Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Escape: Back to Reality

~ Warning: LONG POST! ~
Today was the last day of our escape to Whistler. It was a really great vacation! We had a little of everything- sun to snow to rain, good food & great dessert, zipping down the mountain on snowboards and zipping down attached only to a cable, hundreds of feet in the air. We relaxed, we slept in, we enjoyed quiet time together. Of course, we missed our two little monkeys, who kept Grandad & Grammie very busy back home, but we also really enjoyed our escape...
Day 1- foggy and snowy
Larry spent every moment possible conquering the mountain. After "accidentally" leading us down a blue trail the first day, he was ready for anything. I just begged him to stay off the terrain park, and I think he complied!
Day 2- snowed 20 inches, windy & cold up top
The mountain was not so friendly with me, this trip. I am going home in one piece, but slightly battered and ego-bruised. After 2 1/2 days on skis my shins were completely battered and sore- I couldn't even walk in my ski boots without almost crying. "Shin Bang" the locals diagnosed it; it felt as though someone pounded on my shins with a spiked club. (ok- maybe I'm being dramatic, but I want you to understand my pain! ;) ) I've never had that problem when skiing before and hope to avoid it next time!
After snowing on Day 2- they clear this village square of snow every night and this is how much snow accumulated and was piled up in just one day!
But I was not going to let my trip be done with there- I swapped my skis for a board and some much more comfortable snowboard boots and got back out there. After 2 hours of good direction from Larry and a lot of face plants in the snow, I was so tired and sore I could barely hold my head up to eat dinner. But that same head is quite thick, so I tried again on Day 4 with a full day of lessons. My teacher was a little lady from Japan, Coochi (I promise that's her name), and she taught me a lot of the basics. It also snowed hard all day and I left the mountain more bruised and frozen. Today was our last day- I did one more small run on the board, and have retired. I don't know if I'll try snowboarding again, but at least now I can say 'I snowboarded Whistler!'
Learning to 'board on the bunny-hill.
This is how I spent most of my time!
Our last day I met Larry at the top for lunch and we rode the Peak to Peak gondola- it's the longest suspended gondola in the world and literally takes you from the peak of Whistler mountain across the valley to the peak of Blackcomb mtn. The middle suspension runs over 2 km with no support. Quite a ride and the views were amazing, thanks to the weather clearing today.
The gondola cars hold ~ 22 people each!
Heading down into the cloud cover that hung over the valley...
Under the clouds it was darker, more frozen looking...
The view straight down into the valley below...
Coming back up over the ski runs on the other side, back into the sun!

Larry skied Blackcomb in the afternoon and got some great pictures from the top of the mountain. I love the first one below- the handwritten sign is from the Ski Patrol and says. "CAUTION: Avalanche debris in ALL bowls! Very large mini-van size chunks. Not Good. Cheers! Have a great day! -Whistler Ski Patrol".
Top of Whistler- 7,160 feet
Larry at top of Whistler- the thing behind him is the Olympic statue for this year, covered in snow. You'll probably see more of it in February as the Winter Olympics are hosted in Vancouver & Whistler!

In the middle of our week we took a day off from the mountain and found some more fun. We tubed in the Tube park- it was icy and very fast! Larry kept sliding past the end of the 'run' and into the padded barriers. We also did a Zip line tour- it was the most awesome thing I've ever done! SO cool! There were 5 zip lines that took us over the valley between Whistler and Blackcomb mountains. The longest zip was 2300 feet (long!!) and happened to be the one Larry got stuck on- his brake popped out (guide's fault) so instead of landing on the opposite platform, he got all the way there, then slid backwards about halfway back down the zip line to dangle 200ft over the valley until the guide could hand-pull himself out to Larry and pull them both in. Just added to the adventure! ;)
Getting ready for tubing...
Zip line tour:

Whistler is a great ski resort and we recommend it to anyone willing to make the long journey out there! We had a great time and are now ready to head home to celebrate Christmas with our loved ones!


Jason and Diana said...

very pretty! Looks like you guys had an awesome trip...so glad! We miss yall. Hope you have a very happy start to the new year!

M said...

What a fantastic looking trip! I totally sympathize on the skiing/borading stuff, I came back with some verrry bruised knees/shins/etc. the last time I tried all that, I think we just need to stick to the water skiing! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all the Hipp gang. :)