Saturday, 10 December 2011

The start of a (not really proper) Canadian winter

What Vancouverites call winter is definitely upon us (all other Canadians think Vancouver is where the wusses move to to escape months of minus temperatures and several feet of snow).  Here is some of what I've been up to as the thermometer starts to drop:

Our first lesson was back to basics, I remembered a bit more than I thought I would do and Mark was obviously best in class.  His first foray onto the nursery slopes showed an admirable tolerance of high speed on skis, and less ability to turn.  Much hilarity ensured (for me anyways).  

Okay, not me yet, but watch this space...
We've now progressed to a full green run (they have a different grading system here so greens include European blues as they don't have reds) and a very nice lift attendant has helped me (mostly) conquer my fear of chair lifts.  Ridiculously we can be on the slopes for mid week night skiing by 7pm so hopefully will get in plenty of practice, especially on days with powder and once we get good, we'll hit Whistler... 

This is me..and v nice experienced snow shoer, Caitlin
Snow shoeing
Just discovered this today; basically huge plastic things attached to your feet with inbuilt crampons to help you walk on snow without slipping or sinking.  Super easy once you get used to the feeling and good way to keep training uphill through winter.  Sliding down on your bum is also very fun, although not sure my 'pants' enjoyed it as much...

Eagle watching
Turns out salmon don't just taste great smoked with lemon and black pepper but play v important role in the forest eco-system.  Eaten by bears, eagles and other animals after they've died post once-in-a-lifetime spawning lesson (some species have no luck) their decomposing bodies also provide nutrient to the trees. 

Seems all mums give in to whingeing teenagers
Bald eagles are particularly keen salmon eaters; we headed to Squamish last weekend to one of the best place to see them.  We watched around 15 eagles just across the river, a couple casually 'caught' a couple of they dying salmon for a lunch time snack.  Although we've been lucky enough to see lots of bald eagles now, they don't fail to disappoint with their incredibly 'eagley' faces and special pyjamed white legs, although their calls do sound like strangled sea gulls (and in films gets dubbed over with the much more 'eagley' sounding red-tailed hawk).  Sorry my camera isn't up to much, but next time Dan snaps one I will pop it up.  

Christmas preparation!

Despite living somewhere surrounded by fir trees, real trees are banned in our apartment, but got a great fake tree and spent last weekend making decorations and getting the rest from the dollar shop (nice ones only, obv).  Thanks to the folks already have a pile of pressies under it so feeling Christmassy.  Canadians seem to take it pretty seriously although interestingly no one EVER refers to it officially as Christmas, it is always the 'holiday season' and if you didn't know, you wouldn't guess it had an religious association at all.  Suits me fine although I will miss the Brownie nativity!  We leave on Boxing Day for our trip to wintry Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming so plan to spend Christmas Day skiing...

Will keep you posted on skiing and other antics and expect a major update post Yellowstone adventure, fingers and toes crossed including a very out of focus blurry shot of a real life wolf! 

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