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November 29, 2005

Work, Lots of Work

So work began.

Friday was the first day of the American Thanks-giving weekend, it was also my (and a few others) first day.
It wasn't quite the massacre we were all predicting, but it wasn't far off.
I started at 7:30am and was posted at the Kids section in Whistler. We opened the doors at 7:45am and was faced with a queue of agitated parents out of the door trying to get their kids booked and off to lessons - all in time to allow themselves to book and get off to their own lessons.
It was pretty manic until about midday when we had a quite period until about 3:00pm when the lessons started to return. I left work at around 6pm and returned home for a hot bath and a cold beer.

I worked (again from 7:30am until 5:30pm) on Saturday, Sunday and Monday - with each day getting less and less busy.
I've been moved around between each of the 4 Whistler Village locations (I'm the Ski School nomad), which has at least added some variety.

I've already met a huge variety of people, from those with no idea about what they want, to those with a very slight grasp of English (sometimes both). Each have posed their own "special" challenge (40 minutes is my current record explaining things to a single customer).

The continuous standing made my knee and shin swell up quite considerably so I bought a knee support. That combined with hot baths and keeping my feet up had aided recovery.

I work 4 days on, 3 days off at the moment (total of 40 hours) - I currently work Fri, Sat, Sun, Mon - which suits me as I miss the weekend rush and get quiet days on the hill.


Today I decided to take a day off and rest my leg. Uncle Chris rang saying his parents were in town and would we like to join them for lunch? Myself and SK went into town and joined them for a pub lunch at the infamous "Brewhouse" which was very nice.

Tomorrow I'm hitting the hill with SK and one of her workmates which should be cool. She is apparently an awesome skier so I'm a little apprehensive....

Unsure what Ben will be doing tomorrow, he is currently making a practice meal in preparation for cooking dinner for a "special friend" tomorrow night. Myself and SK have been asked to leave the house for the evening...

The snow continues to fall - there has been about 3-4cm each night for the past week and the same is forecast for another few days. The snow cannons were working at the base of Blackcomb today so the omens are good for the whole mountain to open soon :o)

Anyway, I'm going to have another bath and a beer :o)

Posted by edwardnorthridge at 07:03 PM | Comments (0)

November 24, 2005

Whistler Opening

Well despite the initial outlook that this week would be dull and boring it hasn't been too bad at all :)

On Monday night I joined SK (and one of her workmates) in the Longhorn Bar after she finished her first day of Whistler Employment. Work seemed ok, if not a little dull at these early stages. We had a drink then Myself and SK had a case of the munchies so went in search of the famed Whistler delicacy "Cheap Wings".
We arrived at the door of "The Crab Shack" (as if the name shouldn't have warned us enough) to be greeted with a "$5 pint and pound" offer - $5 for a pint of ale, and a pound of chicken wings/small legs.
In all honesty it wasn't great (I sound surprised), we ate as quickly as possible and just as each table around us ordered a 2nd helping we paid the bill and beat a hasty retreat!

Tuesday was spent lounging around the house, at lunchtime we went to the Mongolie Grill (again) for another excellent lunch, it was one of the last days of the 50% discount offer - so we felt it rude not to take advantage.

Yesterday (despite warnings of it being an ice field) myself and SK went up Blackcomb to see just what it was like. It was bad. Sheet Ice over all the open runs. I did 1/2 of one run head first on my back having slipped over at the top and was unable to right myself.
We finished the day with an evening in "Buffalo Bills" (a nightclub/late bar). A load of SKs work mates arrived mid evening and a great evening was had by all. Very good music and no cigarette smoke (smoking is banned in most Canadian establishments)!


Today was the opening day of Whistler Mountain, myself and SK got to the top of the mountain for about 11am and had an excellent day sliding down the slopes.

blogWhistlerPanorama.jpg
Panorama from (nearly) Whistler Peak

There was minimal amounts of ice, mainly hard packed snow and even some powder!

I even experimented taking some videos with my camera. The results of these can be seen in my new "Videos" section.

New Video Section
Warning: The "Ed Tour" may make you nauseous,
In her video SK is going a little slowly having just had a monster crash.
The 3rd video is from the Summer and Chris was giving us a tour of Whistler.

At the end of the day I decided to hit "the Park" and to try a box (like a rail, just wider, and.. well.. like a box)
In short I failed and bashed my shin,

blogEdShin.jpg
My Shin after my fall onto steel tubing :o) - it looks worse than it is

Nevermind, I know what I did wrong so the next time I'm up I'll give them another go.

More photos from todays trip are in the normal place :o)

Ben has spent the last week working each day - hence the lack of inclusion in the blog - hopefully he's going to get some time off soon

Tomorrow I start work at 0730, so I'm going to give my notes one last look over and have an early night.

Snow forecast for the next 4 days which will help conditions :o)
I hear the UK is also due snow - I expect everything to grind to a halt as normal ;o)

Posted by edwardnorthridge at 07:32 PM | Comments (0)

November 20, 2005

A Day of Rest

Phew! Well that has certainly been a frantic week, sorry for the lack of news but as you know I've been rather rushed. I've finally got a moment so here is a proper update.

I finally finished my training, the final "exam" wasn't bad and I finished in good time. They are going to be marked but the result isn't make or break for our jobs :o)
Afterwards the group (finally) went to the nearby bar for some cheap beer and to celebrate a frantic week.
On Monday evening we have a party to celebrate the start of the season and to get to meet the 2 other groups who have both been through training before us. Its a themed fancy dress - "the 80's" (you can imagine my joy...) so I'm going to head to the local charity shop this afternoon and see what I can find.

No snow for a couple of days (both past and forecast) as we are currently experiencing a bit of a heat wave, "the pineapple" (warm air from Hawaii) has rolled in and is keeping temperatures on the mountain at about 7*c. This has made all the snow on the mountain a bit slushy, but its better than the hard packed ice fields of the week before.
Its set to be here until Wednesday when more snow is forecast *fingers crossed*

Yesterday Ben and SK went out on the mountain, I decided my knee needed a rest so stayed at home. They were out for about an hour before I decided otherwise and joined them... having decided my knee could handle it ;o)
It turned out it couldn't really, so I'm having a proper rest day today (couch, pajamas, computer games, hot chocolate - the usual way to spend a Sunday)

Last night myself and SK went to the cinema to watch the new Harry Potter movie. I thought it was very well done (especially considering how much was covered in the book) and worth a watch.
There was also a trailer for a new movie called "Happy Feet", which looks quite silly - check out the trailer if you can.

Ben is currently on the mountain perfecting a few things and SK is at her first day of work sporting a quite funky uniform.

As you know I start work on Friday in the Kids Section of Whistler Base - its opening day for Whistler mountain so I'm expecting it to be hectic.
I might go in on Thursday and shadow someone behind the desk for a few hours - just to see how everything works for real.

I've just put up some new photos in the photo gallery, some you will have already seen, others are defiantly new.

It was good to see some pictures from the various recent climbing expeditions - Ali up to his usual tricks again :o)

Speak to you later

Posted by edwardnorthridge at 09:46 AM | Comments (0)

November 17, 2005

My Brain Hurts :o(

Well it has been a while since my last post, and this post won't be that long both oweing to the fact I've been incredibly busy.

Training has been quick and in depth. My head is swimming with all the different types of passes, tickets, lessons, meeting places, rental locations and procedures I need to work. As well as loads of info on Whistler as a whole which people will probably ask (like "where's good for breakfast")

There are 12 people in my group (from a total of about 35), mainly guys from New Zealand. All a nice friendly bunch but they don't seem too interested in beer - we haven't yet gone out as a group :os

Tomorrow we have a 2 hour exam covering everything we have covered, its open book so shouldn't be *too* bad - he says...

I start work proper next friday, working behind the desk at the Whistler Kids location (thats with kids from the ages of 3 to 17) its going to be interesting...

Anyway I need toget back to my revision, Ben is out at the gym making himself particulary buff and SK is in town with some work mates having a meal and drinks.

All is well, no snow for the past few days but a few inches are forcast for next week

Posted by edwardnorthridge at 07:28 PM | Comments (0)

November 13, 2005

A Family Outing

Neither of us had to work today so we all headed out for a day on the mountain together.

I bashed my knee and pulled a few muscles in my neck and shoulder in a monster crash yesterday but following some frozen chips, a scorching hot bath and some deep heat I was well enough by this morning to walk with a limp, so figured snowboarding would be fine...

We got onto the hill for 9am and showed Ben around as it was his first day. There was about 10cm of new snow on the ground so the first hour was spent riding mounds of fresh powder :op

We took a break for lunch at 11:30 and continued boarding untill about 1pm when general aches and pains took over and we called it a day.

I start my training at 9am tomorrow and Ben is working so SK might spent the morning on the hill.

Hope the UK is lovelly

Posted by edwardnorthridge at 07:53 PM | Comments (0)

November 11, 2005

Another Day on the Hill

This will be bulleted to save reading/typing time:

- Yesterday Myself and Ben went swimming for just over an hour - was good fun, but I've lost all previous swimming fitness.
- While passing through village noticed Clearance Center has snowboard/binding bundles for $50. Thought it was too good an offer for a "rock board" (a snowboard to be used in early season conditions) so bought one.
- Attached decent bindings to knackered board - changed a few settings

*slept*

- Awoke, ate, in lift queue and on mountain by 9am.
- Boarded badly for an hour as I got used to all the new stuff happening beneth my feet.
- Got the hang of it and boarded untill 2pm when it started to Snow
- Returned home to find something (unessential) has broken on my decent bindings, arse.
- Going to town to investigate replacement and to go climbing with SK once she finishes work.

I start training on Monday at 9am, tomorrow (and sunday) will be spent snowboarding.

Hope the UK is fun
I reserve the right for other blog posts to be as mundane as this

Posted by edwardnorthridge at 04:06 PM | Comments (0)

November 09, 2005

Food Glorious Food....

Last night the 3 of us went to the Mongolie Grill for no more than the reason they have a 50% discount offer on.

Interesting concept for a restaurant, you collect a bowl and fill it with whatever you want from a selection of about 20 ingredients from a Harvester esq salad cart, everything from various vegetables to a wide selection of meat and seafood are available - almost everything you could think to put in a stir fry.
The finaly choice is which sauce(s) to pour over the smorgasboard of flavours you have just concocted.

You pass this bowl to one of the 3 chefs in the 'kitchen' (a single large circular hot frying plate which can cook 12 meals at a time), who weigh your bowl, give you a ticket, and cook it there and then in front of you.

You're charged by the weight (with the 50% discount its 8 GBP/KG) which was quite reasonabe considering my bowl was a protein feast of Seafood, Pork (various flavours) Chicken, Beef (2 varieties) and Venison - all crowned with a few vegetables and cashew nuts...

Afterwards we wondered to a bar and played some pool before catching the bus back.

The snow has continued to fall on the mountain - but the resort level stuff is fast melting.

The blackcomb mountain opens permentantly this friday,
SK is working this thursday, but should get the weekend off to Snowboard - her neck is feeling better.
Ben is working, but is hopefully getting sunday off so he's really egar to get up the hill - his hangover is also feeling better
I don't start work till next monday - so I'm loathed by both :o)

Breakfast time for me

Posted by edwardnorthridge at 08:57 AM | Comments (0)

November 07, 2005

Aches and Pains

Ugh, well I'm aching all over.

Yesterday Ben was working and SK decided not to go boarding as she had a training session at 1pm, and is suffering from mild whiplash following a nasty crash on Saturday.

So I left the house and got to the lift queue for 8am, the line was much smaller and I was probably the 20th person on the mountain by about 8:30am.

Some runs were freshly groomed while others had a light dusting of fresh powder :) I was first down a couple of runs and had a good time (despite slightly icy conditions).
The pistes improved through the day and I spent many an hour flying down them at silly speeds.

I attempted some back county powder, but having exhausted myself from repeatedly having to dig myself from snow drifts I gave up and stuck to the main runs. I also had a 'run in' (a.k.a 'near death experience') with a 15ft deep drainage channel - which required the assistance of a passing boarder to escape - but we'll leave that story for a much later day...

I left the mountain at about 2pm when the clouds descended and visability dropped to 10m - not helpful when negotiating a mogul field.

A heavy nights sleep was met by the first valley level snow of the season. 17cm of snow is forecast for the next 48hours - so hopefully the snowbase will be nicer for the weekend when the mountain re-opens.


View from our window - the snow falling doesn't quite show up

I need a hot bath...

Posted by edwardnorthridge at 10:15 AM | Comments (0)

November 05, 2005

And so the mountain opens

An early start was had by all this morning, Ben had to start work at 7am and myself and SK had decided to get in the lift queue for about 8 - ready for the lifts to open at 8:30am.


Paddy and SK kited up (I honestly didn't use the mirrored goggles today)

Arriving at 8am we were greeted by an enormous line of people stretching off in multiple directions - each claiming they were "the queue". Us being English utilized our superior queuing skills and picked the best line.

By 8:15 the clapping and chanting had begun and so the lift plebs capitulated and opened the lifts. Initial fears about not being able to remember how to balance and get on/off a lift while 1/2 attached to a snow board were soon dismissed and we were at the top of the mountain by 9:30am.

Warning notices at the lift stations told us the mountain was experiencing "early season conditions" and that "snow cover may be partial". Well if "partial" means a solid 1-2 feet of snow on all the runs I can't wait for normal season conditions.

11 runs and 4 lifts were open officially, although about 6 more runs were accessible and skiable. There was plenty of snow, although it was all quite cut up - with large, irregular moguls everywhere. Not the best introduction for lazy, soggy legs muscles.

I was surprised at how little I had forgotten since snowboarding at Christmas and after a few tentative minutes was soon throwing myself down blue runs with my usual style ;)

Crashes were thankfully few and far between (single figures), I'm certainly less sore than my previous 'first day' of snowboarding.


SK putting in a turn and Paddy about to be blind sided by a skier.

The weather stayed mostly clear, although by 1pm snow had started to fall and as visibility dropped so did the number of people on the mountain.

We snowboarded the upper runs until about 2:30pm when we took the exit run to the lift station to 'download' (as the snow doesn't extend into the village yet you have to get the ski lift back into the village).

All in all it was an excellent day - certainly a recommended way of spending a Saturday.

I have the whole day off tomorrow so will (hopefully) be spending another day on the piste, SK may join me in the morning as she has a training session from 1pm, unfortunately Ben is working all day again :(

Time to rest these aching quads :)
(sorry for the long post)

Posted by edwardnorthridge at 04:22 PM | Comments (0)

November 01, 2005

Update...

Just a quick edit to say if you go to:

http://www.whistlerblackcomb.com/

and open it in IE, they now have a video on the front page showing the early snow :)

The locals say its the earliest the mountain has opened in 20 years! Fingers crossed...

Posted by edwardnorthridge at 01:34 PM | Comments (0)

Boredom Over !!!

Not a very exciting post, but I had to say 1 thing. Firstly however are a few other news worthy items.

Retro gaming has gripped the house - Ben has become addicted to his Amiga emulator, I've (once again) got hooked on Diddy Kong Racing on my N64 emulator and SK is hunting high and low through eBay Canada for a real N64 to play on. All very sad :o)

Ben went to his Halloween party this evening, dressed as a zombie - complete with embedded axe (see below). He's still off the alcohol due to his teeth, but had a good time regardless.

Myself and SK had an attack of the lethargy (abetted by the torrential rain outside) so stayed in and watched the latest Episode of "Rome" (new TV series, I think its starting this Thursday in the UK - contains lots of violence and sex - just so you know)

Anyway to the main news. This picture appeared on the Whistler & Blackcomb website this evening:

:) Due to the large snowfall (both current and forecast) The resort is opening early, namely this weeknd !
Boredom has hopefully been abated... now back to Diddy Kong...

Posted by edwardnorthridge at 12:03 AM | Comments (0)