Vincent Cheung

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Friday, March 31, 2006

Seattle recap

Thursday - arrived and volleyball
3.5 hours after landing, I was on the volleyball court at the Pro Club for some pick-up volleyball and to say "hi" to all the people I played with when I was there. Most of the regulars were there, so it was good :)

Friday - MSR
Moved furniture

Saturday - Crystal Mountain

Convinced Manuel (a post-doc with Nebojsa) the day before to come skiing/snowboarding with me (he was very easily convinced :)). We went to Crystal Mountain. Got a freakin' $132 speeding ticket on the way :s. 47 mph in a 35 mph zone.... in the middle of NOWHERE on the highway in the boonies! 35 limit on the highway??? C'mon! Not that I was going that fast, it was just b/c I let the car roll down a hill. I'm so used to speeding like 10-15 over down there b/c everyone speeds like crazy on the freeways. Plus, it was like 8 freaking AM on a Saturday!!! First speeding ticket ever. Fortunately, it shouldn't affect my merits and insurance/license fees b/c it was down in the States and not in Manitoba.

It was a great day - sunny (for most of the day), warm, and great snow conditions. The runs were great, though the signage kinda sucked... We got lost in our first 3 runs and somehow on our second, we ended up down a black diamond when we wanted blue and in our third, we ended up down a double-black diamond with moguls when all we wanted was an easy blue run down to the base...

The runs were harder than Blue Mountain. Greens had parts that looked like blue, blue was more like black diamond, and black diamonds were steeper than Blue Mountain's black diamonds, though I think a tad easier than the double blacks.

Manuel was pretty good on skis and we were both having fun and being challenged on the same runs. Black diamond runs from nearly the top right to the bottom, almost a kilometre down was a lot of fun :)

Beware of the burgers from the grill there. I think mine was a little undercooked, but I was too lazy to do anything about it. My stomach felt a little funny for the next few days and I felt bloated. No diarrhea though!

Sunday - Stevens Pass

Hit Stevens Pass with Alex, Stacey, Minnie, and Ernie. It was busier (Crystal Mountain, even with a snowboarding competition going on had barely anyone on the slopes and lifts), but not too bad. The lifts were busy, but not many people on the runs, not like at Blue Mountain where you have to constantly watch out for people.

The runs were more like Blue Mountain in difficulty. The best was when Alex (the more tentative snowboarder out of all of us as he just started this year), led us down a trail that he said looked good from the chair lift. Started off as blue, then we went into the trees and some narrow areas that weren't too bad. Then we hit this really steep section with moguls and a post from the chair lift in the middle of it! I managed to make it down decently, turning a few times and then falling. It was great! Deep snow, so it was fun! The rest of them edged down, except Ernie, who on skis, took a diversion.

It was that run that made me love ungroomed trails. The soft powder was SO nice to snowboard on! Makes me want to go back to Snowbird and go down that ungroomed black diamond that I tried to ski on and killed myself b/c I didn't know how to ski in powder and I literally flipped head over heels and rolled down the hill.

The rest of the day, while we went down blue trails, I would take diversions onto the short black trails and looking for powder. The problem was that all the black trails there had moguls. It was pretty bad to learn there actually. The trails were either blue and too easy, or black with moguls and too hard. I went on most of the blues and blacks and fell many times on the moguls. I just have a hard time turning fast enough to get around them, but now I'm at the point where I can do a few of the turns, edge a bit, maybe another turn, and make it down without falling.

I had people on the chair lift laugh at me when I was trying to make it down one of the mogul runs as it was right under the chair lift route and I was edging down for a bit in order to get the courage to point my board down hill and attempt to carve around the moguls. I'm not a big fan of an audience when I'm trying new things on snowboard. When we were on that small trail with the post in the middle, some people were like "YA! DO IT!!!!"

Right at the end of the day, Minnie and I were the last to leave the mountain (trying to cram in a few more runs) and on the way back, we went through one of the small terrain parks. It was actually pretty fun. There was this rail made out of snow, but didn't really know what it was and thought it was a jump or something and I tried to go over the side of it :p. I went in the half pipe, which was cool, and I went over some small jumps, but I didn't really catch any air. I'll have to check out the terrain park next year.

Flew home

I managed to cram in pretty much everything I wanted to do in the short time I was there and had a blast! I guess the winters in Seattle would be bearable despite the rain and lack of sun because of all the mountains close by (Crystal and Stevens were like 2 hours away, Baker is a little farther than Crystal, and Snowqualmie (which isn't as good apparently) is only like 45 min. and then Whistler is just over the border). This whole snowboarding thing is really gonna damage the bank account as I can see myself making at least one snowboarding trip a year...

I was pretty pooped after my trip as I was active like every day that I was in Seattle. I think I need to rest for a little now b/c my left knee is hurting a little bit. I'm a little concerned considering that a lot of volleyball players have bad knees, but I've been fortuante enough to not have any problems. I think it's from snowboarding two full days in a row (falling may not have helped much) and then playing volleyball soon after.

Today, I realized that the best thing would be if they just left Yonge Street unshoveled so that you could snowboard to school (if you lived uptown).


Bob said...

Congrats on the lack of diarrhea. That stuff is NOT cool. When I got back from Mexico back in grade 12.. man.. It was Montezuma's Revenge for like a whole week!

John said...

wow. looks like an awesome time

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