Thursday, 2nd March '06
Deferred Blogging, Part III: CrashBangOwww.
Another 5 days or so after Chinese New Year I had another big FIRST. After all that TV-watching and lusting after the romanticism of flying snow, the exhilaration of rushing down the hill on a board, jumps and grabs and 360s performed by charismatic (and if you're lucky, cute) boarder boys, dangling my legs off a ski lift... it all culminated in a day out at Mt Wentworth with the boys. It was a Munro Day (in celebration of a rich dude called Munro who made his fortune from infringing copyrights and pirating books who then eventually gave a huge amount of money to Dalhousie and save it from the brink of bankruptcy only to ask for a holiday in remembrance of himself) and the Student Union had planned us a trip out, all day, for a mere $30.
So it started out with me having an enormous amount of anticipation, but frankly, way more questions than answers. This was me, having only fathomed the concept of snow in December 2005, now dealing with the ideas of boards, boots, goofy or regular (i'm regular figure skating, but how the heck should I know if i'm the same boarding if i've never boarded?!), ski passes, rope lifts (riding them forwards and backwards), ski lifts (how to go on and off?). Hell, I didn't even know if i was wearing the ski pants the right way round - it felt so puffy and awkward anyway.
And of course I didn't need reminders of the excessive amounts of time I should be prepared to spend on my ass. I think everyone, EVERYONE I've met in Canada spent time telling me how hard it would be to get on the board and stay there, how I shouldn't be discouraged about falling, how it's a good thing you don't need to wear short skirts in winter so the bruised knees wouldn't matter etc etc.
First, a bit of a breakdown of the crew. Starting from the lowest-level scum, there was me and Armando. Skill level closer to the negative numbers, as we were seeing snow for the first time, yada yada. No idea how a ski resort even worked. A little further up, but not much better, Mick, who tried skiing and had put on a snowboard before and at least knew how to work the infrastructure of a ski resort. Then there was Rob, who could functionally board. And then David and Zerk, the double-black-diamond boys, which essentially meant that they had frolicked in the snow their whole lives and would be messing around on ski runs where angels feared to tread.
So while the cooler people went off to start the fun right off, the motley crew of Armando, Mick and myself went for a snowboarding lesson. This is where I'm thankful that when I'm learning something new I have absolutely no shame. As boring and slow as the lesson was, it at least provided a starting point. And when someone properly tells you the right way to go about something, it's surprising how easy it can be. I was told before coming to aim for about 10m. Haha. I can do better than that.
And the day passed pretty quickly. After a while we all kinda split up and met other folk to hang with along the way. Mick got tired of waiting for Armando, who was having some teething problems (with a very blunt "he's too slow"), and I completely lost Armando after one of the runs, and decided to go try to learn to ride the T-bar with a Norwegian chick and Daniel, a Scottish guy. Let's just say I didn't just fall off the T-bar. I got my board caught on it and was dragged about 20m up hill on my back before the guy in charge of manning the station realized it and stopped it to let me off. Dangerous, I suppose, but ironically at the time I was thinking "well, that's ONE way to take the T-bar to the top!"
The rest of the experience could pretty much be summarised in a long Mary Poppins-like phrase:
And then repeat until too tired to go on.
I think the funniest thing that happened that day was when I ran into Debbie. It was... as Ryder puts it... very physical. Essentially I was coming down the end of a run going faster than I could handle (as usual), when out of the blue popped these two skiers. Now remember that I cannot control where I'm going and the land was kinda sloping towards those two skiers and I'm frantically trying to swerve so I don't hit them. Of course my negative skill levels don't allow for that, and come crashing (and screaming) down the ice (yeah that bit was more like ice and therefore painful), bumbling and sliding and tumbling until I skid to a halt RIGHT at the feet of the two skiers. I dunno how I did it, but I ended in front of them. And then I look up to apologise for that uninvited interruption and one of the skiers, the littler one, all swaddled in huge padded winter clothes has really fair skin and pretty rosy cheeks. There's only one person in the world I've seen that on, but it's hard to tell when the rest of the person's body is lost beneath winterwear.
Me: HEY!! *brain works frantically because I'm still a little stunned from the crash, and trying to decide if I knew this skier or not. In the aftermath of the crash I couldn't even remember her name. I knew I knew her, but I didn't know WHERE."
Me: Heeeeeeyyyyyy... DEBBIE!?
Debbie: FUFU?!? (A nickname which, thanks to Vicki, Debbie has picked up.)
Me: Debbie! Baba! *still too disoriented from the crash to be very articulate.*
Debbie: Fufu! I didn't know you could snowboard...
Me: I CAN'T. What does it look like?
Debbie: Oh yeah.
Me: I didn't know you were coming today...
It is at this point that Mick came whizzing down the hill, chanced upon the heap of tangled En Ying on the ground, and ploughed straight into it. So that's two casualties in the snow.
Me: Hey. Mick.
Me: Um, meet my friend Debbie.
Debbie: Hi Mick...
It was all rather confuzzled and hilarious, but in the end Debbie's friend (Chris, I think his name was) got me disentangled and half-dragged me back on the run proper where I proceeded to slide back into the gutter. Anyhow, that was the last I saw of the Baba until Vicki called the next day to say "you met Baba!". Hehh.
So enough of the talk, I know you guys want pictures. The photos from that day were very nicely shot, but I can't take credit for them because they aren't mine. Anyways, here they are. I doubt Zerk's gonna mind if I display his photos:
The double-black-diamond boys, David and Zerk, a.k.a. people who actually knew what they were doing.
I love these two in sequence. There's Rob all nice and happy, and then another one bites the dust.
And that's the ski lift.
Armando, Mick and I, a.k.a. the people who didn't have a clue what they were doing.
All gathering for a bit before some of us board down and some of us tumble down a blue square run.
The ride home. $30 was a really good deal.
[well, the pictures aren't going to take themselves!]