I’ve Been To Heaven

Skiing forces you to “suck it up!” You find a run too hard? Too bad. You can’t quit because you still need to get down the mountain and where else are you going to go? So really, there is no quitting.

When a significant other takes you, the beginner, skiing it can really test your relationships. Luckily, Shayne is very patient with me and my mad ski skills. He decided to finally ski with me.

Us.

Us.

Here are the facts/ highlights from Sunday:

  • I haven’t skied in 2 months making this my 6th time up there
  • Shayne is pretty much a pro skier
  • I have athletic endured asthma (sexy, I know)
  • Shayne’s a really good skier. I am not.
  • Went up Excalibur gondola on Blackcomb (my first time on this mountain)
  • Skied greens and cat tracks
  • Lunch that cost an arm and leg at Rendevouz
  • Skied 7th heaven cat track to 7th Heaven Express
  • Skied down Green, some blue (my first) and in some pow (also my first)
  • I fell a lot and my left knee and right breast are sore
  • Shayne said I yelled a lot at him but I’m just a loud human and was not yelling
  • I had to take many breaks
  • I survived and didn’t die
  • I rode the Peak 2 Peak Gondola
  • I’m still dating Shayne

I did learn how scary it is to fall on a cat track and how embarrassing it is. Tip: get out of the way as fast as you can and watch for fast skiers/boarders.

So, will Shayne take me skiing again? I think so. I do need to go skiing a lot more so I can get better but I have the basics (almost) down. Will you take me skiing (I won’t/don’t yell)?

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Me at the top of 7th Heaven

To follow my mountain life journey, check back every Wednesday (or sometimes Thursday) and read about my learning adventure. It is okay  to learn to ski at any age. If I can do it, so can you! Please share your skiing tips and comments below. Cheers! 

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When Not to Ski

So, I find myself making excuses to not go skiing on my days off. However, some of the excuses are actually legitimate reasons for when a beginner  skier should not be skiing (also known as “bad conditions”). I do like skiing (I really do) but sometimes I would rather sit on my ass and watch a movie/relax.

Here are some valid (and not so valid) times when a beginner may not want to ski:

  • When it’s freezing rain. It is cold and wet and hurts when you fall.
  • Fog. It is hard to see where you are going.
  • Long weekends. It’s VERY busy and I know that I’m scared of getting hit by a snowboarder zooming by.
  • Any weekend. It isn’t so bad but the mountain is very busy. If you can go during the week…..GO!
  • Big Fresh POW days. The snow will be too deep and if you do go, stick to groomers.
  • If you are hung over. You are not alert and my injury yourself.
  • If you are drunk. You may hurt yourself (or die) and not know until the next day.

So, most of these situations have caused me to fail at going skiing. If you see a blue sky , get your tush to the mountain. If you don’t make it, you can probably come up with an excuse of your own. What other conditions can you add to my list?

Womp Womp

Womp Womp

 

 

Getting Catty on the Cat Track

As a very beginner skier I have yet to stumble upon a cat tracks.  While in conversation with my mountain dwelling friends, I grew quite curious as to knowing what is the purpose of these cat tracks. At first, I thought they were related to animal prints in the snow but I was very wrong.

A cat track, as defined by skis.com is a “relatively flat paths used by Snowcats to move around a mountain. These are often used by skiers and snowboarders as well to reach different areas within a resort.”

Cat track image belonging to www.jimmymacofphoenix.com

Cat track image belonging to http://www.jimmymacofphoenix.com

From my understanding, there is a slight incline so that you still have momentum. A friend of mine recently witnessed a serious accident on a cat track so this blog is dedicated to sharing some rules and pointers to avoid injury and bloody faces.

I reached out to  my friends and here is what I have come up with:

  • Don’t make big turns
  • ”Don’t use a cat track like its run…new skiers tend to make big turns, and cause everyone behind them to have to figure out how they’ll be able to get by them.” -Phalyn
  • “Always leave room between yourself and the edge, in case someone needs to pass you on that side. Even if you’re going fast…someone is probably going faster.” -Max
  •  



Moneca shared, “If u are getting on to a cat track, make sure u slow down and check uphill for people. Be prepared for the new terrain, sometimes it’s a jolt from what u were just on. Skiers, please keep ur poles close, nothing is as annoying as poles flying around expectantly.
”
  • “Look uphill before stopping abruptly (uphill may be behind you).” – Max
  • Never flat base
  • “If passing close to somebody, shout “on your left/right.” -Max
  • Steve’s tip is, “I’d say just remember that boarders can see much better one way vs. the other so avoid cutting close to them on their heel side…also, warning people with the ‘on your left/right’ is cool if you’re really close but if you’re going to make a clean pass anyways there’s no need to yell at people. I hate that!
  • “Don’t pass people going Mach 10 RIGHT next to them.” -Max

So, if you find yourself on a cat track, try and follow some of these tips. I hope to one day be good enough to make it on a cat track. If someone else isn’t following these rules, don’t get catty. Meow.

To follow my mountain life journey, check back every Wednesday (or sometimes Thursday) and read about my learning adventure. It is okay  to learn to ski at any age. If I can do it, so can you! Please share your skiing tips and comments below. Cheers! 

The Size of the Pole Matters

No, you dirty thinking specimen…..I’m talking about a ski pole! Who would have thought that there was a science to ski pole fitting? Not me….until someone told me my poles looked a tad on the big size for me. After investigating this and finding out that in fact they are the perfect size I wanted to repost a blog I found  (on rei.com) on how to choose your ski poles:

Ski Poles: How to Choose

Ski poles need to be strong enough for planting turns, light enough so your arms don’t tire and flexible enough to withstand hard falls.

If you’re a beginner, a good ski pole is any pole that fits. As you become more experienced, you may want to try different materials for a better strength-to-weight ratio.

Pole Fit

To fit a pair of ski poles to you, wear shoes or stand in your ski boots. With the poles upside down—grips touching the floor—grab the pole just underneath the basket so that the top of your thumb touches the basket. Your elbow should now be at a 90-degree angle.

If the angle is less than 90 degrees, try a shorter pole. If the angle is greater, get a longer pole. Most poles are sized in 2” increments. If you’re in between sizes, go with the shorter pole.

See REI’s ski pole sizing chart.

Park and pipe skiers should generally go with shorter poles (by at least one 2” size) as these are less likely to get hung up on the walls of the halfpipe.

The Strap

Most poles use a flexible nylon wrist strap. During turns, if you lose your grip, the strap helps keep the pole where you planted it. If you fall, the straps keep your poles with you and not buried in the snow far upslope.

To correctly use wrist straps, your hand should go up through the strap and then the thumb and hand grip over the strap and around the pole.

Tip: When trying on wrist straps in a store, wear ski gloves to ensure they’ll be easy on/off when you’re on the mountain.

The Basket

This is the plastic disk (sometimes shaped like a snowflake) near the bottom of a ski pole. Its purpose is to keep your pole from sinking too far into the snow.

Basket basics:

1.In powder conditions, use a bigger basket.

2.On groomed slopes or hardpack conditions, use a smaller basket.

Some poles come with interchangeable baskets or additional baskets can be purchased separately.

Telescoping Poles

Telescoping poles are used by ski mountaineers. These can be lengthened for uphill cross-country climbs or shortened for alpine descents. Some models can also be extended and vertically joined together for use as an avalanche probe.

If you choose telescoping poles, make sure they adjust from waist height for downhill skiing to just above your armpit for effective striding.

So, size matters. I have found that my poles help me balance and look good. Looking good is important but balancing is the best!

Nordica Drive (my poles)

Nordica Drive (my poles)

To follow my mountain life journey, check back every Wednesday (or sometimes Thursday) and read about my learning adventure. It is okay  to learn to ski at any age. If I can do it, so can you! Please share your skiing tips and comments below. Cheers! 

 

Skiing so I can Après?

I did it. I went down a green run. What this means is that I am no longer on the learning hill.

 

Image originally on http://www.chamonet.com

Image originally on http://www.chamonet.com

The “green run” is the easiest slopes at a mountain and are usually wide and groomed, and not that “steep.” It does not mean that the snow is green in colour.

I went up the Fitzsimmons Express… which was neat because it was outside (unlink the gondola which is inclosed) and got off at mid station. I hung out on Whiskey Jack for the morning (from the very top and midstation). I forgot my #1 rule: DON’T LOOK DOWN! I fell but a friend picked me up and I slowly remembered everything that I have learned.

I also learned a few other lessons:

  • When your boot buckle is stuck, do another buckle up in order to undo it. Don’t freak out and tell other skiers your boot is broken because it’s not.
  • Whisky Jack is also a cute bird that hangs out on the mountain.
  • There are many lines to get onto the chairlift. Know where to go (you can ask). It is confusing.

Have you ever been inside a gondola before? Check out this video of me coming down from the top of Whistler:

I also love après. Après refers to socializing over drinks when your ski day is done. I have been Aprèsing for a long time so I guess you can say I’m now pre- Aprèsing. This weekend featured cesars and friends (Thea and Jodie)!

So, now that I’m on the grownup runs and embracing the après I feel like I’m growing up in the ski world. Soon I will try a different run (or maybe 2). What do you suggest I try next?

Image belongs to http://letissierdesigns.com

A Whisky Jack.Image belongs to http://letissierdesigns.com

To follow my skiing journey, check back every Wednesday (or sometimes Thursday) and read about my learning adventure. It is okay  to learn to ski at any age. If I can do it, so can you! Please share your skiing tips and comments below. Cheers! 

Deep Winter: Not Your Grandpa’s Slideshow

Remember in the 90s when your parents or grandparents would come back from a trip,  invite you over, set up the projector and screen and then show you their slides? Well, I remember that very clearly. Since the modernization of trip documentation I have not been to slideshow worth talking about since Baba Leah and Zaida Jack went to Spain about 15 years ago…. until Saturday night.

Since my big move to a small town, I’m always on the hunt for fun events that are worth getting fancied up for. Whistler Blackcomb (and many other sponsors) put on a 72 hour photo challenge called Deep Winter and throw a kick ass party to showcase the pictures (slide show style with music).

The nitty gritty:

  • 6 photographers invited
  • Each had 3 skiers or boarders
  • 72 hours of shooting and editing
  • 1 big party
  • 1 grand prize
  • $20 a ticket
  • Sold Out
  • Fun martinis (with an ice luge)
  • Inspiration to become a better skier

The event was a few hours and the judges name Russell Dalby the winner. From what I remember, all of the entries were breath taking and creative but Dalby’s pictures were all black and white with a very artistic  breath of life, to them.

This is is his entry:

The event promoted the use of Intagram and tagging pictures with #DeepWinter. I managed to share some of  these photos:

Frozen apples.

Frozen apples

Patterns.

Patterns

Giant cheque (well, back of cheque).

Giant cheque (well, back of cheque) -Not shared

As you can see, I too, am a photographer. I apologize for the lack of photos….. I was having too much fun to crack out the iPhone and snap away.

I look forward to this Summer’s photo challenge and feel inspired to take Shayne’s camera on the bunny hill with me. Most likely, I won’t be allowed. I’m sure there will be a link to see the enteries soon, until then you can check out the Deep Winter website. 

To follow my skiing journey, check back every Wednesday (or sometimes Thursday) and read about my learning adventure. It is okay  to learn to ski at any age. If I can do it, so can you! Please share your skiing tips and comments below. Cheers! 

Day 4 of Skiing: Monologues from the Chairlift

I made it to the mountain on Sunday. My ride left before I could get myself together so I took the Greyhound from Pemberton to Whistler (I do not have a car). Greyhound sucks. The website was down so I stood at the stop when I thought there would be a bus and at 12:30pm a bus came along (with a very nice driver) so I began my skiing adventure.

I decided to make chairlift monologues about my day on the Olympic Chair. Watch the first one…you can see what it is like to be on a chairlift:

So, I made it down without landing in any tree wells. I became confident….so here is the 2nd video. Can you hear my asthmatic lungs?:

I have not yet made the Craigslist ad but when I do…..you will know! 

I SHAVED……off 45 minutes of how long it takes me to get down. I made it down in a record time of 15 minutes. Hear me ramble for 30-something seconds here (I sound so stoked):

I have a few questions: 

1.Why am I so sexy in these videos?

2. Has anyone ever dropped their phone while making a chairlift monologue?

You can expect more of these videos (but better) because, moving forward, I will explore the other 199 runs that Whistler Blackcomb have to offer. I guess one would say that I am a big girl now….

Do you have any skiing tips or questions? Let me know and I’ll either try your tip or find someone to answer your question! 

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To follow my skiing journey, check back every Wednesday (or sometimes Thursday) and read about my learning adventure. It is okay  to learn to ski at any age. If I can do it, so can you! Please share your skiing tips and comments below. Cheers!