Saturday, January 01, 2005

The day heaven froze over

The first day of the this year wasn't quite as cold as the last day of last year. But I wasn't stupid enough to go up the hill yesterday. Actually, I probably am that stupid, but I was working.

Anyway, I leave the house at 8am with Tim and Kara (they start work at 8:30 and have to get into their funky uniforms up in the "pro" room). It's cold out, but I've got my ninja mask (a fleecy balaclava thing) on, so walking to the day lodge doesn't feel too bad.

At about 9:02AM, I'm getting onto the fifth chair of the year, and it's quite cold.

At about 9:07AM, My right knee is shivering, and most of my extremities are stinging.

At about 9:10AM, My breath is freezing to the lenses of my goggles. Not just fogging up my goggles, but when I try to clean them, I'm rubbing at small chunks of ice.

I struggle though about an hour and a half of heliotropic riding before heading into the daylodge to warm up. After about 15 minutes, I decide to brave the elements again.

Minus Twenty Celcius plus windchill is about as brutal as it sounds. My eyebrows started feeling all crinkly, my fingers were burning, and the frostbite warnings on the lifts' noticeboards were definately needed.

I've decided there's another benefit to cat-skiing. It's not just the fresh powder and uncrowded slopes. Nope, on days like today, cat-skiing's big advantage is getting to sit in a heated, windproof, vehicle rather than a chair

I'm riding pretty well much of the time, except when I nearly take out this little kid. A three foot tall munchkin on skis just isn't very visible on a steep run when I'm concentrating on not taking a flyer off a mogul. We both spotted each other just before the last minute and I sat down to try and slow down and minimize the impact. He sat down too and I either just passed in front of him or clipped him a little bit. Either way, we both asked the other "are you OK?" pretty much simultaneously. A lucky escape - splattering a six year old is not a good way to start the year (although he was a skier).

But basically, Fernie Alpine Resort today was too cold and too crowded. Especially too cold. At times I felt that I was auditioning for a reality TV show set on the Russian Front.

So I came home not long after "lunch" to do a bit of tidying and net surfing. Still, it was quite a satisfying day, if definately one that involved being far colder than I like to be.

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