Published: January 2nd 2010January 1st 2010
The frozen mousache
Whistler in December and you really don't have a great deal of choice in terms of what particular colour you'd like your Christmas, white seems pretty much a given. On the drive up from Vancouver, rain eventually turned to snow with the increase in altitude and with the mercury for the next week hovering on or below zero, Bing's dream of a white Christmas was a guaranteed reality.
Skiing was on the agenda which provided a recipe for disaster. With a total of 5 hours skiing between Penny and myself over the last 30 years, and that was in 1996, confidence wasn't high. But hey, turns out this skiing gig is like riding a bike. Within ten minutes we were both back to our pathetic levels of 30 years prior.
Of course our travelling cohorts, the Coulters, were a different story. They were light years ahead of us. This would have been fine had I not challenged Dean prior to arrival for a race, mano a mano, ski vs snowboard, an alpine Texas death match. Outgunned in technique, speed, ability, etc, it was time to tweek the rules in my favour. OK Dean:
The winner shall be the one who spends
Is this the 'fox' carving!!
the most time on the slopes and completes the highest number of runs. The winner? I hereby declare myself champeen o the world, or at least champeen of our Whistler household. You wanna argue the point Dean? GET YOUR OWN BLOG SITE!
The week was a buzz. Great weather (if you can ignore the temps), fantastic food, the scenery inspiring and the skiing a rush. Penny might argue the ski enjoyment factor after spending 4 days in agony trying to come to grips with the discomfort of ski boots, but by Christmas day, the planets had aligned and it was a very unique, for us, way to spend a Chrissy - sunshine, snow and gravity all conspiring for a wonderful day.
Vancouver was a 2 day interlude between Whistler and our next alpine escape, Big White. Now forgetting the freezing temperatures and mountainous backdrop, you can see why there are regular parallels drawn between Vancouver and Sydney. Harbourside location, the multicultural blend of its people, lifestyle choices, architecture ya da ya da ya. Yes it's a wonderful city. However, there was, for me, a really surprising surplus of homeless down and outers. Maybe I'm just a little blinkered but I'm
Gaz fires up the BBQ
sure our homeless problem isn't as pronounced as the one here in Vancouver. Plus, winter in Vancouver must be a tough joint not to have a roof over your head.
Leaving Vancouver in our wake and enroute to Big White, we were heading towards a town called Chilliwhack. The inside car discussion revolved around what a place with such a name might be famous for, half the group plumping for chillis and the other half for child beatings. In the end, for us, Chilliwhack ended up being famous for its Chevy service centre as we limped our hire lemon Chevy Tahoe into town. The pre-determined 5 hour Vancouver/Big White drive transformed into an 11 hour slog including our 4 hour pit stop in Chilliwhack. It was one of those days you convince yourself you'll laugh about down the track but at the time there wasn't much hilarity eminating from inside the 4 walls of our vehicle.
The perils of the journey behind us, we settled into our "condo by the slopes" thanks to Kim's tireless research. Sure was fun bunkered down in a hot tub on the balcony with a coldy in hand as the last of the day's swooshers
cruised past about 10 meters away.
After my "Whistler World Title" victory, Dean was up for revenge and insisted on the actual downhill race I had promised earlier. So the date was set for "The Ultimate Showdown". The time and place, the first chairlft of the year, 1st of the 1st two zero one zero, from the top of the "Bullet Express" to the front door of our condo. There could only be one winner with the youthful exhuberance of the snowboarding urchin vs the street savy and worldy experience of "the Old Silver Fox" on rental skis and Robby the Robot boots.
I know you're all dying to know who came out on top so allow me the luxury of diverting attention to the back page of the "Big White Times":
YEATES CLAIMS WORLD TITLE FROM COULTER IN A FORFEIT.
G Yeates, aka, the "Old Silver Fox", today claimed the Big White Downhill World Championship when his rival Dean "the sissy" Coulter couldn't drag himself out of bed in the trying blizzardy conditions. The following is a brief extract from the victory interview with The Fox.
TIMES - Is your victory today a hollow one given the circumstances?
Bus stop artwork by Kim Coulter.
- Absolutely not. If the Springboks can win 2 World Cup Rugby finals without scoring a try, I can be World Downhill Champeen without actually going in a race.
TIMES - What advice would you give Dean Coulter for his future career in the sport?
FOX - You snooze you lose.
TIMES - Any final words Fox?
FOX - Yes, I would like to announce my official retirement from downhill racing, effective immediately, and leave the game on top of the world.
And that's Canada: lotsa snow, lotsa mountains, lotsa fun, though this skiing operation can get a might frustrating with all the logistics involved before you actually get to start sliding down a slope. The people are amicable to a fault, although it can be difficult to find a Canadian amongst all the Aussies in a place like Big White. A few more days skiing on the menu (if this blizzard ever clears) then some thaw-out time in Hawaii with pit stop of a coupla days in Seattle. Til next time.
There are more photos below