Claire comes to stay
10.03.2009 -16 °C
Sunday 8th March - clear
Seeing as Claire's body seems to have an intolerance for food in general, it seemed like a good idea to start off with a food shop. Nothing exciting to mention except that you can get almond milk in Canada and it is quite tasty (oh and don't ask Claire to buy you mustard).
We had eased Miss North into the holiday quite gently so far, with a lazy morning and so we thought she would be alive enough to handle an afternoon outing. We jumped in the car and drove to meet up with Adrenaline Dog Tours. We were going dog sledding not far from Kimberley.
First of all we got to meet all the dogs. It was a family company and so the wife introduced us to all the dogs whilst her husband set up the sleds. They were all Siberian Huskies but all had their own distinct personalities. Tundra, a young male seemed to have ADD, constantly running about and jumping up. Smiley Ruby was more mellow and loved nothing more than a cuddle in the arms of her owner. Hot lips, named after her finger-sucking habits as a pup, was far more professional and greeted us all with style. Big Bruno was an old timer and didn't need to show off his strength, his size did that all by itself. One of the bitches had just had pups that were 8 days old, they looked more like bear cubs with their lack of muzzle and their eyes were still closed.
An 8-day old pup
Assuming that all the hard work would be done for us we were surprised to find that they wanted us to handle the dogs and get them set up on the sleds ourselves. We were passed a dog each and had to lead them, on their hind legs, over to the sleds (except for friendly Ruby who wanted to be carried). Next we had to put their harnesses on, which involved sliding it over their heads and round their front paws and Fox was having none of it. The others were so well behaved, but this one wriggled and squirmed in every way to avoid putting it on.
Christian leading Bruno out to the sleds
Lovable Ruby preferred being carried
To start off with Christian rode one of the sleds and us girls were passengers. He did an admirable job of keeping the dogs in place and stopping them running into my sled, which seemed like where they wanted to be. He also successfully got the sled through a bit of an obstacle course. Always game for the most exciting route, I was convincing the guy up front that he should take us on a difficult path. When he agreed, we got taken through the trees and over a log. Us girls had to push branches out of our way and Christian was ducking trees and pushing the sled to get it up the snow etc.
Christian mushing for Claire
Both our sleds going through the snow
At a halfway point, we swapped and Claire and I rode the sleds home.
Sarah leading the dogs
Back at the yard we put the dogs away and fed them. They were starving and munched away on the food. It made it even harder to remove their harnesses when they are straining for their dinner. Christian had made a new friend in Bruno and the 2 of them were still together when we had fnished putting all the other dogs away.
Christian and Bruno
Claire saying goodbye to her husky friends
We finished our adventure in the best way: around a campfire with a hot chocolate and a jammy dodger.
Monday 9th March - sunny but chilly
Today I took a double lesson with Claire on her snowboard. She is a very serious learner and like Bex and Estelle wanted to absorb every piece of information I had to give her. It would seem that my friends and I are all very similar and over analyse the way we ride to make sure everything is just perfect. Unlike the boys who just lob themselves off things and go fast until they break something and then go "OK so that way is wrong". At one point Claire took a bit of a tumble and banged her tailbone but apart from that progressed very well to heel and toe zig zags.
In the evening we went climbing in Cranbrook. We have been trying to do this all season so were impressed to make it at last. Claire and Vaughan decided that they were too sleepy to climb but sat on the crash mats and watched and chatted instead. Christian and I tried out a few of the walls and got achey arm muscles, but it was lots of fun and we want to do it again.
Sarah and Christian climbing
The others chilling out on the crash mat
Tuesday 10th March - cold and overcast -15
Glad this mornings session was held indoors as it has got pretty chilly again. We found out that Cam Griffin is taking our level 2. He is the same guy that took my level 1, so lets hope that is a good thing. I had a single lesson with Claire today and she learned heel and toe falling leaf, developing some really good speed control. She even made it up the t-bar and only on her second attempt! That gave her some more interesting terrain to be practicing on for the rest of the day. Though I think she was most excited about the view up there.
Riding on the t-bar
Some of the instructors went out for a ride together to do some practice for the level 2 exam. I taught a mini lesson and then we played a game of poser. This is where one person does a trick and everyone else has to do it too, if you don't pull it off you get one of the letters in POSER and the first with all 5 letters loses. We did a load of grabs and then some horrible 180 nose grab thing that none of us could do except Vaughan.
I rode back down to give Claire a few tips and see how she was getting on, but she was not there?! When we got home we found Claire with a split lip. She had been in a fight with the t-bar and the t-bar had won!
In the evening, we went to watch the ice hockey play offs Kimberley vs Fernie. On the way, we had our first proper slide on the ice but I was surprised and impressed at how calm I was, no worries. There was quite a gang of us there to watch the match and we had taken our flasks of peach cider to keep us warm at the chilly rink. Kimberley lost 5-0 so bit of a poor game to end their season on. But we found out that 1 of the players is Vaughan's cousin and the captain is a guy we know who works in the rental store, so we cheered for them all game.
Wednesday 11th March - sunny again
After all her dedicated practice and endurance, despite falls and violent attacks from resort machinery, Claire got to the point where she could start turns today. One turn got pretty slick looking, but the other turn was going to be more of a challenge. Claire got lots of practice in and had to take a few moments to go off and have a word with herself. But all in all it was looking promising!
In the evening we celebrated with a visit to the Edge. We arrived early after dinner and started the drinking with shots. They were intriguing colours with even more intriguing names and tasted pretty yummy too. After a chat with a load of the other ski school girls, we made our way over to the pool table. We played a couple of games before changing sports and starting a game of darts.
Claire and Sarah at the Edge
A few drinks later
The darts went down well and most of us found that we were even worse at darts than we were at pool. Lisa made several holes in the wall, whilst Jackie managed a couple of hits to the floor!! To revive our weary arm muscles, we set up a massage train, between shots, which was very relaxing. We might all be rubbish at pub sports, but ski school seem to have a secret talent for massage.
The Kimberley Alpine Resort darts team
The massage train
The night was lots of fun and we were impressed (as was Jackie and Liana) to find that we were still out partying at 2 in the morning. We are getting crazy!!
Thursday 12th March - pleasant
Claire the snowboarder
This morning Christian and I practiced teaching level 2 tactics with each other on the t-bar, whilst Claire praticed her turns. Both of us seem to know all of the material, I just hope all of my demonstrations are up to standard!
The day was a mellow one after our late night on Wednesday and in the evening we were not up for more partying, but were very happy that we had a table booked at the Bauernhaus as relaxing over some good food was the perfect remedy for our tired bodies.
Dinner at the Bauernhaus
Nothing has changed in the past week and the food here is still amazing! Claire tried the special (pork and apple and pork stuffed with salami) as it was refreshingly low on all of her no go food types. I went for beef tenderloin with cambazola - mmmmmm and wow, no more need be said. Christian went for the chicken weinerschnitzle again. In the friendly, informal Canadian way that we are growing to love we managed to get chatting to a couple from Saskatchewan on the table over from us about the season. A guy we'd met in the Edge the night before popped over and said hello. I swear if you lived here all your life you could have no secrets from anyone.
Christian's usual excitement at dessert
Friday 13th March - (another Friday 13th and still nothing happened) clear and sunny
It looks like lessons are starting to come back again after a long period of not a lot. It is the first time we've taken a lesson that wasn't a school in ages. At 11:30am Christian took a lesson and I went up with Dan, Darrell and Jackie for a session. Jackie was going up to test out her knee and find out if she'll be able to do the exam at the weekend. The verdict was not good. With the recent snow we've had you need to really work your knees to balance in the choppy powder and that was just too much for her recovering knee. Jackie sadly decided for sure that she is not going to take the exam. Now Eric is up with a chance to do it and I think he'll take it.
As her last day on the hill and almost the end of another great visit it seemed only right to take Claire up the chair on her board to see the real mountain. The sun was shining and I was so impressed to see Claire linking her turns down main run. I think there may be another person converted to the dark side, go Claire!
At the top of the chairlift
When we got back from the hill, Claire and I drove into town to sort some chores and then had a look around the Cominco gardens. They would be tiny if you were expecting anything from them, but seeing as we fell upon them quite by accident, we enjoyed walking through the snow looking for a view over town.
Vaughan came over for a curry dinner and then we all had an early night as tomorrow brings a long journey for Claire and the Level 2 exam for the rest of us.