So let me start right where I left of, on the way to Whistler. There was snow chaos on the Coquihalla Highway. The road we took was even north of it, but the road was surprisingly free from snow, so that we could drive safely for just about three and a half hours. Just before we entered the area around Whistler, the snow got more. Blair and me, we didn’t stay in a fancy hotel or anything. No, we stayed at a youth hostel, which was okay, because we weren’t there anyway except for sleeping. The youth hostel was also a good one, because it was built for the athletes from 2010. Well it’s all about the skiing, right?
Most inhabitants of Whistler are probably millionaires. You can hardly find a house which doesn’t look really expensive. This got kind of a stereotype for Whistler: expensive and always full of tourists. Surprisingly Whistler wasn’t full at all. It wasn’t expensive either. I could rent skis for two days for only 90 bucks and the lift ticket was even cheaper than in Sun peaks. I rented some powder skies from Rossignol for the first day. I never tried such fat skies before and I heard that they make a big difference in powder. I was excited to try them out, because Whistler just got lots of new snow.
The first morning of skiing was so unbelievable. I thought I was in heaven. The sun was shinning, the powder was knee deep and thanks to the skies I got the powder technique at once. With my own skies I never really got it, but with those “fatties” it just becomes natural. They really make you float and the skiing is just so different from what I had in Europe. It was a whole new experience. I think my Vocabulary isn’t good enough to describe the skiing, but I certainly didn’t want it to end. I have even seen some guys shooting a ski movie. I skied as much and as hard as possible until we had lunch. Just after this morning I was already exhausted, but also really happy.
The food was really good, too. You could get different kinds of food from all over the world and the restaurants are actually beside the run which I was missing in North American ski resorts so far. After lunch it got cloudy and windy. The skiing was still amazing but it got a bit nasty. At the end of the day we took the Peak to Peak gondola. That was an amazing experience. It is the highest and longest free span gondola in the world. It only has two huge towers and the free span is over three kilometers long. At one point you’re hanging 436 meters over ground, only hold by a few cables which prevent you from falling to death. Absolutely magnificent! The ride just took about eleven minutes. after I got to try some of the runs at Whistler Mountain.
Whistler is also called “Disneyland for Skiers” and it’s true. We were just at Blackcomb for the first day and that was already awesome, but there are two mountains in Whistler, Blackcomb and Whistler Mountain. Each one is probably as big as Sun peaks. Another good thing about Whistler is the lift system. It is the largest in North America and has mostly high speed lifts. While you’re at some points almost freezing to death in Sun Peaks, it seems like you can ski all day long in Whistler. Every time I had a nice conversation with Blair about skiing, we already had to ski on which is really not a bad thing. I am a bit tired of writing about it, because it makes me want to go back again which I certainly will one day.
Although the weather wasn’t good the second day, we still enjoyed it a lot. This time I rented some all mountain skies from Voelkl. They worked really well in every condition and it was fun to change between all the different kinds and techniques of skiing. The first half of the morning we skied at Blackcomb, before we went over to Whistler Mountain for the rest of the day. It was unfortunately too windy for the Peak to Peak Gondola and most of the alpine lifts were closed as well. We had to ski all the way down to the Village and take another Gondola up. It would have taken us about 25 less minutes, if we had been able to take the Peak to Peak.
Because we couldn’t go up to the top, we stayed lower and tried to find the Olympic runs. I was able to ski both, the women and men race course. Both are really challenging. I couldn’t really race though because of some bumpy parts and tourists, but my legs still felt sore at the end. The men race course really became one of my favorite runs, just like Whistler became on of my favorite resorts.
Two days are really not enough to experience the whole facility of Whistler. You can hardly ski it all in a single week, but the two days were still one the highlights in my exchange year. It was hard to enjoy Sun Peaks again, because it was so much better in Whistler. I just had one other day of skiing, before the season ended. The main reasons were that it was already spring and that the shuttle bus didn’t run anymore. At the end I had 26 ski days in total. I wanted to ski more, but it is still a good number, because I just skied whole days and with almost no breaks. It was still about four times more than usual for me, so what do I want more?
When I came back from my short holiday in Whistler, I still had 5 days of holiday left. It appears to me like everybody in Canada has a cabin somewhere. So does my host family. Two days after Whistler we went to their cabin at the Shuswap Lake to stay over night. The Shuswap Lake is one of the largest in the Kamloops area. In summer it is always really busy, because the weather is probably the nicest in BC. I truly look forward to the warmer weekends. Since my host family has a fast boat, I’m probably going to water ski for the whole time. It’s too bad that I have to leave just after it gets really nice. There is less than two and half months left for me and the thought of leaving so soon makes me sad. One week of holidays is almost immediately over, but I still had an exhausting weekend in front of me.
I played in the first tennis tournament of the season. It went really well for me, although there is still room for improvement. I easily won the first match and then faced the number one of the tournament the next morning. I lost the first set 6 to 0. I know that’s a bad result, but every single game went over deuce and I had lots of game points, but simply didn’t use them. In the second set however I got into my rhythm and won the set with 6 to 4. It was a really exhausting match and after ninety minutes we started the final set. I don’t know why, but I completely choked and it all was over really quickly. I lost 6 to 0 and was so disappointed, because I really had a chance to win.
Just an hour later I had my next game in the Consultation round. The first set almost took an hour, but finally I won with 7 to 5 in the tie break. In the second set I was a break behind, but got it back, when my opponent was serving for the set at 5 to 4. We went to another tie break and I was lucky to win with 7 to 4. I don’t think that I would have won the third set, because I was soooo tired.
I played against a really good opponent in the half final next morning. My legs were sore, but I played the best tennis of the tournament. Nevertheless I lost the first set in the tie break, but I managed to win the second with 6 to 4. Because it was just the consultation round we played a champions tie break instead of a final set. I didn’t mind it, because I had the momentum on my side. I won 10 to 6 and could play in the “small” final which I lost 6 4, 1 6 and 10 7 in the champions tie break. I played well in the first, but played horrible in the second set. At the end I was just too tired. All in all it was an awesome tournament.
Not much has happened lately at school until I had my first day hike with my Adventure tourism class. We took the whole day off and hiked for about 5,5 hours. We chose to hike up Mount Mara which is just outside of Kamloops. The mountain is about 1000 meters tall, but some parts were still quite challenging. We wanted to go up the steep side and descent the easy side, but a large train blocked our way. We waited about 20 minutes until we decided to take the reverse route. It was an awesome day even though it rained the day before and the path got a bit soft. Once we got higher we even had to go through some snow. Nevertheless we had fun and the view on top was amazing. You almost had a 360 degree view of the area. You could see the whole area around Kamloops, the two local ski hills Harper and Sun Peaks, Kamloops Lake and the mountain behind it.
The descent was really challenging. The path was soft and very steep. You had to be really careful not to slip away which some of us did. Once the path got easier, most of us just ran down. After 95 percent of the hike was done we still had lots of time left. Our teacher showed us the Hoodoos. Those are bizarre rock formations. Because everything is mainly sandstone in that area, it was easy for erosion to carve those stones. We climbed in the Hoodoos and enjoined the view for about 40 minutes before we started our way home. It was funny that our group got split up by another train. I was in the group who made it over the rail way before the train came by. It took a while for the train to pass, because the average train in Canada is about two kilometers long. It’s also going way slower than normal trains, because of the huge amount of power necessary to accelerate those monsters.
For Easter I got two days off, so that I had another small holiday. On Saturday I had a tiny bicycle tour with Blair and Anna. After that we went swimming. All together it was a nice family day. I also showed Blair the Hoodoos on Sunday. Although we got lost and climbed half way up the mountain we finally found them and had a really good workout.
In the Evening I had a huge family dinner with my host family’s family. Actually it was just about half the family I think, but it was still several times the size of my family. I already knew most of them, but I also saw some new faces. The food was really good again and I also noticed one thing. It appears to me as every big dinner like Christmas, Easter or Thanksgiving is a turkey dinner. Not that I have anything against it, but it lacks a bit of variety in my opinion.
On Monday I had another Easter dinner but this time with my old host family at some friends of them. It was really good to see them again. We had lots of things to talked about. I found out that Bob won the “Slush Cup” at Sun Peaks. The Slush Cup is a competition at Sun Peaks which first started five years ago. The goal is to jump off a ramp over a „pool“ of water. Getting over the water is almost impossible since the distance to gain speed is too small. There are some various competitions but the main thing for is longest distance and Bob won in that category. In total he was second though, because his costume wasn’t the best. There were some really awesome costumes. The pictures are on the Sun Peaks website.