What a great day on the mountain! I got started a little later than expected because I woke up to a bunch of paperwork for my new job that needed attention, but after that and some nice morning chilling with some of the other people at the hostel, I made my down into Whistler Village. One of the guys at the hostel, Jeff, was nice enough to drive me down so I didn’t have to take the bus!
I got my lift pass, then had my rental skis all set up. I skied on Atomic Vantage 90s; they had way more rocker and were much broader than my skis from back home, and they definitely took some getting used to, but I liked the way they handled.
I walked out of the Daylodge and onto the Wizard Express lift to bring me up to the Solar Coast Express lift further up Blackcomb Mountain where there was actually some snow to work with. Whistler Mountain is already closed, but Blackcomb stays open through the end of May. I rode up with two guys about my age from the UK. One had been working the season, the other had just come in for a visit, and they were leaving for a road trip through the States at the end of the week. Most of the way up we watched a hilarious Italian boy who was clearly skiing for the first time and had no idea what he was doing (I’ve never seen such an intense struggle to get on a chair before in my life) — great entertainment.
After we uploaded to the Solar Coast lift, I started making my way down the mountain. I struggled on my first run a bit; I’d forgotten how different real mountain skiing can be from hill skiing in Minnesota. My second run went better. I found two great runs — Honeycomb and Springboard — that I really enjoyed. The snow conditions were pretty slushy, but I’ll take slushy over icy any day!
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to ski as long as I would have liked. My bum knee decided that today of all days was the day it was going to act up, and the swelling got bad enough that I had to download earlier than I wanted and turn in my skis.
I didn’t let that ruin my day, though. After giving my little a little rest, I decided to walk into Whistler Village. On the way I saw signs for Lost Lake Trails, and took a little detour hike through the woods. I didn’t go all the way to the lake, but I did get some great views of the mountains and some streams going through the area.
After the trail, I made my way into the main village area. I started at the Olympic Pavilion, making sure to stop and get a picture at the Olympics Rings. As I walked through the village I dipped into a couple of the shops to look around. Literally every shopkeeper I spoke to was from outside of Canada — lots of Aussies and Kiwis, and quite a few from the UK and Ireland as well.
I found one of the squares and realized I really needed to eat, so I walked into the Beacon Pub and Eatery for a great hot cider and burger. While I was sitting there, I ran into Alex, one of the guys from my hostel; he was in town scouting out places to put in his CV. We chatted for a bit before going our separate ways to keep exploring the village.
After a spell, I caught the bus back to the hostel. I showered up and finally did some laundry. While I was upstairs packing it away, I met my new bunkmate, Megan, a teacher from Australia who’s doing a trip really similar to me. We’re hoping to run into each other again once we get out east.
Megan and I went down to the common room and met up with some of the others. We sat around for a long time talking about the different places we’d traveled to; it was really awesome to hear everyone’s stories and experiences.
Eventually, Joel, one of the hostel staff, asked us if we’d like to join in on a game of pool. I warned everyone that I was awful and explained that the last time I played was when I was trapped in the billiards room in St. John’s, but he insisted that I try. He gave me some pointers and I actually wound up doing ok in my first game. The second game worked out a little bit more like my later rounds of poker on the train with Mikey and Andrew (i.e. – horrendously).
We played for a few hours as more people started to trickle in from their nights out. Joel, Alex, and I stayed up until almost 4:30 jamming and talking. Joel is a pretty good guitar player and we covered everything from Jack Johnson to The Goo Goo Dolls. It was like a movie moment!
But, seeing as it is now almost 5:00 am and I’m leaving to go back to Vancouver tomorrow, I think I should probably get off to bed!