことはあるが)の嫁を交えて車内の空気はどうなってしまうのか。
という心配は完全な杞憂であり、「俺、昔芯作ってました」というN氏の謎職歴や、副社長テレビマン時代の「お前の度胸に免じて教えてやる」というマンガ的エピソード、その他ここに書けないような仕事エピソードで大いに盛り上がった。
なお、盛り上がったテンションとは関係なく副社長にタメ口をかます嫁には一応注意をしておいた。

午前1:30、白馬五竜スキー場到着、早速ベッドモードに座席を組み換える。

ちなみに我が家のハイエースはキャンピングカー仕様なので足を伸ばして眠れる、FFヒーターでエンジンを停めても暖房可能なことを、地獄のようなローンの腹いせにせめて自慢させていただきたい。

寝袋を出し、朝からの滑走に備え6:00起床の旨を確認。
翌朝、眠る前に「わかりました」と力強く答えたN氏は皆の見守る中6:10に起きた。

諸々の準備をし7:00過ぎにゲレンデへ。
託児所は9:00からなので自分と息子(かわいい)は車内で待つことに。
ここぞとばかりに録画したEテレの子供番組を見る。
ありがとうNHK。
そして託児所が開くと託児所に息子(かわいい)を預け、4人でゲレンデへ。

が、ゲレンデでは特になにもなく順調に時間がすぎたので割愛。

さすがに7:00からの滑走はハードだったらしく午後になると副社長、嫁は車に戻り、残り2人で数本滑ってから終わることにした。

ひとしきり滑って車に戻り、ドアを開くとメールの処理をしているのかMacBookを前に「う~」と唸る副社長が。
我々は仕事の話に巻き込まれないようそっとドアを閉じた。

その後、昼食に食べたパフェをもう一度食べたいというN氏のためにパフェを食べたり、「パーキングエリアに旨いピザ屋がある」と副社長に言われ向かうも貸し切りで入れなかったりと色々あったが、総じて充実した今回のスキー部。
社員同士で出かけることに仕事、プライベートの両面で調整が難しくもあるのは重々承知しているが、それを一歩越えた楽しみを得られた24時間だった。
特に充実していたのは往復での車内のろくでもない話だったので、春以降はダム部として部員と共にダム巡りに出発したいと思う。

(ご飯の人)

The Essence of the Ski Club was not Skiing

On a particular day in March, convinced that now was our last chance to ski during this season, we travelled to Hakuba Goryu ski resort in Hakuba, Nagano Prefecture together as the ski club.

Participating members for this mid-season – despite having to adjust their work schedules – were the vice president of our company, Mr. N the artist, and myself.
Although I insisted it was a part of company activities, I felt that I heard an underlying threat when my wife said: “Wow, that must be fun. Going skiing without us.”
And so, my wife and 1-year-old son (the cutie-pie
), joined to make a total of 5 people in our group.

In order to make the schedule easier to set up, we decided to: use a car to for the journey, depart at a set time on Friday, sleep in the car, hit the slopes on Saturday, and head home during the same day without staying at a resort.

While choosing where to go, I had these following conditions in mind:
・There is still snow even in March
・It’s possible to go as just a day trip
・There was a day care center
・Able to use a snow scoot
And thus, without specifically mentioning that the latter half of the list was for myself, we decided to go to Hakuba Goryu ski resort.

My wife proclaimed, “I heard that on Saturdays and Sundays you can ski from 6:30am! We’re going!”
However, because it seems that our driver didn’t have the energy for such an early trip, we decided to sacrifice the young Mr. N as our driver for the early morning trip instead.

The day finally arrived. Since my wife and son (the cutie-pie) arrived a bit later, we ate dinner at a nearby Chinese restaurant and went on our way. I’ll also avoid mentioning that the vice president said something like, “I’m going to pay for this (dinner),” and then realized he had no cash in his wallet. We all ended up paying separately.

In the Car-
Though you can say you can make the trip within a day, it takes 5 hours to get from Shinjuku to Hakuba with a break included, I wonder how it will go when my colleagues meet my wife, who they were practically meeting for the first time? Will the car ride be awkward? (though to be specific, she has visited the office once before)
It was a completely needless concern. From Mr. N’s intriguing work history (“I used to make cardboard rolls.”), to a comic-like episode during the vice president’s days as a TV man (“I will  tell you out of respect for your courage”), to stories of other episodes at work that I can’t write about here, it was a very exciting ride. Still, regardless of the excitement, I made it a point to remain cautious of 
my wife’s use of casual speech to the vice president.

At 1:30 AM we arrived at Hakuba Goryu ski resort and immediately adjusted the seats to bed mode.

By the way, my family’s Toyota Hi Ace van has camping car features. You can stretch out your legs and sleep, and it has an heater that allows heating even when the engine has stopped. So please at least let me brag a bit. After all, it cost me one hell of a loan.

We took out our sleeping bags and agreed that we should rise at 6:00am to prepare for our morning ski.
Mr. N, who watched over us before going to sleep, responded with a firm “Understood!”
But he arose at 6:10 the next morning.

We made the various preparations, and headed to the slopes just after 7:00am.
Since the daycare center opened at 9:00am, I decided to wait with my son (the cutie-pie
) in the car.
We took the opportunity to watch an 
educational TV kids show by NHK that we had recorded.
Appreciate it, NHK.
When the day care center opened, we dropped off my son (the cutie-pie
) and the 4 of us headed to the slopes.

The slopes went well and favourably, so there’s not much to write about during this time. 

As you might expect, skiing from 7:00 AM was pretty tiring, and by the afternoon the vice president and my wife had returned to the car.  The two of us remaining decided to make a few final runs and call it a day.

We skied a little longer and returned to the car. When we opened the door, we found the vice president in front of his MacBook and seemingly taking care of some emails.  He let out a tiresome groan.
We quietly closed the door; fearing we might get caught up in work talk.

After that, all kinds of things happened. From eating parfaits as per requested by Mr N (who would be more than happy to eat them again once more), to going to the pizzeria near the parking area that we visited on the vice president’s recommendation, but were unable to enter as it was rented out for a private party. But all in all, this was the perfect outing for the ski club.
When going out with co-workers, I understand that it can be difficult to balance the two sides of work and private life, but for 24 hours I had the pleasure of crossing the borders.
What was particularly fulfilling was the nonsensical conversations that filled up the round trip journey in the car. After spring, I think I’d like to take a trip to tour some dams with the members of the “dam division.”

(The Rice Man)

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