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Published: June 25th 2017
Geo: 50.1138, -122.95
No sleep-in for us. It was a welcome to a Merry Christmas with a 5.45 am piercing alarm to announce it was time to get up and put on the warm clothes and head for the G1 Gondola. Our plan was to get there for the queue at 6.30 am. We missed that by 45 minutes....Mindy and Ian had to retrace their steps because they had forgotten the passes.
So armed with our Fresh Tracks breakfast tickets and ski passes (or in my case, Sight Seeing Pass) we joined the line at 7.10. The pressure here is that The Roundhouse has a limit of 650 for breakfast. I did a quick count along the line. We were about 400th in the queue outside....with an unknown number already in the Gondola zigzag race...probs at least another 200. It was going to be close.
The gondola doesn't actually open until 7.30 ...and then it is a 30 minute gondola ride up to The Roundhouse. It was a slow and nervous snail paced advance to the head of the queue. But we did make it and when the lady clicked us in, Mindy, at the head of our crew was number 660! They were
"over subscribed" but it was Christmas and they let everyone in.
It is an enormous breakfast buffet of bacon, eggs, sausages, muffins and juice and coffee. And people PILE their plates sky high. Great atmosphere. Phenomenal views. A perfect precursor to the main event of the day. Mindy, Ian, Michael, Anthony and Mac powder adventure!
The board and ski group left me to take on the mountain. First challenge on the agenda was to ski Whistler and attack the first run under the Emerald Chair the Green Ego. It was a real Christmas treat for Mac because he was skiing with Michael, Anthony, Melinda and Ian. The first run was a warm up blue and green run to get the rhythm going well. There was a line for everyone. Ian was off to the side looking for excitement and challenge doing the jumps and Mindy was staying close behind Mac.
The next open chair was Red Gum which took the group up to the head of the Dave Murray Run. A black run! This was the exact course from the 2010 Olympics and downhill racer Mac felt like a champion. And there were two go pros happening today so the splendour of
Mac has been captured. (Footage pending)
No rest for the group - they were back on the the chair and heading to Roundhouse with good intentions of getting to the peak. Michael checked in to "be sure" that the peak was the right place to be heading. Thank goodness Mac let good sense prevail and the group jumped on the Peak to Peak to ski some Blackcomb runs. Mac took a couple of tumbles, he was slowing down and his legs and balance were conspiring against him. It was time to get the chair and head for home.
Meanwhile, back at The Gables, the preparations had begun. Order of the day was a full roast dinner. pork, ham and turkey with the accompanying veges, sauces and gravy. It was all being prepared with military precision with Christmas carols playing at full blast. Minimal ingredients, minimal utensils, minimal bench space...but who cares, it was going to be a feast.
All was going swimmingly until about noon. There was a ringing that wasn't part of the carols. I opened the door and Mac fell into the mud room - he was spent. Complained that he was seeing everything in orange (didn't want to tell him
that it was from his goggles). He collapsed on the bench and struggled to get his skis and stocks to balance on the wall and it was a marathon to wrestle him out of his boots, socks, trousers and jacket. He had been doing so well but exhaustion hit the legs and turned them to jelly. That final 30 minute run from the top of Blackcomb to the base was not to be on this day. Thank goodness he listened to Michael and his body and took the gondola back to the base.
Mindy had issues of her own. Her feet were frozen. When she took her socks off her feet were bright red and one toe had a white bubble on the top. Her mission was to head straight for the fire and to slowly try and massage some circulation into her feet. There were screams and moans as the circulation and feeling started to return. Definitely needs to sort that out.
The last men standing - Michael, Anthony and Ian went Christmas shopping! Everything in Whistler is open on Christmas Day. They obviously had energy to burn. And money to spend!
It was such a super present for Mac -
he loved every minute...even the agonising bits.
Eventually had the team assembled in Unit 7 and we could enjoy a bit of paper tearing accompanied by Christmas Stocking Roulette. Everyone got to eat their way through the advent calendar and of course everyone found a favourite and engaged in a bit of trading.
Mindy and Ian tore their way through the paper to reveal an odd little assortment of gifts: chicken salt, garlic salt, milo, bonds undies, bonds socks, bonds tights, a nightie, track pants (hope they can work out who wears what!) and a couple of bottles of Bundy rum . The Boom Box will be a great addition to their camping kit! The crocheted rug was a hit but have to say when they saw the "red" trimming they thought I had crocheted a Canadian maple leaf on it! Not quite...but nevertheless extremely well received!
Michael and Anthony have been enjoying the lift tickets, fresh tracks and discounts that was their Christmas package from Mindy and Ian and unwrapped their tourist essentials from us.
Mac scratched a couple of winning tickets and loved his North Face gear. I munched my way through my Rocky Mountain Chocolate shop treats (OMG I love
the soft caramel on the toffee apples), paraded my new shirts added my Pandora snowman and wore Alex and Ani bracelet and bronzed Canadian maple leaf.
Merry Christmas from Santa was a TILE for everyone. Got to love a Christmas gadget. Well Mindy, Ian and I did.
Our Christmas feast was perfectly timed for 4.30 pm and we were excited to have Paul's sister Nicole join us. It was all hands on deck in the kitchen to prepare and carve and despite our meagre decorations and Christmas "stuff" we were all in the mood. Added some gravy and home made apple sauce....sprinkled some candy canes and Darrel Lea chocolate, threw a bit of tinsel around, set the toffee apple in pride of place as the centre piece, kept the heat up and the drinks flowing...pumped up the volume on the carols. Everyone found a combination that suited them and have to say my 2015 discovery of baked ham was a hit! Think it will now be a mainstay.
Dessert was another cobbled together affair. Unable to buy simple things like condensed milk or plain chocolate biscuits meant creative solutions to #firstworldproblemd. Again, no complaints. We were all happy just to be together.
and games filled the after dinner hours all cobbled together with loads of laughter. A cup and a Coke bottle top saw Nicole take out the table pong championship. Who would have thought there were other competitive families around the globe. And Nicole was not a shy winner. Bellowed the victory cheer, pumped the sky, took the trophy and accolades and revelled in the victory. Nicole is definitely on our honour board. Was a wonderful guest. So glad she could make it.
The highlight of the night though was the innocuous game of SkipBo. Who had even heard of this game? But well armed with instructions and strategies Mindy, Anthony, Wayne and Jan were all way too eager to give advice to Ian. Ian however, had a strategy of his own. His mantra was to play with "gay abandon", "not to overthink it", to be "unpredictable" and to just "have fun". Ian made the worst moves, played the most ridiculous cards, defied any logic, was unashamedly unpredictable and left everyone clueless! He revelled in flinging the cards on the table in enviable runs and sequences that called on sheer luck and no skill and #Rampaged the night away to become the
undisputed KING of SkipBo. He danced. He paraded. He high fived himself. By game two there was a "show no mercy" rule invoked but The KING #Rampaged away to a second clear victory. He was a joyous but humble winner - and his knowing smile never faded despite a narrow loss to Anthony in the third game.
The game ended with a victory dance presented by Ian and Anthony. They didn't really need our willing cheers of encouragement they were wrapped up in their own little winner's #bubble.
There's a lot to be said for a bottle of Sailor Jerry and two packs of cards and great company.
Where was Michael in all the post dinner revelry...asleep on the floor. He has been struggling with a cold. With our early start....heaps of food and the warmth of the unit, a pillow and the floor was his idea of " perfect". All I can say is he must have been ill to sleep his way through all of the "yahoo." Cold and flu tablets and tissues are his staples at the moment.
At some stages in the night we thought we were playing cards with a character straight out of Weekend with Bernies.
Mac was almost paralysed with fatigue in his chair by the fire. Not sure how he managfed to play any cards - was sort of lucky he was stuck turn after turn with an unplayable #12 and didn't have to rustle up the energy for a #rampage. God bless his cotton socks...he did try to be in the moment.
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