Sunday, 27 March 2011

Have you been avoiding me?

Sorry, Blog, for my prolonged absence. I decided to wait to update until after my level 2 course had finished, and unfortunately I didn't pass and subsequently didn't really feel like posting about it.
That being said, I did pass half of it. The course is in two parts, a teaching / assessing part and a skiing part. I passed the teaching / assessing part but no the skiing, which was really quite the bummer.

That being said, half is half and better than nothing, and I can keep that pass forever and ever, so that if I do a retest I only have to be assessed on the skiing half and not the teaching again. Hopefully I'll get the chance to do this in April. With that in mind, I've been out practicing a lot lately to try and be ready for it. I went out for a session with Fred, one of the level 3s at Norquay, and my friend Phil, who is training for his level 3, although he probably won't take it this season. Fred explained a couple of things to me that I'd been pretty confused about and we had a really good session so I feel a lot better about things after that. He also said that he thinks my fail for the skiing part must have been pretty boarderline, as he said that, judging by my skiing today, I was pretty much at standard.

In other news, I'm going to be working a couple of days a week as a liftie, probably for the rest of the season, which is good because ski school is slowing down and so this will keep my pay cheque pretty sweet and help me get through the rest of my time here.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

My life is like ooh, ah, ooh, ah.

Today was so good.
After a pretty lazy day off and some good football at the high school yesterday I got the 9.35 a.m. bus to Norquay. I took my snowboard boots and from about 10.00 till about 12.00 I went snowboarding. First I went over to mystic chair. I went down imp (blue) and knight flight (blue), then got the chairlift back up and did banshee (blue) and the bottom of giver grandi (blue), went up again and did the top of giver grandi (black - probably the equivalent of a difficult European red) and black magic (black) before heading back over to the lodge. I then did a few laps of the park before lunch which went really well.

After lunch we had level 2 ski-instructor training with Gord which also went really well and I got a lot of positive responses from the boss and so I'm pretty confident for my level 2, which is good considering it starts on Monday!

After that I got back on a board and hit the park for a few more laps and absolutely smashed it. It's interesting that I've taken to free style on a board way easier than on skis. I find that I'm way more confident and able to do much cooler stuff on a board than I dare to on skis. It feels a lot more natural than trying grinds and stuff on skis and I rocked it like a boss.
My trick repertoire is now:

50-50s on boxes.
50-50s on rails.
Back-side board slide on boxes.
50-50 to backside board-slide on boxes.
Straight air small jumps.
Indie-grab small jumps.

I was talking to Matt A, the senior snowboard instructor at Norquay (also a mate) and he said that I should have no problem with level 1, and I'm feeling increasingly confident for my skiing level 2.


Monday, 7 March 2011

Your 8 weeks are up.

This weekend marked the last installment of the weekend 8-week programs.
It's been really good working with the same groups on Saturdays and Sundays for the last month and a bit and I definitely felt like I'd gotten to know the kids in my Saturday group really well. They were all very sweet and said they'd miss me and didn't want the programs to end and gave me lots of hugs. Jenny's Dad, Dan, who was also one of the chaperons for the school, said I'd done a really great job and they'd all had a brilliant time, and he bought me lunch which was really cool. Other than that, however, I got no tips, which I wasn't too bothered about until I heard that a couple of the guys got about $150 in tips between their different kids. Just the luck of the draw, I suppose.

My Sunday group were less sentimental, all of them saying they wouldn't miss me apart from Anna-Maria, who said she would, even in the face of the others saying they didn't care. Typical, fickle 5 year olds, right?
Nonetheless, their parents all seemed very pleased and told me they'd had a really good and that I'd done a good job. Hugo's Dad said that, despite seeming like he hated skiing sometimes, Hugo had in fact really liked me and enjoyed himself. Still, no tips. Such as life.

Things are slowing down a lot now and so there are a lot less shifts on the mountain. It might be time to start looking for a part time job on the side, which I can then carry on with once ski school closes.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

85 cent day.

Having been drafted in yesterday, I spent today working. It was 85 cent day, which is a promotion that has been put on a few times this year as part of the celebrations of Norquay's 85th year. By the way, I learnt today that Norquay is the oldest, longest running resort of North America! Pretty cool. We were also offering $85 2 hour private lessons (for 2 people: add a 3rd for $30), of which I had 2 as part of my 5 hour day, completed by a 55 minute special at 9.00 a.m.
The two hours I had in the morning were with Sharan and Kaitlin, mother and daughter, who said they wanted to build up skiing double blacks. Naturally, hearing that at the start of the lesson was awesome and so we spent the whole two hours ripping around on Mystic riding bumps and tree lines (Sharan - the Mum - didn't do the trees, but Kailtin wanted to and she did well). We finished off the lesson by going down Sun Shoots, a double black, and so they were really pleased they managed to do what they set out to, which of course made it very rewarding for me.

I then had two hours with brother and sister Bennet and Alexandra who were good fun. We skiid off Cascade (on the green runs) and built up to a bit of parallel skiing, and at the end of the lesson their Dad gave me a $20 which was, of course, an excellent end to the day.

I then did a couple of laps of the terrain park with Will, my sort-of-housemate (he used to be in our flat but now is downstairs). He absolutely nailed a 540 off one of the medium jumps which was wicked to see, although it did cast something of a shadow over me nearly landing a 180. I landed it fine, but I only managed about 160 degrees of spin.

All in all, another great day at the office.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Back in the country.

We had another quiet day in terms of lessons on the hill today.
Max, Alex, Daniel and I were sent to help ski patrol remove and roll up some B-netting (the netting they put up along the edges of runs when races happen). It was kind of annoying, pretty cold and tough at times but we made the best of it and had some fun, especially considering the huge amounts of snow just off the side of the run that we went jumping into.

The day ended in amazing fashion, though. We got permission from ski patrol to go outside the ski boundary and we hiked over to a place called the South Bowl. Needless to say, in was incredible. Only 2 people had been there before us all year and that was ski patrol. The powder was incredible, it was about waist deep and, because it's outside the boundary, there was no snow pack underneath meaning it was just deep, deep soft snow. We stuck to the edges, near the trees, to avoid setting off avalanches but nonetheless it was incredible.

It was a little sketchy at times, when we were on our way down through the trees to the ski-out and it got pretty skinny. Despite that, and a bit at the start where we ended up doing a lot of hiking and weren't quite sure where we were going, it was awesome and, if I get the chance, I'd definitely do it again.

So, my first endeavor into some back country skiing was a veritable success.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Just another day at the office.

Today we had a lovely, spring-feeling - 29 on the hill, which meant that, much like yesterday, a lot of those who had booked lessons didn't show up, so I got to ride all day.
My best runs of the day were 3 laps of Big Chair that I did at the end of the day. As we pulled up to the chair we heard that Gun Run, a double black, had just been opened, and so Alex, Yannick, Kelly, Iona and I all jumped on, with a few of us keen to hit the newly available powder. As we got to the top of the lift I saw a bunch of snowboarded lining up to go down Gun Run, and so instead of waiting for the others and giving the boarders a chance to tack out all the snow I just zoomed straight off and down Gun Run, where I got an awesome line through fresh snow.

As I arrived back at the top of Cascade chair and was about to head back to Big Chair, I heard Gord (Ski school director, my boss) call me as he was just getting off the chair,
"Where're you going Jon?"
"Big Chair."
"Awesome, come with me!"

Gord Then took me to a run off the North American Basin where no one else had been and he and I swept through making the first tracks of the day, despite it being about 2 p.m. We did two laps, and so I basically got half an hour of private tuition from my boss which was awesome.

It's a hard job, but someone's got to do it.