Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Someone shrank my mountain!

Well, I sucked it up and went for a snowboard. It wasn't as cold as I was fearing. The weather was definately milder than the last couple of days. Mind you, the only way that it could get any colder would be if they moved Fernie to just outside Winnipeg. That move would also suck, because, the whole province of Manitoba is flatter than the pool table we used to have at my house (it was the world's bumpiest pool table, but even so).

Anyway, I went up the hill, not expecting too much. I wasn't disappointed. The conditions were mostly decent. It was a little patchy in places and, of course, bitterly cold. My fingers started burning about ten seconds after getting on the chair. It's not their fault, they used to be Tim's gloves - that's my flatmate Tim, not my father, who also goes by the name of Tim, despite having two other names in front of Tim. Tim lent them to me when his brand new Burton Somethingorothers arrived but they are actually about 25% duct tape and rising. Now, while duct tape is a fine and wonderful product, it is not known for being a great insulator.

But in some sort of weird inversion of the laws of physics, it got warmer as I went up. Actually, this is totally understandable, as the Elk chair (check out the trail map on my rapidly growing links column) seems like it is permanently in shadow. Thankfully I only have to ride it once or twice a day to get up to the Bear chair.

So, once I got up to the top of the Bear, I went a short way down on a greenish trail just to check that my brain hadn't gone numb and I remembered how to snowboard. I did, so I cut back onto the Bear run itself. The Bear is a steep Blue run, almost a Black but it's nice and wide, so it's got a nice challenging edge to it in places.

At least, it had a challenging edge to it on Dec 27th (where it was the scene of several "why can't I just stop sucking?" moments). Somebody had obviously snuck up the mountain with earth moving equipment since then because the run I found myself on was about as tame as Paddington Bear.

I just couldn't understand it. This run seemed to be in the same place as Bear used to be, but it was kind of flat and boring. I'm not a Bear of Little Brain (I just play one on TV) but this was very confusing. I think that somehow, housekeeping for about five days in a row actually helped me to make a quantum leap in my snowboarding skills and / or confidence. This is a great feeling. I guess it's kind of like a hockey player who is "in the Zone" and seeing the goal twice as large as it usually is.

This metaphor is because there's a game on TV right now - Hooray! The absence of NHL hockey is an interesting experience. Even I'm feeling a (small) hockey shaped void in my life, and I'm definately not a hardcore fan. Hockey is only absent from TV really, since every other Canadian under the age of 60 (and some above that age) is still playing hockey. There are some rather amusing "bring back hockey" adverts, but it's not the same.

So, I'll add my voice to the multitudes:

Dear NHL and NHL Players Association,

Grow up and sort out your problems like adults. That or hold a winner takes all Rock-Paper-Scissors contest to decide whose salary proposal to adopt. Otherwise, I'l have to start watching baseball, and nobody wants that.


On a final hockey note - Go Canada GO! We (see how easily I have assimilated) are beating the Russians 5-1 halfway through the second period. That is the halfway point of the game since hockey has three periods for some bizzare reason (I think the zamboni driver's union has mafia connections).

Anyway, I love this snowboarding-zone feeling, and hope it never goes away. Of course it will, and then I'll have to work at my riding until black diamonds feel easy (instead of just feeling rideable like they do at the moment). It's a never ending journey (just like my life).

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