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Published: March 30th 2006
A view from the chair lift, post boarding hell of course.
At some points you do wonder why you bother, you've paid a fortune, it's freezing cold, snowing, your feet are being bound as tight as a Chinese lady in plastc boots and you are on a holiday where you don't get to lie in. But then again, for some reason it's one of the most enjoyable things in the world. It's hard to explain why.
So it's the annual ski trip for your favourite holidaying girl and this year I'm trying something new, left behind are the old slopes of Europe for a winter wonderland in the New World. So it's 8 hours to Calgary and off to the resorts of Panorama and Fernie in the Canadian Rockies.
I guess there isn't a great deal to write about for a ski holiday, you get up, you ski, you lunch, you ski, you après ski, you eat dinner and then bed, repeat by however many days you are on the holiday for.
When we finally landed and located the hire cars we set off early evening from Calgary to drive to Panorama. We passed through the old Olympic games park in Calgary and headed towards Banff national park. A
long drive lay ahead in the dark, so we were on our guard for crossing Elks, Moose and wolves, the latter of which we actually saw crossing the road. This impressed me as you can imagine.
On arrival at Panorama, we delighted at the accommodation, it seems all the things people say about skiing on the other side of the Atlantic may well be true. The standard was excellent and so large compared to places in Europe, things were looking good.
Awaking the next morning, it was time to head of the hire shop and equip ourselves. This year, after being anti-snowboarding I thought I’d see what all the fuss was about.
Lesson 1, oh, so I’m Goofy (and if you have to ask, you’ve never been on a board either) side-slip, fall over, side-slip, fall over, hmm, this surely isn’t fun. Then they try and get you to turn, at this point you see the 5 year olds gliding down the slopes and curse your parents for not having started you skiing at such a young age.
Day 2 and I’m attempting a button lift on the (now named ‘Evil’) board and by this point I’ve banged
my knees so much, I want my Mummy. I’m having a severe tantrum and by lunch and have already checked out if I can swap the board for skis.
But some encouragement from everyone at lunch and $50 on knee pads inspires me to carry on and by the end of the afternoon I’ve actually managed to turn one way. I’m feeling better already.
So by day 4 I’ve managed to get up a chair lift and link at least 7 turns in a go. Awesome dudes!
However, a nasty fall on the second run of the day hurt my knees so much I decided enough was enough and it was time to go back to the old ways. This also was to combat the frustration of being stuck on nursery slopes and not being able to enjoy the mountain.
So, back to the Twiglets of Shame (my Snowblades) and time for some less painful action.
It was a busy week in Panorama, there was a professional ski race meeting (oh the size of their thighs) being held and also it was school holiday time, but yet the resort seemed empty compared to European standards. I don’t
It's steeper than it looks.
think we queued for more than about 2 minutes at any lift and you would often find yourselves the only ones on the piste. I can now see why everyone says how good it is across the pond.
‘Are you coming bowling Mary?’ Bowling, oh I like that, but this wasn’t your ten-pin variety, but The Taynton Bowl (imagine sinister music here). A big bowl (well, obviously) valley on the hill which has runs in but is basically one big off piste area. This was the first time I’ve actually had to trek to a slope, I think the 20 minute hike to the run is actually the scariest thing I’ve done on a ski trip. At one point we were hiking along a ridge and my vertigo kicked in, I nearly turned back. Once we found ‘Never Never Land’, our run of choice, I was ready for anything.
So we made it down, great fun and a swig of Go-Go Juice (Whiskey-hog-bisonmiester I think it was called) was well deserved by all at the end.
Time to move to the next resort, Fernie. I delighted in taking the wheel of our Jeep Laredo and drove off
I don't know which is more scary, this Neverland or a trip to Michael Jackson's ranch.
to the sounds of the local soft rock radio station (I don’t think they actually have any other types in BC), ah the big country…
Fernie promised powder heaven, I think we were a little late in the season as the powder was a little worn, but conditions were still very good. Accommodation this time was our own lodge complete with private hot tub and fussball table, oh it’s a hard life…
There’s even more bowling going on in Fernie, 5 in all: Siberia bowl, Timber bowl, Curry bowl, Lizard bowl and Ceder bowl. Again, no queues, empty slopes and lots of very polite Canadian lift attendants ready to greet you with a ‘Good job’ and a smile.
One thing Europe has the edge over Canada is the Après Ski, not a great deal of it going on in either resort, but with 13 of us, table football and Canadian Trivial Pursuits (in which Canadian province…) we made our own entertainment.
Oh well, over for another year, back to work (boo!). Thanks to everyone on the trip for making it such fun (Laurie, Carole, Pam, Rich, Anna C, Anna G, John, Louise, Tony, Ian, Woody,
Ah, the wild west and 4x4
I just need a Stetson, yee ha!
Sally (great accents Sally)). As all the Canadians say: “Awesome, Good Job!”
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