Downhill Racer

It’s kept on snowing over the last couple of weeks, so I thought I should follow through on my plans to go skiing. I still couldn’t summon the energy to go up to the actual mountains though, so I figured I should see what Second Life had to offer in the way of winter sports. I got myself kitted out at the Zagoskin Ski Shop, for a surprisingly modest sum – skis, boots, poles, ski-suit and goggles for under L$500 – then headed over to the Nakiska Ski Club to hit the piste:

The panorama was certainly impressive, and the run ahead was invitingly steep, so I pushed off and shot away down the slope:

Down at the bottom there was a futuristic mountain train waiting to take me back up the hill:

It was fun for a while, but after a few runs it began to get a little dull. The AO that came with the skis allows one to steer from side to side, but one can’t really do anything more complicated than zig-zaging down the slope. I guess it might be more exciting if there was a slalom course laid out, or if one was racing with someone else. I should probably check out some of the other Second Life ski resorts to see if they are any more thrilling.

The experience reminded me of nothing more than the classic ZX Spectrum game Horace Goes Skiing. I’ve been similarly underwhelmed by other interactive activities on the grid – nice graphics in the service of eight-bit gameplay seems to be the rule for such things.

I was also a little disappointed, though not entirely surprised, to find that I was the only person at the resort, since I always feel that the conviviality of the après-ski is a crucial part of any winter holiday. It’s a shame it was so quiet, because the one big advantage that Second Life has over stand-alone simulations, the thing that makes up for all the limitations, is its social aspect. Maybe next time I go it will be a bit more lively.

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