A couple days ago I wrote that at least once in every ski day I feel that skiing is the best thing in the world. Well, it turns out that’s not always the case. Yesterday, I found myself at 11 am near the top of Whistler sitting on a stopped lift chair in sub-freezing weather with L beside me being buffeted by some of the strongest winds I’ve ever felt. I assume the lift was actually temporarily stopped due to high winds. As you can see from the Whistler twitter account, there were quite a few lift closures. (The screenshot is just a sampling.) Apparently winds reached 60 mph yesterday on the mountain. However, while I was sitting on the lift chair, I knew none of this. I only knew that if I could get off that lift chair, I’d never get on another lift again.
Well, obviously we did get off. Then the four of us (S was in ski school) skied down through driving wind and extremely low visibility to the top of the gondola, whereupon we took a socked in claustrophobic gondola ride to the bottom. The earlier part of our day hadn’t been great either. It was somewhat nice skiing with the girls, but skiing in high wind and very low visibility is just not something I enjoy. It was extremely misty, and I was in a state of anxiety worrying about getting separated from the girls. The wind was noisy enough that it was hard to communicate with each other verbally. And the lifts kept stopping. So yeah, terrible ski day. Afterwards, I really just wanted to pack our bags and head back to Seattle. Crowds on Sunday, and crowds and ghastly weather on Monday. Yuck!
In the end, we did stick with it, and we had a great ski day today. I guess you have to take the good with the bad. The older girls were back in lessons, so J and I got to ski together. On a side note, S may or may not actually be learning to ski, but she loves ski school. She was distraught about leaving today. So that’s good. The older girls also skied their first black in ski school today, though I’m suspicious about how hard or long the run really was. Regardless, it’s clear they can confidently ski greens and easy blues at this point, which is awesome.
I feel like I really haven’t skied all that much in three days, but I did really start hitting a groove today. The sun came out at midday, and it was such a game changer. We had a great run from near the top of the mountain all the way to the bottom.
When the sun came out, the mountain was beautiful. We basically didn’t get to see it until this afternoon.
There are more Australians here than Canadians, and we enjoyed having Australian chicken pie for lunch. It was truly delectable. The leek and parmesan pastry was also delicious. I have mixed feelings on Whistler as a whole, but the food has been WAY better than at our usual Seattle resorts.
And a gratuitous video of me skiing courtesy of J:
We have been skiing greens and easy blues here. The blues have felt extremely easy, not challenging at all, compared to Cry.stal. However, we’ve been avoiding blue runs known to be more difficult. The wind and low visibility have made both of us feel very cautious. By the time it cleared today, we really only had an hour left to ski before we needed to pick up the girls. Perhaps we’ll be more adventurous tomorrow, but perhaps not. We’ve actually really been enjoying skiing the easy runs.
I played hooky on Friday, got a babysitter for a few hours, and went skiing at Snoqualmie Central. The weather wasn’t particularly promising, but it ended up being stunning in the morning! While I did get hit with a little rain from time to time, there was also lots of sun and beautiful mist moving in and out. It was probably the nicest day I’ve had at this resort. Then I headed out to pick up the girls from school just as the rain really started coming down.
I mean really – it’s just breathtaking!
Not that many lifts were open, and I ended up lapping a fairly easy blue run called Alpine 13 times. I also skied a narrower blue run called Golden Nugget 4 times. I have done lots of steeper skiing on wide slopes, but I’m much less comfortable with narrower trails, even if they’re less steep. However, I felt pretty good on Golden Nugget. The only problem was that there were a dozen plus 4 to 6 year olds taking a class who seemed to be there 100% of the time. I think maybe there were multiple classes and at least one class was always there? It was a weekday – shouldn’t they be in school? In any case, it made the narrow run rather hazardous, and I decided I’d had enough when an out-of-control snowboarder crashed into me, though I managed to say on my feet.
I took a couple falls at the beginning as I was struggling a bit with the “powder.” (They don’t call it cascade concrete for nothing.) But it flattened out within an hour or so, and I felt more comfortable. Next time I go, I think I feel ready to try some other narrower blue runs that I’d been nervous to try.
After skiing 28 miles (including lifts) and 16,000 ft, I drove home and got S. Then I picked up the girls from school. Then I drove L to gymnastics, and then drove out to get pizza. Then I put the kids to bed. I got up this morning and did some packing. And now I am exhausted and never want to move again.
I took the girls skiing again today, while H stayed home with S. As usual, it was equal parts wonderful and incredible hassle. It was beautiful, but a beautiful day on a January weekend means crowds, and wow were there a lot of people. The interesting thing is that with one or two brief exceptions, the slopes didn’t feel at all crowded. The following photo wasn’t staged or delayed – I just took it randomly, and you can see there are few people on the mountain.
However, there were lines on the road to park, lines for the shuttle, lines at the bathroom, lines in the cafeteria, and lines at the lifts. (I ended up eating with strangers because there was no free table.) The lift lines actually weren’t too bad but Crystal rarely has any kind of meaningful lines. Or maybe I just usually go in bad weather. The cafeteria was a nightmare, though. In the morning until midday, temps were in the mid teens at the bottom and 5 degrees at the summit. This is very cold for WA, so everyone wanted to get indoors. I’m guessing people who ski regularly in Maine or Vermont have gear for those kind of temperatures, but Washingtonians do not. The kids and I had a hodge-podge of extra layers to stay warm, and for me, it didn’t really do the job. My biggest problem was my toes. They were frozen, especially my big toe. The rest of me was OK. I have hand warmers (which I didn’t need) but I learned you can buy foot warmers as well. The kids loved the hand warmers, though.
Obligatory lift video below. Yes, it truly was beautiful.
I took a long lunch, and I think it warmed up a bit, because I had a great afternoon. On my last trip I skied with the girls, so we stayed on greens. On the previous trip, I had two bad falls on my last two blue runs, so I was feeling a little gun-shy. Between that, the cold, and lift lines on the top of the mountain, I skied greens on the bottom of the mountain in the morning. Skiing easy greens makes me feel like Mikaela Shif.frin, just because I feel so in control and coordinated on a wide, flat slope. Anyway, in the afternoon, I decided it was time to face the hill that felled me before, and I went down Downhill three times. Overall it went well. I did take one minor fall but otherwise skied pretty well. I feel like I’m not really making any progress, but I do enjoy skiing the greens and blues I’m skilled enough to handle. It just frustrates me that most of the mountain is off-limits due to my skill level.
I took L and B skiing today, and as usual, it was a bit of an existential struggle. Well, perhaps just tiring . . . but oh so tiring! But also as usual, I’m glad we went.
B has the green pants, and L has the bright orange/pink pants and blue coat.
Usually when we go to Crystal, I put the girls in lessons, as they have a wonderful lesson program, in contrast to the other local resort we go to. However, it’s expensive, and they’ve definitely reached a point where we can ski together. It was about 30 degrees at the base, maybe 25 degrees at mid mountain. Lift lines were longer than usual, probably due to MLK weekend, so we mostly skied the bottom half of the mountain where they were shorter, but we sadly didn’t get to ski as much on the powder on the top half. 25-30 degrees seems quite warm for skiing but perhaps because it was snowing steadily the whole time, the girls and I were very chilled by the time we left and might have stayed longer otherwise. For my part, the girls were skiing much more slowly than I usually do, and as a result, I wasn’t getting as much exercise or getting my heart rate up as much as usual, and I think that contributed to being cold.
We stuck to the green runs as I didn’t want to have to try and rescue them if they had a bad fall on a blue run. It was actually really fun to ski runs all day that I could ski confidently and without any stress at all.
Life has been stressful and will continue to be so for a while yet. So many decisions, so much uncertainty, so many logistics to be attended to, and trips coming up. Oh the logistics! We’re in the thick of things. My parents are at the other end. I’m grateful for my relative youth and all that is in my life, even if it’s beyond exhausting at times. One day at a time.