Not To Be Trusted With Knives

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Whistler

So I went skiing up at Whistler on Saturday. It’s pretty freaking awesome to live somewhere where you can get up in the morning and in less than 2 hours be on the slopes of some of the best skiing in the world. You can spend the entire day skiing and still get home in time for dinner! This is something that I really should take advantage of more often!

The conditions were decidedly spring skiing conditions – the temperature in the village got up to a high of 19 degrees C and even up at the peak it was above 0. It made for a variety of conditions, depending on if the snow was in the sun or the shade, including rather icy for the first couple of runs (as the peak did hit 0 degrees overnight), somewhat soft in some places/at different times, and downright sticky in yet other places.

We spent the morning on Blackcomb and the afternoon on Whistler, during which time we made our way over to the Flute Bowl and I went down my first ever black diamond at Whistler! I say “went down” as opposed to “skied” because, while I skied most of it, there were parts that I fell down and after my second fall, where I was having trouble even getting back up on the steep part of the slope that I was on, I sort of slid down sideways. I’d fallen twice because my legs were pretty fatigued by this point in the day, what with me being a super sloth these past several months1, and the snow was rather heavy, making it difficult for me to get my back leg to follow my front leg when I was turning, which I needed to do a lot to slow myself down because it was really steep! I could manage it on my strong side, but my weak leg just couldn’t do it, and it tripped me up. After the second fall, once I had retrieved my one ski and two poles that I’d lost in the fall (though thankfully all within reaching distance), I was having difficulty even standing up on the steep slope and as I tried, I started sliding down. After a couple of attempts, I thought “Fuck it” and just let myself slide down until I wasn’t on such a steep slope anymore and could then get up and ski the rest of the way. Not the most graceful move and somewhat embarrassing, but it worked.

Also, during the whole time we were in that bowl2, there was not a single other skier or snowboarder there. I mean, the mountains weren’t super busy because it’s spring and the weather in Vancouver was fabulous, so most people have moved on to spring activities rather than hitting the slopes3, but there were lots of other people on all the other slopes we went on, so it was a bit surprising that no one else was there – anyone who is a halfway decent skier/boarder and who is in better shape than me would have had an awesome time there. But it was actually pretty cool to feel like we had an entire mountain to ourselves!

After that, I was pretty much too tired to handle anymore particularly strenuous runs, so we made our way back to the Peak-to-Peak gondola via a relatively easy route and then down Blackcomb, which took us to the end of the day.

On the way home I realized I forgot to take any pictures other than this one, of our après-ski beers4. I had an Uncommon Lager from Whistler Brewing – it seemed appropriate.

Apres ski

Goals for next year:

  • ski more than once – maybe even like 3 or 5 times
  • take more photos
  1. And not having skied in over a year. But mostly due to the slothiness. []
  2. Which was a long time, given my falling and attempting to get back up was not a quick thing. []
  3. In fact, when we got back to Vancouver there were still tonnes of people on the beaches! []
  4. And which I only thought to take because I was checking in on my beer app. []

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Whistler!

“Ski at Whistler” was on my very first list of 101 things to do in 1001 days, which I wrote in the old timey days of 2009. Somehow, I went through those 1001 days without managing to ski at Whistler. Then I totally thought I put “Ski at Whistler” on my second list of 101 things to do in 1001 days, but now that I look at it, I totally didn’t. At any rate, I managed to go through those 1001 days without skiing at Whistler either. Thinking that “third time’s the charm” (because, as you may recall from earlier in this paragraph, I thought I’d put it on my second list), I put it on my third list. Happily, Daniel perused my third list and got me a pair of Whistler lift tickets for Christmas! And then, capitalizing on the momentum, we decided to book a couple of days there to make a nice little trip out of it1. Which brings us to Tuesday, January 21st, the day that I finally skied at Whistler2.

We spent the morning skiing on Blackcomb Mountain. For the uninitiated, Blackcomb Mountain is right next to Whistler Mountain (you’ll often here the whole place referred to as Whistler-Blackcomb) and both can be accessed from Whistler Village, which is where we were staying. Pretty awesome to just walk out of your hotel with your skis and right onto a couple of gondolas that take you up two spectacular mountains. The conditions were fantastic – apparently they had just got a big dump of snow on the weekend, but by the time we were there on Tuesday, it was nothing but sunny skies on the hills.

On Blackcomb Mountain

On Blackcomb Mountain

We skied all morning, had an overpriced lunch (they really have you captive up there when it comes time for eating) and a chance to warm up (it was -7 degrees up there!), then skied a bit more on Blackcomb, and then headed over to the Peak-to-Peak. For the uninitiated, the Peak-to-Peak is a gondola that connects the top of Blackcomb Mountain with the top of Whistler Mountain so that you can easily ski on both mountains on the same day3. Given that taking the Peak-to-Peak is also on my 101 list and given that it was “ski at Whistler” on my list rather than “ski at Whistler-Blackcomb” and I didn’t want to be called out on a technicality, doing this ensured that those two items could be definitively crossed off my list.

On the Peak-to-Peak Gondola

Daniel and I on the Peak to Peak

The conditions on Whistler were equally spectacular and we enjoyed the rest of our afternoon of skiing there. I was surprised to learn that the lifts stop running at 3 pm as there are no lights on the mountains and since it takes half an hour to ski down from the top of the mountain back to the village, they stop the lifts that early so everyone gets off the hills before nightfall. As someone who took skiing lessons at night in my youth, it didn’t even occur to me that there would be no night skiing! We took our last ride up the lift around 3 pm and it took nearly a half an hour to ski all the way back down to the Village. After a day of skiing, a dip in the hotel hot tub, watching the Canucks game, and having a nice dinner a pub in the Village rounded out a perfect day.

Something not so nice happened at our hotel, but we didn’t hear about it until we got back to Vancouver. Apparently on Tuesday morning, someone died in after an altercation in the east wing (we were staying in the west wing). There was a cop car out in front of our hotel on Tuesday morning when we went out to go skiing4 and Daniel commented on it still being there when we came back at the end of the day, but we really didn’t think too much about it. But it wasn’t until we got home on Wednesday that we found out why. Apparently this is only the third homicide in the history of Whistler!

Anyway, despite that unusual circumstance, we had a great trip and I definitely want to go back again!

  1. And then he got us a nice hotel room to stay in for my birthday. I’m so spoiled! []
  2. For the record, from the time I moved to Vancouver until the day I finally actually went skiing at Whistler was a mind-boggling 5,254 days! The first many years of that I blame the fact that I was a starving PhD student, and then there were several years of being a starving student-loan-paying-off-er, and then I was just lazy for a bit, and then there were two years of being a (non-starving) full time worker + MBA student who had no time to do anything. And then I was lazy again for a year and then Daniel came to the rescue. []
  3. You may have heard of the Peak to Peak when some guy forced open the gondola door and base jumped out. Which, of course, is totally illegal. And then he posted the video on Youtube, showing both his own face and that of his accomplice. []
  4. If you click on the link to the news story, you’ll see that cop car in the photo. []

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Congratulations Jon Montgomery

I turned the TV on earlier this evening just in time to see Jon Montgomery‘s gold medal winning skeleton run.  And then, as he walked through Whistler amidst a huge crowd of fans on his way to be interviewed on CTV, someone handed him a pitcher of beer, which he proceeded to chug!  The pitcher1 reappeared later in the interview when Montgomery was asked to show off his auctioneering skills, which he did with said pitcher.  Hilarious!

Montgomery’s medal marks the first Canadian gold won at Whistler and our fourth gold medal of the games!  Go Canada Go!

  1. or at least a pitcher. I can’t guarantee it was the same one, but I suspect it was []