The Reluctant Skier – Prologue

Whistler is actually run by a corporation called Whistler Blackcomb or something similar. It operates the Whistler Blackcomb Snow School and owns many shops and eateries in Whistler and Blackcomb. Most people only know Whistler because of the name and because the Winter Olympics took place on Whistler Mountain. Blackcomb is another mountain just as great as far as skiing is concerned and offers more and longer blue runs.

Su and I have been skiing mainly on the Whistler side and so have got used to what we call the Whistler culture. This time round, Su decided to try out the Snow School on the Blackcomb side for a change not only because of what the other side has to offer, but also because as pass holders we are entitled to ski on both mountains. The geography or topography is such that if we want to take lessons on Blackcomb, we need to start much earlier, at least 30 and preferably 45 minutes earlier, which can be a disincentive to begin with. On a clear day, we went up there in good time, but were told that all classes were full and that since we had not booked in advance, they couldn’t offer us lessons. We were both taken aback; but Su – if you know her at all – won’t take no for an answer. The instructor-in-charge continued to argue and Su asked to see his supervisor. I knew somebody would be in trouble. Su did meet the supervisor. I saw him too and asked what he would do about the system. He said he would look into the matter, which I know can be translated as, “Take it or leave it. This is how we operate.” To cut the long story short, we had a pleasant day skiing with an instructor called Jean who was pleasantly surprised that I called him John rather than Jean. He is an elderly gentleman, retired and who has been a ski instructor for many years, having retired from a paper mill which made Scott toilet rolls.

We continued to sojourn on at the Blackcomb side and met more interesting instructors and fellow skiers. Each instructor brings his or her personal styles and specific skills to teach or expound. In the process, we picked up various tit bits on skills and equipment knowledge, from the ski boots to the skis and from the binders to the poles. My problem is that I am pretty sure that I can never be an expert skier and I have no motivation to risk my ageing frame to unnecessary risks, such as racing down a steep slope of 45 degrees or more vertical or similar feats displayed routinely by competitive ski athletes. Even as I am writing, or typing, I can see myself writing a non-fiction with a title such as “The Reluctant Skier”. Once again, I don’t think there is a market for it, but let me outline what the book would be about.

It would be a first person account of somebody who started learning skiing at the age of 64 so that he can ski with his wife leisurely and at the same time enjoy the almost unpolluted and scenic environment at a world famous skiing resort. It is about the hopes and fears, the pains and sufferings, the agony and ecstasy, and all that he has gone through. He has never wanted to ski, and he prays before each skiing day that the day would end uneventfully, that is without any bones broken or too much injuries. The only thing that has kept him going day after days and year after years is his love for his wife. In the process, he picks up useful skills and knowledge related to skiing some of which are invaluable and could be life skills. Such skills could be useful to others.

How’s that for a synopsis of a yet to be written book? If I get sufficient positive response to that, I would think about writing it more seriously, otherwise it would be just another “The Male Consultation Room – Prologue”.

Those of you born late would not know that Hong Kong used to have summer and winter time. I think we moved to standard time in the Seventies. Well, here in Canada, the practice still remains. Daylight savings time begins on Sunday 13 March 2016, meaning that we would need to advance the clock by an hour tonight and so on, or that we would have one hour less sleep tonight.

On that funny note, I would sign off. I heard that Hong is having a weather system such that the temperature fell to 8 degrees Celsius and that public hospitals are bursting at the seams. I wish all of you a healthy and happy weekend.

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