Monday 2 January 2012

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Random Thoughts from Big White

We spent the first day of 2012 at Big White ski mountain, because that's the way we roll! Actually, that's not the way we roll at all. Truth be told, we're not real big rollers in any sense of the word, and even if we were, the last place in the world that we'd be rolling is a ski mountain. We're much more of a "Summer is for doing things, winter is for doing things somewhere warmer" kind of family. Still, this is where we found ourselves, so we dove in and tried to make the best of it, but to an outsider, ski culture is strange. We were only at the mountain for about six hours, but the number of things I saw that blew my mind, yet seemed perfectly normal to everybody else in the vicinity, was staggering. Allow me to share some of my observations:

  • Outdoor skating rinks in Canada are different than anywhere else. If you go someplace like New York, you go to Rockefeller Plaza and there's a very professional looking setup. In Canada, you're never really sure if it's a public skating rink, or if a water pipe just burst and somebody showed up with hockey nets. 
  • Why is Big White completely staffed with Australians? Don't get me wrong, I love hearing the accents wherever we go, but isn't traveling the world in search of a permanent winter climate slightly backwards from the whole "Snowbird" concept?
  • In the gondola line, it seems to be accepted that people with ski gear have the right of way, yet in what I can only imagine is a purely Canadian slant on the rule, people with hockey gear outrank people with ski gear.
  • Has nobody told mountain dwellers that it's cold up there?
  • A disproportionate number of staff members at Big White have casts on. This is not encouraging those of us who don't ski to take the sport up.
  • Why do people build fires for warmth 20 feet from a perfectly good ski lodge?
  • I think that the horse drawn sleigh ride is one of the most iconic images of a Canadian winter that you can get, but the horse on the right looks like he's going to kick the @#$ out of the next person who takes his picture.

  • Food prices at a ski mountain are about the same as a five star restaurant in New York, only on the mountain you don't have to worry about that whole "good service" thing.
  • Speaking of food, I saw a man stop at the emergency services desk to ask if there was a Tim Horton's nearby. I guess that qualifies in Canada.
  • Dear bikers - It's winter. Please do something else.
  • Apparently "You still with that guy?" is an accepted pick up line on ski mountains.
  • Why do they put the beginner slopes in the areas visible to the highest number of people? 
  • Finally, it seems that being the person who, on his very first time down a tubing run, can't maneuver himself at five billion miles an hour in order to grab a hat that was lost on the course, is far more embarrassing than being the person who lost said hat to begin with.