Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Canda Part 2

This is the view from our apartment (of Blackcombe)

The first week we stayed in a two bedroom apartment in Whistler. A truly bucolic village that was experiencing freezing conditions (-40 degrees celcius with wind factor) and as such there wasn't much fresh snow. This caused people to cancel their holidays in droves. So we had a week of skiing without any crowds.

A huge plus for whistler was that it has a free bus service that runs every 7 minutes. This meant that we could get around from our apartment to the centre of town without any issues, at any time of the day (we still took a few taxis because luggage should not go on buses unless it's for the long haul).

A huge minus for whistler was that it had a pylon issue with a gondola (as in ice built up in the pylon and it popped the top on the structure, causing a gondola to crash land on a bus stop (luckily). People were stranded on the gondola for about four hours. This happened on the tuesday we were there. This meant that the next morning every person wanting to get onto the mountain was going up one gondola. Instead of opening other lifts to get people up to the top as quickly as possible, they let people wait an hour (in below freezing conditions) to go up one lift (yes I know how to read a map - it would not have been hard, it would have just meant herding people from one lift to another one).

This is from the top of Whistler mountain. Breathtakingly beautiful. Refreshingly freezing (after Jakarta).

This is the symbol for the winter olympics. It is an indian marker and snow falls off it naturally (very clever).

The kids had lessons all day for the first 3 days. They were meant to do 5 days of lessons, but the format has the kids spending the entire time that the lifts are open in ski school, which means we don't get to ski with them. So we took them out of lessons for the last 2 days. This way we could see their progress and spend some time with them.

The middle child (with dark camoflague pants) is a friend of C girl from her school in Jakarta. His whole family were there and were WAY better skiiers than our family. But they thankfully joined us on a few occassions (including one with just Hubs and I that included a cross country excursion down the mountain - but it was fun to have an adventure). We also met up for dinner a few times, plus a few lazy afternoons (after intense skiing) in the local pub. It was fantastic to meet up with them and it was great to make some new friends. We don't meet up with people on holidays overseas generally, not because we don't want to, but because we don't seem to know people going to the same place.

Sorry this is out of sequence, but this is on the first day of ski school (you can tell by the shallow angle of the slopes). Munchkin and Bear were in the same class. They are absolutely adorable together though. On the day off from skiing, we went shopping. They wore the same hats, same gloves and together kicked a piece of ice from one end of the village to the other.
We liked Whistler, we might be back (after we have done everywhere else). We left on the sunday before christmas (21st I think). Our bus left without us (but they did end up reimbursing us)....I had to run from our unit through our friends complex down to the village, where I could get two taxis to take us to the centre of town.........we ended up getting a greyhound bus back to Vancouver.....hey those things are really cheap (CAD80 one way for 5 people).
The trip back was a bit hair raising. While we were in Whistler it had snowed up a storm in Vancouver, so everything was packed with snow. The highway was closed to one lane each way and the bus detoured into every little town to pick/drop people off. BUT, the driver knew what he was doing AND we got their in one piece.
At the bus stop at the end, we were 100m from the train station - for our next leg of the journey - an overnight train trip to Jasper.

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