A Travellerspoint blog

Lil Sal a lil cold

-30 °C

So its been a few weeks since my last update and a heap has happened since. We're currently living in crazily extreme freezing temperature. So much so that the mountain was actually closed yesterday because the gondola and lifts can't run at temps below -30 degrees. Today was touch and go as to whether the mountain would be open but the gondola eventually cranked up at about 11.30 however its only the 60 odd crazy people that are on the mountain right now. I walked out of the hostel into -33 degrees and its predicted to get even colder in the next week. If you ever want to see just how cold it is go to http://www.snow-forecast.com/resorts/Sunshine/6day/top I'll be experience almost -30 on my day off next Tuesday…how ridiculous.

I've settled in to working and boarding and hostel living. Work is going pretty well, but can be very boring. I spend most of my day on the internet, making stupid posters to decorate our hostel room with and making spreadsheets for my budget and other random things. I am the most organised traveler ever amd may even have a career in interkiior decorating.

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Riding is going awesome, loving it now I'm getting the hang of it. I have conquered the chairlifts (no more sprawled out Sally on the exit ramp) and am starting to get waay better stacks cause I'm going faster (only slightly though). Smashed my head the yesterday but lucky they scared us at our training about the crazy injuries and accidents, and now I'd never go on mountain without my helmet. I had an awesome day on Tuesday riding. We had 23cm of snow overnight so there was crazy powder everywhere (and apparently we can get dumps of up to 70cm overnight, so it hasn't even begun!) I met up with some dudes from the hostel who took me up some runs which I hadn't been on yet so I had an awesome time exploring the mountain a little more and the powder makes everything so much better. When you fall its literally like falling into a cloud…so crazy..

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I've stayed a couple of nights on-hill, mainly to play poker tournaments. The tournaments are only small (1 or 2 tables) but so far I have played two weeks and won both times taking away 120bucks in all. It's mainly boys that play and they're pretty impressed that a girl can play and actually has decent knowledge about the game. I think that's pretty funny considering how many awesome chick players we have in Wollongong. Loving getting back into poker though and gives me a chance to hang out with a different crowd and meet more people. Its also pretty awesome to wake up on the couch and stare out the window and watch people snowboarding. It's prob the only time I'll be able to stay at a ski-in ski-out place without paying crazy amounts of money.

I went to my first snowboarding competition (and won!)...well maybe not but i did a damn good job at spectating. And sorry Mum, we had to hitch hike there cause we missed the bus...but its all good! I'm still alive to tell the tale. It was a pretty sweet night with 3 DJ's playing after the comp and a foam machine gave me my first indoor snowfall!

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I went curling the other night which was incredibly boring. Never again. It has nothing on lawn bowls. The only fun part was laughing at people slipping over, of which I definitely took the prize for most stacks. One of which where I ended up sprawled out, dead set in the centre of the target…pretty funny

So far a few random other things I have experienced, seen, thought were funny:

Went to a yoga class (its free on Sundays!)

Went to a snowboarding movie premiere (free tickets from work!...the perks of working with the execs

Saw photos at training of a snowboarder who stacked it and landed on a broken tree…lets just say his sphincter was never the same (true story!)

Found a bar which has free popcorn

Shared the footpaths around town with the deer (which have huge freakin antlers) and thought I saw an elk until I really saw an elk (they're freakin enormous creatures!)

Spent a ridiculous amount of money setting myself up with the warm clothes and snowboarding gear (but I have all the steeze now!)

One of my roomies grew up near Mildura (Robinsvale)

Had ridiculous conversations about the difference between Australian and Nth American toilets

Adopted the word touque (beanie) and adopted wearing them everywhere

Wore a bandanna for a face mask the other day which I swore I would never do, but you can't survive without one on the lifts

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Searched everywhere for curry powder and hokkien noodles

Saw Krafty Kuts for 10 bucks and a GirlTalk-like dude called Scratch Bastid who was awesome!

Went on a random trip to Wall-Mart 90 minutes away

Nicknamed my phone the boomerang phone after losing it 3 times in a month and having it returned to me every time…oh yeah

Ooo and my favourite part of the day is looking out the window in the afternoon watching the crazy stacks that happen on the ski-out at the bottom of the mountain cause its ridiculously icy at the moment. So funny! We stand at the window and just chant for either a domino effect pile-up or 'CREEK IT, CREEK IT!!!' I'll post photos of the creek which we just want 1 person to fall in…Just once…

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Discovered a free hot tub, sauna and steam room at the resort across the road (so sweet after a day of riding)

Built or helped build an igloo

I was supposed to go on a staff trip to Kicking Horse (another resort about 2 hours away) but it got postponed due to the cold weather so that's a little disappointing. Our staff Christmas party also got postponed because of the weather and that's hopefully going to be on this Sunday.

I'm missing home a fair bit, (don't worry I'm still having fun though) especially with how ridiculously cold it is and because I'm turning pasty white and developing a vitamin D deficiency. But it will be awesome to see a familiar face over here when Kim comes to visit. If anyone else is planning on coming over I can get you VIP tickets? Anyone wanna come visit? Anyone?

Anyways love and miss you all, but will see you in near future!

xox

Posted by Mustang84 10:24 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

The Snow is Falling!!!

snow -4 °C

So the last few weeks have seen everyone here in Banff doing snow dances in hopes of the snow to fall and stay long enough so the mountains could be open. After being snowed on for the first time ever, we thought that opening day would soon follow. But another 10 days of trying to find cheap things to do in Banff and finally I was called up to come into work. I have never been so excited to work…ever. As much as Banff is a great town it can get a little stale when the highlight of my day is my visit to Safeway (Canadian Woollies). So I started work as a receptionist in the executive offices at the base of the mountain where I am in charge of issuing VIP and complimentary tickets to executive’s guests, media and other important people. I also answer phones, reply to comments made by customers on the website and somehow I’ve also become a bit of a PA..

The atmosphere here in the office is awesome, everyone is really cool and I even get ride breaks! Yesterday I went out for my first ride with Megan, one of the girls from the office, who has been riding for years (as have most Canadians). I was pretty scared as it was only the second day of the mountain opening which means there are really only hardcore boarders and skiers that are just keen as to get the season started. It was fun, though very frustrating as we got stuck on this goats trail of a run where I had trouble keeping any speed, fell on my arse a lot and ended up having to strap out and walk. But my bruised tailbone was so worth it. I’m glad to have my first run out of the way and keen to get more in. I have to work 8 days in a row but my first day off is Wednesday and I’ll hopefully get out a do a whole day, with a free lesson.

I managed to get staff accomm. but its at the hostel where I was staying before. Basically that just means I had to move into a room with 2 other Aussie girls who also work at Sunshine and its waaaay cheaper. Not sure if I can do hostel living the entire time but it’s the cheapest option right now. The hostel is 20min drive from work but the staff bus picks us up at 7 (oh so ridiculously early!) so no sleep in for me…

So yeah after the nothingness of the first week or two in Banff, I’m now pretty busy with work and can’t wait to get out on the mountain and become a pro!

Love and miss you all
Lil Sal

Posted by Mustang84 08:32 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

First Week in Canada

sunny 12 °C

After a tearful ‘see you bai’ at Sydney airport I crossed over to the other side and found myself on my lonesome. Before even taking off from Sydney I was already sleeping after the exhausting weeks leading up to my trip. After watching Sex in the City movie three times, consuming horrid aeroplane meals at random times, a quick stopover in Taipai, hours of sleeping upright or hunched over on my tray, I arrived at my hostel in Vancouver late Monday night, with cankles like I have never seen before.

My first day in Vancouver I spent setting myself up a little...new phone, universal adaptor that is clearly not universal and wandering around exploring. I met up with Lyndsay, a fellow gong rat who I once played ultimate Frisbee with and who now lives in Vancouver, and decided to crash at his house instead of the hostel so I could enjoy barefoot showers (thongs in the shower...good tip Sarah!) After getting the lowdown on the tourist things I could do from Lyndsay and his mates, my second day in Vancouver I spent riding the wrong way around the SeaWall, and trying to deal with riding on the right side of the road. Saw a few random things along the way including a jew on a scooter, raccoons who took over my bike for a while and also make the weirdest noises, a cool little aquarium in the middle of this huge park (Stanley Park) and squirrels!

Then comes the most scariest experience of my life. Sorry mum...but I survived! After hearing there was a bar called CHILL WINSTON, I told the boys that I HAD to go there, so Lyndsay gave me directions to meet them there, and what fantastic directions they were....‘Just walk down Hastings St, and its just there’. So I walking down Hastings there’s a few bums around (a little freaky but nothing too bad) then all of a sudden before I even realise I’ve stumbled on the worst street in Nth America (proven fact...most bums/crackheads per square metre than anywhere else in Nth America). They were literally everywhere, and rambling, stumbling, talking to walls, fighting amongst each other and not one single normal person in sight. Right then I got pretty scared and didn’t even want to get my phone out in case that brought attention to myself. So my next thought was to find something open so that I could at least get away from them. After walking a couple of blocks I found a pizza shop that was open....which then turned out to be full of these people completely out of it and off their head. I finally got on the phone to Lyndsay and just said come get me, told him kind of where I was (because of course I didn’t really know) before his phone died. So here I am, huddled in the corner of a pizza shop, not even knowing if someone is coming to get me and not having any other numbers in Vancouver that I can call. After a few more minutes wondering what the hell to do and feeling literally like I am stuck in a horror movie with zombies all around me, Lyndsay’s head pops into the shop to get me the hell away from there. We literally walk one block away, and its normal city life again. Freaking ridiculous! There is honestly nothing like this in Australia...Kings X has nothing on what I had just experienced. So we get to Chill Winston and I very shakily down a much needed drink. Up until then I thought Vancouver was pretty nice place but this pretty much ruined my experience in Vancouver.

The next day I flew out to Calgary which included flying over the Rockys (which was amazing, the photos don’t give it justice) and then got to my hostel that night where I met a heap of people from our Facebook group that we’d formed a few months ago. So many Aussies at the hostel, its actually hard to meet Canadians. The hostel is pretty awesome, cool atmosphere with a bar downstairs where we spent most of Halloween. Halloween was crazy with people dressing up even during the day. I spent the day in town searching for my snowboard (which I bought, so exciting!) and every shop we went into, the employees would be dressed up. I got heaps of photos of people in town that night with some awesome costumes.

So that’s been my first week in Vancouver. I am staying at this hostel for 2 weeks before I will have to find somewhere else to live. I start my training on Tuesday and will pull out the water works if that’s what it takes to get staff accommodation. The mountain is supposed to be opening 15th Nov so in about 2 weeks. I’ll know heaps more about what I’m doing after Tuesday though.

Love and miss you all
xoxoxxo

Posted by Mustang84 13:08 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Holy Crap....7 Days

-17 °C

So I'm 7 days away from leaving the sunny beaches of Wollongong for the sub-zero temperatures of the Canadian Rockies. What was I thinking when I chose to give up my Aussie summer???

My flight is booked, Canadian visa received, job at a snow resort in Banff confirmed and my first few weeks accomodation sorted out and yet I'm feeling disorganised and scared as all hell. The next week is hectic as, catching up with as many people as possible, saying my 'see you later's' and shedding the odd tear. Grad ball, recovery, Sal Says See You Bai, family catchups and my last moments at Bode Ave will all feature in my last week in the Gong. Monday 27th is going to be one tough day but all worth it in the end, I'm sure.

The plan at this stage is to spend a few days in Vancouver sorting out bank accounts and buying all my snow gear so I have all the steeze (is that right Tess? am I down with the lingo?) and then fly to Calgary and bus it to my new home, Banff just in time for my first Halloween celebrations, where no doubt Sailor Sal could make an appearance. I have a few days to get settled in Banff and meet my new family before starting work as a receptionist at Sunshine Village.

So at this stage I'm scared, excited and definately a little sad to say 'see you bai' to my awesome awesome real family and my awesome awesome Wollongong family... You all better be here when I get back!!!!

Posted by Mustang84 03:01 Archived in Australia Tagged preparation Comments (0)

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