A Travellerspoint blog

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Ullr does his job!

snow -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).

Poppycock!
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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
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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
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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
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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!

Pancake tossing
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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
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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
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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
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My eyes have not stopped itching since the pink eye warning on Tuesday, all I want to do is rub them!

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Thanks Archie, you may not be the most structured events manager, but you certainly know how to call down the white stuff!

Posted by HOODnDIGS 22:03 Archived in Canada Tagged tips_and_tricks Comments (0)

The ladies night banquet

Photo Special!

So, as you will know, if you read the entry about my family coming, tonight was the ladies day banquet. We started the evening by going to Gail's apartment above the Stemwinder. Gail is one of Sarahs students and was quickly revealed to be the mastermind behind all the evil that happened that night. I say quickly revealed because the first thing she did when we got to her apartment was to pull out two big bags of home made jello shots and two cases of beer along with an assortment of other alcohol. The jello shots were unfortunately very good and put us onto a slippery slope that ended with spending most of the next day in bed.

In Gail's apartment before the trouble started
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Despite Sarah calling them 'vodka jelly' they actually contained no vodka, instead Gail had thrown together all of the left over alcohol in her house and alot of cherry jello. This made them taste very cherry flavoured and not much else, which made them all the easier to eat.

Intially we thought this was a bad thing, but as the afternoon wore on the full extent of Gails evil plan was revealed. Just like last year the ladies had decided it was a good idea to dress some of their instructors up in womens clothes. And so, somehow, me, Dan, Vaughan and ozzie Chris had been volunteered. We were put into a number of dresses owned by on of Vaughans students, Emma, who, handily, was also a hairdresser. So with prom style dresses in place, Vaughan was slapped in a blond wig and me and Dan (the only two with long enough hair) had our hair done. Mine wasn't too bad only being straightened and having a clip put in it. Dan, however was a different matter. With much longer hair than mine Dan had his hair put into a complex pattern that wouldn't have looked out of place on a bridesmaid.

The girls hard at work with hair and towel boobs
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Christian quite uncomfortable at having his hair done
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The terrifying final outcome
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Whilst all of this embarassment was happening, Sarah introduced the girls of Canada to the cereal box game. Not having a cereal box to handed she ended up using the Kokanee crate to the same effect. For all of those that don't know it the cereal box game involves taking a cereal box, placing it on the floor and then picking it up in your mouth without anything but your feet touching the floor. Sound easy? Once everyone has done it an inch is torn off the top of the box and the round begins again. Repeat until everyone has pulled a muscle or there is no box left. We quickly discovered that quite a few people are more flexible than expected, including Dan, who played long into the game even after changing into his dress.

Jackie and Dan in the cereal box game
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By the time we had realised what was happening we had not only started eating more of the jello shots but had also started drinking the beers and anything else we could get our hands on. Only alcohol could save us from the embarresment that was shortly to follow. So with drinks in hand, we headed down to the Stemwinder to join the rest of the party and to get our free dinner.

Jackie the inuit clown
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Phil picks up two beauties
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Several other ski instructors had been dressed up, though mostly as clowns which would have been luxury. And Liana had been put into a Lisa Simpson costume, often worn on the hill by one of the snowboarding ladies. Every one was chatting and drinking away and once the intial hilarity of our entrance had died down they returned to their conversations. One of the funnier encounters was with Eric Blair, a usually very jokey, silly snowboard instructor who looked increadibly uncomfatable when seeing his colleagues in drag. As with most staff parties there were prizes being drawn out and awarded to various guests. Liana was awarding the prizes and so to save her from standing up on her own whilst dressed silly I went and helped out as her lovely assistant.

Eric B looking a bit uncomfortable with his cross-dressing colleague
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Lisa Simpson and her lovely assistant
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Also like most other RCR parties there was a buffet on offer of lovely food that all looked so good out plates were straining under the amount piled ontop of them. It was another good meal and was finished of with a dessert of Hershesy's kisses. Having disregarded Sarahs advice not to try one the previous weekend I was quick to avoid them this time. We were unsure whether they had been given to us as a treat or punishment.

Sarah and her beautiful boyfriend?!
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Beer, the only thing to make prom dresses bearable
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Charlie's Angels
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Sarah was, however, given a box of actually nice chocolates from one of her students and a good tip and thank you card from Gail. Sarah also managed to squeeze in a free massage, get some coupons for spa treatments and get a cheap henna tattoo from the spa promoting itself at the event. Meanwhile I had been informed that we were all going to head down to the Edge (local bar) and was allowed to change back into my normal clothes. Not a moment too soon. At some point during the evening we had also convinced/dragged Trevor upstairs and got him into one of Gails black velvet pant suits and he was also very quick to change back into his normal clothes.

Sarah's super snowboard students
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Trevor joining the clan in his velvet
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Ah it was good to be back in trousers. The Edge was much like normal but was made all the more fun by having loads of snow school staff there. Some of whom were increadibly drunk which made the evening alot funnier. We all moved to the dance floor to shake it like only you can when alcohol is involved and found out that Liana is a bit of a clubber. Sarah was also interested to find a shot on the menu that she remembered drinking at collage. However that was the straw that broke the camels back, and after a quick bottoms up it was time for bed.

Boys, happy to be backin their own clothes
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The alcohol kicks in
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What! No more beer?
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Everyone making shapes on the dancefloor
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The henna tattoo lasted out the night
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Posted by HOODnDIGS 12:55 Archived in Canada Tagged women Comments (0)

The Hoods descend on Kimberley

Christian converts another to the Dark Side

sunny 3 °C

I had been looking forwards to Saturday for a while now as it was the day my parents and brother would arrive in Kimberley. None of them have ever been to Canada before and Mum has never been skiing. I was therefore excited to show them what a real winter was like with mountains of snow and minus degrees. Unfortunately for my plan Kimberley was having an exceptionally poor snow year and London was not. Having had 8 inches of fluffy pow blanketing the house in England and roughly 8 snowflakes here in Canada they were not overly wowwed. Still it was great to see them when they arrived late on Saturday night to have a brief chat before heading straight to bed.

Sunday 15th
Sunday was the first real day together and we had invited the family round to check out our house and see where we have been living all season. I cooked them a pancake breakfast to put them in Canadian spirits and was quietly proud when Dad pointed out that he had never visited one of his childrens houses (Gemmas uni accommodation hovel not being counted) and had certainly never been cooked for.

After breakfast we headed up to the mountian to introduce Sam and Dad to some Canadian snow. Sam started off the ride all wrapped up expecting to have his eyeballs frozen instantly in the harsh Kimberley conditions. However he was suprised to find that the entire week was sunny and warm and often popped up into positve degrees. Good if you like perfectly sunny cloudless days, bad if you like snow.

We rode around all of our favourite runs, toning it down a bit for the two trying to get their snowlegs back, and showed off our skills to our visitors. Dad had not seen me snowboard in two years since I first started back in France and so the last time he rode with me I fell down more of the mountian than slid. He was impressed to see my tumbles have turned to 360 spins and my nervous, shakey turns have become smooth confident riding on all terrain. He doesn't like moguls.

Dad and Sam had never seen Sarah ride either, and they picked a good day to start. That was due to Sarah landing her very first 360. Wahay! She has been trying for a few weeks now and the day before had got all the way around but not been able to stick the landing. However upon returning to her favourite jumps today she did it all and rode away victorious.

Sam playing in the snow
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Taking a break for some lunch in the Stemwinder and an opportunity to see Mum as well, we planned the rest of the day. Liana had offered for us to lead a snowshoe tour and we decided that this was an excellent chance to get Mum up the lift and also to show them some of the work we do. After chowing down on a large meal and with the prospect of chocolate fondue this evening we decided that the pick of Kimberley restaurants was best saved for another day.

A few runs followed that afternoon but we soon went down to sort out snowboarding lessons for Sam and then headed home to get changed for this evening. Vaughan was also coming along on the snowshoe tour but was not working, he was doing the same thing as me and showing family around, his cousins. We had two others on the tour and so with the numbers adding up, Sarah (who was doing the fondue preparation) had decided to go up early to start work. Following her up with all of the tourers we attempted to find what little powder was left on the mountian. A dissappointingly small amount it would seem. Still we walked around and saw all of the major sights and I was glad to find that the tourist spiel was rolling of my tounge a lot easier.

However I was not so pleased to have pointed out to me the fact that I have radio conversations like my Dad sends text messages.
Christian: Hi Sarah.
Sarah: Hi Christian.
C: How are you doing?
S: (whilst busily preparing fondue) Fine.
C: Good
S: Did you call for a reason?
And so on and so forth. This came as a very annoying suprise to me as I hate when dad does this and so am adamant to not pick up this habit from him.

A delcious fondue later (I even managed to convince Sam to eat fruit) we headed back down the chair, and still jetlagged after their flight the tired Hoods headed home for some shut eye, a busy day already planned for tomorrow.

Monday 16th
Monday saw the beginning of Sams snowboard career. Dad had organised for me and Sam to have private lessons together for the first part of the week, good for Sam as he gets more attention and will hopefully learn faster, good for me as I get more money. Having fiddled around with mounting bindings that were only just big enough onto my spare board we got going.

I was very glad to see that Sam is both a quick learner and increadibly entusiastic about trying it. For anyone who knows Sam this will come as a shock as he is not even slightly enthsiastic about anything. He was not too enthralled to be on the magic carpet for too long and so didn't take much convincing to get onto the t-bar. Dad was less pleased about this fact.

Dad is one of those skiiers who has plateaued at a comfortable level where he can ski most terrain with out even a shred of technique. When going on ski holidays in France he has realised that he will not really learn anything from the instructor and will use them more as a guide than anything else. He was therefore very happy to find that Canadian resorts (or at least RCR resorts) have a free guide service where you ski around with a volunteer who knows the mountain. He returned from his skiing at the same time as our lesson finished and then spent the rest of his time up until lunch following Sam up and down the t-bar as he zig-zagged back and forth. Luckily he convinced Sam back onto skis for the afternoon and got to ride at a more normal pace.

Due to Sams busy school timetable the family had decided to come and see us during the busiest week of the season, Spring Break. As such we were swamped with lessons and for the first part of the week were teaching in every slot and occasionally over lunch as well. It was slightly annoying to not be able to spend as much time as I would have liked with them, but I'm sure our next paycheck will make up for it.

Our first proper night out together and we had decided to try one of the local restaurants. Having not dined out at all during our time in Kimberley, Sarah and I were not very helpful for deciding where to feast. But how many choices could there be? Very few actually. With help from Liana we rung round to some of the recommended spots only to find that Monday was a favourite night to be closed and some places dont let in children (even 17 year old ones). So with no real reservation in place we headed down to the Plaztl to do it the old fashioned way.

Enjoying dessert at Chef Bernards
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Chef Bernards was one of the only places we could find that was open, (well we assumed so, they did have both an open and closed sign on the door) and we hesitantly headed in ready to lie about Sams age. However we were quickly ushered to our table and promptly served massive portions of amazing food. We particularly liked that the drinks came in jars rather than glasses. Despite our huge servings we gladly tucked into delicious desert and it wasn't until the end of the meal we began to realise something was amiss. The bill had been brought without asking, all the other guests had left, the last time the waitress had come out she was wearing a thick jacket. We were being subtly asked to leave. And it was only 8:30! So with full bellies and jokes about Kimberley shutting down for bed at 9 we headed home. Jet lag still taking over and with lessons in the morning we took the restaurants cue and went to bed.

Tuesday 17th
The next day brought another early morning lesson with Sam, this time eager to get up the chair lift. I told him we would try our best to get up there but in the end was unable to. We spent the lesson moving through the exercises towards turning (I was glad to see him pick them up quickly and some with considerable ease) and spent most of our lesson moving up and down the t-bar. I did however manage to use the end of the lesson to explain to him how to get on and off the chair. Unfortunately I didn't have time to prepare Dad for the impending doooooooom.

I saw Sam after my lesson at 11:30 and apparently he had been down the main run 3 times with Dad, fresh back from another tour with the Hosts. When asked how he had done he answered with just two words, 'Fairly brutal'. He went on to explain how he had rolled down most of the run on his first go but managed to stay on his feet for the second two. He even managed to do some turns down most of the run.

Trying to get Sam to bend his knees
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Due to the busyness of the resort we had five private lessons booked in over lunch and so neither me nor Sarah were able to have lunch with the folks today. Luckily we had prepared for it after yesterday and had been carrying most of our food around with us all day. We then had more work in the afternoon, but in a brief catch up whilst waiting for lessons, I found out that Sam had decided to stay on his snowboard all day. Yes! Another skiier converted to the dark side!

To follow on from that good news we also found out that our level two instructors course has been confirmed and we can now book onto it. The bad news is that it has gone online and anyone can sign up for it. That wouldn't be an issue except that seven people here want to take it and there are only seven places. This resulted in a brief hello at the end of the day to my parents before dashing home to the internet. Luckily we got signed up, as did everyone else who needed to. Now we just need to learn our course material, less than a month left!

After lasts nights epic meal and early bed we chose to have a more relaxed meal round our place. So leaving the girls to prepare vegetables at home I took Sam and Dad out to buy the remaining ingrediants for spaghetti bolognase. It was lovely to have a home cooked meal with all of my family around, we hadn't done it in a while. Upon realising that we had made a major oversight by not buying any dessert we had to quickly delve through the cupboards. Instant brownie mix...perfect. If only they were instant, after a faily easy and brief preparation they had to bake for half an hour. A half hour we filled by looking at photos of the families recent trip to Australia (including a house they are interested in buy, which is gorgeous) and showing off our photos of the season so far. Once the photos were done and the brownies (warm and with chocolate ice cream) were devoured, we all decided to call it a night, although this time at the late hour of ten o'clock.

Wednesday 18th
Sams next lesson proceeded much like all of the others. Moving up another lift size, this time to the main chair, and him picking up most of the exercises I could throw at him, very quickly. The best thing about this lesson is that it was when I discovered Sam had returned his skis. Yup, he loved snowboarding so much that he was going to stay on the board all week and so had returned his skis to the rental shop.

Now this left us in an interesting position. There was now a set of skis that had been rented and paid for but were going to have no further use. And thats when it happened, something I never throught would. Mum decided to try skiing. Her reason being that as they were already paid for she might as well use the skis. Unfortunately she decided that paying for lessons was not worth it as she didn't think she would be on snow for too long. So the logical choice was that Dad would teach her to ski. Oh no.

As you will remember from further up this entry, Dad is a comfortable intermediate skiier, but with very little technique. As such, I doubted that, to teach beginner technique to Mum, he was the best choice. However I was pleasantly suprised to find that he took it nice and slow and after half an hour on the magic carpet Mum was still alive and ready to take another shot at it.

Having enjoyed our home cooked meal at our place the previous night, we decided to repeat the idea that evening. This time, however, we would be dining at Trickle Creek. The rooms that my family were staying in were self catering, and so after a day of snowboarding the folks disappeared off to do a food shop. We arrived later that evening to discover they had opted for fajitas. So after a quick trip down to Kelseys (on the ground floor of Trickle Creek) to grab a bottle of wine, we tucked into Mexican food prepared by an English woman in Canada.

Fajitas was followed by the famous Mexican dessert of Ben & Jerrys ice cream. As we wolfed our way through two pots of delicious pudding we made a decision which I can only assume was sugar induced, we should play charades. So after a quick debate whether to play individually or in teams (teams won as it requires less imagination) we set about thinking of hilarious movies and plays for the other team to stumble over. The resulting hilarity is hard to describe in words (so check out the pictures) but some of the highlights include: Mum being a ghost, Sarah as a pineapple, Sam acting out the entire nativity scene in order to get the word 'inn' and Dad being too boring to try and act out 'prom' so me and Sam filling in instead. Once the laughs were had and the embaressment barely contained we headed our separate ways to bed having already lost track of time.

Sarah as a pineapple
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Jurassic park - clearly
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Thursday 19th
Thursday brought with it my final lesson with Sam. We had decided the day before that he should spend most of the day practicing his snowboarding and then have another lesson with me in the afternoon slot. By the time two o'clock came around and Sam turned up for his lesson I was happy to find that his time alone had yeilded some good results. He was snowboarding very well and as me moved into our session I took him from being a beginner to an intermediate rider. Even more rewarding that seeing him improve so much so quickly was seeing him enjoy it so much.

Mum however, was a different story all together. She had decided to have another shot at skiing and it hadn't gone all that well. Dad had again suprised me by taking the 'lesson' nice and slow and hadn't even taken her up the magic carpet. Despite taking it slow, and managing not to fall over Mum still managed to hurt her already injured shoulder. She aparently had been flailing her arms so much that she had ripped her arm upwards and made her shoulder sore again. She quickly decided to call it a day, and a season, and a lifetime. Yup Mum will not be getting back on skis anytime soon.

The only smart thing I have in Canada
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In order to distract her from her aches and pains we took them all to the Old Bauernhaus for dinner. The Old Bauernhaus is a Bavarian farm house turned restaurant which was shipped over and rebuilt in Kimberley. It is quite highly regarded as one of the top dining locations in town, and for good reason. We had an absolutely awesome meal filled with unusual Bavarian dishes and stuffed ourselves full with the sumptuous desserts. Sarah and Dad both tried various differnt forms of schnitzle, I sampled some German sausage whilst Mum had roast chicken and Sam tried vegetarian Raviloi (which suprised all of us). Everything was amazing and as we drove the brief way home our bellies groaned in appreciation.

Dad not sharing the wine
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Friday 20th
Me and Sarah had both been teaching ladies during the special promotion the snow school has been running. Five weeks worth of lessons with lots of discounts from spas and a large banquet at the end. The banquet was held tonight. It was kind of unfortunate that it was scheduled for that evening as it was my families last night and I was unable to spend time with them. However me and Sarah both had lots of fun as did the fam. We had known about the banquet in advance and so had planned for the Bauernhaus to be like our last night together and Sam and Dad were going to go night skiing whilst we were unavaliable. I'm glad they did because it sounded like Sam really enjoyed himself and they both found the experience interesting and different.

Theres more on the ladies day banquet in a seperate entry.

Saturday 21st
Today marked the first time we have ever missed a session. Far from trying to blow our own horns about how good we are, this merely went to show just how ropey we were feeling after the ladies day banquet. We decided that we didn't feel up for doing any riding and so instead went for a short walk with Mum around the back of our house. It was nice to be out in the crisp cool air and it was a beautifully sunny day. We had originally been planning to go on the walk with Sam and Dad but they were still out skiing and boarding. Sam was apparently enjoying his snowboarding so much that nothing could coax him off the hill. He had started listening to music whilst night riding and so had found he was over-thinking things less and getting more relaxed in his riding.

Me and Mum walking in the wilderness
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After our walk we headed back up to the resort where we met up with Dad and went to have lunch in Kelseys. Sam eventually turned up having continued to snowboard until the last possible moment and then had to return his rented boots. After finishing up the meal we took the last of the bags down to the car and said our goodbyes to the folks, completely unenvious of the four hour drive to the airport and then the ten hour flight back to England. It was nice to see them again and I was glad to see them all enjoying themselves in their own separate ways.

Later that evening a celebration had been planned. We were going to have a big fire and sacrifice wooden skis to the Norse snow god Ullr. Ullr, played by Phil in a very good Viking outfit gave us a short speech and then demanded a snow dance. Various very silly dances were offered up and then there was a slightly more professional firedancer, who only set fire to herself once! (well nearly) Unfortunately the fire colapsed fairly quickly due to it being made from wooden crates, and as we were not allowed to stoke it due to the health hazard, the entire thing was over in about half an hour. Slightly disappointed but hopeful that it would at least bring snow we headed home for a relaxed evening.

Ullr and his family
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Posted by HOODnDIGS 09:53 Archived in Canada Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

Improving our snowboarding... and skiing?

Ropes, dopes and no hopes - Kimberley Alpine Resort practice lift evacuation

sunny 0 °C

Saturday 7th February: average

This morning's session was short again as the schools are back in, Vaughan and Christian taught a practice lesson each in preparation for the level 2 exam. The schools were palmed off to those guys working and so a quick change for us and straight up the quad chair. Straight to the back side as I am sick of the front side as it is all we get to hit during the week.

Vaughan was on a new board that he is protecting like a newborn child and so we were all on rock alert. We had lots of fun carving on Caper, jumping off the quarterpipe and I got my biggest 180 yet quite by accident (I was in the air going "Where is the ground? Please come back soon"). We went up Easter and down Twist, for lots of moguls to practice and tire out the leg muscles. Back round to Easter and down Jackpot, we re-found all the hits from last time plus a few extras. Christian's riding was a bit mellower than usual due to his shoulder just recovering and wearing in his new boots again. We hit a good jump on Dean Left, and then found a nice kicker for practicing switch airs. I kept buttering on my tail, but it is still fun.

The terrible 2 on the Easter chair
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Vaughan and Christian doing their best catalogue pose
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We grabbed a hot chocolate and then went back up for a few more runs to end the day on the hill. Vaughan suggested we practice switch jumps and picked a hit off the Caper quarterpipe. I rode switch over the flat transition, trying to pick up speed but bailed out on my edge, managing to bash the inside of one leg, the outside of the other and my elbow all at once. I must have been in a strange position. So having never made it as far as the jump I rode over to the boys with sore legs, arms and pride. We tried out the Tamarack run to hit all the tower jumps, it was good despite being a bit icy but we should do it with more speed now we know it better.

Home on a high after some great riding we had yummy jacket pots for lunch, or baked potatoes for the Canadians, they have no idea what a jacket potato is and pictured a very posh English spud in full evening attire. In town to do some chores, we found out that Kimberley is as rubbish as Lake Louise as there are no ATMs in the entire town that allow you to withdraw money with a Visa card!!!!

Back home we made some more cookies and Chris cooked dinner again!!! I could get used to this.

Sunday 8th February: Sunny until we were stuck up the chairlift, then it started feeling pretty cold

Chris and I have been together for 10 months, gosh! I was given a blank canvas, oil paints and the sketch of a picture. I will get to watch Chris paint the picture over the coming weeks, which will be really cool, rather than always just seeing the finished article. I wasn't nearly as lovely, and Chris only got a kiss and a hug from me. We enjoyed our Sunday with a lie in (as it is the only day of the week we can get up after 8am) and updated our iPods with new tunes to take up the hill.

At about 11:30am we met up with Jackie, Vaughan and a returned Eric to go riding. Eric has been away for the past week as he has been back at the family dairy farm, milking cows to make a few extra pennies. Later Lisa joined us too on her skis. We had a good ride together but it felt strangely different, having got used to our usual weekend riding group of 3.

Guys on the lift for evacuation
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Finally, after all the cancellations, the lift evacuation eventually happened. We boarded the last chairs up the quad lift and got stopped just past the bridge on the first rise. Boards strapped on, we all sat, legs dangling and motionless, waiting to be rescued by the trainee ski patrol team. We watched one of the patrollers self-evacuate, using the bag of ropes hung on the back of his chair, and waited to see what happened next. Not much it seemed. We were quickly getting through the emergency handful of Mini Eggs I has brought up and not a single stranded person had been winched to safety.

Waiting on the lift to be saved
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Then, all of a sudden, ropes were being sent up to the first chair and things started happening. People were getting lowered down on what looked like a wooden floor tile on a hook. Slowly they worked their way back down the chairs and we began to realise the terrifying truth, that the ski school were getting trained up too and each chairload of people was being lowered by the rescued instructors from the chair before. Yes, it was true, there were poor individuals in front of us having to entrust their lives to Jackie and Eric. Suddenly the whole activity became a little frightening.

Sarah on the evacuation chair
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Being about 5 chairs back, we were feeling pretty chilly by the time our saviours arrived. Our unqualified ropesmith for the evening was Dan. Well, this kind of trust exercise was either going to make the snowboard school closer or smaller. The rope got passed up to us and Christian looped it through a hoop in the chair. As we pulled it up to us the little wooden chair that would be my ride to freedom came into sight. Not the most luxurious or comfortable mode of transport, it was more than good enough after 40 minutes of sitting still through sunset in minus degrees. I went first, sliding down on the rope with Dan lowering me, very gently, to the ground.

Liana being winched to safety by Sarah
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After Christian had also been lowered we rode down to the next chair and guess who I had to save, Liana. Yup, the bosses life had been put in my hands. And if that wasn't scary enough she was sharing the chair with Sam (one of the ski supervisors) and Nip (our loved-by-all, 70 year old, ski school director)Gulp! Now I was worried about dropping senior staff but Christian had the equally daunting task of saving Liana's new snowboard as it clanged into the lift tower on a rope. Zipping up the ladder he grabbed it, saving it from chippage and scratchage. My task also went without a hitch or a casualty, thanks to the help of Nick, one of the ski patrol team. I am now prepared to handle any emergency!!

On the way home
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In need of food and a warm up, Jackie, Vaughan and Eric came over to join us for a macaroni dinner, hot tub, movie and chocolate fondue. Jackie and Eric got to work putting up our antlers coat-rack and Vaughan and Christian took on sous-chef roles, chopping veg and laying tables. We had a good meal and then watched Cool Runnings on the laptop, whilst we were outside in the hot-tub. We finished off the movie indoors with a slightly alterred version of the chocolate fondue that we are all so familiar with. We chucked in some Toblerone and some Baileys for a classy kick and it was delicious!!

Monday 9th February: sunny

Christian and I have never injured a child in a lesson and so he decided to get it done nice and quickly when it did happen! It is normal for kids to fib or exagerate how good they are when we split them up for lessons and so he took this particular class of kids up the T-bar to test their ability. True to form, one of the kids was not up to scratch and fell over at every turn. The student also hadn't mentioned that he was still getting over a broken wrist, and after falling on it about 3 times was in a lot of pain. 3 turns in, they decided to get to the bottom for ski patrol to have a look, 4th move and Christian decided to take off the kids board and walk down the hill to save any further damage!

Monday was a day of injury as that same afternoon I too was up for a minor disaster! I was given 2 parents who are old-timers to Kimberley to take out for a lesson. Getting to know them on the lift I discovered they have been snowboarding since 1997 (5 years more than me) and that they are comfortable on all the black terrain in Kimberley. It soon transpired that I was going to be teaching someone that was better than me. I did my best to find things I could improve and whilst the wife had quite a few aspects she could work on, the husband bombed down everything at 100 miles an hour and could throw bigger 180's than me. Trying to keep up with him on one set of bumps, I fell, landing on my cheekbone and bending my ankle up way further than it was meant to. They both hurt but I kept a poker face until the end of the lesson.

Eric spinning on ice, and not even figure skating!
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It is great to see that after his sickness, Chris's snowboarding is getting back on form and his 3's are starting to look pretty sweet. No time to get cocky though as Vaughan was challenging us again. He had got back out his lump of ice and we all took turns trying to jump onto it with our boards and spin. That entertained us in the sun until the end of the day.

Tuesday 10th February: sunny again

Liana doing a demo in session
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Taking my boots off last night had highlighted to me that my ankle was in fact not okay and instead very sore to stand on or even move. So in session this morning, I was scared of riding and could feel the pain on every toe turn. I took it mellow and enjoyed watching the others for tips on technique.

Swapover time
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We only had 1 school in the morning and so had the rest of the day free. Anna and Lisa have been talking about learning to board and so we swapped onto their skis and taught them how to board as they improved our skiing! Lisa took a tumble onto her cocsyx and so took it cautiously before heading home early. At which point, Anna, Jackie, Christian and I headed up the quad chair to try out our skills on the Main. We were hardly elegant but Anna and I were very pleased to see we were comfortable riding down a real run and I was impressed to see Christians skills coming back from his years on skis (though I was very cross that he was better than me!). The guys thought it would be fun for us to hit a jump, which resulted in me landing on my bum and having to solve "The Riddle of the 15 legs" to work out how I could stand up again. Fortunatly for me, the ski boots are so solid that my wobbly ankle was protected though all this punishment.

Tall and Small on skis
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Anna invited us over to hers for a 'stitch and bitch' in the evening. A load of the girls were going over to crochet and knit, and whilst this didn't immediately appeal to Christian or I, the mention of free brownies convinced us instantly. Popping over for a couple of hours, we enjoyed brownies with vanilla ice cream from a mammouth tub and chatting about the skiiers horror stories of nightmare students.

In one story, Naomi told us of a girl who would never get up unless Naomi was there with her. She took them down the luge run, which is fun zigzags for the kids, but is narrow enough that you can't stop once others are following you. Naomi gets to the bottom to find that this particular terror had fallen at the very top and wasn't getting up regardless of coaxing and calling. Noami ended up scaling the Face, one of the steepest and icyest parts of the Main, just to get to her. Only to find that the student had removed her boots, still in their skis (and pointing precariously down the hill) and was complaining of sore feet. The end result was sliding on her bottom with skis and bootless child all the way to the base of the mountain. I'm glad our students are mainly 6 plus!

Wednesday 11th February: fair

We only had 1 lesson again today and so we had time for a session with Dan on freestyle and jumping. To help us improve Dan was getting us to increase our pop and lift our legs higher, getting more air on our jumps. For this he got us to do 1 exercise that really scared me - jumping over his board at the top of a hit. The others all did it very bravely and Christian went over pretty fast, whereas I was terrified to even give it a go. Dan moved the board a little and said I should try it. Still scared I went for it and made it, all limbs intact. After this stellar piece of advice, I did some pretty nice jumps including a backside 180 and a sweet melon grab, so hopefully Dan could see that I am no longer the freestyle failure I was at the beginning of the season.

With no lessons at 2, Christian and I went home for a sleep in the afternoon and got up to make a dinner of corn fritters with loads of ketchup and a yummy citrus pudding (thank you Waitrose recipes).

Thursday 12th February: unmemorable, still kinda sunny

The landlords came up again last night and invited us over for a BBQ dinner. We took up some marinated chicken and our left over citrus pudding - as it is starting to feel like we get freebies every time they come and I feel a bit guilty.

Before the kids went off to bed Liam started building a fort in the lounge. It reminded Christian and I of all the den's we made as kids; mine under the picnic table in the garden and Christians in the sitting room in Dorset. We set Liam and Laura the task of putting in a look-out, a stronghold and have a camoflague outfit for leaving without being discovered. They jumped at the challenge and we laughed as Laura zipped herself into a travel bag as a disguise. Trouble came when it was bed time and they didn't want to clear up. But us handy instuctors (who get immediate respect from the kids, thanks to our aweful red outfits) set another challenge to dismantle the fort in 2 minutes and voila the tidying was done.

We met Cat's sister Elsbeth (which made me think of the Family Ness) and enjoyed another relaxed and winey evening together. The citrus pudding went down well and I hope to make one of those again some time soon (am feeling hungry just writing about it).

Friday 13th February: some snow but painfully inadequate in volume

Ooooooh, Friday the 13th. No one broke themselves, no one had a great misfortune and no one died in a grotesquely inventive way. What a let down!

Christian is very excited that his folks arrive tomorrow. He has been for a few days. I keep hearing how many sleeps to go until they are here.

Saturday 14th February: mixed, light snow and sunshine

Valentine's day and I made up for my lack of 10-month surprises with a card, some chocs and a massage at the local spa. Christian and I will go for those once his perents visit is over.

Another early morning session and I had to practice teach. It was ok but there is lots to improve to get to exam standard. We also did some carving (always fun) and learnt soul turns and tray turns as techniques to help our students. Soul turns get them lifting their arms up on their toe turns to stop them bending forwards and tray turns also help you keep your back up by pretending you are carrying a tray of glasses. Dan demoed this for us and did an elegant jump without dropping his imaginary glasses.

We went to free ride with Vaughan and Eric, discussing music and Belgian Knife Fight (Vaughan and Christian's fake band). Vaughan is actually quite into his music and is currently recording some songs of his own, but he won't be promoting them as music by Belgian Knife Fight! At the top of the run we decided that our goals for the day were toe edge only turns, switch riding and 360's. The hill is crazy busy with people holidaying for Spring break and we noticed that, as we got cut up by beginners on some of our favourite runs. Because of Spring Break there is music playing down at the base and the enticing smell of burgers cooking determined what we would have for lunch. For dessert we grabbed a Nanaimo bar something of a tradition in Canada (a crumb base-layer, topped with vanilla butter icing and covered in chocolate).

I practiced 360s off a couple of jumps and got the full rotation in the air but never quite landed properly (e.g. on my bottom or my face). Christian is eventually starting to enjoy his new snowboard boots. Because they are quite stiff, they were rubbing his ankles when he first started wearing them and so he hasn't been wearing them during the week when many lessons can involve running up and down the beginner hill. He has been trying to wear them in over recent weekends, but at last is blister free and beginning to feel their benefit as they are very responsive and so he can get his 360s round nice and quickly, possibly the potential precursor to a 5!

I also did my best switch backside 180 to date, I practice them on one hit only on the back of the hill, but am now getting air with both feet and landing clean, rather than the styley tail butters I have been doing up until now.

Christian was very excited that his parents are arriving tonight, I was more worried they would think we live in a hovel, and so we did a quick house tidy before they arrive.

Posted by HOODnDIGS 21:01 Archived in Canada Tagged disabilities Comments (0)

Hood-flu is definately worse than man-flu

and in case it isn't, he tried to break his shoulder too!

sunny 6 °C

Saturday 31st January: overcast and a bit chilly

We got up early and walked into work, determined to have a great days riding after the past weekends of tiredness, injury or just off par snowboarding. As soon as we got in we were told that our session would only be for 20 minutes and on the magic carpet (first bad point). This was because there was a school arriving at 9am and there were not enough staff to cover it, so Christian and I were asked to teach it (second bad point). It didn't look like the best start to the promising day we had hoped for.

The lesson had the potential to be a real nightmare too, as I had 6 teenage girls. Girls of this age, as you may guess, have a tendancy to be too cool to communicate and just giggle amongst one another. They can be paranoid of looking foolish and so would rather do nothing and stay safe, than try, and fall over. But I was lucky, this gang were very good humoured and we hit it off together as a group. We were soon joined by another 3 people, 2 mums and a little girl, who didn't quite fit with the existing group. But it didn't seem to matter, everyone still enjoyed themselves and by 10am they were all coming down the hill on their heels.

At last we were free and Vaughan was joining us for a free ride. We went up for a run and hit the front side for a warm-up. It felt good to be out in our own clothes and playing about together, looking out for hits and challenging each other to improve our riding, ready for the potential level 2 exam in March.

After 1 run, I jogged back home for a phone date with Claire and Della on Skype. 6pm in the UK, the girls were ready for a night out to see Korean drummers and other craziness, but had found a slot in the timetable for a chat with their snow bum buddy. Despite the mic not working very well at the UK end, we had a great catch up and lots of laughs, I even gave Della some spelling tips. Mrs Owen (I think that was her name) our slightly batty and straggly-haired IT teacher from St Cats, would not have been impressed with that touch typing!!

Meanwhile, the boys had come back. They had done some bartering with the guys in the repair shop and have potentially got us a free board that they will cut in half to make the infamous "Beaver Tails"! Back together, we had some lunch before hitting the slopes again.,

Christian hitting the Maverick kicker: launch and passing overhead!
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After a sketchy start, the day got better and better. We tried out 2 new runs, Maverick and Jackpot and all agreed, by the end of the day, that it had been our best day riding all season. We had found a man-made kicker on Maverick and all flew off that and had plenty of opportunity to practice our "varied terrain" riding on the bumps, powder, choppy snow and moguls we came across. It was interesting to see how easy it was to apply the same advice we give our students on the blues runs to our own riding on this harder terrain, and feel ourselves improving almost immediately.

Vaughan hitting the Maverick kicker
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We rode back to the staff room to pick up some beers and I started practicing trying to spin 360s riding across the hill. Mainly they were 180s and a slide round in the snow or some 3/4 turns, but one jump was pretty much there. A far cry from being able to say I can throw 3's but a first glimpse of what could come by the end of the season, yay!!

We picked up the beers and a sneaky bag of Reeses Pieces and journeyed back up on the last chair of the day. Vaughan had chanced upon a second sunpit at the top of the main chair and we decided to go try it out. Being the breezier side of the hill we were a bit concerned it may be more of a windpit, but we went over to drink our beers there anyhow.

Christian and Vaughan in the "windpit"
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Beer drunk, we were now the only people on the hill and looking forwards to our solitary ride down. My general dislike of lager had left me the most sober of the 3 and though 2 cans can only have so much effect on a person, when sliding down an icy mountain on a 'tea tray' this effect is multiplied and it made the journey down all the more amusing. We hit the first cut out jump on the way down, where the boys would normally throw 360s with ease. Vaughan went first, rode up the side, kicked the board from underneath him and landed on his face and stomach. He was unhurt except for the fact his 2 friends were rolling about in laughter further up the hill. Christian was up next and went for the usual 360. Half way round and the board hit the snow throwing Chris over onto his head. Again unhurt, Christian was impressed at his skill to be able to bounce a stray Reeces Piece that had fallen into his collar, into his mouth during the fall!! I went last, threw a 180 and landed, smiled at the crumpled boys and rode on by. It could be the only time I do the best jump of the group!

A few falls later, including Vaughan's epic tree jib (where he slid off the diagonal branch he was riding, smacking his legs and ending, hung up to dry on the end of the log) and Christian's facefirst cartwheel that came out of nowhere, we reached the end of the run. We had to wait at the bridge for the cats to go by (caterpillar groomers, girls, not pussy cats!) as they groomed the main run for night skiing. At the bottom, the bruised boys decided a hot tub was in order.

Back at ours we all soaked our muscles and then fed our bellies with Grubstake pizza, Vaughan with his 10" Canadian and Christian pigging out on a 12" Prospector! We ate the pizza whilst watching Troy (the film not the truck) and me and "eyes-bigger-than-belly" Hood still had plenty left over for lunches next week.

Sunday 1st February: very hot (in our house anyhow)

During the night, Christian decided to turn into the sun. The bed burnt to a crisp, our glasses of water on the bed side table evaporated and I could feel my eyeballs melting just looking at him. With a temperature well into the 1000's it didn't seem a good idea to go out riding today. If only it was 30 years ago, we could have made some money loaning him out to the Sullivan mine to smelt the iron ore.

Sadly for Christian he wasn't feeling nearly that useful, just hot, coughing and very poorly. As Chris was focusing on looking helpless and rather sweaty, I took on the role of nurse and general housemaid. Sunday was basically spent dampening flanels, wafting sheets, opening windows, making tiny meals and trying not to breathe too much.

The animals were worried at how ill Christian was
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We had planned to ride with Vaughan during the day and then join in the practice lift evacuation at 4pm. Obviously, everything had to be cancelled but the good news was that the lift evac was postponed till the next day so we may still be able to partake.

Christian had been asleep almost all day but it was still time for an early night and bed. If only that had meant sleep. The fever kept raging in the night and we were up every hour. I just couldn't wait for work in the morning!

Monday 2nd February: too hot for teaching school lessons!!

Unsurprisingly, Christian took the day off work. He did a lot of sleeping and feeling very poorly but was very bored at home alone. I, on the other hand, had to show my face at work. It was obvious I was tired, as in my first lesson I accidently mistook one of my students for a girl. He did not look very impressed when he had to tell me he was a boy. He did have very long blonde hair, ooops!

During the day, Christian had got up, but still felt ropey, so we were pleased to find out that the lift evac had been postponed again.

Tuesday 3rd February: warm and sunny

Christian was off work again, so another day of coughing and boredom for him. But he did manage to get some useful things done and was feeling much better by the end of the day. Today was Vaughan's 27th birthday, Jackie made an angel food cake for him with confetti colours in the sponge and fluorescent icing in blue and green, which was yummy. Christian made it in to sing Happy Birthday but didn't have the appetite for the cake.

Our last lesson of the day was free and so Vaughan, Liana and I went up for a couple of runs. At the top of the chair we got cornered by the video guy from marketing, who asked if he could follow us and film our riding for the weekly podcast. Well, that ended the prospect of a relaxing couple of runs. As it happens after all our efforts to throw spins and not fall in front of the camera, (which we failed at miserably)the podcast featured about three seconds of Vaughan and I, excitingly riding away from the camera at about 2 miles an hour!!!! And if you want to check it out it can be seen at http://www.skikimberley.com/support/video/video.aspx, it's the video of week 9.

This evening, a bowling competition between ski patrol and the ski school had been arranged and we had all signed up for it. Vaughan was even hijacking it as a stealth birthday celebration. The theme was retro and we were all asked to dress up. As Christian was feeling much better, we decided to go along. At home after work I fell asleep for about 2 hours. Due to lack of sleep and being around an invalid for so long, I was starting to come down with a little bug of my own. So by the time we woke up there was barely time to find an outfit and jump in the car to the bowling alley.

Chris in his super pants and Phil, well I'm really not sure what Phil is wearing!
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My hideous get-up
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For our outfits, Chris had gone for his hotdog-style, retro, snowboard pants, whilst I went for my gym kit with garish socks, leggings and bandana to add an old-school, and generally tasteless, look to the ensemble. As an in-joke for the ski school, I went with my ancient work uniform over the top. To be fair it is the oldest outfit I have in the house and it was the Fernie uniform quite some time ago!!

Rainbow Bright and 2 other dodgy dressers, yes the one on the left is our boss!
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The other outfits were spectacular. We had an Austin Powers type velour tracksuit, silver hotpants and backcombed hair, a denim skintight jumpsuit, lounge lizard shirts and other hideous garments from yesteryear, Jackie even came dressed as Rainbow Bright! We are mainly a group who are better at dress-ups than bowling though, it would appear. The bowling went by with varying levels of success for the various players. I think we all managed at least one strike, but that was about 20% of my final score in 1 game, I reckon. As an explanation, but no real excuse, for my atrocious playing, I started to get very dizzy, partially because I felt a bit poorly and partially as we hadn't yet managed dinner and I had drunk a Bacardi Breezer. So Christian drove me home and I made him some tea before an early bed.

Wednesday 4th February: overcast

Christian was back at work today, yay he's getting better. The day wasn't too busy so we got to go out and ride a bit together. I got a frontside 360, sketchy but acceptable, and was so proud I went to do it again for Christian. However, we were in a bit of powder and instead of repeating this classy move, I turned about 20 degrees before digging the nose of my board into the pow and then diving onto the floor. Christian couldn't save my pride or contain his amusement, he almost cried with laughter.

A successful attempt at a 180 spin
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Fortunately for Chris, I am a far more compassionate person. On another run, we went down Boundary with some of the others and I showed them a drop off I had hit with a former instructor, Rene, the other day. Most of us hit it, landed and and rode out of the soft powder. Christian tried it out and landed on his head! Later in the day we went back that way and with my warning of "just take it mellow" still ringing in his ears, he disappeared over the lip, dug in his nose and catapulted himself onto his shoulder. He looked very sorry for himself this time and it had obviously hurt. I think he needs a lesson to clarify where his feet are!

Back down the bottom, we found out the lift evac had been postponed again! Will they ever do it?

Thursday 5th February: hot and sunny, a bit like Spain in summer

Mega busy day today, 2 schools, then 3-hour lessons and Chris had ladies night as well. And to add to all that, Nonstop came to town.

In my lessons, I stole some tactics off Vaughan, who is a veteran teacher of beginner lessons after his few seasons in the US. I appointed one of my enthusiastic kids as captain and got him to organise the group at the top of the hill each run. I also got them to recite the 3 key things they'd learnt about riding, so they knew what to tell their folks about at the end of the day.

After such a successful lesson I felt invincible, until I got working with the next 4 kids. The first 5 minutes rung with the moaning of the token fat kid who's boots were on too tight and the "helpful" parent was busily misinforming the stragglers. I chose to ignore the bad and moany behaviour, (though I did loosen the boots for her, after making her climb a hill to get to me first) and give out high-fives a plenty when they actually did what they were meant to. This tactic started working for me quite nicely and a couple of the kids were actually doing pretty well. However, it took 40 mins to get the 4 of them down the magic carpet on their heels, making me late for my next lesson.

My final student of the day was Jake, a lovable and humourous 11-year-old Welsh kid, who made me nearly choke to death on the chairlift with his witty and Welsh-accented comments. The result of my nursemaiding earier this week is a tickly cough that doesn't like cold air. Dan has quite a cold and Vaughan has a bad chest and we all feel like our bodies have been put through a mangle. So the snowboard school is not on best form just now.

Shaun and Sarah reunited
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After lessons were over we grabbed a drink and a chat with our old coaches from Fernie in the Stemwinder. It was great to see them all and to get questioned by the new Nonstoppers about being an instructor. As Christian had an evening lesson still to come, we also grabbed a burger and chips, very unhealthy!

Steve can't hold still or be nice for even 1 photo
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Every once in a while we get a student who falls in love with an excercise. This may sound weird, and it is. We are always suprised when someone finds a simple task helps out their riding hugely, suprised but happy as well. And that is what Christian had for his evening class. He is teaching the woman who runs the marketing department at the resort, who loved the head-light on the kneeeeeeee technique (used for turning with the kneeeees). We are always entertained watching people enjoying their lessons but at the end of a long day, Chris was happy to get home.

Friday 6th February: Unmemorable
It is normal these days for us to have two school groups in the morning, but today was different. The Mormons were returning, and they had returned during our lunch break. Very unimpressed by this we hid snacks in our jacket pockets and braced for the Mormonage. It turned out to not be as bad as we thought it would, Sarah didn't have to teach them and we were all free in the afternoon so I just had late lunch.

At home that night Sarah was shocked to see that I could cook! Thats right, I made a creamy chicken curry. Well a clumpy chicken mess at least. Still it was very yummy and Sarah looked relieved to get a day off from the stove. But I'll put the shackles back on tomorrow.

Enjoying the cookie sandwiches
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That evening Vaughan and Jackie came over and we all made cookies together. Jackie couldn't resist playing some LittleBigPlanet (she's hooked) and was appalled to find that Vaughan was able to pick up and play with far more ease than she had managed. Boys are apparently just better at video games. Once the cookies were done being baked to perfection, we decided to be really greedy and eat two each, with chocolate ice cream sandwiched in between. All this was devoured sloppily whilst watching some atrocious acting and script writing from Melvin Gibson. The film is called We Were Soldiers and as the name suggests it contained some alright action, but also some of the worst (or best?) cheesy acting and incomprehensible speeches ever.

Jackie bemused by how gross the boys can be
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Posted by HOODnDIGS 20:50 Archived in Canada Tagged health_and_medicine Comments (0)

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