A Travellerspoint blog

Pro-ride


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On Friday night after some more beer pong we met up with some more people on the course in a bar, and had an argument with a guy called Tim, who claimed to be Irish and to have lived in Ireland almost all his life, yet says "Aboot" and "Eh" all the time. I wasn't having it and told him he was definitely Canadian, and his fake Irish accent was terrible . He seemed to think he knew his background better than me and kept up his sham all night.
Monday was my first day with Pro-ride and I was promptly introduced to my familiar looking coach for the day - former Irish national snowboarding champ Tim. Whoops. Luckily Tim has a sense of humour and we had a laugh about our previous meeting. I'm pretty amazed by the standard of all of the coaches, I've seen snowboarding coaches ride before, but not like this. This course should be good!

Proriders

Proriders

I'm relieved to find that whilst I've got a lot of catching up to do to reach the levels of some of the people that have been here a couple of months, I'm also not the worst either, and the coaches are incredible. After explaining I wanted to learn how to "butter" by the end of the 4 week course, it took Lisa approximately an hour to get me doing it. Not with much style, but a recognisable butter nonetheless. Awesome.

There's not much powder around so spending a lot of time in the park, and on some cool natural features around the place. The half-pipe is pretty much melted, but Alan showed us this wind lip that is a pretty good substitute and gave me some tips, so should be all set when the pipe is back.

Wind lip

Wind lip

Posted by Matt Cocken 11:13 Archived in Canada Tagged whistler Comments (0)

Whistler, the Brio House and Australia Day.


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My house

My house

For the majority of my 7 weeks in Whistler I'm staying in the Pro-ride house in Brio (Pro-ride being the people running the snowboard training I'm doing). I got here late Thursday night and met the existing residents, most on a 12 week course. "Oh, thank God - another adult!" was the welcome from Jamal, the only other guy over 30. The rest of the kids in the house were between 18 and 22 but seemed like a decent bunch. Couple of Canadians, Brits and Dutch and also a bunch of Australians. It's pretty much like being in uni halls again. On Friday night modified the house beer pong to the more lethal 1 cup 1 shot version, had a night out in Whistler and I beat Dutch David in a dance off. Apparently.

First impressions of Whistler are pretty good. I've got a week of getting used to the place before the Pro-ride course begins, and there's a ton of bars and restaurants, some doing food (that's surprisingly good) for 5 bucks a meal. I headed up the mountain for the day with a few of the guys from the house, and whilst the conditions are very average, the parks that we headed for are pretty awesome, with by far the biggest jumps I've ever seen. Some great tree runs about, and plenty of sunshine. Canadians are awesome by the way. Unbelievably helpful and friendly - the lifties all smile and chat to you as they're cleaning snow off the seats for you and couldn't be more helpful - it's very different to France! They also say awesome a lot.

This thing is an Inukshuk. There's a few of them around Whistler. Awesome!

This thing is an Inukshuk. There's a few of them around Whistler. Awesome!

They really love fairly lights here. They're awesome

They really love fairly lights here. They're awesome

There's a ridiculous number of Australians in Whistler. They're everyhere! Far outnumbering any other nationality here (including Canadians). To cap things off Tuesday was Australia Day which saw countless mangled Aussies on the mountain with painted faces wearing bikinis and Aussie flags. Some girls had dressed up too. I had been introduced to Australia Day the night/morning before at the Brio house. About 3am the music in the house starts blasting out, and I get up to find Callum (Aussie) and Deavon (wants to be Aussie) stood on the sofas in their underwear twerking. Callum slurryly explained something about this Aussie tradition with a song called Eagle Rock - whenever it comes on every proper bloke is honour bound to drop his pants and dance in his boxers. Oh well, when in Rome...

Posted by Matt Cocken 18:40 Archived in Canada Tagged whistler Comments (0)

The Trip Begins!

Leg 1 22 Jan - 15 Mar

So. Woke up this morning in my own bed for the last time and started trying to get my head around actually leaving. A very odd feeling, partly excited, partly scared, partly panicking. How the hell do you know if you've packed everything you're going to need for the next 5 months, when you're not even certain where you're going? I think the answer is you don't, you just check you've got a passport and bank card and go, and tell yourself everything will be fine. Telling yourself something and really feeling it are two different things though, and was hard saying bye to Val. Left the house feeling a bit nervous and uncertain about the whole affair. Got on the train to the airport next to a posh prick with a ski bag who liked to talk a lot. He let me know he was heading to Switzerland (yah) for 10 days with a smug look on his face. "Where are you heading to then?" he asked. "Whistler." I replied. "For two months". He didn't say much after that. I started feeling a lot better. This is going to be good.

There's a really cool thing with flights from London to Vancouver. To get the shortest route you go way North, which means that your speed "around" the earth changes. You start off changing longitude fairly slowly, (ie. slower than the sun) but then speed up (longitudinally speaking) as you hit the far North, then slow down again as you head further South. The cool thing is that if you take off in the late afternoon, it gets darker and you have a sunset, but then you start going back in time (kinda) and the sun rises again. Then you head further South as you approach Vancouver and you have another sunset. Well I think it's cool anyway. I can explain it better when I see you.

Sunsets. I took photos of both but they look the same.

Sunsets. I took photos of both but they look the same.

This also means you can be fooled into having several sundowners. This is fine, but can make customs a bit confusing. Apparently people ask more questions when you're staying for a while.

"Your immigration form says you're here for 51 days"
"Yep"
"What will you be doing?"
"Snowboarding!"
"And working as an instructor?"
"No."
"How will you pay for this?"
"Erm, with my money?"
"How much money do you have?"
"I'm not telling you!"
"Why not?"
"It's rude!"
"Have you been drinking Sir?"
"Yes"

She was alright in the end and didn't insist on checking my bank details and sent me on my way after I spent 5 minutes failing to log onto the free wifi.

Arrived in Whistler with no further dramas and got taken to the Pro-ride house. Everyone seems nice, although there's a surprising number of young Australians here. I have a room to myself though which is a massive bonus. Should be fun!

Posted by Matt Cocken 22:23 Archived in Canada Tagged whistler Comments (0)

Welcome to my blog!

I thought I'd start up a blog as a diary/postcard replacement/showing off type thing so all you people back home can keep up with what I'm up to. Please leave plenty of comments so I don't forget you all!
Cheers, and see you in 5 months!

Posted by Matt Cocken 23:44 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged intro Comments (0)

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