Yesterday I finally went to see a doctor, who told me my injuries probably weren’t too serious but that I should rest and get a massage or two and maybe some physio. So today I decided to head back to the mountains for my first night ski at Cypress Mountain. I have a season pass so really need to start using it or it will have been a massive waste. What made this an even better idea than skiing with a sore knee and back was that I was going with Kayla. Kayla used to race for Canada so I knew this probably wasn’t going to be a leisurely ski (for me at least). Having taken her up the mountains on bikes in the summer it was now her turn to take me down them.
Having done quite a lot of skiing I feel I can hold my own with most people, even if only at 80% fitness but I was pretty sure this wouldn’t be the case tonight! And how right I was!
Kayla picked me up straight from work and we headed up the mountain. It had been the most beautiful day and were hoping we might see the sunset but felt we were probably going to just miss it. It was a beautiful evening to be outdoors though.
We parked, quick change, sorted kit and set off. Half way across the parking lot I realised I had forgotten my goggles, not the best start when trying to impress.
Having picked up the passes we went through the gates, here they have one gate in to the ski area and then you are good to go anywhere. Its quite cool with the runs all floodlight but there are definitely darker patches and some people in darker clothes decide to stop in them which wasn’t very clever.
I don’t know the names of the hills, runs or chairs as I was very much following but we set off up the hill on the right first.
At the top we were treated to the most stunning view. While we had missed the sunset we could see the most beautiful red skyline all the way out to Vancouver Island. Unfortunately my photos don’t even begin to do it justice. It was spectacular!
Then we were skiing. It was immediately obvious that there was a bit of a mismatch but that was to be expected and Kayla was great as she never complained. Her only comment was that I ski in the old style with legs too close together and I wasn’t old enough to do that. While this is definitely true I feel this was exacerbated by the sore back and I did feel quite old and upright. Next time I will make sure I’m fully fit.
The first run was a bit bumpy and icy and I lost my ski, didn’t really fall it just sort of popped out but thought this could be a long evening if this continued. The second run went a lot smoother and I was starting to find my feet however it didn’t change the fact that Kayla disappeared down the slopes despite my best efforts. She is by far the best skier, outside of the best guides, that I have skied with. It was great to watch as she is so smooth and controlled.
We continued up and down the right hand mountain trying a few different runs. I think in total we did about 7 or 8 trips and there was never a queue at the lifts which was great. On one run I got told to slow down by snow patrol which I thought was very unfair as there were lots of people going faster than me, I was just the only one that stopped when they flagged me down. I also learnt that when night skiing and using a headlamp, on the unlit runs, you cant just look where you are going you have to look where you want to turn. This lesson was learnt very quickly on a mogul field when I kept on skiing in to them.
Unfortunately the Peak chair, where the best views are, was closed for the evening so that will have to wait for another time.
Next we headed over to the left hand mountain. Here there seemed to be a few more people but we never really queued and it was pretty quiet all evening. We did one run 3 or 4 times as it was the best run we had found with better snow. I was slowly trying to adapt Kayla’s tips but it was hard and my legs were definitely having to work overtime to protect my back. I was also finding that cycling doesn’t fully prepare you for skiing (apparently thats squats and dead lifts).
I then suggested an alternative run. It wasn’t very nice; busy, narrow, icy and Kayla was back in charge.
We next went the other way from the chair and this took us to a stunning viewpoint over Vancouver and it was the most beautiful evening. The whole of BC just never disappoints with weather and views.
This run turned out to have the best snow and not quite so steep so I could almost keep up and try to ski it well. We did this run a number of times, each time I would try and follow Kayla down. On the gentle first bit this was simple but as it steepened and got heavier this was just not possible. I just didn’t have the control at that speed so had to slow up and let her ski away. I put this down to ability, leg strength and my skis (it cant be all my fault)!!
We had one moment where we lost each other for a bit due to some confusion to whether we were heading home or doing another run, we were doing a few more. I think 3 or 4 times we were doing 1 more and then home but the run we had found was so good it seemed a waste to head home even though my legs were definitely beginning to tire.
Finally we were actually on the last run home and this took us off on a run through the tress that was completely unlit. Head torches back on (they had been on and off all evening). So we finished skiing down a private run in the pitch dark with just out head torches, a very cool finish to my first after work ski and to make things even better we came out right by the car :)!
We packed the kit away and enjoyed some after skiing sushi in the car, tailgating, which was a great end to the evening before heading home.
Fitting in 3 hrs of skiing after work and still making it home before 10 is pretty epic. There cant be many places in the world where you can do that I can’t wait to get back up there.
Vancouver continues to deliver an excellent activities and lifestyle and that I am not going to grow bored of any time soon and long may it continue.
The final positive is my back and knee held up pretty well so hopefuly they are on the mend. A couple more days rest and then hopefully back to full training this weekend. Balancing skiing and training is very tricky but I am doing my best.