Ryan’s Blog: And so it begins… the journey to Whistler
I am sat here at 34,000 feet, tired, excited, and admittedly a little anxious. The stewardess has just passed me not one, but two bottles of cheap Chardonnay, my bags are checked in from the fine old city of Newcastle en route to their final destination of Vancouver. Yes, after over a year of organising and sickening friends with talk about it, I am off to Whistler to spend the winter season.
It’d be wrong of me to not acknowledge the strange mix of feelings I have about this upcoming ‘trip’. Excitement and nerves. You see, this isn’t just a ‘trip’, but rather somewhat of a milestone in my life. An experience I had first talked about way back when I was a mere eighteen years old, fresh faced, clueless and with much to learn of life and our beloved wintry pastime. After being seriously bitten by the ski bug back on a school trip when I was eleven, I was sure that upon finishing my A-levels and before university, a ski season would be the road I would naturally travel. But, as often proves the case, life has a knack of throwing the proverbial spanner in the works. This particular ‘proverbial spanner’ coming in the shape of my future wife!
Now wait! Before you all go off me entirely in my very first blog, let me clarify that last point. Firstly, my wife is not a spanner of any sort! Secondly, I regret nothing of taking a different road. I made the correct decision in not taking a season away from the early days of a relationship. And now, it would seem, I am reaping the rewards. My wife is actually the reason I am doing this season. She has been encouraging me to do it now, as a 30th birthday present nonetheless, “before I get too old”. So, due to a transitional period career-wise, the love of a good woman, and the recent entry into a new decade, I am doing just that.
Not only am I pleased I didn’t do my ski season when I was eighteen, but I am really excited to be embracing it now with a great deal more life and ski experience behind me. However, being well past my alcohol-fuelled university ski trips of yesteryear, I was a little apprehensive about it. What exactly would I do? A course? Would I be the old codger of the group? Would I be surrounded by the younger and louder crowd which I once so proudly stood alongside? I want fun, of course, but not university ski trip fun! I want to take my skiing as far forward as possible, whilst also enjoying the overall experience. This is when I stumbled upon ALLTRACKS Academy.
There were several things I had to take into consideration when planning a season, not least of which were an interesting town and well respected training formula. After a great deal of research I had a handful of different options. Turns out there are many companies all vying for our hard-earned ski dollar. Whilst I was impressed with all the other companies and assured by them all that there would be people of all ages on their course, it was after speaking personally with the owner of ALLTRACKS, Paul Beard, that I was sold on his particular Whistler-based product.
When chatting with Paul about what to expect from the ALLTRACKS training formula and the overall experience they provide, it took very little time before I was on-board. The confidence and pride he bestowed on his product oozed through everything he said. He also went that extra mile in helping me create a package that would best suit not only my needs, but also my wife’s, who will also be spending much of the season out in Whistler.
So then, after booking with ALLTRACKS and constructing the other elements of my dream season, I am en route to actually begin living it. From the turn of this new year until mid-May I shall be producing a series of blogs that will hopefully shed some light into what it’s like to be away from home indulging in our passion. I shall be training to become a qualified Canadian ski instructor (CSIA), training for my AST (Avalanche Skills Training) Levels 1 and 2, being introduced to ski touring for the very first time, cat skiing, generally experiencing the wonders of Whistler, then finishing it all off with my very first Leading gig for our Ski Club of Great Britain.
I hope you join me this winter season for a mix of fun, hopefully interesting topics, some photography, and general musings from the Whistler scene. Here’s wishing you all the very best for 2014. May your year be one of amazing powder and endless freshtracks. Now then, let’s see if this Chardonnay improves on a second helping.