Day 27 – Pizza turns on Skis & Down-Unweighting on Snowboard

I had a Twitter conversation this morning with an avid skier Gillian Shaw (@gillianshaw) from Vancouver Sun.  She wrote an article called “Google Snow Report” in which it states “Skiing is 30 per cent more popular as a search term than snowboarding” and “Canadians search for the word ‘snowboarding’ more than any other country in the world.”  Now I understand why the majority of my readers are from Canada, some from the United States of America, and few from overseas.  Although lots of great Snowboard videos do come from the United States of America.  The two I watched recently that I really liked are “I ride Park City” and “Bear Mountain’s A Walk in the Park”.

Since reading that skiing is becoming popular again, I decided to take my Rossignal Bandit B2’s out for a run.  When I got up on the mountain I was hungry so I had a Vegetarian Pizza in the Cafeteria.  I then headed out to the slopes doing “Pizza” turns with my skis.  Instructors refer to Snowplowing as “Pizza” so kids can understand it better.

Last year the once and only time I was on my skis I took a lesson.  During my first run of last season, the Instructor took my class down a steep Black Diamond Run, I got freaked out and basically slid down the hill on my butt.  I decided to start on green runs this year and work my way back up to Black runs by the end of the season.  I stayed at Paradise (Bunny Hill) for an hour practicing my pizza turns.  My legs were getting pretty tired after a few runs so I started doing parallel turns.  The Snow was “Bullet-Proof”.  It was basically ice because of the rain from the past few days and the freezing temperature tonight.  If you look carefully at the photo below, you will see footprints in the snow, the skis can basically slide over these footprints without leaving a mark in the snow.

"Bullet-Proof" Snow at Grouse Mountain

My feet were becoming numb after an hour in the hard-boots (ski boots) so I decided to change into my soft snowboard boots and go riding.  I took a snowboard lesson 2 days ago at Cypress which improved my riding quite a lot so I decided to take a lesson here at Grouse too.  My instructor is a CASI level 3 Instructor and an Evaluator.  We worked on down-unweighting turns to prepare me for CASI 3 that I will be taking eventually.  Since the snow was bulletproof, there wasn’t really much room for mistakes.  Falling down on ice means bruises and injuries.  I struggled with it at first but by the end of the lesson I was doing moguls on my snowboard.  It was the second great lesson I had this season. Now I just need lots of practice to familiarize myself with these new techniques.

Aside from the hard-packed snow, Grouse Mountain was beautiful, clear, and warm tonight.

Grouse Mountain was Beautiful, Clear, and Warm tonight

Day 9 – Vancouver Snowfall

Our Second Snow fall of the season came overnight and covered the city with half a foot of the white stuff.  As most Vancourites are not good at driving in the snow, the traffic was horrible.  An hour journey up to the ski resort took nearly 2.5 hours today.   Accidents were happening all over the city as I read twitters from many Vancouverites.  Tires were spinning, cars were sliding to the curb, and lots of people were getting stuck.  Nevertheless, for the ski resorts, it is heaven on earth; 2 foot of fresh powder plus a few inches overnight.  It was like snowboarding on untouched powder after each chair lift ride up.

December 17, 2008 Big Snowstorm in Vancouver

Since Cypress Mountain opens for Night Skiing today, I decided to check it out after work.  The Snow was just amazing, Cypress is a much bigger mountain (well…2 mountains – Black Mountain and Mount Strachan) than Grouse so there were a lot more powder to be had during the big snow storms.  I met up with my friends Markus and Jen and rode from 5pm-9pm.  The line ups were not too long (about 5-10 minutes).  It was -12 degrees so the snow was very dry.  The usual jumps were still there.  We were doing big jumps all night long and the powder totally cushioned our fall.  It was really windy at the beginning of the night.  On our way up Eagle Express chair, the chair lift suddenly stopped (for about 10 minutes).  My friends and I started discussing the Whistler Gondola Accident from Yesterday.  Even with the accident, snow lovers will continue to head to Whistler.

Paul Romein has an excellent video of the opening night on his blog (source: Paul Romain – First Day of Night Boarding).

A few days ago, I asked the question why some snowboarders wear dark or neutral color jackets, and some wear bright color jackets.  My friend Markus gave me a good answer to it because he had been thinking about it for awhile before purchasing his new Snowboard jacket last night.  He said that most people who snowboards does it once or twice a season, they want a jacket that they can wear on and off the hill.  They want a jacket that they can wear to work or to school and not stand out too much.   For myself, I spend 1/3 of the year on snow, a dedicated snowboard jacket is essential.

Day 7 – Grouse Mountain – Patches of Ice (Dec 15, 2008)

It’s been a bad day following a string of unfortunate events.

Ok, maybe not that bad.  Today I went up to Grouse Mountain for some night riding.  Since I had such a great experience on the opening day I brought my short park board with no edges thinking tonight will be just as fun.  I did a warm up run at the “Cut”.  I was following about 10 feet behind a 14 year old snowboarder, and all of a sudden, he fell and tumbled down the hill so I tried to steer around him.  Little did I know that we were both on a Big Sheet of ice on a pretty steep slope.  So the minute I got on my heel edge, I fell too and started sliding down the hill fast on my butt.  I tried many times to dig into the ice with my board to brake but it did little to slow me down.  After the big patch of ice, I sat there trying to figure out whether it was my board (with dull edges) or the fact my legs were still burning from riding in powder at Cypress yesterday.  Maybe I should have stretched.  As I sat there pondering these issues, I saw other snowboarders one by one either falling on their butt or tumbling down the hill like we did the minute they got onto the patch of ice.  Through the evening, I fell many more times on different patches of ice all over the hill, and now my wrist hurts.  I better start wearing my wrist guard again to prevent further injuries.

Aside from my falling down, it was a clear and beautiful night.

Groues Mountain Night Scene

I got to meet Mister and Mrs. Claus.

Groues Mountain Santa

It was -9 ºC  or  15.8 ºF.  The Snow Guns were pumping, just avoid the sections between the Snow Guns, that’s where the ice patches were.

Grouse Mountain Night Scene

Grouse Mountain Night Scene

Grouse Mountain Night Scene

The riders at the Terrain park on the opening day were all back in school so the Terrain Park seem pretty empty.

Grouse Mountain Night Scene

Grouse Mountain Night Scene

Grouse Mountain Night Scene

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