Tuesday, January 23, 2007

I didn't fall off a mountain or get trapped in snow...

At least I didn't do either of those things to result in my demise, because I did, in fact, do both.

The reason for my lack of updating post-vacation is that the day after we got back, I fell into a near-coma, attempting to prevent a severe case of bronchitis from becoming pneumonia. I'm still far from feeling fabulous, but at least I've gotten out of bed the past couple of days and come to work, although that seems to be taking its toll now, too.

Whistler trip was great. I've never seen that much snow ever. Unfortunately, my camera has yet to be found since we got home and may very well have been claimed by an airline employee of fellow traveler, so there are no pictures to share of the beautiful white mountains or M and J in their snowsuits.

Since we arrived late Saturday evening, we did nothing more than unload cars and chat that night. Sunday, we (NS, his sister, his sister's friend, me) took our time getting out of the house and to the mountain for snowboarding, so I didn't make the all-day lesson time; we figured we could go up and be back down in time to get me to an afternoon lesson...mistake. After four hours, I was still falling constantly and had missed the afternoon lesson time as well. It was a very frustrating day for me. I was so upset with myself for not being able to do this and for holding up everyone else that I shed some tears and finished the day by walking down the rest of the trail. NS managed to get himself completely off any marked territory and wound up in some condos, forced to take the shuttle back to the base where us girls had been sitting, watching the kiddie skiers, wondering how he could possibly be taking so long.

The next morning we made sure to be out of the house in time to drop M and J at ski camp and for me to take a full-day lesson. I forgot to ask when the lesson was supposed to end, though, which meant that everyone was waiting to hear back from me on a walkie-talkie that I couldn't hear anyone on, and M and J had to wait until I got back to leave since I was the one with the release slips. The lesson went well for me; I didn't feel like I was holding anyone back because we all were basically on the same skill level. By the end of my lesson, I was no longer falling constantly and felt a great deal more comfortable on my board. M and J had a fun day skiing. According to their teacher, M was a daredevil (not much of a shocker, really) and kept trying to encourage J to go faster. They weren't very good listeners, though, and would wander off with each other, not caring what everyone else in the group was learning.

Tuesday was a break day. That turned out to not be such a great idea for me since Wednesday I had to take some more getting used to what I was doing again and fell quite a few times in the beginning. NS and I took one trip up to the same run we did on Sunday and made it down in a decent enough amount of time, then went back to the house for lunch and signed me up for an afternoon lesson so I could try to practice turning more. This lesson ended up being a private lesson for the rate of a group lesson because there just wasn't anyone else taking lessons besides a small group of never-been-on-a-snowboard-before people. Unfortunately, the mountain conditions were so icy that my turns were causing more sliding than anything, so while the general knowledge of how to do them was there, practicing was not worthwhile.

A temperature drop on Thursday made for a less than pleasant snowmobiling experience. All the adults signed up as drivers, and the boys rode behind our tour guide in a sled/toboggan-type thing. That lasted for maybe 10 minutes before we had one person fall off and me get buried (and I do mean buried) in snow. By the time everyone was back together and ready to continue, M and J were crying and screaming and completely unhappy with the idea of having to continue. NS's good snow pants had gotten a few holes chewed into them by a couple tree stumps the day before, so he was wearing waterproof, but not insulated, pants provided by the snowmobile tour place. This meant he was nearly as miserable as the boys were and opted to ride back and take them home while the rest of us continued. I probably shouldn't have continued. My mind was still distracted a few minutes later as we approached a turn. I had not yet mastered turning the snowmobile (I was hanging my body off but not actually turning the handles in time to make the turn) and slammed head-on into a tree, overturning my machine onto my left leg. It didn't hurt at first, so I remained calm while waiting the few seconds it took for NS's dad and a couple guys from the other tour group to come to my rescue, but had that short amount of time extended much more, I would have begun to panic as I started to feel the machine sliding down into the snow more and more, my leg trapped under it. I rode the rest of the way on the back of the guide's machine, and while it was a beautiful trip and a memorable experience, I don't think I have ever been so cold in my life. It was probably less than 20F, and we're riding at speeds of 40mph (or maybe km/h) up to 70, maybe even more, so just sitting on the back created a deep chill in my body. I couldn't feel my toes or fingers or nose or mouth, and I was shivering. I was very happy to arrive back to the house and find a warm, blazing fire and hot chocolate waiting, not to mention much happier boys;> I must have hit something hard with my thigh when I plowed into the tree because I had a nice welt form that evening, the bruise from which is now fading to yellow.

I'd been looking forward to being able to snowboard for a few hours on Friday, hopefully getting better with turning, but it was just too cold...single digits, people. Instead, NS and I went to the village so I could do my souvenir shopping. I found the most perfect t-shirt for myself, one that has a snowboarder going down a mountain and says, "Why turn if you don't have to?" Since I never had the chance to truly practice my turns, and I'm pretty sure I used that exact line a few times, I couldn't resist buying it.

All in all, it was a wonderful vacation, my only disappointments being that we couldn't snowboard the last day and that I may have to accept my pictures as being forever lost.


Jonathan said...

Wendy has a story to share about snowboarding - and how she thought she was getting better at turning just before an entire ski school appeared in front of her (by which time she was doing about 30 miles per hour)...

She spent the rest of the holiday with her leg on ice.

Eunice said...

dude, I feel like I'm missing out ... you're the second blogger to mention a recent trip to whistler (it's been 2 years for me).

Hope you get to feeling better soon!

Susan said...

Sounds like a great trip!!

Skyqueen said...

Crazy!! Too bad no photos! What happened? Did they lose your luggage? I hope you feel better soon. Glad you had fun, missed your usual blogs.

fringes said...

Glad you're back safely!