Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Valentine's Day in Big White

So today is Monday and Valentine's Day here in Canada and we woke to an overcast day with a slight breeze blowing. The kids weren't super keen to go out and ski in it, so we've sent Dad & Karmen out to investigate and we will get a call from them after a few runs (which will take a few hours) letting us know what it is like. If it is OK, Mum & I will dress the kids and then meet up with Dad & Karmen and ski the afternoon.

Going back a few days now to Saturday. After some pretty full-on days of skiing we decided that we would make Saturday our rest day. So we all had a bit of a sleep in, caught up on some washing, etc. After the domestic duties were finished, Mum, Dad, Karmen, Darren, Casey, Tayla, Jack, Riley, Kody & myself, headed down to the Adventure Playground for an afternoon of snow tubing.

OMG! What a blast!!!!! Basically it is an inflatable tube with a "sleeve" covering the sides and the base. The sleeve has handles sewn on them. The handles are more important than you might think. It also has a long rubberized strap with a handle on it as well. To go up the lift you sit in the tube and the long strap gets hooked onto what looks like a rope tow and you get pulled up, backwards, and then spat out thru a little bit of a chute at the top. Then you get out of the tube and walk about 20 metres to the top of the run.

The first run we each did was separately. So you get back in the tube and the attendant at the top of the run grabs one of the handles and sort of pulls/spins/pushes you off the top of the run. We all got spun around like we were in a washing machine, screaming and laughing at the top of our lungs, while going down the 300 metres, only coming to a stop when the tube slows down on the strategically placed hay. It is so much fun. So much fun!!!!

I was a little worried that Kody might find it a bit too much, but he was LOVING IT!!!! The more runs we did the more confidence we gained. We would come down in small groups and then a bigger group and finally all nine (Mum wasn't tubing) of us came down in one HUGE group. Basically you have to hang on to the handles on each others tubes to stay together. It is a BLAST!!!! the kids loved it and want to do it again before we leave. Lots of video footage taken.

Saturday night was our big night out for dinner. We had befriended one of the Kids Centre carers/teachers, a Kiwi named Penny, and she had offered to babysit the four kids for $15 per hour while we went out for dinner at Snowshoe Sam's. It was a great dinner. Plenty of wine was drank. Gorgeous food eaten. Lots of laughs had. Dad was educated that the Wolverine was NOT just a mythical creature, but real animal. Outside the snow started falling. Inside our waitress was entertaining us with a Gunbarrel Coffee. What is a Gunbarrel Coffee I hear you ask? Well, it is a regular liquour coffee that is made with pizzaz and flair when the flaming liquour is poured down the length of a gun barrel. Very classy. Video footage was taken and will be shown at a later date.

At the end of dinner we ventured outside into the snow and wind, which was picking in intensity. Darren and I decided that we would catch the shuttle bus back and Mum, Dad, Diane, Bob, Karmen and Casey were going to catch the gondola back down to Happy Valley and then walk to The Raven. When the shuttle finally arrived to pick Darren and me up, the rest of the gang were already inside, having given up on the gondola ride. The evening driver was Jackie and she was nice enough (after a $5 tip) to drop us right at the door of The Raven.

Inside, we discovered that Penny had survived an evening with the kids. They were all in bed asleep. She cost us $75, which was $75 well spent. We worked out that at the end of our ten days here in Big White, we will have some food left over, so we made the offer to Penny that if she was at the apartment on Wednesday morning before 9:30am, she could take all the left over food. Well, her eyes nearly fell out of her head. She was ever so grateful, apparently they don't get paid very much here and don't get too many shifts, so the babysitting money would be a big help. Working here is certainly not a career move, more of a lifestyle choice.

Earlier in the week, Mum, Diane, Darren and I had booked to go on the Shopping Shuttle to Kelowna. So on Sunday morning we headed down to Happy Valley Day Lodge, boarded the bus and drove down to Kelowna. The bus drops you outside Save-On-Foods. You go and shop for five or so hours and then meet the bus back at the drop off point for the trip back up the mountain. It was interesting to shop in a different country. The chemists shops, or drug stores as they are called over here, sell a whole lot more than those back home. I nearly broke down in tears when I saw a Kitchen Aid Mix Master (my dream) for only $369.00. Back home we pay almost $1,000.00. And yes, this was all available in a drug store called London Drugs.

We also shopped Orchard Park Shopping Centre and Orchard Park Plaza. I managed to pick up a great Spyder Ski Parka for $179.00 which back home would set me back quite few hundred dollars more. Kody and I fell asleep on the bus trip back and before I knew it we were pulling up in the car park at Happy Valley.

We unloaded our purchases from the bus and started the walk back up to The Raven. Darren was in front and I was helping Kody when all of a sudden.... SPLAT.... Diane was down. Face first. She had slipped on some ice and and gone down like a sack of potatoes. Actually when she went down she landed on the milk that we had purchased, it was now all over the ground. Looks like no cereal in the morning for anyone! She had winded herself quite badly and basically just laid there in ice, milk, snow and water. The longer she laid there the more injuries became evident. Sore arm, sore knee. It took three men to get Diane back up on her feet. The walk home was pretty slow going up hill.

Dinner tonight was an good old fashioned Aussie BBQ.... well, the best you can do on the fourth floor balcony in a foot of snow. It was the funniest thing was watching two grown men cooking a BBQ dressed in full ski gear. A casual TV night followed.

We woke this morning (Monday) to an overcast, kind of blah day. No-one was really motivated to get up and go go go! So a slow casual breakfast was had and then much discussion about what we were going to do. In the end, Dad & Karmen headed out to ski, Bob had a day off and Diane spent most of the day in bed recovering from her fall. Casey slept 14 hours straight, Darren & I decided that we would head out at about 12noon and hire him some ski gear and ski with the kids for the afternoon on the gondola. This is a free lift and it only has a green run from top to bottom. Perfect for Darren and Kody. So we took Tayla & Jack up the mountain, met up with Karmen and Dad to hand them over and then skied the rest of the afternoon as a family. It was really nice. The weather started to close in and fresh snow began to fall. The wind had picked up and it was time to head back in. Karmen, Tayla & Jack skied past us on their way home, so I sent Riley with them. Darren, Kody & I headed up for one more run and on the way home Kody & I took the turn off the ski home (for the first time) and Darren headed back to ski hire to return his equipment. He then walked home.

Dad, Darren, Karmen, Tayla, Riley, Jack and Kody all ended up in the hot tub on the balcony after a hard day of skiing. I made some cheese sticks, but they were not as nice as the ones I make at home cause the pastry was completely different, the cheese was very different and the oven has a mind of it's own. But everybody eat them, so they couldn't have been too bad.

A baked dinner of lamb and veggies is on the table for tonights dinner. It should be worth the wait.

Tomorrow is our final day here in Big White. On Wednesday we head off to Las Vegas, so my plan is if it is a nice day to get Darren and Kody back up the mountain and probably even up to Millie's Mile, Sundance and even Kyle's. We are planning on doing another session on the tubes and I'd love for the kids to have a go on the mini Ski-Doos they have here.

More sooon.....

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Location:The Raven, Big White, BC, Canada

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