Farewell students, farewell Inghams, farewell landlords, farewell Eric - Eric we said goodbye!
Wednesday 25th March - hard ground
As the season is drawing to an end we are finding ourselves starting to say more and more goodbyes. Today Christian taught his home school student for the last time and as a tip got 3 bags of Beef Jerky. I think this is likely to be the most memorable and most Canadian tip either of us recieve. Apparently the kid's dad is a jerky exporter and so now Christian can try out a variety of different flavours: teriyaki, peppered and honey something. Good job he's found he likes jerky!
Thursday 26th March - cool and icy
Today I had my last lesson with TM Roberts, my favourite school to teach. All of the kids are about 10 and I was lucky enough to be given the good riders. I have a class of up to 13 kids who rock around the hill with me improving their riding and hitting jumps. Most of them are on their school holidays at the moment but 2 of the lads, both called David, have been coming in for holiday camp lessons. I taught them on Tuesday too and seeing as they are both called David, thought it would be a good idea to give them nicknames. So I asked what their favourite food was and used that. So off I went with my new students Watermelon and Chocolate. All good fun to them, but it was not easy riding down the hill past guests yelling "Nice one chocolate!" to your only black student. So today their nicknames changed to their worst food instead, carrots and brussel sprouts (thank God it wasn't black pudding!)!
Friday 27th March - milder
After work today we went climbing again and Christian got me playing a game of make-shift 5's against the hall wall. We had a good time and Jackie was able to climb this time too. We tried a few different walls and scared ourselves climbing face out up a shaft. Vaughan was looking very confident until he looked down! After we were finished at about 10pm we drove straight back to Kimberley and to Charlotte and Mireya's (the Inghams reps) goodbye party. It didn't seem to matter that we were a bit sweaty and chalky. Most of the invitees were far too drunk to notice. There was karaoke going at the far end of the room and people swarming around free food and beers in the kitchen.
We got chatting and met a whole load of people from the season. It wasn't long before we were dragged over to the karaoke and Vaughan seemed pretty keen to get up there. His secret exhibitionist side is getting less secret by the day. Vaughan sung a couple of tunes with a good reception, and then a bunch of us did a rendition of Ghostbusters. Everyone loved this, though probably not for the singing quality, and got up to dance. Christian and I eventually plucked up the courage to sing a number but the mic was poached by one of the other guys who did his own little stand-up routine, ignoring the song completely. It would appear that karaoke brings out the competitive streak in the wanna-be stars among us. We were glad to get back to our safe spot on the sofa and watch the others slog it out.
Saturday 28th March - nice weather for a hot tub
Tonight we had been invited to dinner with the Jacson 8, seeing as we probably won't see them all again before the end of the season. Sarah is walking really confidently now and can say mama and dada, it's crazy how much she has grown up since we met her in December. We had the usual BBQ steaks, which were very tasty. Both of the boys are now skiing all over the hill (and apparently scaring Paul on the tree runs) having started the season on the bunny hill. Even Laura has progressed, getting poles for Christmas and mastering the parallel turn. The adults on the other hand have been far less successful and I am yet to see the girls on the hill. Poor Cat has missed her second season as a result of pregnancy and a damaged knee. Susan on the other hand has no excuse "Strap on a snowboard Susan!". After the meal we all hopped in their even posher hot tub with a beer or a wine and chatted until it was time for sleeps.
Sunday 29th March - chilly in the air, around 0
On the walk
Today we drove to Fort Steele to take a walk in the nearby ghost town left after the gold rush. We found out that Eric is leaving in 3 days, so the gang is going to be 1 man short before long. There were lots of signs along the walk to tell us about the history of the place, we saw a Chinese graveyard (barely keeping Vaughan out of the open graves), the site of the shooting of an annoying guy in town, an old apple orchard and the fireplace of the former post office. The walk was pretty fun still and we found lots of things to climb on, our preferred passtime. We stopped half way to eat our packed picnics before carrying on down the path.
Having our picnic
We took a bit of a detour off the historical track to venture down to the river. Eric found a lamppost coming out of a tree in a small clearing. No roads or houses in miles so who knows what that was for, maybe if we'd hung around long enough a faun would have come out of the woods and made us all Kings and Queens of Narnia.
Walking up a frozen waterfall
Down by the river we saw an adjoining stream that was still frozen over and so climbed up the gentle waterfall. You could hear the water flowing rapidly under the ice we were walking on and at one point Jackies foot went through our precarious pathway. Our self-made route was much more fun than the original planned one and we found lots of old wooden cabins falling down in amongst the woodland. Eric even found their recycling depot with a mountain of rusty cans and apparently a jar of old peanut butter, but I wasn't going anywhere near it.
An abandoned house we found
As we climbed back down the side of a rather sheer and slippy ravine to get back on track, Vaughan grabbed a tree for support. Before we could say anything the tree had come up by the roots and left Vaughan sliding further down the steep rocks with a 12ft sapling in his hand.
Another break for cookies by the waters edge and then we scrambled back up the other bank to rejoin the trail. Once we finished we drove home for dinner at Jackies and 2 movies!! One was PS I love you, which I thought was excellent.
Monday 30th March - cool still
We are currently building an oil super tanker in the basement at work. I would love to leave it at that and give no further explanation but I guess I ought to. During Spring Splash, the last weekend of the season, there are a variety of events held, including the dummy downhill - where you push dummys down a hill and over a jump to see which one has the best landing / crash. The ski school always enter a dummy based on some current affair from the year and this year we had gone for a super tanker hijacked by Somalian pirates.
Christian is making one of the many Somalian pirates and his design is slightly more true to life than many of the others, which would be better placed in Pirates of the Caribbean or better still a nursary school craft lesson. Christian's artistic talents have also resulted him in being commissioned to build the anchors and draw the flag. So covered in newspaper and flour paste we played our parts in constructing this ski school behemoth.
The tanker starting to take shape
We also got in a bit of riding for the first time in ages today. The ground is still hard but it didn't stop us having fun. After the exam and the recent poor conditions, it is nice to find the joy in just riding again. I think it will help Christian with his retake to remember that this is after all just for fun. Come on the Spring slush!
Tonight Jackie had arranged a goodbye dinner for Eric at hers and her mum cooked sticky ribs. The boys ate a disgusting amount of food and we all said our goodbyes to Mr Jesperson before he heads back to the farm.
Tuesday 31st March
More work was done on the ship today and Christian finished his pirate.
Christian's Somalian Pirate
In the evening we went to the cinema again to see Monsters vs Aliens. It was very funny and much more my cup of tea than the Watchmen.
Wednesday 1st April - warm with fresh powder
Today was my last home school lesson with Dillon and as promised I took him over to Boundary to show him all the jumps and to jib the little Christmas tree. We had so much fun together and it was great to think that when he became my student at the beginning of the season he had never been on a board. If I leave but one legacy from my seasons instructing, it will be him.
This evening was the red coat competition, ski school vs ski patrol in a variety of sports day type events. Lisa and I kicked off with blindfolded skiing, which we unfortunately did abysmally in. Next were the wheelbarrow races followed up by a line of crazy carpets. Everything was meant to be done through slalom gates, but on the harder activites, they just went by the wayside.
There were also tandem skis that had been made specially by Steve in the repair shop and a three legged race on skis. Jackie participated in the only game she was able to compete in, the donut tube race. Phil dragged her down the hill in an inflateable ring. But he obviously had no concern for her injury, because when the ski patrol competitors crashed right in front of Phil, he avoided them, letting go of Jackie and sending her right into the pile up.
After the races we had snacks and a BBQ in the ski patrol hut. Christian sat himself in one of the wheelchairs and spent the rest of the evening teaching himself how to do wheelies. The evening continued with music and dancing, which we watched until we felt it was time for bed.
Christian throwing wheelies in a wheelchair
Thursday 2nd April overcast
I ended up holding the fort at work today and took all of the lessons, including a 1hr private over my lunch break. Dan and Trevor had gone out playing together on the hill and couldn't get back in time to pick up one of the lessons.
Christian on the other hand was up to his elbows in pirates, getting stuck in to completing our super tanker. Ski instructors started painting the ship and Christian drew up the flag.
The paint job begins
My private was a family of rather large people who had never snowboarded before and by the end of the lesson I was exhausted from having to pick them all up. So at 2 o'clock we went home.
Friday 3rd April - getting sunnier
Today was our last day of work. The tanker was finally finished and looked fabulous, every last pirate had been given their place onboard, including a parrot in the crowsnest and a lady at the bow with her arms outstretched. There was little work to be done today but we had plans to go to the thrift store and pick up some groovy retro gear for spring splash and we were at last going to cook our Christmas dinner tonight.
The finished tanker
An instructor being made to walk the plank
We were thankfully out of work at 2pm and so jumped in our truck down to the thrift store to pick up outfits. There was so much stuff in there, including some rather sexy onesies and we ended up spending quite a lot of time trying things on. When we at last came to pay, we were surprised to find out that they only wanted $4 for all the stuff we were buying. Having spent longer than expected in the thrift store we hurried down to Overweightea to grab the essentials for dinner. Christian went straight home to get the oven on and then we started prepping, sausagemeat balls, bacon rolls, roast potatoes and carrots, peas and gravy. We knew Jackie was coming but were surprised to get a call to say that Eric was back in town and wanted to come along. It was great to see him again and the food went down well with everyone.
Vaughan had stayed at home for a last family dinner before he leaves too. But, he came over to join the rest of us watching the movie Freedomland.