Travel Diary » Above the clouds
There's something wonderful about waking on a winters morning to clear skies and the sun peeking over the mountains. At 1600m above sea level, a sunny morning usually means we're above the sea of clouds that seem to perpetually blanket this area of BC in winter. There are certainly worse places to be!
We're halfway through our stay here and definitely settling into life on the mountain. Living in a ski resort for a full season is a lot of fun. There's no pressure to get out skiing every day during your stay as there is with a short holiday. If it's cold or you aren't feeling great, no problems - just go out tomorrow! Or the next day. The kids are loving going to school here. They've made lots of good friends and having a really positive experience. We've made a lot of friends too. It's certainly fun to be living somewhere when everyone is so happy to be here - it's ski season and everyone on the mountain is here to have fun.
Part of the fun is living week after week with 6 foot of snow on the ground. It's a very foreign experience for us after growing up where winter rarely gets below 20C during the day. New Zealand was cold in winter but not like this. We had a few days where it snowed in Queenstown but it melted quickly. Now we're in this snowy wonderland day after day after day taking sleds to school, shovelling snow off stairs and enjoying the chill that comes with getting into a car that's been sitting out in sub-zero temperatures overnight. Playing in the backyard doesn't involve sandpits and swings - it's all about snow tunnels and sledding tracks. Unfortunately the best sledding track in our yard usually ends with a kid shooting down past the house and onto the road. We've tried to explain the need to have someone looking out for cars but that results in squabbling over who is on lookout and who gets to sled. Thankfully, with snow 2m deep in the backyard then are plenty of other sledding tracks!
Our second hand car is keeping us entertained. After the initial hiccups (which warranty refused to cover, resulting in a nice gaping whole in our budget) we've had the horn mysteriously go off in the middle of the night twice and the engine immobiliser also mysteriously going off twice. We've decided the car is possessed. Living 45 minutes to the nearest mechanic along roads where you don't have phone reception is a little nerve wracking when your car is possessed.
This is my first time driving on the 'wrong' side of the road. It's also my first time driving in snow and ice. It's been going well ... apart from the other night when I almost backed the car into a snow pile reversing down our steep, icy driveway.
My migraines seem to be better up here. They're less frequent, less painful and only last a few hours rather than days. I don't need to be as strict about avoiding all the miniscule things that can trigger one. It's nice not to have to worry so much about avoiding any little thing that can trigger it. I could live here forever just to avoid the migraines.
The kid's skiing has improved a lot. Noah has decided to learn to snowboard as well and has made it onto green runs. Hayley tried snowboarding for a day and decided she prefers skiing for now (aka she likes going fast and having to start over again was not appealing). She's joined a beginners race team and last week entered her first competition. She didn't compete in her first race due to stage fright but found her courage before the second race. She received a medal for participation (she couldn't place since she didn't do the first race) and has it proudly hung in her bedroom. My skiing is improving too. There's still no way I can keep up with Colin but I'm learning to handle variable terrain and I'm getting competent enough that when I find myself at the top of something scary I just hesitate rather than freak out. Unlike the freak out moments I had when we first arrived here. A few days ago I found the courage to go down the black run that I broke a rib on last year and discovered that it's actually quite a fun run ... at least it's fun now that I have some clue how to ski moguls.
Our stay has been more expensive than we were expecting. A car dying four days after purchase certainly puts a hole in your bank account. We're spending more on groceries than we anticipated and we've found ourselves splurging on some new equipment. Living up here year round with Canadian visas would make things a lot cheaper - a yearly lease means you aren't paying higher peak-season rental rates and a visa negates the school fees - but we're not regretting the choice to spend a season here. It just means some hard work in the months ahead to top up the bank account.
We have a month left before the end of the ski season. I'd like to say I'll be updating the blog more frequently but I suspect the laptop will continue to fight a loosing battle with the snow ... why blog when we can go out skiing!