Sunday, March 27, 2011

Black Diamond Anyone?

Karlene had the brilliant idea to go to Hidden Valley in the Cypress Hills for a day of snowboarding. We loaded up the little Golf and hit the highway for the 2 hour drive to Elkwater. The roads were truly terrible from maple Creek to the Alberta border, but cleared up afterwards and all in all, we made pretty good time. We suited up, strapped on our boards and hit the hill. Thanks to the recent resurgence of winter (grrrr) the hill had some fantastic spring powder (yay!!) and wasn't terribly icy or windy. We put in 4 runs before lunch and afterwards headed back out, exploring some of the runs that branched off of main runs. Each time we went up the chair we would crane our necks around trying to see what some of the other more challenging runs looked like from above.
Towards the end of the day we came into a beautiful little glade of powder and small hills that seemed to be the final end of a black diamond run. We stopped at the bottom of the hill and looked up to see what it looked like, and it looked good! So, after getting off the chair, we headed towards the black diamond run called "Suicide". I went off ahead and was shooshing along the soft snow at a really gentle incline wondering why this run was black diamond. I started to approach a ledge. The closer I came, the more alarmed I became, realizing I couldn't see the other side of it. I came right to the edge and sat down, laughing. Directly in front of me (below me), was the steepest drop off I'd encountered in a winter sport. The hill was covered in moguls. Karlene came up behind me and asked what was so funny. I pointed over the edge at the moguls and she simply said "oh, no....moguls." We sat there and laughed as we tried to decide how best to get down the hill. I went down a couple of meters on my heel edge, all the while looking down the hill. Before I left yesterday morning Brad made me promise not to break my leg. "This is how legs get broken," I thought to myself. So I sat down, unbound my board and proceeded to go down the hill on my arse, board held with one hand and sliding down beside me as I put a nice ass-groove into some of the softer moguls (sorry about that, expert skiers). About halfway down, I let go of my board knowing it was strapped to me with the runaway-strap, and hoping it wouldn't tug too hard at my leg as it slid down ahead of me. It picked up speed faster than I did, tugged twice at my left, and broke free. (Thank you runaway-strap for not doing the only job you were designed to do). Karlene and I laughed hysterically as we watched it careen down the hill on it's own, hoping that it would slow down and maybe even stop, but each time it appeared to be losing momentum, it hit a mogul and launched itself with renewed enthusiasm, finally coming to a stop once the decline evened out. I slid the rest of the way down on my ass until I was on a more level part of the hill and could strap myself back to my board. We were (thankfully) alone on the run, until we reached the bottom of the steepest part and I was putting my board back on. I don't think they were any the wiser that the bum-groove down the middle of the hill came from my bum.

We finished off the day with a couple more blue runs with a little more powder.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Things that are New

With the coming of spring (it IS coming, damnit!!), I find myself looking forward to the lovely days of sun and warmth that must be on their way - believe me, if I could push spring simply by force of will, we'd have been prancing around in t-shirts and gumboots for a solid three months already. Alas, my superpowers are underdeveloped just yet.
Yesterday we reached 6.5 degrees (according to the thermometer in my car). Despite really loving my teal Steve Madden winter coat, I flat out refused to wear it during any of the trips I had to make around the city for work. Yes, I wore it to work in the morning, but that was just a formality and I threw it carelessly in the backseat of the Golf on my way home after work. My co-workers scolded me, saying there is still snow on the ground and that "it's warm, but it's not THAT warm". Still, I refused. The way I see it, I'm just coaxing the sun to come out and melt away the rest of the snow by proving that it is, in fact, the time of year to start warming things up. "See? I'm not wearing my winter coat anymore because it's practically summer, Mr. Sun! Honest!"
I've got a lot of things to look forward to in the next few months. Mum and Da are coming to visit in July (for the whole month, right guys? Right?), I'll be heading to Penticton in June to meet Mare's little boy, and en route will hopefully have the chance to stop in Calgary and meet Leah's little one. And the thing that's closest for me to look forward to is a trip to Edmonton to visit Vassy in April! I booked my flight not two hours ago and am so excited! Thank you Westjet for your seatsale, and for losing one of my bags on another flight and giving me a $100 credit for picking it up myself! WOOT!