Jan 11, 2004

January 7, 2004: Whistler Day 5
The snow that started yesterday morning had continued throughout the day and evening. Driving back to Whistler last night made the 4x4 totally worthwhile. As we woke, the snow continued. The (exceptionally) cold crisp sunny days had disappeared, this morning was cloudy and grey. Actually, more like cloudy and white. The past two days I had been using the Fire Iridium lens on my goggles. It had been mostly a vanity purchase, but it is a darker lens than the High Intensity Persimmon lens that I had before. The Fire lens was nicer to use on the sunny days, but it was really only useful for a couple of hours, since the sun sinks behind the mountain pretty early in the afternoon.

Although the first two days were much colder, today's weather felt more extreme. Arislan, Asmodean and I went up Blackcomb instead of Whistler today, since the lift pass allows access to both mountains, and we had explored most of Whistler in the previous two days. Everyone else took a break today. By the time we got to the top of Blackcomb, we were in the middle of a snowstorm with extremely high winds. Snow occaisionally swept horizontally through the air, though more often it actually went upwards from the wind. Riding up the lifts, I felt bunkered with my face covered with a fleece gaiter and my goggles. The snow rattled against my hood as I thought how surprisingly windproof my jacket was. There's a warm feeling I get sometimes, looking out the window while sitting indoors or in a car while a brutal snowstorm rages outside. I get the same kinda feeling sometimes when snowboarding, when you realize the amount of shelter you get from your coat and goggles and maybe hiding behind a snowdrift.

The best thing about deep snow is that it gives you guts to push yourself without the fear of pain. You can bomb a mogul run taking the jumps and living through the falls as you roll down the slope. Or as we did, we adventurously followed a bunch of guys who hiked up the hill after getting off the T-bar. What were they doing? We weren't sure, but probably going to jump off a mountain, and whatever it was, it was probably fun. We ended up riding down the back of the mountain on Blackcomb Glacier in near whiteout conditions, where you can't tell the sky from the ground since everything is the same shade of white, and you catch edges and flip out because you're going sideways down the mountain when you think you're actually going downhill. It was the weirdest feeling to think that I was going at speed X, watching Asmodean snowboard towards me, then later realizing he was actually just sitting in the snow, and I was really going at speed 2X towards him. It was a 10.6 km run to the chairlift, and even though it involved a good long hike at the bottom as the trail flattened out, it passed pretty quickly.

The worst thing about the deep snow is that it really tires you out. By the end of the day I was struggling to make it to the bottom, although it had been a wonderful day for riding. The powder in the morning was pretty chopped up by the late afternoon. Arislan and I had try taking the Horstman T-bar over to a section of Blackcomb which we had not ridden before. Asmodean decided not to come, since riding the T-bar on a snowboard is a pain. The T-bar looks like an inverted T. Normally two skiers would sit on the bar as it dragged them up the mountain, with their skiis on the snow. It's somewhat more difficult with the snowboard, since you ride with one foot in front of the other. It's rather difficult to get the T behind your butt while maintaining balance, so they tend to stick it behind your front leg and have it drag you. It's rather uncomfortable to say the least. Bad things can happen, as Arislan demonstrated when he lost his balance in the striong wind, but held on in persistence as he was dragged up the hill on his belly instead of on his board.

By the time the two of us made it back to the condo, Asmodean had already showered, while Lancer, Averal and Sinyee were headed out to a sleigh ride. I was far too tired to deal with sitting out in the cold anymore, so I tested out the jacuzzi in the master bedroom's washroom. I can say a hot bath is something I haven't had in a long time, and bubbly water is neat too (for about 5 minutes, then I started worrying about wrinkles - I know, I'm young, but heck I was getting wrinkles in the tub when I was 3, so it's not like I'm paranoid). The weren't quite in the same places as my sore muscles, but it did feel kinda good, even though as an adult I do feel odd sitting in a small tub of water.

Okay, enough of that. I got out enough of the bath, and the other guys had enough of their sleigh ride. They gave us a call and we met up at a restaurant called the Crabshack, which was advertised on TV. Now I realize I can be snobbish about food sometimes, and one of those snobbish things I tend to do is look down on a) restaurant chains and b) restaurants advertised on TV. In this case, I should have been more snobbish, because I felt totally ripped off by snobbish level prices with quite non-snobbish food. The oysters weren't cheap, but okay at $2.50 a pop, since they had a decent variety of good oysters. At $30 for a salmon filet though (admittedly wild sockeye rather than the recently publicly maligned farmed variety), I expected enough to make me full. And the Chocolate Decadent dessert was ok, but nothing close to decadent.

After dinner, Lancer, Arislan, Averal and Sinyee went to a creperie near the condo for dessert, while I found an internet cafe where I uploaded the previous blogs. It was another movie night as we watched Equilibrium before passing out.

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