Sunday, 19 February 2012

things i'll miss about whistler: shredding (part 2 of a series of many parts)

ignore the fact i've got a day count lower than 10 for this absolute bust of a season, and let's reflect upon the good times (let's face it, they're really all we've got).

some interest points about snowboarding:
  • it's awesome. and rad. and gnarly. it's very important to get the right lingo up and running. thanks to phill, i know all about stuff now:
  • sometimes, when you are riding, in actual fact you are shredding the powpow, slaying the gnar, spanking a lap (that's from mitch, i don't know if it's a mitch original or not), owning the groomers, sending it, dropping in, and many more i can't think of just now.
  • there is just so much paraphernalia involved. a pre-leaving the house checklist includes: gloves, liners, pass, goggles, toque/helmet, bandana/face warmer, ipod, headphones, gopro ("is it on? is the red light on?"). not to mention the baselayer, tshirt with funny slogan and hoodie/fleece under your uber-steezey pants and your rad-as-rad jacket. also, do not leave home without your board. it looks silly.
  • two schools of boarders: those that do up their boots before they leave the house, and those that do them up in the lift line/on the gondola. my little brother advised option A, and was very disparaging of those electing option B, as they got in everyone's way and were therefore annoying. also, he argued, it packs your boots out faster. i took hugh's advice because let's face it, he knows things.
  • riding music: almost worthy of a subsection. it makes things better, and it makes awesome moments even more epic. tunes of this season include gems from the likes of m83, naked and famous, foster the people and awolnation. classics from previous seasons, guaranteed to make you feel badass, include much of bliss n eso's/illy's/hilltops/urthboy's back catalogue, spatterings of angry white guy eminem, "ridin dirty", "get low", and believe it or not, "billie jean" and "bad" by old MJ himself have been known to pop up on shuffle and totally make my day. i've yet to ride with classical music but i imagine that could make riding through the trees even more zen than it already is.
  • the mountains: ah. they are my friends. the beauty of only being a few seasons in with 2 whole mountains to explore is it feels like the terrain never gets old. i can say this comfortably, as i only did green/blue groomers this season. i haven't had to brave the icy days that have popped up now and then, where i have heard that the groomed terrain does, in fact, get old. i prefer to reminisce on the never-ending pow of last season, where anywhere you went was epic, and you really couldn't do any wrong. my favorites aren't epic, and they aren't even really off the well-worn trail, but emerald trees on a windy powder day, chunky's choice followed by anything off harmony on a (reasonably) still powder day, and groomed peak to creek on a bluebird groomer day. i also had some gorgeous days on seventh, in both bluebird and powpow. i know my WB terrain 'vocabulary' needs extending, but it was not to be this season, and so this is what i offer.
  • the days: the opening days, the australia days, the gaper days. the anticipation, the planning, the silly outfits. the cans of beer smashed on chairlifts. the fireball in ski-pole-flasks. with great friends, much fun is always had.
  • the other days: any old day where you met up with 8 friends or 1 friend and shredded the pow or cruised the groomers. with some music in your ear and good company on a chairlift, the world is your oyster; every moment is another moment of winning. those are and will be the days i miss the most.
  • the park: oh wait. i never rode the park. except that one time that i got cocky in the terrain garden and ended up cracking a rib or two on a box. that's right, that's why i never rode park.
  • the riding itself. learning was a bitch, and for the first 2 days up there, i never really understood what all the fuss was about. then i linked a turn or two and i was hooked. the satisfaction in learning something, in gradually enjoying the speed, in experiencing the phenomenon where the slopes of those green runs that were initially so scary almost flatten out to nothing, and you wonder why they used to torment you. in getting to the point where you can look at almost anything and think "yeah i could make it down there" (obviously this does not apply to air jordan, that shit be wack). it feels so good to ride when it's all working and smooth and easy, where instead of throwing your whole body into it you just move your hips a little. when even powder becomes a joy instead of a task.
i'm sure there is more to say, and in fact, as time wears on and "that time i lived in whistler" gets further away and thus more glamorous in my re-tellings, i am sure i will think of more to say. the intrinsic part of a lifestyle that snowboarding becomes when you live here was unexpected for me, and certainly brings a lot of joy-honestly, it's what kept me here all this time. besides all the other things to be mentioned in the ongoing list.

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