Dressed in my 20 year old bright yellow smock, resembling a giant, skiing banana, I had forgotten just how much I enjoy skiing until I hit the slopes in Whistler. For me, skiing is a perfect mix of physical activity, difficult skills, speed, risk, challenge, beautiful scenery and booze. I must admit that the booze is easing off a little as I get older and think back, with some fondness but mostly embarrassment, to the days when I was either drunk or hungover on the slopes, skiing with a speed and confidence that my skill most certainly didn’t warrant.
Whistler is a great place for skiing, with a huge amount of varied terrain and good old Canadian efficiency. The big draw back is the cost. At CAN$ 170 a day for a lift pass, CAN$750 for a day of private lessons and CAN$250 for a day of group lessons, it makes France look bargain basement.
We jumped in to the group lessons and am not sure I would again. The good news is that there are only 4 people in a class, but that where it ends. Groups change each day, so the first half hour is spent with instructors ensuring the groups are right. There is then the tension between breaking for lunch, wanting to maximise time on the slopes and acknowledging that not everyone can easily manage 5 hours on the slopes…….. On two days, my instructor was a little bit lazy and I think I probably had about 20 mins proper coaching in those days and spent the rest of the time merely following her.
I had 6 days on the slopes and J had three. Mostly I was smiling from ear to ear.
The initial plan was to bounce through Vancouver, fly to Toronto for a few days, then on to the UK….. until we found out that internal flights are far more expensive than international flights, so we changed plans to have a few more days in Vancouver then only connect in Toronto.
It was an opportunity to do some of the things that we hadn’t done because of our previous illness, to catch up with L&S one last time, and to eat really, really well (The Jam Café is absolutely fantastic).
I ran, we walked, we ate, we slept and we were re-united with some foutas we bought in Tunis and which Fiona had very kindly arranged to ship to her brother, Iain, in Vancouver (we have quite a lot of stuff in various places around the world right now (thanks Guy, Liz, Melinda, Tom and Nic…………).
It was lovely to visit Canada, to see Larry and Sandra, to ski and to be in a land of plenty. It felt rather more like a nice holiday than the adventure of the past 8 months, but that can be no bad thing. It is easy, relaxing and a perfect place to explore further when our bodies are less up for adventure.