Jan 12, 2004

January 8, 2004: Whistler Day 6
Although we had decided to start out early and hit the slopes when the lifts opened at 08:00, we didn't actually wake up until 08:30, and then only with much anguish and groaning, dragging our sore limbs and stiff joints from our beds or sleeping bags, whichever applied. As had become custom, the mornings involved some showering and suiting up, mostly in silence, as soldiers to war. Our foe was no mere mortal, it was a mountain. And the silence was not from fear or dread, nor reverence of the mountain. It stemmed from an innate wisdom of the human spirit: that rising before 10:00 on a vacation was no mere task.

I suited up with pretty much the same gear I had for the past few days, a pair of old liner socks, the pair of new wool socks, an old tattered pair of jeans, old Gore-tex pants, a polyester North Face long sleeve T, a thin North Face fleece, gloves, fleece toque, coat, and goggles. In my backpack I packed an extra thick fleece (I actually never really needed to use it, it was really just there as extra padding), sunscreen, my camera, extra batteries, extra compactflash card, old Motorola Talkabouts, and some snacks.

A slight aside regarding the Talkabouts. I got them from my aunt a good 6 or 7 years ago I think, and she got them from Hong Kong or Japan. This was a couple of years before they were available in North America. Now I had assumed that they were the same as the FRS radios that Motorola sold under the Talkabout name in North America, which are compatible with a number of other FRS radios by companies like Garmin, Midland or Cobra. Apparently, this isn't true. Lancer had recently purchased a pair of Midland FRS radios, which worked fine with a North American Motrola Talkabout we had. However, it didn't work with my older radios.

It turned out however, that there's a lot of FRS users on the slopes, making it hard to find empty channels using Lancer's radios. On most channels you'd hear other users, which often got annoying pretty quick. After we switched to using the Asian radios, we didn't have any more interference from other users.

Unlike the previous day, this morning we had five heading out. Sinyee and Averal were joining us after their extended break. We stopped by for our customary McDonald's breakfast and headed for the lifts. Sinyee and Averal had to pick up rental equipment, and Asmodean was planning to join them on the easy runs. Arislan and I headed up the gondola first for a quick run, hoping to meet the others when we got down, since they were planning to do some easy runs for most of the day. We changed our plans when we saw that the Peak Express chair was open, since we had never been up that chair, and didn't want to miss our chance for what powder might be left at 10:00.

There was plenty of fresh snow on the ground at the peak, and even more blowing around. The winds were insane, and pretty much prevented us from going down the really shallow slopes as it blew upwards. We ended up just jumping off the edge since it took so long trying to get down the relatively flat paths. The two of us did a few runs, which were pretty awesome since the clouds and wind cleared up on the back side of the mountain, and the snow was still fresh since it seemed like most people didn't want to deal with the winds at the peak. It only took about an hour but pretty much tired me out, since we were going through the trees. It didn't help that I had went to the edge of a cliff I couldn't see the bottom of, so I had to dig myself out (since I had sunk in when I stopped) and climb back out in the thigh deep snow. As we rode back down to the base and waited, the other guys never showed up. We had expected them to ride down to the bottom, but they must have changed their plans as well. The sad thing was that the Talkabouts didn't help, since they both remained in my backpack.

We did a few more runs on the easier areas looking for Sinyee, Averal, and Asmodean, but never found them. We went back up to the peak in the late afternoon, but the snow had been chopped up while we were gone. As usual, we rode until 15:00, when the lifts closed, and called it a day. I was utterly exhausted and walk back to the condo didn't help much. The outdoor hottub however, was great. For the first time since we arrived it was empty when we got back, so Sinyee, Arislan and I took it over for a short while. We soaked for about 20 minutes, until it got too hot. The guys watched some inane episode of Star Trek: Voyager (yes, pretty much every episode of this series is inane), while Sinyee made dinner (shake n'bake chicken with mushrooms, peas, garlic bread and Chunky soup). Afterwards we spent another exciting evening playing poker, this time with 8 hands. Eventually, as each of us lost all our chips, we packed it in for the night. Being totally exhausted, I wasn't even awake long enough to figure out who won.

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