Ullr does his job!
25.02.2009 -8 °C
Sunday 22nd February: clear
Today we took a day off the hill after our busy week of Spring Break lessons and the Hood family visit. Instead we wandered around town to check out the spring sales. There is plenty of snowboarding gear going cheap and Christian actually started checking out some of the helmets! For our level 2 exam (now only 4 weeks away) we have to wear a helmet, and whilst Christian could borrow one, his love for trying new things, jumping and falling, makes me feel like he should have one of his own. So thanks to the nice Bern helmets in Poser and a bit of persuasion from me he has, at last, bought a helmet. He also picked up a nice new pair of gloves as his old pair are starting to look pretty shredded.
After our lazy day, we were happy to play host and so had Trevor, Chelsea and the rest of the gang over for a hot tub and Hidalgo, a movie about a big horse race across the dessert (with a permenantly confused-looking prince in it). Jackie brought Poppycock over for all of us with a big bag of peanut butter M&Ms in it!! Poppycock is delicious popcorn mixed in melted butter and sugar so it all sticks together in one giant lump and tastes devine, with the addition of peanut butter M&Ms it is a snack fit for kings (and snowboard instructors).
Monday 23rd February: enticing white-grey clouds in the sky
With very few lessons on the books, we took the opportunity to hit the park for the first time all season. The park at Kimberley is pretty small to say the least, as RCR will not allow the building of man-made kickers any more, and so it is full of rails and boxes. For those of you that are less au fait with snowboarding terminology, rails are indeed just what they sound like, a horizontal metal bar. Boxes, on the other hand are not made of cardboard and are slightly larger and more daunting than the things you find stacked up in the average Tescos aisle. Rather than rails, a box has a wider plastic surface for you to slide along. So as you may now be imagining, the prospect of falling onto either of these items is not very appealing and is considerably harder and more painful than the usual patch of snow.
Having only hit about 3 boxes before in my entire life, I was determined to give it a go and not let my fear get the better of me. With a qualified freestyle instructor in tow, I couldn't see how it could go that far wrong. Christian gave me good advice: go in slowly, look at the end of the box and KEEP the board FLAT! How hard could it be?...
...Well, slow is quite an abstract concept when travelling over a zero-friction surface and despite my efforts to go in with plenty of control, it was all lost the minute my board touched the plastic. As with most aspects of boarding, once speed takes over all other knowledge is useless and the thought that you might be able to keep you head and apply the other useful advice is a silly one. I fell off every single box, using my arms and legs as boney, painful cushions.
To finish was the wall ride a vertical box you are meant to ride up and then slide back down. I was less worried about this one as I've done one before and this must have resulted in more speed. I hit it with enough pace to almost launch myself over the top of it and so had to throw my body to the ground to prevent takeoff. My board above my head, it came sliding back down, again leaving me in a crumpled heap on the floor. This wouldn't be too disasterous, after all it was my first run of the park this season and bumps and bruises are par for the course to a snowboarder. But the insult to my injuries was the fact that the park is directly under the path of the main lift and I was still in my RCR uniform. The boys were all very boring, hitting the features cautiously and successfully, landing everything and not providing any show for the overhead spectators.
Eric riding a box
Tonight was the night for our massages that I had booked for Christian for Valentine's day. Following my run in with the park it looked like I had chosen a good day. They had set up a room with 2 massage beds in it and so we received our treatments side by side. My lady found plenty of knots in my muscles and whilst the massage was mainly enjoyable, it had it's fair share of crunching and grimacing too. Christian on the other hand found his far more relaxing and showed this as he started snoring about half way through. Fortunately he stopped as quick as he started, but it gave us 3 girls a giggle. He thoroughly enjoyed his first spa experience and felt relaxed and ache free as we headed back home.
As our level 2 exam has been confirmed and booked in for 14th March, we held our first revision session at ours this evening. Vaughan, Jackie and Eric (despite not having a place on the course) came over and we went through the manual on teaching techniques. After a very positive start, the revision session did deteriorate a little once the beers and G&Ts came out and ended up including a quick game of ring of fire.
As the guys left there was a sprinkling of snow falling outside, had our offerings to Ullr worked?
Tuesday 24th Feburary: SNOW!!!
Our walk into work this morning had an excitingly white hue to it. In the night, a couple of centimetres had fallen on the house and even more up the hill. So, despite the pending exam, we ended up powder riding instead of having a session this morning. It is fab to feel that near-forgotten sensation of gliding through untouched snow to make your fresh tracks in the morning. I also chose the best possible day to switch onto my longer board.
Walk to work
The latest gossip in the ski school is that Adrian and Cathy have "pink eye". Conjunctivitis, as it is refered to in England, is the Canadian's modern form of leprosy and you are banished from any public interaction until you are germ free. They were away on a trip over the weekend and have managed to spread their germs when clever nurse Cathy poked herself in the eye to demonstrate how the germs can be passed around. And so the 2 diseased outcasts were sent home and the rest of the school have been forbidden from touching our eyes.
Staying on a rail
Hitting up the park again later that day, I made every box I tried, just very slowly. Unfortunately my instructor (Christian) was not so lucky and tried jumping off a box when he felt it was going wrong. Schoolboy error! The board slipped out from under his toes and he came banging down on a metal rail. Missing his knee pads, boots and even the shiny new helmet on his head it smacked into his shin. Ouch! After that Christian was keen to get home to the safety of 2-footed friction and pancakes.
Yes, it would appear that pancake day is an English tradition and not a Canadian one and so we were hosting the Kimberley pancake day festivities chez Hoodndigs. The usual vagabonds plus Anna came over to sample our crepes, which we had with cheese and ham, cheese and apple (a yummy Dutch style filling from Anna), banana and chocolate, peaches and maple syrup and a combination of all the above. Aside from the eating, tossing was everyone's favourite passtime. If only I had been more skilled and not stuck my hand into the frying pan mid toss!
After stuffing ourselves silly, we joined another bunch of the ski school for cheap day at the cinema (only $5!) to see, "He's just not that into you". The film described the difference between guys views of the girls they've dated versus the built-up fantasy in the girls head. It was very funny and I enjoyed watching it, whilst cooling my burnt finger in Christians coke.
Wednesday 25th February: More snow!!!
Today there was lots more snow, it should be perfect for Bex and Estelle's visit if it holds up like this, they arrive on Saturday night! We only had a few lessons, which was great for us as it meant more time to play in the snow. There is a jump that we have hit a few times now and when we refer to it everyone gives it a different name and so today, for the sake of clarity, we christened it Brian. We all hit Brian and for the first time I managed to get some decent air off it. Unprepared for this I landed on my bum, thank God for the powder.
Riding in the fresh snow
This evening, skiier Sam had organised for us to go down to the aquatic center for a swim and frolics. Unsurprisingly Adrian and Cathy were not allowed to come. The usual antics off the diving board ensued and there was a contest for the amount of warnings we could get from the life guards. No one was actively trying to be bad it just seemed to come naturally. Christian and I got 1 strike for diving off the side of the pool, but we were no match for Sam who got done for diving without putting his hands out and then throwing beach balls at the window of the lifeguard room. Phil tried to get Sam his 3rd strike by lobbing a ball AT one of the lifeguards, but it was fortunately deflected by the water fountain. So we still don't know what happens if you get three strikes! The hot tub was kind on our bruised and aching bodies and we then took them home for some much needed sleep.
Thursday 26th February: Even more snow, weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!
Powder on the vortex
Another standard day at work but we were very happy to get an invite to Jackies for lasagne in the evening. In her Mum's usual style, there was enough food to sink a battleship and Christian made the most of this, eating 2 giant portions. After dinner the 4 of us played a game of Pick 2. It's a board game similar to Scrabble where you make your own words and have to compete to use up all your letters before the others. It was good fun and Christian and I beat the home team, thus proving that our vocabulary hasn't completely diminished through saying sweet, dude and awesome every day.
After the game Eric came over and we watched Quigley Down Under, a movie about an American sharp shooter in Australia. Pretty average, but was light enough for our sleepy brains. Because we know you are all keen to know, we watched the film whilst eating lots of peanut butter M&Ms.
Friday 27th February: warm sunshine
Another awesome riding day in the powder. There is still lots of snow on the hill and certain places, like Geneva, are far enough out of the way that there is lots of fresh stuff for us to play in that no one else has touched.
Throwing a spin
My eyes have not stopped itching since the pink eye warning on Tuesday, all I want to do is rub them!
Thanks Archie, you may not be the most structured events manager, but you certainly know how to call down the white stuff!