We arrived in Whistler in the start of … well, the start of a blizzard. There was talk of the highway being closed that evening. So the snow fell, and fell, and fell all night long.
Oh no, we’re not going to take the kids up the gondola to go skiing, they’ll be here at the base. Way too much snow up there, and windy too.
At first I was disappointed. I know Cameron was looking forward to skiing on a ‘real’ run, but then I heard what the instructor said. Over thirty inches (waitasec, Leif wrote on Facebook that it was 30cm … but at any rate, in lots of places there were drifts up to my knees) of new snow last night. Uh … Cameron’s only 45 inches tall. Right.
No matter, they had a magic carpet area set up for the kids right at the base, between the gondolas. It didn’t look quite as cool as the learning area at Grouse, but hey, they were limited by the conditions, not the kids. While the morning did get off to a rocky start for Kate, we could see her from our livingroom window while we ate breakfast. Her body language had totally changed – she looked like she was enjoying herself. Cameron on the other hand couldn’t wait to be rid of me.
Bye Mama, see you at the end of the day!
He however had a couple of “I want my Mama,” meltdowns during the lessons, wouldn’t get up on his own, could barely turn, didn’t want to stop … basically, totally different from a week ago. Ah well. Kids.
What did Leif and I do? Hang out at the hotel? With over 30 inches of fresh powder on the mountain, no way!
I can remember loving snowboarding. I can remember zipping down un-lit black runs at night. I can remember actually aiming for jumps. I can remember liking it so much that I swore I’d never go back to skiing – which I did try again for the first time in 20 years when we were up at Sun Peaks. But this time I went back to snowboarding.
And I reminded myself continually that I can remember loving it.
Truth? I did enjoy it. I enjoyed being out in conditions I’ve never experienced. Powder to my knees, swish-swish through it, like surfing! Or rather, like I imagine surfing to be, as that’s an adventure to put on the “do sometime” list. It felt kind of like being a kid again, in the massive snowdrifts and plow-mountains that I remember. For a while we were in some serious wind, turning me into a sail for my board. Then with an icy whoosh, snow would be lifted up off the ground to whirl around in whiteout conditions, and we’d have to just stop and wait it out. But this meant that we could find a little-used run with drifts and bumps of nearly pristine, wind-swirl deposited snow. Later, before I got reeeeaaally tired, we accidentally came across some moguls. I’m so not at mogul level any more. But it was fun, swishing and swooshing around in them.
And I loved being there with Leif. He played at riding ‘switch’ so he was going down the hill ‘goofy’ like I do – and made me laugh when I was frustrated by calling up to me,
Hey, I know what your problem is! I figured it out!”
I was so excited … really? This could make my day!
You’re riding the wrong way!”
He played in and out of the woods, and waited for me to catch up. And he played ‘tour guide’ – I was far too focused on staying upright and surviving the descent to really care which run we went down, so long as it didn’t look like a cliff.
But the truth is also that I got really frustrated and upset with myself. And I got tired. And my foot really hurt, and nothing seemed to make it feel better. In retrospect, I probably should’ve not reminded myself continually that I remember loving it, as it only reminded me how hard I was finding it now. I could’ve remembered instead the advice I gave to others – when you’re learning how to snowboard, don’t go out there to have fun snowboarding; go out there to have fun falling down.
I think I might just take a lesson next time I go snowboarding. Maybe, just maybe, if I sign Cameron up for another day at Grouse, I’ll sign myself up too. Or I could always go back to skiing.