Thursday, January 22, 2015

Day Trip To Whistler

If you are ever up for a challenge, may I suggest snowboarding? Of all of the things I have tried, I think this one works out your body in the most gratifying and traitorous format. But hey, snow is always pretty to look at d":

Oh beautiful forest, how you deceive me...

December 29, 2014 would be the second time that I attempted snowboarding. I'm not saying that I had a bad experience last time, but I was very flustered - on the bunny hill ._.

So this time, I went with my cousin Shellby, her friends, Katrina & Leanne, and other cousins, Benz & Mina (with their significant others - names mentioned later on). This was certainly going to be one adventurous day!

I was ready around 6:20AM, but yet we left around 8:30AM... Let's just say that Katrina & Shellby are not morning people. We got breakfast before picking up Leanne, and we were off to the mountains! I drove on the way up, which was a bit fearful at times, considering at times there is only one lane, and cars upon others are speeding up right behind you. But for a 2-hour drive, it's quite pleasant, there's beautiful scenery passing by, and the company is well enjoyed

At one point, I felt lost, not knowing how to get up to Whistler, so I got Katrina to find directions specifically to the parking lot; there was only one way (duh!) But nonetheless, we finally made it to the mountain, with abundant parking space for the picking. While everyone was putting their gear on, I was just standing there, drinking my latte, not knowing what to do.

The shuttle bus came by, and off our way to Blackcomb! By this point, Mina & Benz were there two hours ago, but they were enjoying them selves - but, on Whistler mountain. First thing's first, we had to get our passes:

A cozy little guest lounge

What I never understood was the fact that the majority of employees are from very far places. For example, the employee who helped me comes from Ireland. Not sure how the program works in Whistler, I am rather in love with the idea of working in a foreign land, especially when you're by something that you are passionate about. The service was fast and convenient, and the pass given is quite technologically advanced. All you have to do is place the pass in a pocket (left breast, preferably), and bam! Instant service to shred the mountains (no photo of this, I don't like my face on the pass!)

Since everyone owns their own gear, I had to get some rentals, and I must say, it's rather clean for a rental service:

If my closet could look like this, that would be great

With so many people to assist you, getting some boots and a board was a cinch. All you had to do was fill in an online form, the attendant gives you a sheet, and then another employee comes and gets you your equipment. The man who was helping me comes from New Zealand, and one of his eyes was completely white. I wanted to ask if he was blind, but I don't think it's my place to ask such a question (no matter how ridiculously good looking that man is - like, damn). But anyways, back to the process: he had to give me step-by-step instructions on how to put on the boots, which was a little bit difficult at first, but rewarding once I finally had them on:

Feet are ready to go

Not knowing what my feet positioning for the board were at the moment, I decided to go with regular, because I assume that if I use my right foot to push on a scooter, then my left foot should lead, right? So without hesitations, I got the employee to make the bindings straight as possible... Well, let's just look at the board:

Ooh, galaxy print

Outfit of the day: Black on black

Here I am, with no clue what I'm doing, I decide to take photos while waiting for the girls to get their boards waxed:

From left: Katrina, Leanne, Shellby

Only Katrina noticed I was taking photos of them d":

And before I destroyed myself on the mountain, I needed evidence of what I looked before, with Shellby, of course:

Smiling, for now...

We never ventured into Blackcomb, because Benz & Mina were already on Whistler mountain, so that's where most of the day was spent. The walk was a little bit rough, but absolutely stunning. It's very picture-esque, and gives this sacred feeling that is hard to grasp in the city. After about, 10-15 minutes, we finally made it to Whistler mountain:

Look at all of the happy people, conquering the trail that I fear

Everyone was ready, except for me! Luckily, putting on a snowboard is simple, attaching straps to one foot, and then you get on the lift. For the day, I only conquered the smallest trail, Fitzsimmons, which is not small - at all. That's the thing about Whistler: bunny hills do not exist x_x But if anything, the views are spectacular from above, if I don't say myself:

Quite breath-taking, isn't it?

All of the people are amazing, even the little kids!

A winter wonderland

A snow machine - does it make snow?

They're smiling underneath their layers

As always, once the lift came to an end, I tried so hard to remain still while sliding down, only to have my butt kiss the ground. Multiple times. But not to worry, I managed to get up, and move along (that, I did improve since last time). Leanne and Katrina were on their way down faster than you know it, and Shellby stayed behind, making sure I was still alive after the first time going down the hill. I will say that the first time was really difficult for me, falling numerous times (I even fell on my head, which made a big impact at the moment). There were 2 or 3 people passing by, asking me if I was doing okay... I was okay.

Every time that I had to stop, Shellby would tell me different ways of how to control the board, how my posture needs to be corrected, and every little detail that would allow me to control the board. It is difficult to teach people new things, but once you got into the hang of it, it becomes fun! I managed to get better control halfway down, but for some reason, I kept going towards the edge of the trail (that's when my fear began to grow). And I'm not sure why, but I kept putting my right foot in front (perhaps I am goofy?) While going down the trail, there were two people that we stumbled upon: Benz, and his girlfriend, Leanna. Turns out, it was also Leanna's first time snowboarding (I wasn't alone!) Benz was very helpful towards Leanna, and took their time learning the basics. But before that, it was a great photo opportunity while we were all on the ground:

Learning makes a person truly happy ^_^

After catching up with the couple, Shellby challenged me to go down all the way. I had to accept, there was very little left of the trail to conquer. Not sure how I did it, but I managed to stay up front, without falling until it was the end. I was so happy, that I needed to take a break d"; While disassembling myself from the board, I noticed a girl in the crowd:

Classic Red Lip Thing That You Like

It's Carolyn! So pretty, ah! We attended the same elementary school, and now she resides in New York. She was there with her family, and her sister, Stephanie, were sightseeing and taking photos of the mountain when I saw her. We caught up for a few moments, and it's amazing to see what people you've known your whole life are up to these days. Who would have thought you would see someone from far far away on a high peak? What a sweet surprise ^^

After that exhausting ride on Fitzsimmons, I had to get a white hot chocolate (sugar rush is required to conquer the trail again!) Shellby and I were trying to find everyone, so we decided to warm up first at the rentals close by Fitzsimmons, only to find a genius thing at the centre: a free phone charging station! My phone died the moment we were up on the mountain, and I needed it more than anything at this moment! I locked it up, and away we went to the Starbucks.

Because the barista always asks for a name, I decided to be someone else for the day:

Think I could pull off being a Charlie?

Eventually, we managed to find Benz & Leanna, and out of nowhere comes Mina and her boyfriend, Richard. Benz brought Oreo cookies for all of us to eat - it was done within a span of 5 minutes. After the break, we walked back to the Fitzsimmons, collect our belongings, and head up on the mountain. Luckily, we bumped into Leanne, whom Shellby went with at I believe a higher peak. I went with Mina, Richard, Benz, and Leanna, going at a much more comfortable rate.

When approaching the lift, I missed the one that I was suppose to get on, and ended up waiting for one with three other people - I sat in the middle. Once again, approaching the end of the trail, I managed to get further off the seat, but still fell down on my butt -_-" One day, I'll be able to perfect my landing. I didn't know there were two ways to get down the hill, as my cousins brought me to the slower side of the peak, where all the students and families were located (thank goodness!) While putting our straps back on, Richard had to sit down, providing us with a photo opportunity:

Pointing & Laughing because he can't stand up

 And then we took a nice photo, except I think Richard didn't quite get the memo:

Person on the right is the cherry on top in this picture

Initially, when we were going down the trail, Richard was the fastest amongst us, while I went down at the same time with Mina - however, I wasn't able to control my own snowboard, going faster than expected. There were times where I almost caught up to Richard, until the point where I wanted to go down the EASIER path to the village. With all my might (which was like, an effort or two), my snowboard lead me to the bumpier path to the village. All in all, it wasn't so bad, my fears were certainly heightened, but I somehow got down the hill rather fast. Was doing pretty well until the end, where I fell once (a better improvement), and that's when someone from far, far away saw me: it was Katrina. She waited for me at the bottom of the hill, while I had to push myself up (my arms were dead at this point).

Not knowing what to do, that was the last trail I managed to conquer as the mountains close at 3PM that day (I think it has to do with the daylight, but I'm not certain). So then Katrina and I lugged our way back to the rental place, and by golly gee, the pathway back seemed much longer than before. We weren't exactly sure where we were going, but we stumbled upon another trail that was still opened. I think it was Blackcomb, but people were freely going down the trail. Since we stumbled upon it halfway, we just went down from the point where we found it, which was about a decent 5 minutes. This is what it looked like:

The moon comes out too soon

Once we got down that trail (didn't get the name of it), we decided to contact Shellby and find out where they were - they were still in the village. So we waited at the lounge where rentals were located, and all of a sudden, my phone dies. We looked far and wide for a phone, from guest services to resorting having to ask a stranger to borrow their phone. Turns out, they were waiting for Benz et al, so we waited until they would meet up with us at the restaurant, right beside the lounge. While Katrina was ordering food from the restaurant, I was pressing the power button on my phone out of pure boredom, and what do you know? It resurrects from the dead! My phone is back to life, and I can finally find out whereabouts is Shellby... They decided to look around town before heading out. We decided to return my rentals, and then head to the parking lot.

Thought there was a return bus to the parking lot, but we waited for about 10 minutes before we decided to walk there - only thing we didn't know was how long it took to get to the parking lot. Along the walk, we managed to bump into Benz and Mina, and they were already cozied up in their car, about to head home. They gave us some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and cookies that were absolutely divine (Mina is a great baker!) About another 10 minutes, we managed to find the car! We waited for Shellby and Leanne, only to eventually pick them up where we were originally waiting for them (oy vey...) So we picked them up, and drove all the way home (another 2 hours on the highway). I managed to sleep for about half an hour, and then I was wide awake. From conversations about school to relationships, and even rumours about celebrities, I must say, it was an excellent way to end the day at Whistler.

When I have the fundings, I will definitely go again :"D

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