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Samir Kharusi | all galleries >> Galleries >> Birmingham 1963-66 > 1965 Brum U Cairngorms Spring Ski Trip
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1965 Brum U Cairngorms Spring Ski Trip

Being from the tropics, I was greatly fascinated with skiing. First chance I got was to go skiing in Austria (at a pension in Aurach, near Kitzbuhel) over the 1963/64 Christmas vacation with the National Union of Students. The ski bug bit, and over the next winter vacations I continued with using the NUS for more ski trips. In those days the UK was among the expensive countries in Europe and all I had to afford as an extra for these trips was the train fare and the actual ski expenses, since I also had to pay for board and lodging through the vacations in Britain. An even cheaper alternative arose with a Birmingham University ski trip to the Cairngorms in Scotland, near Aviemore. This was an even more budget-conscious trip than the previous ones. We were lodged in the ex-Army huts/log cabins that had been built during WWII, probably to provide mountain/winter training. You can see the dark log huts in the middle above. But where is the snow? Well there was still enough to ski on towards the mountain peaks, but the snow was wet and our rented leather ski boots got thoroughly soaked by evening. So the boots were all arrayed to dry out around the iron stove that heated the building's main "lounge". One chap was the envy of all. He had rubber ski boots! Not plastic, rubber. Plastic ski boots were at the time just being introduced to the masses and were still horrendously expensive. We were supposed to use sleeping bags, but since I did not have one, I had to improvise, like many others, by using giant safety pins on the provided army blankets. Another strong memory was that this was my first introduction to communal showers. Strange. The Brits seem to have a strong tradition of such.

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