Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Ski Day 35: The end of an OK year

Vert: 10,340 m YTD Cum Vert: 349,884 m (1,147,488 vertical feet!)
Runs: 18: YTD Cum Runs: 631

The last day of the year last season was awful, with overcast, rain and unpleasant ski conditions. Sunday was not that. For starters it dawned sunny with yet another couple of centimeters of powder.

Given the beaucoups de snow over the last week or so, the stuff under the powder was very nice, so long as you stayed on the groomed, somewhat like Saturday. There wern't as many avis as they have been in the past, with the real notable ones being the ones in the Eagle Basin...

and two in the dive (one under Galaxy, one under Steel Pipe). The sun came and went, but by noon, snow showers were around. We rode up Tee Pee Town thinking about eating outside on the deck in the sun for lunch, but by the time we made it to the village, it was puking snow, so we ate inside.

And that's the way the afternoon went. A brief dump of powder snow, a bit of sun to melt it and make it sticky, another dump, another sun bit, repeat. The fresh stuff was nice, and if you caught the cycle right, you rode up in lousy viz, and down in sun. If the timing was off, it was up in sun, down in a white out.

The snow on some of the groomed stuff was incredible (like Bye Bye Bowl) but the stuff on the not groomed was challenging, with blocky stuff, real ruts, or powder on heavy stuff (all also to be found in Bye Bye Bowl). So you could have your pick of conditions.

Soon, I will post "2010: The Ski Season in Retrospective". Because now we are done skiing. I am stuck in town this coming weekend, they we are off to Europe, and will miss closing weekend. I will, however, note this:

• We broke 1.1 million vertical feet this season;
• We were 160 m short of breaking 350,000 vertical metres;
• Last year in 34 days we skied 612 runs. This year, in 34 days we skied 613 runs. Ain't stats strange?

Monday, 10 May 2010

Where the deer and the antelope play...

Ever since we got the West Wing, I have had expectations that one day I would look out of our living room window and see deer feeding.

See him? Probably not. He's on the road in the distance. You can see his little white face. Try this -- taken with my new camera and it's 30x optical, 740 mm zoom.

It's pictures like this where manual focus is essential. All the auto focus cameras would just get the tree branches, and indeed, so did the Fuji. Switch to manual focus and voila, a deer emerges from the woods. Then walks away.

By the way, we don't have antelope. But we do have noisy squirrels.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Ski Day 34: It's Still Winter, Mostly

Vert: 10,540 m YTD Cum Vert: 339,504 m
Runs: 19 YTD Cum Runs: 613

It has been snowing off an on at Sunshine for the last 2 weeks and the base is back up to 168 cm, from a low of 145 cm 2 weeks ago. And there is powder around, though yesterday before it got sunny would have had better snow. Here's two examples of the evidence that a lot of folks had powderlicious fun this week.

Now, looks can be deceiving. The snow in the second photo was nice, in the first photo not nice. The deal was that some of the lower, more sun drenched spots obviously caught the sun and did a freeze/thaw in the last 24 hrs. Others (like Bye Bye Bowl) did not, or at least not severely. So there were lots of nice things to be had, and the sun only came out on and off today, moreso in the morning.

Coverage has improved dramatically with the snow, with very few bare patches.

It socked in as the afternoon progressed, threatening to snow and making the light very flat. So we bailed at 3, having done over 8,000 m before lunch.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Planning a Vacation isn't the Vacation

We're off to Europe for 3 weeks coming up in mid-May. It's very round about how we ended up selecting this as a vacation for this year, but in short, my daughter asked us to come on her vacation, and that lead to a trip where we plan do London - Paris - Lyon - Nice - Venice - Florence - Rome - London - home.

I like planning vacations. It's fun researching places to visit, and in this case, because I've been to all of these places before, the planning has been a bit easier. But it hasn't been a vacation. For instance...

Air Transat has changed both our outbound and some of our return flights since we booked them. They cancelled the outbound, necessitating a departure a day earlier. Now, an extra day in London is no penalty, but it did create the need to find a hotel there, and plan a day or so in the city. And...

As of this moment, Air Transat appears to have lost KC's and my seat reservations for the flight from Gatwick back to Calgary. The ones we paid for. And had arranged before they changed our flights. And...

We wanted to stay in Florence in the great little hotel we found last time we were there. It's still there, but has gone from €55 to €155 per night. And...

I made two errors in arranging train tickets. First, we arrive in Lyon Perrache station, but leave from Lyon Part Dieu station -- the two are separated by about 5 km. So I had to sort out the public transit system in Lyon, a town noted for its lack of English. And...

Second, even though I know better, and thought I checked, our tickets have us arriving in Venice Mestre, not Venice Santa Lucia. The latter is on the island. The former is 10 km away on the mainland. RailEurope said "just stay on the trai and plead ignorance if they say something." And..

Finding a hotel in Nice was a breeze. So, too, was Lyon, Venice and Florence. London and Rome took us several hours of searching each. Gatwick (where we are stuck for a night) was the hardest of all. Go figure. And...

The only vacation window that would work for Chesley requires me to leave KC and Chesley in Florence and fly home while they tootle off to Rome. And...

Well, let's just say that the trivial little details of trip planning are fun, but at the same point in time, the trip will be more so.