Thursday, 10 February 2011

First ski in Canada in 20 years

I must apologize..... Blogger isn't being very co-operative tonight. It won't let me post any photos. I will try and fix this tomorrow.

I've worked out that the last time I was in Canada skiing was 20 years ago when I travelled to Lake Louise, Whistler & Blackcomb with Janet & Peter Williams and family in March of 1991 when I had two good knees. So I was a little apprehensive when I ventured out for my first ski, being that I am older, heavier and now have one definately dodgy knee.

Well, I had the best day.... THE BEST DAY!

It might have had something to do with the 10"... that's right, 10 INCHES... of new POWDER snow that fell overnight. We were all eager to get out there on the snow.

The kids were due to be at Ski School no later than 9:15am, so we had breakfast, got dressed and headed out the door. Down to the garage where the ski lockers are to get out the gear out. Mmmmm.... now, what was that code to unlock the locker. Nope, that's not it. Nope, not that one either. The clock was ticking, the lock wasn't budging and the stress levels were rising.

Bob and the kids were off down the road to the bus stop to catch to shuttle up to the Kids Centre. Like the Pied Piper! We, on the other hand, were continuing to struggle with this lock. Finally another tenant came into the locker room and we asked him if he had any idea what we might be doing wrong. He proceeded to show us that we were actually putting the code into the back of the lock, not the front of the lock. Damn combination locks!! Twist, twist, twist, click.... open the lock popped.

We quickly grabbed all our skis and headed for the door. The shuttle bus runs past the end of our street every 30 minutes, so we didn't want to waste any time waiting for it, so Karmen, Casey, Mum, Dad and myself made a left turn and headed for Lara's Gondola to head up the mountain. Karmen and Casey walked a bit faster than Mum, Dad & me and got to the top much quicker than us.

When we arrived at the top, we jumped off up the top and headed straight over to the ski school to meet up with Bob, Karmen, Casey and the kids and sign them into their classes for the day. Kody was already in the Ski Cubs room, I just needed to hand over his ticket, and then to the other end of the building to where the older kids are in the Snowriders room. Handed over his ticket, kissed goodbye and left him there.

Bob headed off to hire some skis and Karmen, Casey and I then headed back to where I had left Mum & Dad outside the ticket office. We purchased tickets and then waited for Bob to join us before ventured out on to the mountain.

Now, I have a pretty good sense of direction at home. I never loose the car in the carpark at Westfields, and I certainly don't turn North of the freeway when heading HOME from a holiday in Forster (like Mr Plowes), but I have to admit, I have absolutely no sense of direction up here on the mountain. As soon as we hit the slopes and Bob and Dad started talking about which runs to ski and what chairlifts to catch, I just stood there dumbfounded. I am quite happy to take a back seat and follow the leader.... well, for a while anyway!!!

Now for the skiers out there, you might want to check out Bob's blog as he as posted exactly which runs we skied and which lifts we caught. He has even posted some video of us skiing.

Mum had had a pretty nasty fall out of the hot tub last night and was a little sore today so after a few runs on Serwa's mum decided to head into the Day Lodge at the bottom of the Snow Ghost chairlift to a coffee and a break. Bob, Dad, Karmen, Casey and I headed up for another run. Now, these are not like the runs back home in Australia where you stand in a queue for 15 minutes to get on a 6 minutes chairlift ride up for a 3 minutes run down the mountain. For starters, there are no lift queues here, none at all. The ride up the mountain is normally a good 10-15 minutes of a detachable (fast) chair and the run down is somewhere between 1.5km and 3.5km. So a round trip can take about 35-40 minutes.

At the end of this next run, somehow Karmen, Casey & I had separated from Dad and Bob and decided that we would go in a have a hot drink with Mum. Mum, being Mum, had befriended a lovely lady (Yvonne from Alberta) and they were chatting away like long lost friends when we walked in. Drink purchased. Warmth returning. Looking out the window we could see Bob & Dad had arrived at the bottom of the run, so Karmen and Casey headed out while Bob headed in. Dad stayed out.

We were chatting with Yvonne about the rest of our trip yet to come and also told her about Bob and Diane's train adventure that was to follow. She was shocked, to say the least. Even commenting "Are they paying you to do the trip?" That comment was greeted with a roar of laughter from Mum and I. We told Yvonne about the blogs Bob and I are keeping and she was quite to ask for the web addresses so she could follow the rest of our trip, but more importantly she wanted to read all about the train trip Bob and Diane and taking. So, Yvonne, I hope you are reading!!!

Dad, Karmen and Casey came back in after that run and warmed up before we all headed out again. This time we headed to the far right side of the mountain to an area called Black Forest. Mum started to get cramps in her legs so she headed to Beano's in the Village Centre, for a coffee.

Since her trip to Big White in March 2008, Mum has always talked about her favorite run, Millie's Mile and it was certainly not a let down. She would have loved it if she came across. There were a few other runs like Bear Paw and Whiskey Jack's that were not groomed and by this stage in the afternoon, my legs were feeling a little sore so I didn't really enjoy these runs. It was this part of the afternoon that Bob got the video camera out and shot some footage of us skiing.

On one of the runs up the chairlift, I received a phone call from the Kids Centre telling me that Kody didn't go out skiing for the afternoon session because when they cam inside for their lunch he had fallen asleep. The girl was like "Don't cut your skiing day short to come get him. I've got two staff in there looking after him. He will be fine to collect at the end of the day." I was happy about this because I was really enjoying my skiing and didn't feel like calling it quits yet.

After quite a few runs in Black Forest everyone was feeling a bit peckish and the decision was made to go and meet up with Mum at Beano's. Casey and I decided that we would head down the mountain with Mum on the shuttle bus and Karmen, Dad & Bob would pick up the kids from ski school.

We ventured over to the bus stop and only had to wait about ten minutes before our favourite shuttle driver, Kenny, arrived. We board the bus and had to wait about another ten minutes before we could leave. We had already concocted a story about Mum hurting her leg and not being able to walk, in the hope that Kenny would drop us right at the door, instead of at the bus stop 150 metres down the hill. And it worked. Right to the door. You beauty.

Lock up the skis, head to the lift, up to the room, get out of ski clothes, pour a Baileys on ice. Aaaahhhhhh!!!!! Relax!!!!!!! By the time I poured my second Baileys, I looked out over the balcony and here was our tribe heading up the road. Obviously Kenny didn't like them as much even with the $5 tip Bob had given him, because they had to walk UP the hill.

Dinner tonight was Crumbed Chicken with yummy vegetables (mashed potato, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots). Good skiing food. Everyone ate except for Kody. He hadn't been well since he got home from ski school. He kept saying he wanted to vomit... and he did! At least he got it in the bucket. A dose of children Panadol and off to bed for him. Actually, the rest of us weren't far behind. Till tomorrow......

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Location:The Raven, Big white Ski Resort, BC, Canada

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