So we've skied all over the mountain and for the skiers interested in what runs, read Bob's blog. The runs over at Gem Lake were BIG and I mean BIG. Blue Sapphire, the longest run here is a Blue (Intermediate) Run but back home it would be classed as a Black (Advanced) Run. It was long and steep but well groomed so it wasn't too bad on the legs.... it's the bumps that kill me.
I downloaded and app onto my iPhone called Ski Tracks which runs on the GPS feature of the phone and tracks everything from speed to distance to gradient to lifts up.... it is pretty savvy. Apparently on this day in the morning session I skied 12.8km plus 9.4km of lifts up for a total of 22.2km and in the afternoon session I skied 13.4km plus 9.5km of lifts up for a total of 22.8km. The maximum speed I hit was 47.6km/hr. Gotta love my gadgets.
I've heard Mum & Dad talk about the Snow Ghosts at Gem Lake which are trees covered in snow but it's not until you see them for yourself you get a real appreciation for what they are. Karmen and I had actually decided they look more like frozen penis's so we have renamed this area Penis Forest.
The hot chocolate in the hut at the bottom of Gem Lake was very welcoming after a couple of runs. Karmen attacked a big bowl of minestrone soup to warm her up. We then went and hit Kalina's Rainbow a few times. It was freezing right at the top of the chairlift, but I had to stop and take a photo of a sign that I thought was hilarious. It told you how much if would cost if you skied outside of the boundary and need to be rescued. $500. Hehehehehe!!!!!
The kids were in ski school today having ball. They ski all over the mountain with their instructors. Kody rides the "Big Pineapple" from the Kids Centre down to the Magic Carpet to ski. He is really coming along nicely.
The following day Dad, Bob, Karmen and Casey jumped on the shuttle bus to ski at the sister resort of Silverstar. While Mum and I made big M's up/down/across the mountain after we dropped the kids at ski school. I had a great day skiing with Mum. It was at a slower pace than what I skied with the others the day before, but Mum's style of skiing is ski a run, coffee, ski a run, coffee..... nice! We got to the end of our day of skiing (about 1:30pm) and decided that we would do lunch. Beano's Coffee Shop is the most central place in the VCM (Village Centre Mall) to have lunch, but they have purposely made the chairs very uncomfortable so you don't stay long. It's all about turnover. We decided after the hard day of skiing we had just had, we deserved more comfortable chairs, so we headed to the White Crystal Inn and found a gorgeous little bar called Sante Bar & Grille. The chairs were much more comfortable here and we made this our camp for the next hour or so. We had lunch, which was huge, one between the two of us would have been plenty and then relaxed while we waited for the kids to finish ski school.
Darren met us up in the VCM and grabbed the refill bread and milk that was required from The Market and then we collected the kids and headed to the shuttle bus stop to meet our favourite driver, Kenny. Today he was in an especially good mood and he sang some songs from his latest album to us as he drove us done the mountain to our apartment. Again, he was super nice and drove up right to the door rather than at the end of the street.
The ski school were hosting a carnival in the VCM tonight so we got all the kids changed and headed out the door at 6pm and pressed the button on the lift and out popped Dad, Bob, Karmen and Casey. They had just returned from their day of skiing at SilverStar. They looked exhausted. We continued to head up to the VCM and they changed out of their ski gear and followed.
We arrived at the VCM a tad early (shock, horror, yes I was early for something) and positioned ourselves in a great spot. The ski school had cleared out all of the chairs and tables that normally fill this space and had set up carnival style games with huge inflatables. There was hockey, ball toss, basketball, limbo and a long inflatable millipede that the kids can crawl thru and when they come out the other end it looks like that are coming out his bum. Hehehehehehe!!!!
Mascots Loose Moose and Boomer the Kangaroo made an appearance walking through the crowd and encouraging the kids. The idea of the evening was to win tickets and then claim the prizes. The 5, 7 & 10 ticket prizes were crappy, so our kids were aiming for the 30 ticket prize of a replica Loose Moose or Boomer stuffed toy. Jack's competitive nature kicked in and he was running back with handfuls of tickets every few minutes. Riley and Tayla were doing pretty well, and little Kody, now feeling much better, was not winning tickets for his ability, but more for his cuteness in attempting to win. By the end of the evening we had accumulated enough tickets for everyone to get a prize so we ended up with three Loose Mooses and one Boomer.
To get everybody to leave the VCM, the mascots treated the crowd to a foot race outside, down Main Street. It was fun to watch and the kids cheered loudly for the Aussie, Boomer. I can't remember who won the race, but it was fairly close. Video replay with refresh my memory when I get home.
We had a bit of an incident with Riley this evening. Lack of respect and no manners. To prove a point he was told he was going home to Grandma so I made him pack his bag. He cried the whole time, asking for one more chance, etc etc. I wasn't having a bar of it. So, once his back was packed I handed him his passport, opened the front door and said "see you later". He walked thru the door and I shut it behind him. I watched thru the peep hole as he walked up the path and around the corner to the lift. He didn't hesitate once. By the time I caught up with him, he had pushed the down button and I asked him "Do you know where you are going?". "No," he replied! He came back into the apartment and had pretty much been on his best behaviour since. Lets hope it continues.
Friday morning proved to be a slower start, not the usual 6:30am/6:45am wake up. Dad, Bob, Karmen and Casey took the older kids (Tayla, Riley & Jack) out skiing for the day. Mum and I headed over to the magic carpet with Kody. I had to head up the gondola to ski school to grab Kody's ski boots, skis and helmet. Mum and Kody headed over to the Magic Carpet area and by the time I got back from my little gondola trip up and back, Darren had met up with Mum & Kody. We put Kody's ski boots on him and he hopped on his skis and headed down the mountain. Wooooohooooooo...... look at him go!!!!! He is paralleling and turning. Amazing what a few days of lessons can do. I spent the next hour and a half skiing with Kody and videoing him. Mum & Darren were getting cold, so they headed over to the Happy Valley Day Lodge and met up with the rest of the skiers. Apparently the kids were getting cold. Lunch was had and by the time Kody and I meet up with them after our skiing adventure, they were just about to head out for some more skiing.
They were now under strict instructions to be back at the apartment no later than 3:00pm as we were headed out to the ice hockey game tonight and had to be showered and changed and back up at the VCM for a 5:00pm pick-up. We waved goodbye to the skiers.
Darren again headed up to the VCM to grab some bread. Mum, Kody and I were headed back to the apartment. The horse drawn sleigh ride had just arrived at the Happy Valley Day Lodge so we took the opportunity to have a photo with the horses.
The trip uphill to The Raven was a little bit of a struggle in ski boots and carrying my skis and poles and Kody skis made it even worse, so Mum decided that if we put Kody's skis on him, she could pull him up the hill (snow covered road) easier than carrying it all. Kody enjoyed the ride.
We got back to The Raven and only minutes later Darren walked in the door. It was time to hit the showers and get ready for our night out. By the time Darren, Kody and I were showered, Riley had arrived back with all the skiers so he jumped in the shower, go dressed and I must admit he is being pretty good so far.
Once we were all showered and ready to go, we made the short walk over to the gondola and headed up to the VCM to meet the bus that would take us down the mountain to downtown Kelowna. On the bus ride down the mountain, there was a heap of traffic headed up the mountain. After all, it was a Friday night, so people were probably heading up the mountain for the weekend. But even more, it was Fright Night Skiing. Lift tickets are $5 and ski hire is also only $5. What a bargain!!! They light up Millies Mile over at Black Forest with big flood lights and you can ski until about 9pm.
The ice hockey game was at Prospera Place, home of the Kelowna Rockets, who were taking on the Chilliwack Bruins tonight. The hype and general buzz of the arena was amazing and we weren't even at our seats yet. The local bank was sponsoring a "Puck Toss" at the second interval. Pay $5 and get two numbered bright orange pucks that you toss over the perspex barrier and into the ice. The closest puck to the centre of the ice wins the $100 prize. Well, never having been to an ice hockey game and wanting to experience EVERYTHING, we handed over our money and got our pucks.
All along, dinner tonight was going to be at the game and the smell of the greasy food and popcorn was wafting thru the concourse making the kids hungry, but we thought it was more important to find our seats first. We would come back for food. The seats we had were up and to the left, on the curve, of the goal. I thought they were pretty good. You could see the whole arena.... actually, I don't think there would have been one bad seat in the place.
Our seats were sort of split up a bit. Diane and Bob were a row in front and to the right of us. The bulk of us were in one row and then Casey & Dad sat just behind us. Once seated, Casey, Dad, Karmen and Darren headed to the concession stands to get some food. We had no idea what was available so I told Darren to just get what he thought we would like. The start of the game was fast approaching and there was a huge inflatable blowing up on the ice. It ended up being head of the Kelowna Rockets mascot, a dragon I think. It was situated at the opening were the Rockets would come out. The lights dimmed and "the dragon" started to breath smoke and flashing light simulated fire. The Rockets skated out through his mouth. It was pretty cool. You gotta remember that this is only the minors, the WHL (Western Hockey League) but these people take their hockey seriously.
All pedestrian traffic is stopped from moving on the stairs while the game is in play, so the food getters were held up a few minutes until the first break in play. When they got back to us, we had ended up with chicken strips and chips (french fries) with honey mustard dipping sauce. It was typical "game food".
There was a huge remote control airship that buzzed around the arena dropping tickets to "something". There were girls running up the stairs giving away envelopes with prizes in them. The couple in front of us won a $25 gift certificate to "somewhere". They had the jumbo screen above the scoreboard where they featured "Crazy Dancer Camera" where they would focus on fans dancing in the crowd. There were seven shirtless young boys with crazy headgear each bearing a letter "R", "O", "C", "K", "E", "T" and "S" painted on their stomachs, sitting behind us and to the right a bit. The camera loved them. They also had "Kiss Camera" and when the camera picked a couple (usually man and woman) out of the crowd you were expected to kiss. This was a crowd favourite. Bob & Diane featured on the big screen, but not when it was Kiss Cam.
The game was very fast and these guys can sure skate. There were three punch ups in the game. It was funny to watch cause the referees just stand by and watch them fight.... that is while they are still on their feet. The second they hit the ground, the refs jump in and pull them apart. The fights were just as interesting as the game. These guys aren't afraid to put their body on the line. Many times when the Rockets were going to score, a Bruins player would just throw himself on the ice and block the shot. It was a noisy and physical game. We loved every minute of it.
As expected, when the Rockets scored the arena erupted, but I found it interesting that when the Chilliwacks scored there was nothing but silence. Obviously the fans don't travel to support the team at an away game.
Riley had noticed that many fans were wearing Kelowna Rockets jerseys and he decided that he wanted one too. The kids both had $50 Canadian and $250 American to spend on this trip and the jersey was $100 Canadian. So Riley got his jersey out of his own money, leaving him only $200 American for the remainder of the trip. When GPPS has it's next mufti sports team day I know what he will be wearing.
At the end of full-time it was a 4-4 draw, so the game went into overtime. At the end of overtime, it was still a 4-4 draw. It ended up coming down to a shoot out where the Rockets managed to lose the game. The minute the last shot at goal was finished the locals were out of their seats and headed for the doors. We waited until the crowded thinned a bit before making our way out. Dave, our bus driver, met us exactly were he had dropped us off and we boarded the bus for the hour long trip back up the mountain. The kids (and I) fell asleep on the trip back and we had to wake them up to get them off the bus. Dave dropped us at the end of the street and we made the cold brisk walk back to The Raven.
Into PJs and off to bed.
Til next time......
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Location:The Raven, Big White, BC, Canada