Mount Washington

9 02 2012

Sharon above the clouds...

We didn’t go skiing/snowboarding in 2011 at all. Vancouver Island has a decent ski resort [Mt. Washington] and is near Whistler as well as Mt. Baker in the US so snow is at hand. We’ve been a bit lazy and distracted by surfing, but we decided to just bite the bullet and check out the local resort last weekend.

Snowboard camo...

This was a recon mission and on that level it was successful. We now have the 411 on Mount Washington! The snow was a tad firm until the afternoon sun softened it up for us. The mountain is reasonably large. Coming from Alberta I’d call it a small-medium sized resort. Enough options not to get boring, but just enough. The facilities were basic in terms of food/drink, but I like it that way. I don’t go snowboarding to eat gourmet cuisine or watch private Leer jets land.

Enough terrain to keep us interested...

To be perfectly honest unless there is 12″+ of fresh snow I’m not that keen on snowboarding at a resort any longer. I’ve been there and done it so many times the novelty has worn off. If I was wealthier and more motivated I would take up snowcat or heli-boarding in fresh powder, but living on Vancouver Island it’s cheaper and more convenient to go surfing. Surfing is free, there are very few people in the water to deal with and there are endless waves.

Yup - we got snow!

So now that we know what’s what about local ski/boarding we’ll bid our time until a decent dump of the white stuff coincides with a window of time off.

What pedaling?

Mt Washington also offers lift served mountain biking in the summer so if their trails aren’t too DH oriented we may give that a shot as well.

The Tao of Wow!

19 10 2011

Person, paddle and SUP - all you really need...

Over the years I’ve been exposed to a number of spiritual traditions.

  • My dad is Hindu.
  • My mom is Protestant.
  • I went to a Catholic high school.
  • I practiced yoga daily for over 3yrs when I was younger.
  • I’ve read extensively about Buddhism and other Eastern traditions.
  • And I’ve had friends that came were on many different spiritual paths.

Now that I am in my 40’s I find myself spending less and less time reading books about this topic or going to places where spirituality or religious experience is the focus. Not because I have no interest in that part of my life. In fact as I get older it seems to me that this is the whole point of life – to get a handle on your life and what it means. I’m finding that the most rewarding place to explore the experience of my life and to understand what it means to me is not in a yoga studio or in a temple, but in the everyday moments I live. There is no spiritual guide to help you down this path. Surfing and cycling don’t have a religious dogma to learn or spiritual instructional program. But, there is no reason that you can’t connect with God just as well flying through the air kiteboarding or gliding along in your sea kayak as you can in a yoga studio or church.

In fact I think that engaging in the direct experience of all that life has to offer in these ways has a benefit. Since there is no book, no manual or lexicon your mind is not being channeled down specific paths of thought. Your experience is beyond the bounds and constraints of language. Without words or a set of ideas someone else taught you you can engage with your life on a deeper level.

That lets paddling a SUP become a moving meditation. A consciousness expanding voyage into your reality. An appropriate metaphor when you picture a tiny SUPer floating on a vast ocean.

Your bike can be rolling along on two big prayer wheels as you pedal.

The wave that rises up behind you and pushes you along on your surfboard has travelled from halfway around the planet to interact with you in this one brief moment which makes it easy to appreciate the infinite connections we have with everything else.

Just to be clear I’m not down on churches, yoga studios or any other spiritual tradition. I figure there are so many flavours of humanity out there not everyone is going to get turned on to the same thing. Find what makes you passionate and embrace it.

Bag your stick…

17 10 2010

My precious Mako 140 in its bag...

No this isn’t a post about safe sex. But I am a big believer in protecting your valuable equipment. So I guess it’s a similar message…=-)

Whenever I buy a new or used board I get a bag for it.  Doesn’t matter if it’s a snowboard, SUP, kiteboard or surfboard.  I even have bags for my SUP paddles.

Why bother?

  • protective bags cost about $30-$100 depending on size [my 11′ SUP bags were $80]
  • boards cost $500-$2000
  • bags last 10 years+
  • riding a pristine board = priceless
  • selling a used board in excellent condition will recoup your cost for the bag and you can use the same bag for another board
  • bags make it easy and fast to pack your gear because you don’t have to spend time worrying about damaging it
  • bags protect the inside of your vehicle and house from the boards that have sharp edges or wax on them

The economics of protecting your valuable gear is straightforward.  For about 1% per year you can keep your boards in tip top shape as well as protecting your vehicle and house from the boards.  You’ll easily see that investment returned when you go to sell the board used and personally I absolutely love pulling out an old board that looks sweet because it hasn’t been bashed around in the bed of my pick up.

No board is too big to bag...


Kicking Horse – Golden BC

23 03 2010

Sharon at the top of the mtn...

Sharon and I ventured out to Golden British Columbia this weekend to use up some free passes we had for Kicking Horse Resort.

Boarders getting strapped in...

The terrain was steep and challenging which was nice and the snow was better than in Alberta, but that’s not saying much this year.

Chair lift antics...

I liked the mega gondola with 1.2km vertical drop.  It’s great to get the snowboard off your feet and relax while you are being whisked up for another long run down.

Sharon ripping it on skis...

Sharon spent one day skiing and then took a uber long snowboard lesson the next day. I’m jealous because I can’t ski, but I’m not motivated enough to try and learn!

Goofing off after a beer at the lodge...

I was stoked to hear Sharon express an interest to take up back country skiing/boarding next winter.  I’ve been keen on that for a while, but need to get a few friends motivated to make it really happen.  It will be nice to not be hostage to the crappy snow at the resorts and to get more exercise between runs down the mountain.

Sharon shredding it up on a snowboard...

Snow Kiting….

5 03 2010

I’ve got a snowboard and I’ve got kites…hmmm… winter may be the start of my snow kiting career!

Plotting March Boarding Adventures…

27 02 2010

Sharon surfs the Kicking Horse Resort site...

Snowboard Boots – Packing Down

27 02 2010

Snug boots = good control...

Loose boots are not fun when snowboarding.  Having a snug fit without being overly tight is essential for good control and it saves you having to tighten your bindings like crazy which is not comfortable at all.  Even if you manage to buy the perfect boot you’ll notice that over time it’s starting to feel a bit loose.  That’s normal and is just the liner packing down from being compressed under you.  The heavier you are, the more you ride and the more aggressively you ride the sooner you notice a change.

Once you do you have two choices:

  1. wear thicker or more socks to take up the extra space.
  2. insert an extra insole under the existing one to take up the extra space.

When I first bought my Burton Mission snowboard boots they fit great with just the orthopedic insoles [blue insoles above] I like to use in all my footwear so I pulled the stock Burton insoles [gray insoles above] and put it away.  Now that my boot has packed down a bit it’s time to put them in under my orthopedic insoles.

I could switch to thicker socks or add a thinner sock to my usual sock, but I like riding in a single sock and I have lots of them so I don’t want to invest in some thicker ones.

I was talking to a snowboard instructor at Castle Mountain who is out in his boots everyday of the season…he mentioned by the end of the year he’ll have 8-9 extra insoles in his boots…yikes!  That’s a lot of riding…=-)