Friday, 31 December 2010

Qualified by 2011

On the bus this morning that sun was rising over the rockies, making for a picturesque view for the duration of my journey to Nakiska for the last day of my course.
It was a mild -29 with wild chill in the morning, but by the afternoon it had warmed up to a pleasant - 7.
The course went very well and I had a great time skiing with the other guys taking part who were a really cool group. I am now a Certified Level 1 Ski Instructor and look forward to getting up to Norquay, into an Orange Jacket and on with teaching people to ski. Finally I'm ready to do what I came here for, and just in time for 2011.

Speaking of which, our plan is to ring in the new year at a house party round the corner which should be good.

On the subject of resolutions, I think my first will naturally be to not get any more stupid injuries that hold me back from what I want and ought to be doing. That's all I've got for now but maybe I'll come with something more profound at a later date.

Happy New Year to you all, I hope 2011 brings surprises, challenges and treats in abundance, and look forward to seeing everyone upon my return at the end of May.

Sunday, 26 December 2010

Boxing Day

Yesterday was, naturally, Christmas, and I had an awesome day. I got up in the morning to skype my family back home which was really nice, I opened my presents while on webcam with them and had a long talk which was the ideal start to Christmas day. 
I then went skiing for most of the day while Dave and Owen cooked up an excellent Christmas dinner for nine of us and we had a brilliant evening playing games and chowing down on all the tasty food. 

Today I went up to Norquay on the 8.25 bus and after going out with the other instructors for the morning session I spent the day teaching (slightly illegitimately). I was supposed to be shadowing Jack, one of the other instructors on "Discovery", which is what they call it when people are absolute beginners. The group had 7 people in it and although 5 of them picked things up pretty quickly two of them struggled, so I spent the day with those two and by the end of the lesson they'd made it onto the magic carpet. So Jack very kindly spoke to Kathryn, the assistant director of the ski school, and they agreed me to pay a full day at instructor's wages. 
So, I got a good day's teaching experience in, which was really good with my course only two days away now! 

I think I'll spend the day tomorrow going over the e-prep that I got sent by the ski school at Nakiska to get ready for that. I'm feeling pretty confident after today's success, plus Gord said to me something like, "I've seen your skiing and I'm sure you won't have any problem with it" which was reassuring. 

The new ski gear I got for Christmas, socks and thermals, are also proving to be really good so many thanks again to my lovely family who sent them out, as well as all the other goodies I got. 

So, all in all a good couple of days, roll on level 1. 

Thursday, 23 December 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

I've had another great day on Norquay today, even if I did have to get up at 6.30 a.m to catch the staff bus. It was worth it though, as I went out with Gord and the other instructor's for a session first thing, and got to get an idea of how things go in the mornings and throughout the day up there.

It was a beautiful day and a balmy - 5 on the mountain which made for ideal conditions. I also went tubing (sliding down the hill in a rubber ring) with Mr. Matt Berry which was pretty good fun.

After coming down the mountain I went to the post office to find that the Christmas package from my family had arrived, so I'm feeling all the more excited for Christmas now there's a sizable stack of presents under our tree for me to open on the big day.
Yes, they're all for me, because my family is the best. 

I think I'll have a day off skiing tomorrow to rest my ankle a bit, but I'll definitely go for a Christmas day ski before our house get together, which should be a real treat, considering the size of the turkey Noel and Nancy brought round.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

I thought I forgot something.

I forgot to put these pictures up from my day at Norquay today. The views up there were pretty spectacular.

I stopped in to see Mark when I went up his lift. . .
Mark and I were getting pretty excited when we saw the construction of the snow park going on up there:
And finally here's a little picture of me on a lift.

Skid again today.

I went back up to Norquay today and did some more skiing. My ankle definitely felt better than it had on Saturday, and I hit some black runs today (which in Canada is like a moderate to difficult red in Europe) and it didn't complain too much, so I think that's a sure sign that it's on the mend.

I saw Gord when I was up there and he said I should take the staff bus up tomorrow morning to go for a session with him and some of the others so I can start getting prepped for my course. Speaking of which, when they sent me the confirmation of my reservation they also sent me some reading material and a little worksheet to get on with so that'll keep me occupied tomorrow or Friday or something.

Having gotten up at 9.00 this morning and after getting up tomorrow at about 6.00 I should be getting into a more normal sleeping pattern, rather than getting up at about 12.00 in the afternoon and going to bed really late.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Not so much ski in ski out.

I had planned to go skiing today but after going out last night I ended up sleeping in and missed the 10.25 bus, which is the last one.
This brings me on to something I prefer about skiing in Europe, which the fact that a lot of places there are ski in ski out, or at least in walking distance from the lifts. This means that, even if you sleep in, you can easily just ski for an afternoon, whereas here you're restricted to the bus timetable, or hitchhiking.

Tomorrow I believe a trip to Calgary is planned with Steve and Owen, who have a car. We'll go to the mall and I think go to see Tron, so should be a good and, importantly, different day.

After the inter-house Ice Hockey Dave and I thought it would be cool to do inter-house basketball too; you can rent the basketball court at the gym for free if you're a member (we think), so that could be fun, and Nancy seemed to like the idea.

Nancy also said she's going to go ahead and book me onto the level 1 course in Nakiska, starting from the 28th, so I'm going to have to buy my pass for the 4 days, but there's a chance I may be able to get that back on insurance as it's a result of my injury, but I'll have to look through my policy.

For now, that's all, folks.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

The big match.

This evening, Noel and Nancy had organised for us all to go ice skating and play some ice hockey, so trooper that I am, and envigorated by my success skiing today, I strapped on my brace and got right down to it!

Needless to say, we brave soldiers of The Annex were winners of the knock out tournament, with two resounding wins, 4 - 0 Vs. Cougar / The Nest and 3 - 2 against Cedar. Admittedly, the main reason we won was the unrivalled skill of Mr. Will "wags" Wagstaffe, who played Ice Hockey for Plymouth University during his time there. However, I like to think of him as Marlon Brando in The Godfather: clearly the best individual, but with a strong supporting cast.

Some highlight for me:
In the first game I hung back a little, not wanting to get involved in the melees around the puck, but I made some (obviously invaluable) interceptions while chanting DE-FENCE! DE-FENCE!
In the second game I was much more involved and was pleased with a couple of moments of puck control on the left wing. At one point, one of their players broke through and pushed the puck in front of himself to shoot, but I heroically dived across the ice to knock the puck away from him with my stick. However, my favourite moment was when I received the puck on the left, evaded one of their attackers, brought it forward and took it past a defender to be clear on goal. I pushed the puck to my right and in front, raised my stick and brought it down with tremendous power . . . which was wasted, as I swung to the right of the puck, missing it completely, and the momentum from the swing carried me away from it, and the moment was gone. Next time. Next time.

I had a lot of fun, as did everyone, and Noel and Nancy had also laid on some Baileys-hot chocolate for us all to enjoy by the fire that Noel fuelled generously.

So many thanks to Nancy and Noel for organising the evening, and bloody good show to everyone who picked up a stick and got involved. Cracking.


Today I went skiing!

I went up to Norquay to test out my ankle, and saw Mark on the bus up there so I skiid with him for a couple of hours or so.
I stuck to the greens and blues but we still got to ski quite a lot of different runs across the mountain, and it was great to finally get out there and ski.
My ankle seemed pretty much up to it, it was a little painful sometimes when turning right so that I was up on the inside edge of my left ski, and I couldn't do any really sharp turns or fast stops, but basically my ankle is shaping nicely.
So, I should be ready in plenty of time to start the level 1 instructor's course over at Nakiska on the 28th of this month, which would mean I could hopefully start teaching on Norquay in January!

It finally looks as though I'm going to be over the injury soon.

That being said, while I'm sticking to the easy runs, I thought I might take the opportunity to learn to snowboard, especially seeing as I get free rentals from Norquay as staff. That way, I won't get bored on the greens and blues at Norquay, and will be ambidextrous on the snow.

Tonight Noel and Nancy, our GYC sponsors, have organised for us all to go up to the ice rink at one of the big hotels and have a hockey match and do some tabogganing, so that should be cool.

I thought I'd treat you all to some haiku.

My ankle's injured.
My impatience is mounting.
My swimming improves.

Here in Canada
Snow falls most on the mountains.
I watch it rising.

Py takes so long it doesn't
Fit into one line.

Therapy is slow
But with patience brings rewards,
Like the falling snow.

I hope you enjoyed them.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

It's the most wonderful time of the year.

We have now decorated our appartment, complete with Christmas tree:
 with presents under it:
though they're not real presents, and stocking above the fireplace:

 I think Dave and I did a pretty good job!

Went for a swim today and Mark and Alex happened to be up there too so we all played some poolsket ball . . .that's basketball in the pool, which was good fun.
I also swam 40 lengths, which I also did yesterday. I've been feeling some definite improvement in my ankle . . . I think, so hopefull on track for skiing by christmas!

Up, up and away!

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Yay for insurance.

My insurance claim has come through and Dad's been able to pay the cheque into my bank account, so that's all turned out jolly nicely. Hurray for insurance!

I swam a mile again today, which again I'm pretty pleased with. I can say with some confidence now that my ankle is getting better, so hopefully the estimate of being able to ski by Christmas should hold out, fingers crossed.

Nothing much else to report just now, my life pretty much consists of swimming and physiotherapy at the moment.


Monday, 6 December 2010


Went for a swim today, I swam a mile which I'm pretty pleased with. I dunno if I'll do that much every day but I definitely think the swimming is helping my ankle along. To be fair I took I wasn't exactly swimming particularly fast and took my time over. Still, a mile is a mile . . . right?

I think tomorrow I'm going to get a Canadian phone, finally. I'd been putting it off until I started work but it's getting frustrating now so I'm just going to bite the bullet and do it.

Dave, Alex, Steve and I went for a burger tonight at Eddie Burger, which was pretty good. It was the first burger I'd had since I got here, which seems like an awfully long time to go out here without having a burger. Now all is right in the world.

The claw . . .

Sunday, 5 December 2010

That's one good cup of tea.

Well this is third day that I've been doing physio on my ankle, it's difficult to say whether there's been much improvement so far but I think it's getting better. I'm going to get a month's membership at the gym and go swimming up there a few times a week as they said that would help things along.

Miguel has now moved out and our new flatmate Dave has moved in. He's from Switzerland, though he went to university at St Andrews in Scotland. It's not quite the same without Miguel around but Dave seems like a nice guy and I'm sure he'll settle in just fine.

I finally got round to buying some Tea, so I'm feeling pretty British right now, sipping on a cuppa.

There's a snake in my boot.

Thursday, 2 December 2010


Today I went to physio, which was pretty good. I got an exercise program which I'm supposed to do three times a day, and every three days I'm supposed to knead and prod my ankle where the scar tissue is and then ice it.
They also told me to ditch the crutches so now I am officially walking!
She said it wasn't gonna get better for 6 weeks, which I assume includes the 2 weeks it's been already, so my date for recovery is the 23rd of December.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Google autocomplete me fails of the evening:

The format shall be:

Who de
Who dey panties

Why d
Why did I get married too
Why does my mom turn me on

Why Can't I hold all these limes.
Why are these strawberries doing on my nipples I need them for fruit salad
Why is there a dead Pakistani on my couch.

Why can't
Why I can't I hold all these limes - listed 3 times.

Well done Canadian internet. Please leave your own in the comments section.

Someone's poisoned the waterhole!

Something to report.

Hello Chaps,
Sorry I haven't been on for a while, there hasn't really been much going on. I've basically been sitting around with my foot up watching movie after movie, plus over the weekend I was ill with the flu and so was even less active.

Today I went to the Norquay orientation day. The first half was a general one about Banff with a few different people doing a speech. It was ok, interesting in parts but ultimately boring when dragged out over a 4 hour period. The first part set the tone, where my boss's boss at Norquay distributed Employee Handbooks which he then proceeded to read out to us, which was handy, because I'd been struck temporarily illiterate. I did learn something valuable, which is that a large proportion of said handbook could be reduced to, "Don't be a dick."

The second part of the day, which was the ski school orientation, was much better, I guess mostly because it all applied directly to me so I was more invested. We also did a little ice breaker, introductions thing which are always entertaining . . .

In other news, my ankle is feeling much better, I would say I can 90% walk on it now, so I'm feeling pretty good about my rate of recovery, and I think I'll give physio a call tomorrow to make an appointment.

To infinity, and beyond!