Thursday, December 23, 2010

Winter sports variety

After a getting a couple of concerned emails worrying that I had dropped off the radar (thanks Mother), maybe I should update this.  Looking back, it seems that I've been busier than it feels like.  There was the weekly session at the local bouldering gym last Thursday - it would be nice if I was progressing.  Alas, as I have no technique & no "measurable upper-body strength" there are a few problems in the numerical progression that I'm finding fiendishly difficult to get past the second-to-last hold.

Joel, Kristy & I hiked off to Calgary last Friday evening to watch a hockey game (that's ice hockey for those down in the bottom of the world that don't realise that hockey here is played on ice & quite the big deal as far as sports go).  After searching too many grocery stores for corned silverside (I still maintain that all the Safeways around here must share the same supply chain) with no luck (who would have thought that would be so hard to find in this part of the world - I thought they loved beef in Alberta) we picked up Karin (a friend of Kristy & Joel) before heading to the Saddledome.  For my first hockey game attendance, it was the Calgary Hitmen against the Kelowna Rockets in the WHL (Western Hockey League - the highest level of junior competition around these parts).  Some of the hits & fights were pretty good, but the game as a sporting spectacle couldn't really hold my interest - but the skating ability was quite amazing.  I hope my disappointment was mainly due to the Hitmen getting spanked by five goals to one & not with the sport itself.  Apparently the Hitmen are defending champions, but you would have hard time trying to convince me of that on Friday night.  Nonetheless, it was good night out of the valley.

After quite the sleep in on Saturday for most of us, the four of us headed out for a short day of skiing at Sunshine.  We got to Banff before some muppet realised that he'd forgotten his pass & we wasted forty minutes going back to Canmore to get it.  Eventually we were skiing by one o'clock - I don't think any of us were too fussed with our lazy schedule (I tell myself that so I don't feel guilty about wasted skiing time) as all afternoon it stuck around -15ºC.  Pleasantly, there was no wind & that temperature wasn't quite as bad as I would have thought.  The good thing about it being pretty chilly was that the lift lines were really short & we could fit a lot of runs in to our short time (there was a little more snow than a fortnight ago, but it's still pretty bare in parts).  The last few runs of the day were off the Divide chair & these were the best - but also the coldest as it seemed to be the most exposed.  Getting home, it wasn't long before we all assembled again for a nice little dinner party with yet another Australian added to the group - there were quite a few very strong accents assaulting my ears!  Good food, good wine & great company - all in all an excellent day.  [Sunday was a write-off with a lazy morning sleeping in & then the afternoon on the couch attacking the thousand-page book & watching movies.]

Since the weekend I've been for my first skate & XC ski of the season - finally.  Perhaps inspired by the hockey, it was time to drag the skates out & have a go.  As it takes me ages to relearn how to skate every few years, I was pleased that I wasn't quite as bad as I remembered - but by no means was I any good.  I'm just home from a quick lap at the Nordic Center under lights - my waxing of the XC skis seems to have been adequate; perhaps a little more grip wax is in order for next time, but that could just be lack of skill.  I may be a lot fitter than January, but it was nowhere near as exhausting as I remember; being alone may have reduced the pace a bit.  Either way, it was hell boring (as I correctly remember) - but it serves the purpose of getting me out of the house after work exercising & will keep me semi-fit for the next riding season & it was a beautiful evening to be staring at the surrounding mountains.

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