So it has been a really long time since I have written a blog. Way too long. And I haven’t had anything to write about but I have felt at times, who wants to read about it? I feel in the last year and particularly in the six months that haven’t had the “writing energy” or writer’s block. From personal stuff, bike accidents (you have to love scars), bike triumphs (went on a 90+ km bike trip over three days on my cross country bike), traveling to Mexico with the freeskiing girls (some of my closest friends),
last minute trip to Egypt (thanks, Angela),
go back to my first competition in almost two years (had the biggest smile that week) and have four amazing people who I thought so highly of and so lucky to have been friends with them die in accidents.
Events that happen in your life, whether upsetting or joyful, they are events that change you forever. They could be the fork in the road to the next part of your life. I know from me watching a Warren Miller movie ten years ago changed my life forever. I wanted to get paid to go skiing, I moved to Whistler and did just that.
Over the past two months I have gone through my mind, what is important, what I want now and the future, what I have to do to achieve it and who I want to be celebrating with. Now, people who know me know, I’m all in or I want nothing to do with it. I will give it my all or I’m fine walking away. I’m not in to the whole Zen, chi or all the spiritual stuff (totally cool if you are, I actually love you for it) but you have one life and it can be cut short, how do you want to be remembered? How do I want to spend my time? With working two jobs and a ski career, I real value my spare time. I’ve made more of an effort to call the people I care about more often, try not to sweat the small stuff, to give more hug hellos, take more pictures, and share what I love most about life to others. Of course, skiing being the biggest outlet.
Pryor to having this enlightenment (here we go, the spiritual side has come out), I lost my way. I was getting upset, frustrated, envious, stressing about things I couldn’t control, not learning from my experiences and making the same mistakes, being mad about something that was done and over. But the biggest thing, was not looking at the bigger picture, what I did have. A supportive family, amazing friends, a job (and two at that), never go hungry, a place to live, I get to travel, my health, and that I got to choose where live.
Rule Number One: Keep it positive! There is always something, doesn’t matter how small, out of something negative.
Rule Number Two: Treat others the way you want to be treated!
Rule Number Three: Always do something fun once a day. No matter how busy you are, do something you enjoy.
I want to be happy, do you?
Wow, does time fly. I can’t believe it is the end of March/beginning of April. You don’t even have to look at a calendar to know that its spring. Walking to the hill from my house you see the snow on Fitzsimmons Creek disappearing, people are getting their spring tires put on their cars, the cross-country trails getting ever more slushy, the lack of snow on the trees and the snow banks shrinking showing off the winter full gravel that it has been hiding.
I’m not going to lie, spring isn’t my favor in the village but it is one of my favorites on the hill. We have been lucky this year with snow (the amount of coverage still is incredible) and the freezing level has stayed low enough to keep the skiers happy and the people ready to hop on their bikes happy in the village. I’ve already taken my bike out to commute to the village. This is also the time of year where the season has worn on us just a wee bit and we are planning a spring vacation before the summer season begins. I, for the first time ever I’m actually going somewhere, Mexico for a whole week! What the coolest part of that is, I’m going to be skiing right before I leave. Ski clothes one day, bikini the next.
Whistler Blackcomb (as far as I know) has one of the longest “winter” seasons in North America. Opening American Thanksgiving (November) or earlier to Whistler open till April 25th and Blackcomb open till May 23rd. I’ve lived here a long time and skiing in May is still pretty cool to me. Then Blackcomb reopens for summer glacier skiing at the end of June to end of July (snow pending). So in one day you can go for a morning bike ride, go skiing and then hit up the golf course/bike some more in one day. So just because the spring flowers are out and the temperatures are warming don’t be afraid to rock up to the hill with a t-shirt and sunscreen the ski season isn’t over yet.
As I’m sure a lot of you know, I’m originally from Vancouver and I have been lucky enough to grow up near quite a few mountains, Whistler Blackcomb (of course), Cypress, Grouse and Seymour, but the one that I have over looked for years, Mt. Baker. I use to pole vault in Bellingham, WA in high school and was practically down the road from the mountain, but never went skiing. Here is how this story begins.
I got a call from a friend of mine on the Monday night saying that he was making a last minute trip to Baker leaving Tuesday coming back Thursday night, he had friends down there so we had a place to stay and the lift tickets were cheaper during the week (love mid-week pricing). It was pretty easy to make the decision. I haven’t been anywhere this whole season. With putting competing on the back burner this year and just finished three weeks of solid work, I was ready to bust out of here for a couple of days.
Here is the adventure part, yes a friend I agreed with to go on a ski trip with, but someone I have never traveled with before and only skied with a couple of times, going to a mountain I have never been to before, staying with people I have never met, going across the country’s border with someone I have never traveled before with and none the less not in my car…you can see where I was going with this… Part of me was really worried, like what was I thinking about agreeing to a trip like this. I’m normally the worrywart especially when it has to do with borders (I think I’ve watched too many drug-lord type of movies). Then the other part of me was thinking, “I need this, I really need this. I need to see something new. Hang out with new people. I need to be on an adventure, even if it’s for only two days.” So I said YES.
Packed, everything. I have to say whether you are going for two days or two weeks, you seem to pack the same amount when it comes to a ski trip, plus I’m a girl and I’m not very good a packing light on the best of days.
Made great time, 3ish hours with the border crossing to the place we were staying at from Whistler to Bellingham, WA. Best time to travel is way after rush hour, after dinner.
The next day I was so excited to see a new mountain; I almost didn’t need an alarm clock to wake me up. I was packed and ready to go. Packed up the car and we were all off to the hill. Little did I know (or just lack of looking into it) we had an hour drive a head of us to the mountain. The place we were staying at is actually right on the way, but it was still close to an hour. It really made me feel lucky about my 10-15 minute walk I have to the hill from my house in Whistler. What a great drive, single-lane traffic, really scenic and bendy road but not in a get carsick way. The actual mountain road really took me back to New Zealand mountain roads, really narrow and no road barricades, but I kept my seat belt on this time (that’s another story).
We get to the top, hardly any cars…very weird when there it’s a powder day. Found out the mountain just got shutdown for the day, with high avalanche conditions and high winds (116 miles=186.68 km/h). Back down the road we go, not with out a stop to Chair 9, lunch time.
Chair 9 is the new hang-out in Glacier (it’s a town just below the mountain). Great open concept area, games room upstairs, full-bar and (the best part) a woodstone pizza oven. The pizzas that come from that oven are amazing, we each had different flavors and all were amazing. Chatted with the owner over pizza and a pint. And found out no matter where you are ski towns are the same, chatting over the conditions, other resorts and how skiing has changed quite a lot over the past 10 years.
The next day, we checked the mountain reports (a few times before we left the house this time) and it was go time! Get to the hill and there were some people it looked like playing hooky from school, work or people just like us, people lucky enough to have a day off. We got our lift tickets, packs on with avalanche gear and to the lifts we went. Not quickly though, there are no high speed-quads there. They are all quad lifts, but going nowhere fast. They all look the same, the lifts, all black with just a number on the side of the bull-wheel to tell you which one is which. It didn’t take me long to get lost on own (there was a reason there were no track to the far left of that tree run…). Good thing I was skiing with people who after that really explained where and when to make the sharp turn back to the lift. Skied all day, lunch on the lift, chatting, laughing and more powder every run. It snowed all day, wind took the trees shook their snow off and more snow was on the ground. It was some of the best powder I have skied in ages on a day off. Please don’t get me wrong coaching people in powder snow is good to get people use to it and see a smile on their face then shoot you curse words. But not to look behind me all day and not talk “about skiing” was really nice. It was really a day off. Time flew by and it was time to head down, but there was no frown on my face. I just finished one of my best days of the season.
So there you have it. Sometimes you just have to leap into the adventure even if you have some reservations. You have to way out all your options, go with your better judgment, have similar music taste, and be clear on who you are traveling with that you don’t want to go to jail (haha) because you might just have the best last minute (powder) adventure you ever had.
Go to the link–>2010-11 Season–>Whistler Segment 1
It was a really fun day. Lots of snow, lunch at Christine’s and even got to ski with ex-Canadian national team member Edith Rozsa. It was great day. Got some really nice ski footage and even got interviewed. It was really fun experience. I can’t wait for the next opportunity to work with them again.
We all love playing in the snow, that is a given. We all want to ski and ski and ski till someone like a doctor tells us not to and even then we are more likely to ski until we get caught or…well lets not get into that.
Skiing in the backcountry has become in the last few years extremely accessible. It’s not for the “granola munchers” (ski bum hippies) who hike for hours on end to get one run, other who compete with each other to see who hiked the most vertical in one day and my favorite are the ones who do multi day “journeys” and sleep outside in the middle of winter sometimes in a snow cave. And please don’t get me wrong what they are doing is great and I’m sure super fun, but for us regular people who love to ski and go home to our warm houses…an hour or so hike is just perfect.
But here is the question, where do you go for your hike? Here in Whistler you can do some amazing hiked right outside the area boundary. We have DOA, Corona, Hu-su-mi, Disease Ridge and Decker just to name some. It’s easy to think, “well it’s just outside the area boundary, I will be safe.” “So close I won’t need any gear.” “I’m following that person who looks like they know where they’re going.” Those are some of the classics.
JD (another Extremely Canadian coach) and I decided to head for a hike; DOA and Hu-su-mi were the plans. What did we do first, we told some friends that we were heading out there for the day, check the weather and avalanche sheet, next pack our bags with equipment (peeps, probe and shovel), and of course food and water. And just for good measure I packed extra gloves, goggle lens and an extra layer. You just never know when plans change and you might want to go elsewhere.
Just as we got to the boundary gate, no joke, almost every other person didn’t have a pack. Nothing. I don’t feel out of line to say I’m sure they didn’t even have food in their pockets. It wasn’t a big snow day and the avalanche hazard was low…but…still. I was so shock. People of course asked us where to go and even looked at us as if we packed too much. Not cool. If something did happen to them we of course would feel compiled to help them, potentially put us in danger because of some else being careless.
Some Rules of play:
1. Travel with people (preferable one of those people knows where you are going)
2. Tell people when and where you are going and when you could be coming home
3. Have equipment and know how to use it. Take an avalanche course. Very good three day course to get you prepared.
4. Carrying a pack is great, put all your stuff in it, hang your jacket there if you are hot, and put you skis/snowboard to your back (your shoulders will love you for it)
5. Pack food, water and extra stuff (ie. Goggle lens, clothes, duct tape, sunscreen, gloves)
It may seem like over kill to just go outside the area boundary, but isn’t your life and others worth it?
The pictures have come out!!! So happy that they chose a nice picture and the phone interview went well, it all came together!!! Check it out!!
Autumn in any ski town can be a bummer. It raining, cold and getting darker, but as a skier it just mean every day done is a day closer to ski season. And boy, am I happy its here! Here in Whistler it happened early, a week early. People were rushing to shops getting the latest and the greatest equipment, signing waiver forms for their seasons pass, and the gym suddenly was busy for the last minute conditioning. It is amazing how the moral of a town changes when they see the first snow fall.
It has been close to a month since opening and the village feels alive. People coming out of the woodwork to head up the hill. Seeing friends that I haven’t seen since last season.
I am very thankful that I put in a good amount of time (the best effort since I can remember) at the gym and dryland training over the fall to get ready for the season. Hiking to the Peak before the chair opened, top to bottom laps and doing it all over again the next day.
With the snow, comes the many hundreds of thousands of guests that flock to Whistler for a snowy vacation all looking for the same stoke we got with our first snowfall.