The Whiteburn PHAT Challenge Year 005 was a year of European Euro-Sarcozy-esque scandal and fine Bond-style British stealth.
La Thuile, Vallee d’Aosta, Italy was the destination for yet another snowy mission impossible for diehard PHATties, licensed for thrills. The Phatalian Job 2012 was an epic.
It all started with a virtually unintelligble self-destructible Dictaphone message on the PHAT snow bus from Courmayeur to Colle San Carlo, La Thuile. “Your mission is to search for and rescue The Italian Economy”… “Your enemy is Bond, Mr James Bond.” … What on earth had they let themselves in for?
The Phatalian bus took everyone to an Italian coffee house at the Colle San Carlo, just below the peaks of Punte del Croce. Phaffing was the order of the morning as the UIAGM mountain guides translated the phuddle of sleepy delegates, Chamonix-sourced ski touring bindings, ski boots, ski crampons, packed lunches and survival kits into a team of Phatalian Agents, ready to ski tour into the wilds of Aosta mountain ranges.
The weather was inclement. A yellow-clad character with a mop of dark hair and red rucksack was spotted suspiciously skiing through the la Thuile trees. A suave, shady skier of Bond age, he was the only clue to follow, if the Phats had any chance of phinding the Italian Economy before sundown.
And while the wind whipped up, it snowed and snowed and snowed. The Phats skied their way through the fogs of fine forests and tricky terrain, faltering only at some icy traverses, where the guides instructed them to use their “couteaux” or ski crampons for extra stability.
Just after they escaped the trickiest sections, the clues came thick and thin and finally they found a big box, sealed with silk and skulls and cross bones. Could this be the Italian Economy? When they revealed the contents of pasta, panacotta and salami, not to mention the finest Italian clothing and literature, they realized this was what Bond had been trying to hide from them. Despite the secret agent’s best attempts at sabotaging their search and rescue with snowballs, the Phatalians skied off for their Amazing Descent to Whiteburn Basecamp in the charming hamlet of Arpy.
Thoroughly tired but very heroic, the PHAT ski tourers found themselves in a salubrious den of Italian delight, where steaming hot Grollas were guzzled to the steaming hot vocals of Molly the songstress, while spoon-levitating hot chocolados and cheese-oozing focaccias brought back their strength.
But the Phatalian Job wasn’t over yet… Bond was back, this time in finest penguin tuxedo as the Ostello D’Arpy/ Whiteburn HQ transformed before the delegates’ eyes – into Casino Royale. It was time to dress up in finest evening wear and pit their wits on the finest green gambling table Arpy has ever seen. The Evil Villains joined the room, this time in the guise of two-piece band, Rich Rat and Hot Molly, belting out Bond classics, and a kilted, black tie and evening gown dance-off followed the three-course meal served by the Ostello guardians.
Alotta Lotta was the Swedish bombshell bond girl who wreaked further havoc with handcrafted Martinis for everyone, shaken not stirred, and the revelry continued well into the night. Snoring finally prevailed until Molly’s vocals announced the arrival of a sunny day and twenty minutes to departure. The day may have been bright but the PHAT heads were phuzzy and Phatalian coffees were necked, until Arpy’s resident sheepdogs were called into herd everyone onto the bus back to Courmayeur.
The Phatalian bus sped off down the icy hairpin bends, and the Phatalians knew one further mission awaited. Back at Courmayeur, and despite having less than 3 hours’ sleep, slalom supreme Eve McCurrich was ready to strip down to her bikini and storm the LSH course to raise £1,000 for charity!