Category Archives: Other Adventures

Bounce!

On Sunday J and I went to Richmond with two friends to try out the Extreme Air Park. This is a giant trampoline facility that features a football-field sized area of interlinked trampolines (including the walls), a trampoline half-pipe, and a foam pit for practicing tricks.

It was insanely, ridiculously fun. On the big trampoline field I understood immediately why trampolines are used for aerials training. Doing easy grabs reminded me of days in the terrain park before I blew my knee, when I was first gaining confidence in the air.

The half pipe was a bit of a letdown, since it didn’t have enough tension for high bouncing. This didn’t stop one of our friends from turning a very springy cartwheel on it, but I sort of lurched off the sides before falling off the end into the foam pit. That was all I needed to realise that the foam pit was going to be one of the best things ever.

It really was. There was a double trampoline leading up to it, and if you timed it right this meant you could really maximize both air and forward momentum on the second bounce. It took me a few tries to figure the double bounce out, including one ungainly sprawl on the floor, and then I got it and suddenly full front flips (and even a couple of 540s) were no problem at all.

I could have stayed there all day. It’s that thing about being in the air, that moment where you suddenly feel the promise of flight before gravity grabs you and hauls you back down to earth. It’s hard to put into words, this pull that the air has on me even though it cost me so much on that day when it all went wrong in the terrain park. On a bike, on skis, on a trampoline: it doesn’t matter. I’m never going to stop wanting to be there, in that perfect weightless moment.

In spite of the hordes of uncontrolled children, we all had a great time. I want to go back, and soon.

Another new thing

This weekend we were gifted with some unexpected free time together after a work project J was expecting was delayed. Since it was too late in the day to go on a long hike, we decided to head over to Jericho and see if we could find some stand up paddleboards to rent. It’s something we’ve both been wanting to try, and with the Folk Fest on we figured other beach activities might be quieter. The ocean was calm with a very gentle breeze, making it perfect weather.

Initially, we both felt wobbly in spite of the fact that the huge boards are extremely stable. SUPing is billed as a great core activity, but to begin with we both felt like we were carrying the load in our legs – J in her feet, and me in my calves. It took fifteen minutes or so for us to learn to trust the boards (and ourselves) and let the tension go. For me, the biggest adjustment was realising that this wasn’t a twitchy little windsurf board and that I didn’t have to overcompensate every time I hit a wake or wave.

As we got used to the boards, it became clear that J has a natural talent for SUPing. She zipped away from me and past pretty much every other boarder out there, including people who clearly had a lot more experience than us. I trundled along in her wake, grateful that my cranky shoulder seemed to be tolerating the activity but very conscious of how weak my upper body has gotten over the months I’ve been nursing the injury.

SUPs are sort of forcefully relaxing. Especially when you’re learning, the pace is very measured and the dip of the paddle in and out of the water is hypnotic. It’s also a very different perspective. I expected it to feel a lot like kayaking, but it really doesn’t. You have the same benefit of being out on the water and away from the land and the crowds, but the standing position completely changes your view of the things around you and your own perception of your movement through the water. We both loved the feeling of peace and calm that came from being far away from the shore, but close together on our boards.

This is something we’ll definitely do again.

Stand up paddleboarding, Jericho Beach

Onto the rock

This weekend I got to try something completely new: rock climbing. I’ve had a long-standing fascination with climbing and mountaineering, but with more sports competing to fill my free time than I know what to do with I hadn’t managed to make the time to try it for myself – until now. A Peregrine Expeditions Introduction to Rock Climbing course took me down to Anacortes, Washington, on a gorgeous summer morning.

First rappel

The short hike up Mount Erie to the cliff was quite beautiful, and the views from the cliff itself took my breath away. Joseph, the Peregrine Expeditions guide, had definitely picked a stunning spot to teach us to climb. As with the ski tours I’ve done with Peregrine in the winter, he struck an excellent balance between instruction and practice. Everyone looked super nervous as they prepared for their first rappels, but as soon as we stepped backwards off the cliff and realised we could trust the rope they became immense fun.

On the rockThe climbing itself was more of a challenge than I expected. Joseph started us off on a couple of relatively easy climbs, then moved us across to a pair of harder routes. I found that my main weaknesses were a tendency to try and rush through the next move (slowing down, looking around and really evaluating the available hand- and foot-holds worked better) and an over-reliance on my hands rather than my feet. It felt like playing a complicated game of physical chess, where one good move laid the foundation for success while one poor one caused an inevitable cascade into a retreat or spill.

I ended the day proud of what I’d achieved, eager to take on more challenges in the future, and really happy to have tested myself at something completely new. For beginner rock climbers, this is a fantastic introduction to the sport and I highly recommend it.

Spartan Sprint

It’s mud run season!

Spartan Sprint finisher!

The Spartan Sprint, like last year’s Warrior Dash, was located on Mount Seymour. However unlike the Warrior Dash, which took place in 30+ degree heat later in the summer, the Spartan Sprint came with a lot of snow that the organizers helpfully incorporated into large sections of the course.

From the start line we launched straight into a dash through knee-deep, heavily churned up snow  all the way to Mystery Peak and back. The sandbag carry and rock drag were both located in this part of the course; the rock drag (which we dubbed “walking your pet brick”) was significantly more challenging given that every time you stopped or slowed, the concrete block would start disappearing into the snow. The snow definitely added an extra element of challenge to the course, although as a non-runner it  also made the first part way easier on my knees. It did feel very strange to be plunge-stepping on foot down slopes that I know so well on skis.

Spartan Sprint start

My cranky shoulder, which seems to be deteriorating daily at the moment, precluded much of an effort on the monkey bars but wasn’t as much of a problem as I’d feared on other obstacles. The snowmelt had left the lower part of the course muddy and slippery, and we saw some nasty tumbles on the high wall. The cargo scramble was excellent fun, and I was very surprised when my spear throw successfully nailed a hay bale and spared me an additional 50 burpees. The barbed wire crawl was an uncomfortable wallow through very rocky, gravely mud, followed by a failed rope climb (50 burpees) and a flying leap over a wood fire to the gladiators at the finish line.

Battling gladiators at the Spartan Sprint

Once again we had an excellent time, and were inspired enough to sign up for the 7 Summits Adventure Race in Washington state this fall, which looks to be on a whole different level than the obstacle races we’ve done so far. I need to do a whole bunch more running between now and then, and also do something about getting my shoulder back on track.

Snow biking the Methow Valley

Before I read Jill Homer‘s Ghost Trails, I had no idea there was such a thing as a fat bike. Afterwards, I made a pledge that this winter I would find a way to ride one. It was a pretty safe bet that I’d fall hard for the idea of something that combines my favourite summer sport with the snowy landscapes that I love so much.

After writing about this for my Vancouver Courier cycle column, I got an email from Kristen Smith of the Methow Valley Sports Trail Association. For the first time ever, the MVSTA were opening up some of their world-famous cross-country ski trails to fat bikes. Knowing that an opportunity was so close at hand was impossible to resist. And so a couple of weeks ago, we loaded our gear, some friends and the traveling lolrii into the truck and took a drive to Winthrop, Washington, to make my snow biking dreams a reality.

Traveling lolrii in Osoyoos

Winthrop, a tiny little town with a pioneer vibe, endeared itself to me immediately. Super friendly without being overwhelming, full of old West style buildings and saloon bars, spread out on the banks of the winding Methow River against a backdrop of dusty grass and sagebrush. Winter lingered on the hills above the town, and I found myself scoping possible cycle routes along with the potential ski lines that dropped down to them.

We picked up our Salsa Mukluks from Methow Cycle and Sport, and I couldn’t resist taking mine for a quick evening pedal around town. On tarmac the huge fat tires felt more like the squishy comfort of a full suspension bike, and leaning to turn required some aggressive weighting. They were much happier being steered. I bunnyhopped off a few curbs, then retired to our beautiful cabin and its riverside hot tub for the night. As the sky faded to black above us, the silhouettes of grazing deer stepped delicately along the ridge on the far side of the river.

River's Edge deer

In the morning we headed for the Sun Mountain trails. It was chilly and the trails, which had officially closed for the season a day or so previously, were hard-packed. I couldn’t wait to get the snow bike out into its natural habitat. First impressions as I span the pedals were delight and amazement at just how well the fat tires held on the icy surface. There was no slipping or spinning; they just dug in and cruised. We stuck to fairly gentle slopes while we got a feel for the bikes, sharing the trails with happy cross-country skiers who waved and smiled as they flew downhill past us.

Sun Mountain snow biking (photo by Cecily Walker)

As the morning wore on we followed the bike shop’s advice and headed back through town to the Rendezvous Trails on the far side of the valley. Here the snow on the lower trails was starting to soften as the day warmed, and I found myself having to work a little harder. We took a winding trail that eventually curved uphill and led us onto a ridge high above the valley where the sun shone and the wind sighed through the pine trees.

After washing the rear wheel out a few times I found that the trick on the steeper parts of the trail was to keep the bike in the easiest gear, and spin my way up with my weight as far back as possible. This proved a surprisingly good workout given the relatively slow forward pace. One of the lovely things about snow biking is the time that it gives you to drink in the landscape you’re passing through, even as you’re working hard to make progress.

Rendezvous snow biking

The ride back down from the ridge was a blast. Somewhere between skiing and biking, it was faster and more slidey and infinitely more fun than a regular downhill ride. The Mukluk’s big fat tires felt like they were flying over the snow. The lower part of the trail had turned to slush in the increasingly warm day, making for an enormously fun pedal back to the truck as I slipped and slid along. This was another situation where downhill techniques translated really well to the snow bike.

Much though I wanted to continue riding, I had to concede that conditions were hitting the cut off point. We loaded the truck up and headed back into town, where we went for a stroll along the ridge where we’d seen the deer the night before. Here’s the view looking down to our cabin at the wonderful River’s Edge Resort:

River's Edge cabin

During the afternoon a colony of marmots kept us entertained as we soaked in the hot tub before heading out for a night on the town. We discovered an excellent Mexican restaurant with some of the largest portions I’d ever seen, took over the jukebox at Three Fingered Jack’s Saloon, shot pool for hours and bonded with the barman over pints of Alaskan ale. On our way home we took a walk over a little bridge on the edge of town into an inky darkness where the silver of the stars took our breath away. The Milky Way was clearly visible above us, a ribbon of scattered light unfurling across the centre of the sky.

The next morning we woke early and discovered that winter had returned to Winthrop.

River's Edge hot tub in the snow

Since the need to be on the road back to Vancouver meant we couldn’t linger too long, J and I drank our breakfast coffee in the hot tub while snowflakes drifted down around us. It was the perfect end to our time in town. The snowfall grew heavier and heavier as we prepared to leave, and we left Winthrop behind in a sea of white.

The drive back – we took the southern route along Highway 2 – was spectacular. The snow rapidly faded to a distant memory as we drove beneath wide open skies through the Columbia River gorge. The river itself stretched away beside us, enormously wide and impossibly blue in the sunshine, and in one unbelievable moment an eagle struck white foam from the water’s surface and then took off just an arm’s reach ahead of the car, droplets showering the road from the silver salmon that thrashed in its talons.

Columbia River, Chelan areaOutside of Leavenworth the landscape around us changed back to mountains, and we drove from brilliant sunshine straight into an intense snowstorm near Stephen’s Pass. Passing the Tunnel Creek area, the air around us felt spooky and sad. We all noticed, but didn’t place the reason at the time. RIP, Jim Jack and friends – every time I watched the Freeride World Tour this year, I thought of you.

The drive back was so full of moments when our jaws dropped, and the entire car chorused “wow” simultaneously. This whole trip was another reminder of how lucky we are to live here, with such amazing places either on our doorstep or just a short drive away, and such great friends to share them. The snow biking was everything I hoped it would be; what I didn’t expect was how much more my pursuit of it would give me.

Rendezvous Trails on a snow bike (Photo by Cecily Walker)

(Snow biking photos by the incredibly talented Cecily Walker)

Squamish Super Spartan

As I’ve mentioned previously, I’m not a runner. But I had so much fun doing the 5k Warrior Dash earlier this summer that when I heard about another obstacle race in Squamish in the fall, I cheerfully signed Jen and I up for it without really processing that a Super Spartan involves 15km of running and more than 20 obstacles. I have never run further than 10k in my life (and even that was under duress while I was rehabbing my knee after ACL surgery) and apart from the Warrior Dash, have been running once in the past year.

I had good intentions when it came to preparation, but between the bike crash and a severe reaction to the tetanus shot that followed it they fell by the wayside. In fact, having come off my bike on Monday I was pretty sure I’d have to pull out of the race; my legs were more bruise than skin and neither shoulder was working properly, so the idea of hauling myself over cargo nets and running around carrying 50lb sandbags just a few days later seemed unlikely.

By Saturday morning the worst of the soreness had worn off, and I decided to give it a go. We arrived early and spent some time milling around the start line, admiring costumes and stretching. Our heat left at noon, and got off to a flying start with a fire jump just around the first corner. We ran along Logger’s Lane and into Smoke Bluffs park, where more obstacles were waiting: burpees (so many burpees!), netting strung between trees for us to scramble over, and over-and-under fences.

The trails were gorgeous and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the run. The netting scramble thinned out the pack, and J and I ran mostly by ourselves along gorgeous, rolling singletrack that took us through beautiful old growth forests with peek-a-boo views of Howe Sound from granite outcrops. I did find myself pining for a bike (the trails would have been much more my speed than my ill-fated ride on the North Shore) but if I had access to terrain like that in my back yard, I might feel differently about running.

Squamish Super Spartan cargo net

By the time we reached the halfway point I was dying of thirst. Fields of obstacles lay between us and the water station: a canvas tunnel, a rope climb, and a giant wall. The wall was the one spot where my sore shoulders let me down; having grabbed the top I didn’t have the strength to haul myself up, and had to spring off Jen’s hand to make it over. We also had to tow concrete blocks on ropes around a short gravel course, which was surprisingly easy.

The water station was almost out, so we were restricted to one tiny cup which almost made the desperate thirst seem worse. I still haven’t figured out if lack of water was just poor preparation, or if it was a deliberate obstacle. After sipping the contents of the tiny cup as slowly as possible, it was on to the next series of obstacles: an embankment climb, balance boards, and carrying a sandbag up a steep hill. By this point I was starting to feel the unaccustomed pounding in my legs. I kept running; though; I was determined not to slow J down more than I already was.

By the final stretch my right knee was throbbing painfully and my left hamstring was jangling with every step. I could barely believe it when we reached the final series of obstacles: a spear throw, a crawl through muddy soup below barbed wire, a tire flip,  and a climb up mud-slicked ropes to ring a bell. My spear didn’t stick in the hay bale and I couldn’t make it all the way up the slippery rope, which meant another 50 burpees. Then it was into the freezing creek, and through the defending gladiators to the finish line.

Squamish Super Spartan finish line

I felt completely beat up by the time we got home, with legs like jello and strange quivers going through my damaged shoulders. The next day my quads were so sore I could barely walk. But it also felt like a huge achievement: to go out and do something completely unfamiliar, with very little preparation, and to cross the line hand-in-hand with J at the end.

Most of the way up the mountain

A couple of weeks ago we set out to climb Mount Baker. I’d just been through a serious relapse of the illness that laid me low earlier this summer, and J wasn’t sure how the night out on the Hogsback Ridge before summit day would go, but we were both determined to enjoy ourselves and get as far as we could.

Heliotrope Ridge trail

The Heliotrope Ridge trail was beautiful. We made our way steadily uphill through dense forests and past tumbling waterfalls, stopping here and there so our guide could point out a feature from our ski descent of the Coleman Glacier last winter. The forest was unrecognizable in summer green, the gully where we’d skied a perfect natural halfpipe now a chattering creek with narrow logs for us to cross cautiously under the weight of our packs.

Heliotrope Ridge climber's trail

After a while the trail emerged onto a steep, narrow ridgeline with glimpses of snow ahead and meadows of wildflowers sweeping down the mountainside to our left and right. The peak of Baker loomed like a towering stormcloud over the eastern horizon, and we crested a small rise to find a view to end all views ahead of us: the duelling seracs of the Coleman and Roosevelt Glaciers, with the blue blocks of the icefall behind them.

Coleman and Roosevelt Glaciers and Baker Peak

Hogsback Ridge, our campsite for the night, wasn’t much further up the trail. Warm winds shook the wildflowers as we climbed a small snow patch and over loose shards of crumbling volcanic rock. The ridge itself was a strange spot, desolate and barren for the most part but dotted here and there with splashes of colour where the grass and lupins had ventured a little further up. We pitched our tents and headed up to the Coleman Glacier for some practice with ice axes and crampons.

Crampon practice on the Coleman Glacier

Just to the left of our practice area was the route I skied down back in the winter, now with exposed rock at the top of the face and a couple of enormous crevasses bridging it lower down. I hadn’t realised just how high we’d been that day, or how steep some of the lines were; the view was different with skis on my feet.

Self arrest on the Coleman Glacier

Practice over, we returned to the campsite for a revolting dinner of rehydrated food before most of the crew turned in for the night. J and I stayed up to watch the sun sink into the valleys to the west, painting the skyline with fire as it dipped below the horizon.

Baker sunset

We left our tent flap open during the night, which led to many of the small mice that live on the ridge tap-dancing on me as I slept but also to a view of the most amazing night sky I’ve ever seen. The stars were so bright they bathed the glacier above us and the peak of Mount Baker in silver; the Milky Way was a bright splash of ribbon twisting from one side of the sky to the other.  I wish I’d had a camera that could have captured it.

Baker at dawn

A strong wind whipped down off the glacier during the night, turning the tent into a giant drum. Between that and the mice, neither of us slept much. Joseph woke us at 4am, shortly before a blue dawn began to seep over the eastern horizon. Watching the sun rise over Baker peak was another experience I’ll never forget.

Sunrise over Baker

J was experiencing some migraine symptoms after the sleepless night, so we decided we’d be better off heading down rather than pressing on for the summit with dizziness a risk. Once it was fully light we struck the tent, loaded up our packs, and headed back down the trail. Descending the steep ridgeline so heavily loaded and in plastic mountaineering boots was an interesting challenge that gave my quads the best workout they’ve had in a long time.

Even though we didn’t make the summit, it was one of the most memorable hiking experiences of my life. The beautiful hike through the forest, the deep blue views from the ridge fading into sunset, and sleeping under the stars below the peak of Baker itself. Next time, we’ll make it to the top.

Kiteboarding in Squamish

Last weekend I got to try something that’s been on my list for a long time: kiteboarding. I’d purchased a Groupon for a three hour lesson, including dry land instruction and time on the water. Like most sports, a single lesson isn’t enough time to do more than learn the fundamentals that you need to one day go on and be able to ride a board and control a kite independently; but it’s a good way of getting a feel for what it’s all about.

After getting kitted out in very thick wetsuits, corset-like harnesses, life jackets and helmets, we spent an hour or so on the beach at Squamish Spit learning how to lay the kite out, launch it, and hook into our harnesses. Then it was out onto the water, and we took it in turns sitting on the front of the boat and trying out the control bar. The wind was gusting powerfully and moments after taking control of the kite, a too-swift adjustment to the bar resulted in a big tug that hauled me off the boat and dumped me into the freezing waters of Howe Sound. When this happened again a short while later, the instructor kept me in the water while we worked on one-handed control and body drags. It was actually much easier controlling the kite while not trying to balance on the front of the boat, and being hauled through the water at speed was very entertaining.

Disaster struck right at the end, when we were working on power strokes: big figure-eight movements that hauled us far out of the water before dropping us back down. On one particularly big drop, the left hand kite line tangled around the control bar. This sent the kite into something called a “death spiral,” where it appeared to be trying quite hard to drown me. On the plus side, I got to practice deploying the emergency eject system. As I scrambled back into the boat, spitting out vast quantities of glacial meltwater, the instructor commented dryly that ejecting isn’t typically a part of the intruductory lesson.

Regardless of the slight mishap and the minor whiplash that resulted, it was fun – especially the body drags – and well worth the Groupon. Never underestimate the power of a giant kite in a strong wind, though.

Kitesurfing

Warrior Dash

Warrior Dash 2012

I’m not a runner. About twice a year I’ll go out for a trail run in Pacific Spirit Park, but my knees really aren’t up to pounding pavement or even regular running on soft ground. So when J and I signed up for the Warrior Dash, a 5.5k obstacle race on Mount Seymour, it somehow slipped my mind that in between the cargo nets, mud and barbed wire there was actually a fair bit of running involved.

We were signed up for the final wave of the day, so by the time we arrived at the mountain the party from the earlier waves was in full swing. There were mud-splattered bodies, heaps of abandoned shoes, giant beer steins and warrior helmets everywhere we looked. The registration was a bit of a mess, with scores of people missing from the system and having to pick up packets at the understaffed information tent. We were among this group, and almost missed the start of our wave as we picked up our bib numbers and timing chips.

Warrior roast - Warrior Dash 2012

A brief sprint got us to the start line at the very back of the pack, and we immediately started on a steep, rocky descent down slopes that I barely recognized without their coat of winter white. The first obstacles were quite widely spaced, and I suddenly remembered that I was in for a 5k run as well as the scrambling. In the baking heat the three water stations on the course weren’t nearly enough, and the uphill stretches were murderous. At each water station we alternated tipping cups of water over our heads with drinking them down as fast as we could.

Unlike me J is a runner, and every hundred yards or so she would turn and find that I was jogging slowly away about fifty yards behind her. I kept urging her to go on at her own pace, but she was determined that we were going to cross the finish line together. We had to work in tandem to get over the eight foot vertical wall, so I was very glad that she waited for me. The trails were absolutely gorgeous, leading us up and down through steep meadows filled with wildflowers under a burning blue sky.

The obstacles were all a ton of fun. I loved the giant cargo net and the rope climb up the cliffhanger, and J showed awesome agility on the giant wooden arch and the widely spaced planks on the reverse side of the cliffhanger. A couple of obstacles had us down on our knees below barbed wire, and I realised that crawling is something I haven’t done in about two and a half years.

Muddy mayhem - Warrior Dash 2012

As we reached the last obstacles we hopped over a sputtering line of flame and plunged headlong into the mud pit, which was a welcome cool down in the sweltering heat. Then we raced the final stretch to the finish line hand in hand.

I had a ton of bruises the next day (without being entirely sure how I’d acquired any of them) but my knees handled the Dash pretty well all things considered. We both had a fantastic time, and are now eyeing up either the Squamish Super Spartan or next year’s Tough Mudder for our next obstacle race. If my knees can do this, I’m pretty sure that they can do anything.

Warrior Dash - medal

Snowmobiles and storms

It’s hard to believe I reached the age of 34 without ever riding a snowmobile, especially considering the way I feel about skiing and motorbikes. Thanks to a Christmas gift Groupon for a Blackcomb Snowmobile tour, that oversight has now been corrected.

It was a slushy start in the Callaghan Valley, and initially I was surprised by how much the sled slipped around in the wet snow. It took me a few minutes to overcome the years of motorbike conditioning and adjust to the fact that this was a totally different riding experience. Once I’d gotten used to the feel of the snowmobile and how much weight I needed to throw into the turns to get it moving smoothly, it was just as much fun as I’d hoped. J hung on behind me as we drove along snowy trails beneath scudding clouds; the conditions definitely made for a rough ride, but a very entertaining one. I didn’t want to give the sled back at the end.

After the tour we headed for Whistler, where we were staying overnight at the Coast Blackcomb Suites. The buzz in the village was for another epic powder day on Sunday, with 20cm of snow predicted overnight. We soaked in the hot tubs and then opted for a quiet night with an in-room movie, saving our energy for the slopes.

Unfortunately the overnight snow failed to materialize, and instead Sunday dawned on a howling blizzard. I did appreciate my first ever ski-in ski-out hotel experience; it was great to be able to walk out of the door, jump into my skis, and cruise down corduroy slush to the Wizard Chair. It rained gently on me as far as the base of Solar Coaster, and then the clouds closed in and the rain turned to snow and the winds started to build.

I started out with a couple of runs on Ross’s Gold before they closed it down for slalom training. Everyone seemed to be sticking to Springboard, and Ross’s was pretty well empty and untouched. With very limited visibility I was wary of letting my speed build too much, and the slopes below were dust on a crust of icy hardpack. I ended up heading for Seventh when the lift opened, which turned out to be a very good move. The ridge was a chaos of wind and blowing snow, but once you dropped down and cleared the first part of the runs (which had no visibility at all) the cloud opened up, the winds reduced, and the snow was in good shape.

By noon gusts on the ridge had reached 80km/h, and it took all my strength to pole forward into them. Skiers who stopped poling (and most of the snowboarders) were pushed slowly but inexorably backwards. At the end of a deserted run, I wasn’t surprised to find that the lift had closed. I headed back to Solar Coaster but even there the visibility had deteriorated, the winds were gathering pace, and skiers and boarders sessioning the Camp of Champions airbag were being buffeted about as they flipped.

After a final couple of runs I skied back down to the hotel, collected J, and we headed to the Scandinave Spa with another set of Groupons. Four hours of steam rooms, saunas, hot pools, nordic plunges and solarium relaxation later, we drove back to Vancouver in another pounding rainstorm. Ah well; better luck with the weather next time.

Snowmobiling