whistler day 5

WHISTLERDay 5: (run of the day: Rhapsody Bowl with Itai & Patric)

I went up to Whistler on Christmas eve with a bunch of students and it was fuunnnnn!!! We started off the day with Rhapsody Bowl (under the Symphony chair) which was great (knee-deep powder), but because the lift isn’t running you have to walk out (not as fun). I can’t wait for this chair to open because it looks like some great terrain! It isn’t open too often, but last year it opened in January so I hope this is the case again.

It was a beautiful day. I spent the day skiing with Itai and it was great! The conditions varied between EXTREME ice, and soft packed snow. We spent most of our time on the Whistler Peak.

They have blackout days on the student pass, so I won’t be going up again until the new year.

 

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It’s good to be back home.

I have been sorting out a lot of stuff that I put off while I was away. Things that I have sorted out: cell phone, place to live for the semester, laptop, jobs (x2!), and catching up with lots of people. I feel like I’ve done more than this…..

Still working on: scholarships, loan applications, NZ taxes, photo & laptop clean-up, move, stock up for the semester, buy textbooks… I’m sure there’s lots more.

I’m moving into a house with 4 other people. It’s a pretty nice house, so I am excited for that. I’ve only agreed to the semester at this point, but we’ll see what happens. I put a sign at the climbing gym and that’s how I met one of the roommates. Everyone is working full-time and is in their mid-twenties. I am quite happy that it’s on a top floor (that doesn’t smell like bacon) and seems pretty bright and warm. Studying in a basement suite seems sucko.

I have been working quite a bit at the climbing gym as a belayer. The pay sucks, and the shifts are short, but I’ve been meeting lots of nice people and I get free climbing on the days I work (noice!). Given the prices of climbing in Vancouver, this is good… I hope I can work up to be an instructor. It’s a pretty good place to work because it gets busy when school is out and is less busy when school is in (how convenient!). I can also choose how much I work. It’s been a bit hard finding partners to climb with on the days I work, but I’m sure as I meet more people it will become easier.

I also managed to get 1 full shift with PCRS, the non-profit I used to work for. They offered me a few more shifts but I was already busy those days. I signed up with them as an employee and I hope I can keep working odd days with them because that would work well with my schedule as well. A lot of the times too, it seems like if you’re covering desk it’s ok to do some reading (school work!).

I got to see my good friend Cassy a few times which was nice because she is just about to leave on HER adventure! It’s too bad our exchanges and trips are on totally different time frames because we only had a couple of weeks together in Vancouver, and she has already left for the beginning of her 8 month adventure. See you in August!!!

Did anyone notice that Jackie and I made the same holiday cards? hahahhahahaa oh the internet

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This year I got a Whistler student season pass, and I’ve been able to use it a lot since I’ve been back! To qualify you have to be a full-time student for either fall or winter semester, but it can’t be co-op. I wasn’t sure if this was going to happen again so I decided I had to get one this year!

I am crossing my fingers for a couple of big storms to come in because there is a lot less snow than there usually is. Not very many runs are open, and it is really icy. It’s still relatively early in the season though so still lots of time.

I’m not sure how much skiing I will do during the semester. I hope to do a lot, but I just talked to my friend in 4th year and he said: “WHAT ARE YOU DOING TAKING ALL THOSE CLASSES AT ONCE?” Oh dear.

The annual Santa ski day was awesome! This was my 2nd year going. I expect this to be an annual tradition’ I was pretty bummed I couldn’t go last year. This year just Scott and I went, and we ran into Rob & Adam there. It was lots of fun!!! We even got free beer because we were dressed up as Santas. I LOVE SANTA SKI DAY!!!!

santa-0Scott and I are in the front row in the middle-ish left. Scott has an electric blue helmet. You can see more pictures and bigger pictures here!

They let all the Santas have priority boarding on their new chairlift (a 6-seater Harmony express upgrade), but they had serious issues once a bunch of people got on. Seems like it was having power issues. I was waiting for Scott (the access was a terrible, narrow blue run with rocks everywhere), which worked out perfectly because they ended up shutting down the lift completely. There ya go, karma! It would have been too funny if 160 Santas got stuck on the new chairlift. That would be good advertising.

I’ve only managed to dip into powder on the Santa Saturday, when we went up to the Whistler Peak. That was awesome. Otherwise, rocks, trees and extreme ice are the way to go.

Day 1: (run of the day: Backstage Pass, off of the new Crystal Ridge chair)

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Day 2: (run of the day: West Bowl with Scott, Rob and Adam, with lots of fresh snow)

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Scott’s awesome Santa suit post-blue run

Day 3: (run of the day: Slingshot, but not by any big standards)

More snow please!

More snow please!

Day 4: (run of the day: Panorama with Mike, Tiff and Tiff’s UBC med friends!)

Mike's photo

Mike’s photo

What an (unexpectedly) AWESOME shot!!!

…..hawaii

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Hawaii was awesome. And ages ago. If you haven’t read about it already, you can read Kat’s blog posts: whole trip, food and the best parts (wet n wild & the vans triple crown surfing competition).

Natasha and I arrived 3 days before Katrina and Scott got there. We stayed mostly around Waikiki and went to the aquarium, a short walk to Manoa Falls, to Hanauma Bay, $2 tacos (round 1), the beach, missed lots of busses and generally caught up. It was really nice!

hawaii-3 hawaii-4Cacti!

hawaii-7Pointy mountains!

hawaii-6Bamboo!

hawaii-5Hanauma Bay is an EXTREMELY popular marine reserve with tourists everywhere. The entire reef looks dead, but the fish were still huge compared to the fish in Fiji. We didn’t see a turtle that day (though lots of other people did), but we saw one on the last day from land!

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coromandel

Right after the volunteering, Lauren flew up to Auckland and we headed over to the Coromandel Peninsula. We rented a little Yaris to get around, but when the lady at Avis saw my ginormous suitcase, she gave us a free upgrade to a Hyundai Accent. Sweet!

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Our mini-trip was awesome and filled with camping, eating nice food and seafood, visiting beaches, swimming, getting eaten by sandflies, short walks to look at kauris/mine tunnels/waterfalls, visiting hot water beach, and camping.

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There were 300 people at Hot Water Beach when we were there. We didn’t even bother renting a shovel. The water was too hot in some places to even stand!

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We hiked through an old mining tunnel that is 500m long. Tunnels give me a bit of the creeps after living in Christchurch (because of all the earthquakes) but it was cooooool! The tunnel was also cool, which was a nice break after the much-larger-than-expected hill we just walked up.

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In Auckland we met up with some old friends and went climbing, slacklining and ate A LOT of $1.50 steamed buns.

tiritiri matangi

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For 5 days the week before I left, I volunteered on an open bird sanctuary island called Tiritiri Matangi. It was a really fun experience with friendly people and I am really glad I did it! The volunteering aspect was quite easy – cleaning and refilling water troughs, cleaning out culverts and drains, washing the automobiles, picking up garbage, cleaning, digging fence holes and washing things. I was expecting to do a lot of tedious work, so the variety was nice.

The island is a maximum of 1 km across and 3 km long, and for 3 days, there were only 8 people on the whole island (1 ranger, 5 researchers, and 2 volunteers). That was really cool and the ranger and other researchers were really nice and friendly. We had meals together, drank wine and had a lot of laughs.

The beach was really nice and I managed to convince myself to swim 2 of the days. It was really cold, but beautiful.

One night I went out on a night walk and I saw 2 teeny blue penguins by the water (1 got scared and jumped into the ocean while the other one tried to camouflage into the hill) and a big fat kiwi ran across the road I was walking on and gave me a kiwi-in-the-headlights stare. One of the researchers, Donar, took us around and showed us some of the work he does with the hihis (stitchbird) and I got to see some chicks that had just been born within 24 hours! They were so small. He also showed us a tuatara (giant lizard), a baby tuatara, a morepork chick and we saw some kokakos. Other birds I saw were fantails, tuis, robins, parakeets, pukekos, takahes.. and so many more, but I can’t remember!

Hihi chicks:

tiritiri-12Pukeko with baby pukeko:

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I wouldn’t mind working as a ranger for a while. I would definitely be keen to take a co-op job out of Vancouver. Vancouver is really nice to be a nice city with everything close to mountains and the ocean, but I’d love to live farther out of the city.

Here are some photos that I haven’t posted yet.

– Lauren and me paragliding:

tiritiri-7 tiritiri-6 tiritiri-5 tiritiri-4– After Cup Day:

tiritiri-3– Picton:

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vancouver!

I am back in Vancouver! It is really cold here, but there is hardly any snow.. where did it all go???

The last two days have gone very smoothly as I try to organize myself. I have a phone now, and a computer (being set up right now – Windows 8 is confusing!!!), and picking up a few things from Paul’s parents house tonight (thanks Ralph and Grace!!!!!). I am staying at Kat & Scott’s a la Harry Potter for December which is VERY convenient, but a bit squishy (thanks K&S!!!). I will be repaying them by cooking a lot. Tonight is falafels.

It looks like I have a small part-time job set up for at the climbing gym starting next week. I’m not sure at this point if I will look for some more temp work over these holidays or not. It is on the never-ending to do list (#1 is doing 18 loads of laundry because Kat says everything in my suitcases/storage smells like a homeless person).

I have lots to blog about and lots of pictures so I will put them up soon. I will probably keep up this blog, but not post as often (I should be studying come January :P). Be prepared for lots of skiing photos as I plan to use the ski pass as much as possible!!!