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Snowboarding at Whistler

posted at 1:27 am
on Jan. 5, 2009

Comments: 3 so far



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Dear Residents of Shaughnessy

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My Sun Peaks Ski Vacation

Secret Shame: That I’ve lived in Vancouver for 4 years, and have never been skiing or snowboarding, and have never been to Whistler.

Public Happiness: That I just did both!

On Saturday, Susie and Degan and I headed North into the driving snow to try to find this mythical city of Whistler that I’d heard so much about.  My car was unlikely to make the journey, I though, given that it has a hard time making it out of the parking spot it’s in in front of my house, so Degan rented a Jeep into which we loaded her snowboarding gear and my snowboard, and off we went.

The reason she has “gear” and I just have “board” is that my board is inherited from my friend Mike, who didn’t have room for it in his new condo, so “gave” it to me.  Its status is murky, somewhere between being a full-on gift and being just a favor—I have a bike from Jason that’s equally blurry, and my beige couch in Los Angeles knows well what it means to be in a maybe-loan state.

I have to equally give a shout-out to Adam, a former ski-patrol guy who provided some awesome gloves and snow pants that performed extremely well. You can see them in action here:

Our drive up took shorter than I though, and watching the sky go from that orange-black of a cloudy city at night, to charcoal-grey of a cold, snowy dawn, to the dirty white snowing daylight that makes you feel like you’re inside a tupperware container.  But the roads were well plowed and the only downside of the trip was that we couldn’t see The Chief.

Anyway, Mike’s feet are bigger than mine, so I had to rent boots on the mountain, and Susie had to get skis, and by the time we got onto the hill it was probably close to 11 a.m.  Not bad, though, considering my usual Saturday!

We rode up in the Gondola, had a little kerfuffle when I couldn’t figure out that I’m goofy footed—I do this EVERY time I go out, I doubt my footedness and second guess myself, but even though I’m right handed, I need to lead with my right foot when I’m snowboarding (and probably when I’m surfing or skateboarding, though it’s never been proven 😊 )

Degan knows her way around Whistler; she spent weekends snowboarding on Blackcomb in high school and many visits after that. She was a great guide and helped us pick the most awesome of the green (easy) runs—which were the runs I needed.  I’m not a bad snowboarder, but it took me a while to rediscover my center of gravity and to lose my fear of catching an edge.

Degan, meanwhile, though she said she had an awesome time, didn’t have the best luck.  She re-injured her knee, as she really hoped she wouldn’t, and ended up spending a great deal of the day gritting her teeth and favoring her good leg.  She apparently has a pain tolerance that’s so high it’s almost counter-productive, because it lets her keep going when she maybe shouldn’t.  On the other hand, I think it lets her try new things more fearlessly, and succeed at tough things better .

Susie was as good a skier as always; she snowplows a lot, which tires out her legs, but she has no problem keeping up with a snowboarder as cautious as me; and, she looks really cute in a ski bunny outfit.

We had a perfectly mediocre lunch in the ski lodge at the top of Whistler, then took the brand new Peak2Peak gondola (which has the world record for both highest vertical point, 436m, and longest unsupported free span, 3km between towers) between the two mountains, an amazing, amazing experience, which made the OUTRAGEOUS price of a lift ticket ($90) be merely A LOT too much instead of FAR FAR too much.

The gondola opened Dec. 15, and I have to say, it’s a marvel.

We skied I mean boarded down Blackcomb and called our day a wonderful success!

We stopped in an the Irish pub, and tried not to let the poor waitressing of our table detract from the post-ski buzz we all had.  It had been an incredible day, with a lot of really nice long runs, cold temperatures that kept us from getting wet despite the amount of time I spent sitting in the snow, and crowds but not crazy crowds.

We drove back to Vancouver and thought the day was just about over, but it turns out there was one more adventure.  While trying to park the Jeep in front of my house, Degan high centered it on the snow/ice ridge between the parked car lane and the middle of the residential street.  It took us about 35 minutes to dig the snow under the car out so we could reverse it and park it half a block down in the bank parking lot.

I just can’t get over how snowy it is.  It’s more snowy than anything I’ve lived through for at least 15 years, maybe longer.

Now I’m sitting at my desk, with the most sore muscle in my body not my butt, as I might have expected, but my neck, which apparently worked extra hard to keep me head from hitting the snow.  Good job, neck!



Previous entry:
Dear Residents of Shaughnessy

Next entry:
My Sun Peaks Ski Vacation


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