Sunday, February 28, 2010

Day 2: North Bowl, the Hound, Rods and Guns

Friday a.m. We board the 8:30 ski bus that runs from the hotel to the ski area.

Upfront, a local guy talks to the bus driver about upcoming social events. The guy looks about 45 and has a Charlie Mason hair-do.

Me: "Where are the best bars in town?"

Charlie Manson: "The Last Drop is having a party tonight."

Charlis is missing two bottom teeth, probably an old curling injury.

Charlie continues: "Tomorrow night is the big Rod and Gun club party at the community center."


At the mountain, Erik wants to ski the North Bowl. The North Bowl is very high. There are yellow ropes along the top with signs that say, "Danger Cliffs."

I don't want to ski the North Bowl, I think to myself.

Between some of the ropes there are openings. Erik skis into an opening with a sign for a trail called "Meet the Neighbors."

I don't want to meet the neighbors.

He skis to the top of the trail and looks down. "That's too psycho."

Can we leave now?

He skis over to another opening and looks around. "OK," he says. He sideslips down a few feet, skis around some rocks and enters a large open bowl filled with deep snow.

I sideslip down.

"Go down a little further and point your skis around the rocks," Erik says.

I have a Vietnam-style flashback to last March skiing at Sunday River in Maine. I took a little fall on the ice and broke my foot, ribs, and wrist in two places.

I'd rather be bungy jumping.

I look across the trail. The narrow entry is dotted with exposed rocks that look like a human spine.

Another dead skier.

"Point your skis a little higher," Erik yells.

My skis don't want to move. My legs don't want to move.

I don't want to meet the neighbors.

At the bottom of the trail, we enter some trails in the woods.

Tree wells.

Erik scouts the trail and waves me on. Erik scouts some more. And waves me on. I see Erik perched on top of mogul.

Ski, Erik, ski.

Erik is not skiing. Erik is trying to figure out what to do next. Erik is stuck. I don't like it when Erik is stuck.

"There's this thing sticking in the middle of the trail," he says.

Probably a frozen human arm.

"I'm going to try this way," he says

I hear a loud cracking noise that is either bindings releasing or sniper fire. Then I hear Erik say: "Ah, f%$&, sh$#."

I'd rather be Canyon Swinging


At Happy Hour, we sit at a long table of empty seats.

Monique from Australia approaches our table.

"How about two Molsen drafts?" I say.

"Want to make that a pitcher?" she asks.

A crowd of people join our table. The crowd is mainly in their forties and fifties with one elderly woman, who sits next to me. Erik and I shared a gondola ride with one of the forty-something women. She's a local, recognizes us, and we start talking.

Me: "Is there any easy way to get to Revelstoke from the States. We took the Greyhound from Calgary. What a horror show."

Forty-something woman: "Oh, no, you took the Hound?" she says. The table errupts with laughter.

Me: "I have another question: Some guy on the ski bus who looked like Charlie Manson told us about a Rod and Gun Club party. Have you been?"

One guy from the group: "Oh, the freezer burn special? They serve all the animals they shot during the year. Don't break any teeth on the buckshot. You have to go at least once for the local color."

Me: "I notice you have an interesting graffit problem: On all the signs that say 'Revelstoke," the 's' has been erased to say 'Revel toke."

Guy: "B.C. has pretty loose laws for marijuana. But be careful: the stuff is really strong."

Eighty-year-lady sitting next to me: "Yeah, be careful, it's really strong."