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Published: February 5th 2009
Take ten Korfballers, a flight across the Atlantic and a few inches of snow, and what do you get? Yep, it's the SnowDrifter Tours trip for ten glorious days snowboarding in Whistler, B.C. Awesome dudes!
This year’s motley crew arrived in dribs and drabs over the ocean, some choosing to visit Vancouver for a couple of extra days before hand. I was part of the late crew going directly to Whistler and the rendezvous was as the Creekside apartments at the foot of Whistler Mountain, site of the 2010 Winter Olympics, not that they like to go on about it much…
Being only my third snowboarding adventure, I’d usually hired a board at the resorts but this year I had loan of a board and bindings rather than hiring. This seems a great idea in theory, but after about ten minutes of dragging the board bag down the road to the tube station, I was NOT in the best mood. Getting rather heated and angry (I think this is inherited from my Father) I was seriously considering giving it all up and spending ten days at home in my sleeping bag suit. Fortunately the journey was soon over and our
Here I am admiring my lovely green pants, I was hoping they'd make me a better boarder, but they didn't turn out to be magical after all
luggage was handed over to BA and we could relax. The flight was a bit entertaining, some people from some great waste in the depths of Canada were sitting behind us and drinking quite a lot (of course I was sober all the time) and we all got told off for being a bit noisy, opps! They then proceeded to challenge some poor holiday maker to a drinking competition and I have to say, I’ve never seen anyone so drunk on a plane before, it was most amusing but I bet his hangover wasn’t such fun.
Up early on the first morning, with my new green dude pants on, we took the lifts up Whistler and I had a bit of first run nerves but it all came good, I was doing rather well, even managed a black run on my first morning, good job! This may have been pushing it a bit though, by the afternoon it all seemed to go a bit wrong, I wasn’t in great shape anyway as since Xmas I’d had a virus and then sprained my ankle the week before leaving. The afternoon was not so successful and I seemed to have regressed
Hot tub! Beer!
Our accomodation at the foot of Whistler Mountain, the hot tub is just on the left of the picture.
back to beginner status. It’s a cruel hobby this snowboarding.
So I wandered off for more gentle slopes leaving the experts to play with the big slopes. Luckily, I’d had a brain wave at Xmas and bought my friend Anna a set of walkie talkies for her present. So I was safe to roam the mountain alone knowing that a simple ‘Check, Check, Roger, Roger, Dave, Check’ over the walkie talkie would bring assistance. Of course, you have to be careful who’s listening in as the airwaves are shared. While sitting on a chair lift talking to another boarder, the strains of ‘Edelweiss’ emanated from my pocket, I assured my companion it couldn’t possibly be any of my friends singing but as you can predict, I found out later it was.
The first few days were very sunny but absolutely freezing, getting down to about -15C at some point. I made the mistake of going up the glacier on probably one of the coldest and windiest days, I think I was borderline hypothermic at one point, luckily I made it down and managed to ingest a poutine for lunch, Canada’s greatest invention (chips, cheese and gravy). It’s the
The Whistler end of the new Peak to Peak gondola which links Whistler and Blackcomb mountains, all new for 2010
perfect winter warmer.
The next day, I joined the experts again and we took a route down another black run, it was all going so well, fun on powder, lovely if you are going to fall. At the bottom of the hill, I got out my camera to take some proof of my achievements but nearly cried on discovering my trusty beautiful blue Olympus taken another route down the hill and decided to do a Bear Grills and survive the frozen conditions on its own. I was very upset at the loss, as well as the prospect of having to fork out for a new camera, boo hoo. I sloped off to the hot tub to soak my sorrows and have a good moan.
Licking my wounds the next day, Team Green (myself and another almost beginner, Nicola) decided we’d take some time out from black runs and practice our turns on the more friendly slopes. It also allowed us time to indulge in the shared passion of poutine eating at lunchtimes; we concluded the best poutine was to be had down at Zogs in Whistler village, yummy. Team Green had a more gentle approach to boarding which
The great white
What it's all about
was good as I seemed to be suffering terribly with the boots I’d borrowed. By mid-afternoon I was suffering badly with a sore left foot and wanting to go home. Seemed things were not going my way on this trip, twisted my ankle the week before leaving, lost my camera and now had the wrong boots, poor me!
Things were soon on the up though, the next morning I discovered the insoles in my boots were the wrong way round, pain eliminated! Then I decided to check out lost property on the off-chance my camera had been handed in.
So I tootled off to the office and meekly asked if anyone had handed in a blue camera, and to my delight the woman came straight out with my lost snapper and made my day. My faith in humanity and my love of Canada confirmed, I felt a new vigour and event attempted some jumping for joy, but fell on my backside sadly.
On the penultimate day I rejoined the professionals for a trip to the Symphony bowl on Whistler Mountain, I’d heard many tales of this mythical place and after a night of snowfall, it sounded like boarding
Runs on Blackcomb mountain. Just like the real heaven, lots of pain to get to but bliss once you are there
Nirvana. The amazing powder, the fun tree runs, the long march and of course the perils of Lake Dave (beware boarding over small creeks, you might get stuck). I was a little unsure my boarding skills were up to the challenge, but as is often the case with boarding, there are the good days and the bad days. This was to be my best day of all, starting off with a steep double diamond (OK, I might not have turned much) in to Sunshine bowl then up the Symphony chair lift and powder heaven. I finally understood why boarders love powder; it’s so much fun and doesn’t hurt when you fall!
It kind of broke me for the final day, but I didn’t mind too much as I felt I’d finally made a bit of an improvement in my boarding and ten days in a row is a lot of boarding to do with no rest days.
As we came to leave Whistler, we all were receiving many messages to tell us how much snow there was in London that day, more powder than we had, no fair!
It was weird to leave a ski resort and come back
on the search for Poutine
to a snowy London, perhaps our snow dances affected the London weather as well, powerful forces at work.
Thanks to everyone on the trip: Woody (Woosy), Catherine (Psycho), Nicola (Team Green), Rich, Laurie and Carole (the SnowDrifters), Nick and Vicky (The Canadian visitors) and of course the members of Harmony House: Ian, Tony and Anna (Dave).
Thankfully I’m off again in a month to Canada for a bit more boarding, oh it’s a tough life….
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