Sunday, 5 February 2012

Luton: winter sports centre

I’ve often quoted that great line from The West Wing about economists having been put on Earth to make astrologists look good. 

My own variation on that theme is that it is the role of weather forecasters to make the economists feel good about themselves.

So when the English meteorologists announced snow for this weekend, I was absolutely confident that the weather would be clear and cold, or wet and muggy; alternatively, we might have snow last Wednesday or next Wednesday, but certainly not at the weekend.

Instead, though, the forecasters gave economists and astrologers renewed cause for optimism. They got it bang on: it snowed on Saturday night and by this morning we had 5 centimetres on the ground, just the depth predicted. 

Why, this won’t just do good to the astrologers, it might even give rapture prophets hope again.

Last year when the snow came we regretted not having our cross-country skis with us, having left them in our cellar in Kehl, less than an hour from the Black Forest slopes. So Danielle brought them over when she went out there a few months ago and, given wed seen no previous snow this season, we went out at once this morning. Skiing through the streets of a town had all the charm of an unfamiliar pleasure, only heightened by the fact that these were Luton streets that we knew well from travelling along them by car or on foot so often in the past.

Our pleasure was shared by the people we met, whose most common comment was a variant of ‘brilliant idea! that’s just what you need to get around in these conditions.’

Cross-country skiing in the lesser-known
Luton end of the Black Forest

Once in the park, the world was transformed. We might have been back in Black Forest: wide expanses of undisturbed snow between trees dripping quietly under their white coats. And then, round the corner, we found the children in their dozens, out on their sleds, making the most of the Bedfordshire winter sports centre. It may not be the world's best known or most frequented, but it was obviously capable of giving as much enjoyment as any of them.

Luton's kids show the way to enjoy the conditions

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