Christmas Catch-up 2: Wannabe Ski Bums

This is the follow up to last week’s post. If you’d rather skip it, the short version is that Erin and I got engaged and went to some Christmas parties… Also I got very sick at some point. Now that you’re brought up to speed, let us begin. 

The day after Nikki’s party I drove Erin, Jason, and Shannon to Lake Louise for a ski trip. We met up with two more friends of ours Amber and Ryan. We arrived late in the day and sat in the hot tub before getting some food at the last restaurant in town still open that time of night.

The next day we hit the slopes. It was cold, about -25C in the morning, but luckily we all have good gear. I’m especially glad I had my Icebreaker Merino wool base layers and socks, worth their weight in gold when its cold outside. After a few runs together we decided to split up, simply because we are all at different levels of skill. Jason, Ryan, and Erin disappeared onto the mountain. I hit the green runs because that’s all I can do, and it wasn’t uncommon for me to bump into Amber during the day. Shannon made herself comfortable in the Chalet and read a book. It was nice knowing there was always someone there to relax with if you got tired… or injured. The chalet there is quite beautiful. On my last run of the day my recently purchased helmet paid for itself. I was going down the easiest run on the hill, its labeled as such. I was carving on my board and I went over backwards, I slammed my tailbone onto the hard pack snow then my head whipped and the back of my helmet smucked the ground. I laid there with a sore rear, a sore neck, and a head that felt okay. All I could think was, why was I so stupid as to wait til now to buy a helmet. I should have bought one years ago. I slowly made my way down the mountain to the chalet and waited for everyone else to filter in. The hot tub felt good that night. For the next few days I had to sit down slowly and when lying flat on my back I couldn’t lift my head up without using my hands for help.

Photo courtesy of Erin

Photo courtesy of Erin

Photo courtesy of Erin

Photo courtesy of Erin

We intended to hit the slopes the next day as well, but we woke up and read -30C on the thermometer and decided to head home instead. Good thing as I was still rather sore from my spill the day before.

The next thing on the schedule was New Years. We started the evening at Erin’s parents discussing the wedding and various options… Friendly heads up, fellas: if you ever propose, the next year of your life will be all about weddings. After that we headed to a friend’s cabin to visit more friends, see some New Year’s fireworks, have a chat with some friends around the fire pit, and then head home for sleep. I had a long day ahead of me.

We stayed just long enough for me to get this awesome selfie with Jason

We stayed just long enough for me to get this awesome selfie with Jason

The next day was the drive to Fernie, it was me, Jason, and Ryer. We arrived late in the day and I was amazed at how nice of a town it was at night. The Fernie Alpine Resort, the little community on the mountain side, looked like a miniature village in a department store window… they should consider adding a train. We checked into our room and realized that three guys, will have to share a room with only two beds and no couch, it worked out that each guy got one night with the bed to himself.

It was smal, but at least it was clean and ski-in ski-out

It was small, but at least it was clean and ski-in ski-out

The next day, we hit the slopes. I was amazed to see how big the hill was. I was limited, by my skill, to about one sixth of the available runs, maybe even less, and that was still enough for me to have a great time for two days. The first day was mostly me plowing down the green runs, lucky for me all the staff were super encouraging. I got a few thumbs ups when I made it off the chair lift without finding my way onto my rear. Actually everyone there, staff or patron, seemed to have the same “we were all knew at some point” attitude. It really takes the pressure off. Towards the end of the day I was starting to be able to carve. I still had a bit of spook in me from my spill at Lake Louise though.

At least I look kinda cool in all my gear

At least I look kinda cool in all my gear

I didn't think to take a lot of pictures, I was too busy having fun

I didn’t think to take a lot of pictures, I was too busy having fun

That evening we drove into the town and had dinner at a steak house. I got to try a swordfish steak, it was delicious. We then went to a pub but found that the DJ was somewhat lacking. So we moved on, somehow we found ourselves at a reggae bar. At first it didn’t make sense to me but then I remembered that there is a lot of snowboarders who love reggae, honestly, I kinda like it too. Ryer was laughing, to us, at the old white guys dancing and stated “if I’m ever that guy, kill me” he then had a few more drinks and joined them… I was wondering how serious he was earlier. Jason and I debated weather or not we should put him down. We opted not to, for now…

The next morning Jason and Ryer seemed to be having trouble getting out of bed or moving quickly. Funny how that happens sometimes. We eventually found our way up to the hill, I returned to my green runs, while Jason and Ryer made their way farther up the mountain. Towards the end of the day though, Jason decided to hit some of the easier runs with me. I was able to find a few pockets of deep powder and really go all out, since powder makes falling a much less painful affair. I must say I was really impressed with my progress, a few more days and I might have been willing to hit a blue run, maybe.

There were two notable crashes on the trip, both in quick succession. The first was when Jason tried to stop short when I was sitting down with my board on. He would have stopped in time but he hit a very small sapling barely sticking out of the snow, instead of falling on me he opted to jump over me. He landed on his side and the ground exploded in a cloud of snow, limbs and skis. He didn’t get hurt so it was hilarious. We regrouped, and I explained where the deep powder was a little further down the run, I also warned him of the ruts. He took off ahead of me and in the distance I saw his skis come about a foot off the ground. Maybe he wasn’t listening when I told him about the ruts. He landed like a champ, it was very impressive, I thought he was headed for a second crash. I came into the powder with some speed and carved like a wild man. I was very pleased with myself until I tipped over and punched my fist into the packed snow underneath. I buried my hand wrist deep but my board and body kept moving. It was pretty painful and I’m not sure how I got out of it without a broken wrist. I certainly let out some noises and words that I hope the kids in the nearby ski school didn’t hear. We finished our run and got to the bottom just in time to see the chairlift close. Oh well, we had a good time while it lasted right? We headed to the hotel to find Ryer having a nap, I guess for some strange reason he decided to pack it in early. Maybe he wasn’t feeling well. We made fun of him a bit, and hit the hot tub.

That evening we went out for dinner at a place called “The Brick House” we had tried to get in both nights before. The first they were closed and the second they were far too busy. We were all hungry after a long day on the hill so we may be biased, but we all agreed that that was the best meal any one of us had eaten in a long time. I didn’t realize french fries could be that good, they’re french fries… how many recipes can there be? The service was also very good. We decided to hang around after dinner. Ryer and Jason enjoyed a few pints, we swapped some funny and embarrassing stories as well as recapped our days. Then we headed back to the hotel for some sleep. The next morning we were sad to see we weren’t snowed in and instead we had to go home. Ryer also made a point of informing me that I snore very loudly and that Erin is a saint for putting up with it. We loaded up and hit the road. I was happy to be in my own bed again, but I’m already dreaming about my next snowboarding trip. I would like to go back to Fernie, especially once I’m a better rider, it just looks like there’s a lot of mountain to see there. Maybe Erin and I can find some time to go before summer hits us.

After only two snowboarding trips I can really see why so many people choose to live the “ski bum” lifestyle. Working on the ski hill and snowboarding all day seem very enticing and I can’t say I would ever look down on someone who chose that lifestyle.

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