It's been a few weeks since my last post, I wanted to leave it a little bit so I had a bit more to report than, went to the shops and bought bedding. I feel I may have left it a little bit too long though because since my last post I have moved into my house for the winter, started a new job and started getting settled in town.
So, lets see how long this post will get before I get bored of typing.
After my scary drive over Rogers pass in the dark, I had arrived in the town of Golden, nestled between the Rocky Mountains and the Columbia Mountains. It's a small town in an amazing location if you like the outdoors. There isn't a huge amount in the town but there is enough, including a one screen cinema and a small indoor climbing gym, all my evening entertainment sorted. Once arrived I met my new house mate, Matt, and unloaded all my belongings, for at least the next year, into my new house. I had not seen this building other than in photos on facebook, I had taken the gamble and arranged to live in it with 2 other guys and Matt before I had arrived in Canada. The photos weren't a lie and I was very happy with the place, how could I not be, we had a hot tub.
The next few days were spent exploring Golden, mostly that involved drinking nice coffee, sorting out house things that I needed like bedding, can opener, etc and I also managed to get out for a run around the forest on mtb tracks that weren't in use at this time of year. I've got to admit I was a little bored that first week in Golden, my house mate had already started work at the ski hill which meant he had left the house fairly early and got back pretty tired in the evenings.
We did start to go to the climbing gym together, in the end we both decided to pay for 6 months gym membership. My aim this winter is to get much stronger so I am ready for a summer of Canadian rock climbing. The gym is a bit short, only roughly about 10 meters high and the holds are all random colours with tape attached to them. You pick the colour tape you want to follow instead of the colour of the holds which is more what I am used to. I find the tape system hard, once you are above a hold it's difficult to tell what your foot holds should be but on the other hand it is making me hang around a bit more which is good for my stamina.
After a week of chilling and a bit of activity I was very ready to start work and meet new people. To many people it may seem strange that I have given up a great job in the UK (in my opinion) and moved out to Canada at the age of 30 to start as a seasonaire again. All I can say is that I have always wanted to go to Canada and work out here, to experience the snow and cold temperatures, to ice climb, to sea kayak, to snowboard, hike, you name it. Due to being 30 this was the last year that I could do the working holiday visa and at work it felt like it had come to a natural time for me to take some time out and gain different experiences.
So with a bounce in my step on Monday the 27th of November I drove up the to the ski hill to start my new job as a Lifty. I thought of all the jobs I could do at a ski resort this one would suit me the most, outdoors, getting to shift and lift things so I get strong, riding as part of the job and interaction with the public.
The first four days of the job were pretty intense training, I enjoyed meeting everyone on the first day but I did not enjoy the sitting and reading and listening about the manual, that was our lift running bible. As necessary as it was, classroom learning is not my preferred style any more. It was only one day though and after that things became a bit more hands on, learning what buttons to push and when, going up and seeing the machinery of the lifts, getting uniform and more of a chance to know who I was working with. There are nearly 40 in the Lifty team and a lot of them are from Australia, there was one other British, a few Kiwi and Canadians, a big mix of nationalities.
After 4 days of training my mind was a bit of a mush, although much simpler than my last job there is still a lot to remember and each lift is slightly different. We also don't just operate the lifts, one of the chair lifts is quite aggressive so we have to 'bump' it, i.e. slow it down physically so it doesn't take out the skiers and we load skiers gear on to the main Gondola. We also do car parking duties and oversee the tubing zone, those doughnut things people go down slopes on.
The ski hill opened a weekend earlier this year, so after 4 days of training I had one day off and then straight into it. I was on parking the first day which turns out is only half a days work, on the one hand, boo less money, on the other hand, yay snowboarding time!! The resort had just opened that day so there was powder everywhere!!! I went out riding with one of the other lifties who had skied at this resort before and he took me down some great lines!
It was possibly one of the best days snowboarding I have done so far. I didn't try out my new board because although the top of the mountain had plenty of snow, at the base it was still a bit thin, icy and rocky.
So I just set my bindings back and took my old board into some of the best powder I've ever ridden.
Ah yes, attack of one of the only colours available to women! My favourite colour is orange!!
I really can't wait to explore more of the terrain on the ski hill, it is a steep mountain, most of the terrain is black or double black. There is intermidiate and beginner terrain but most of it is advanced terrain. I might not be an advanced powder rider yet but I'm going to be by the end of the season.
So after such a great first day at work and on the mountain I am supper hyped up to get out as much as possible. We do need some more snow though, after that day the mountain quickly became tracked out and although the groomed runs up top are good, everything else has become very mogul-ed, I'm shit at moguls.
Since starting work our other house mate moved in and he is a snowboard instructor on the ski hill, Sebastian. At the moment he doesn't have much work because the resort is only just opened and we are pretty quite. So the 3 of us when we have days off together go riding and Sebastian has been giving us some tips my riding has been getting better quickly.
It has been a good start to the season, I'm settling in to the area, the job and all the fun things that I can do outside of work. Although my days start at 5.45 am when I wake up, I don't feel drained at the end of it, may be a bit physically tired, especially if I'm on the aggressive chair lift for the day but I still feel capable of going out and doing something else, whether that's climbing or socialising. Something that is very different to my last job is the ability to walk out the door at the end of my shift and not have to think about work until the next morning and for now I am loving that.
There are also some great perks to being out in the mountains so early in the morning. Like sunrises!!
Thanks for reading!!