General

Mission Accomplished

Of the 13 full days we were in Whistler, we skied for 11 days, and tomorrow we would catch a coach to Vancouver to fly home. The last two days were sunny and hot, but was cold enough in the mountains for skiing. So Su had us both signed up for skiing lessons with Jungle who in fact had specifically come for us. Jungle lived in the Alpine area in Whistler which is serviced by a circular bus route such that it would take her 10 minutes to come to the Village, but 20 minutes to go back. Apparently, she was pleased with my progress, and indeed towards the end she remarked that she deemed it her triumph to have been able to coach me to stop on parallel skis, as opposed to snow ploughs or even worse, falling on flats, which did happen to me sometimes. She had mellowed considerably with me from the first time we met which was last year when she used to shout at me unrelentingly, and when I did not respond, and at Su to relate her messages to me. I had expected she would go easy on me, having learnt that it was our last skiing day for the season. It turned out that she pushed us to the limit. She started with Su and I, a 15-year old Jack from Melbourne and a Lady called Judy from UK who would normally ski for a few days to a week in a year. In addition, she taught us a few very useful and practical tools which were easy to pick up and which actually worked for us. I hope they would stay with me, or as Jungle said, stay in my muscle memory, so that I would still be able to use them next year or the next time I am on the slopes.

Skiing is actually fraud with dangers, and as Su had remarked, just like scuba diving. One can never be too careful or take too much precaution. For example, the steps outside the restaurant side door at the Round House, which is at the top besides the Whistler side Peak 2 Peak and which is actually not round, were extremely icy, and on my way out after lunch I slipped and fell flat on my back and on my head. Luckily I had my helmet on. Nevertheless, the fall was so bad that I lay there for two seconds, but long enough to attract a few passers-by one of whom asked whether he should call the patrol. Su said afterwards that next time we shouldn’t use that exit when the weather conditions were poor. In the past few days, I had a few rather bad falls, and I would have been in serious troubles if I had not had the helmet on or if my helmet were not up to the standard. Today was rather warm even on the slopes, and I spotted a man skiing down without wearing anything on his head. Jungle said that there were so many foolish people on the slopes. I had to hold my tongue not to say what was on my mind, which would have been, “Aren’t we all?”

It was time to pack after dinner; and we tried to clear what was left in the refrigerator. We also tried to leave as much as possible of the stuff we brought with us. Instead of making an inventory of what stays in the owner’s lodge, Su had turned to making a list of what we should bring here next time. It looks like she is serious about having me taking advantage of the benefits under the super senior scheme, well, in nine years. Another after thought from Su is this: we had been living off our suitcases for a month, and we seemed pretty okay and in fact had been more than happy. Granted that we had in stock the bare necessities in the owner’s lodge including the equipment and clothing, it was still rather revealing that one doesn’t need too much to go by if one knows exactly what one’s priorities are and is determined not to stray away from them, which brings me back to the point I made earlier that most of us can only deal with a few issues at a time.

I did not know of Whistler and I had never thought or dreamt of skiing before I knew Su. I thought I had my hands full already. Now, for all intent and purposes, I can say that I can handle the sport, and I am certainly capable of skiing with Su. I have no intention and I do not have the motivation to go beyond that too much, other than to refine my skills every year with the right instructors. To that extent, Su has accomplished her mission and I hope I have not disappointed her. The ride up and down the gondolas between the Village and Round House takes about 30 minutes, with a break at the Mid Station. Typically, small talks went on around each other’s background motivation for skiing. I have been very consistent with my replies, “I am from Hong Kong where it never snow; and my motivation to learn skiing is my wife.”

On this note, I would sign off, for tomorrow is going to be a rather long day; and I hope to talk to you again soon.

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