Monday, January 17, 2011

Skiing Tips: How to use a Tire-Fesse or a "Pull The Butt"

Tire-Fesse. "Pull The Butt." This is what the French unabashedly call the unruly contraption they use to drag themselves up their pristine mountain slopes. Comprised of a pole attached to a cable with a circular disk at the other end, it is often a source of painfully embarrassing wipe-outs for the uninitiated.

I'm not sure if the Tire-Fesse or Téléski is in universal practice or if the Europeans have invented it for the sole purpose of creating yet one more way for novice skiers to make a spectacle of themselves, but the principle behind it is relatively simple.

I think the reasoning went something like this: Given that novice skiers have so much fun sliding down the slope on their backsides, it is assumed that they will have an equivalent amount of fun being dragged up the slope on their frontside. In front of the entire resort. Et voilà! The Tire-Fesse.

However with some practice and a few useful tips, the art of getting on and off a Tire-Fesse can go from elusive to manageable within a few short degrading and utterly embarrassing wipe-outs.

Take heart, take notes, and hit the slopes with these handy tips!

How to use a Tire-Fesse

1. First, be sure to miss the entrance gate by about 2 feet so that you are forced to awkwardly sidestep with your skis while everyone behind you waits. Alternatively you can shuffle forward while wobbling unsteadily as your skis slip out from underneath you with every step.

2. Next, leave your poles dangling from your wrists until right before you're about to reach out and grab the Tire-Fesse. Then scramble to get the straps over your wrists and both poles in one hand while some five-year old with spiderman goggles and a runny nose keeps scraping forward on top of your skis.

3. Now, with your ski poles in one hand, grab the pole of the Tire-Fesse with the other hand. Attempt to remove it from its slot, wedge the disk between your legs, and bring your skis together in the 15 seconds it takes for the whole contraption to jolt forward, dragging you with it.

4. As you jolt forward unexpectedly, catch your skis on the snow, lose balance and let go of the Tire-Fesse pole with one hand in an attempt to grab your ski poles that you've just dropped. The disk will then pop out from between your knees. Hang onto it while it drags you up the slope. Let go after about 20 feet and then attempt to reclaim your skis, poles, and dignity while the French ski station employees laugh uncontrollably.

5. Ski back down to the entrance of the Tire-Fesse. Repeat steps 1-4.


Shopgirl said...

Sounds a bit like the magic carpet here in Cali, a teaching "lift" for learners. But this is way funnier and your sketch is priceless. Thanks for the laugh.

PS: I wrote about snowboarding recently, though I'd always be a skier first.

Starlight said...

Don't you have Tire-Fesse's in the US? I love your sketches, as Shopgirl said, they are priceless :)

Baglady said...

So funny. Love it. Another nail in the coffin of why I won't ski!

hunkate said...

my first time on the these was in Isola2000 (southern alpes-maritime) and unfortunately it was also my first time on my new skis, which kept popping off unexpectedly with almost every twist! luckily, the lift operator figured out (after both popped off as i fumbled his tire-fesse!) they weren't adjusted to my weight and whipped out a screw driver to help me! Merci, hottie francais!

Nikki Hodgson said...

@Shopgirl...It's funny I'd never been skiing before I moved to the Alps so I have no idea what we use in the U.S. These things are crazy though! They use them to go up really steep things. Not just the bunny slopes. I have to admit is pretty funny to watch someone wipe-out. I can say that because I do it all the time.

@Starlight...I'm not sure. I guess we must, but I didn't start skiing till last year when I moved to the Alps. Glad you thought it was funny though. :)

@Baglady...Thanks! And yeah, as much as I've come to love it, I spend the majority of my time skiing cursing the people who invented skiing.

@hunkate...Gotta love those French hotties. Makes the embarrassing ski moments a little more bearable. ;)

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