A bowl full of adrenaline
It's really interesting to see Canada through the eyes of a visitor. Often Canadians look to Europe with much admiration and even pangs of jealousy so it's refreshing to see the reverse. Here is a post by fellow blogger Martin Nolan, from London,about his mind-bending experience on the slopes in Whistler: There are very few moments when you’re stood still, knees trembling, muscles cramping with pure adrenaline. Watching the wind breeze from left to right, stuck in that ethereal limbo of not knowing whether you’re awake or in an awesome dream. You know you’ve gone skiing in Canada; you’ve got the stamp in the passport to prove it. But you’re not sure whether you can feel this way while awake. And you’re definitely not sure whether a bowl in Whistler can make you feel this way.
Going skiing in Canada is a dream to a lot of Europeans like me. The great White North seems so far away and unattainable. But yet, I was there. Through some financial self-discipline, I had managed to be enough in the black to book with the nice man at Crystal Ski. But still the whole thing seemed unreal.
For years I had to sit and suffer wealthier men than me, coming back and speaking of Whistler and its four Glory Bowls. Stories of this rowdy terrain, at the top of the mountain, that just had to be skied. This vague description of lumps, bumps and powder, started to take on this mythical place in my head and now I was going there.
It wasn’t until my second day that I managed to scramble out of bed before the crack of dawn. With bleary eyes, I stumbled towards the lift queue. As the queued eeeked forward inch by inch, the anticipation started to clear my eyes. I was beginning to become alert and rosy-cheeked. As I was carried up to where the wind was stronger and the air thinner, I became overwhelmed with alertness. My body was running at optimal capacity.
However, as I left the lift, ready to drop in and ski the West Bowl, I felt slightly shackled by fear. The worry that this mythical land would be vanquished by the sword of disappointment and I would return to the village emptier than I left it. I had travelled too far to wimp out now and with a deep breath, I put every doubt to one side and took the plunge.
My eyes were bulging with concentration. My reactions were at their limits. There was so much to take in. The steep drop from Cockalorum, towards the West Bowl, was filled with sadistic chutes and gulleys. Turns and bumps pushed my skills to the edge of their limits. All before I had even made it to the bowl. Then once I passed those tests I was greeted by a wall of deep fresh powder. I tried to carve every available inch of it. Filling the air behind me with glistening white spray and leaving track marks snaking all over the bowl.
I got off half way down the mountain, with the sense of elation and ecstasy. I was unsure of my surroundings. Was I dreaming? I was bleary eyed in the morning, had I actually woken up? It would make sense that I was still asleep, as rides like the one I just had were previously consigned to them. In fact, skiing in Canada in general was consigned to my dreams. It was settled, the only way I could be sure was to head up the mountain again.
After the third and fourth time, I was certain. It wasn’t a dream and I had just been served a bowl of pure adrenaline. And it was all because I had chosen to go skiing in Canada. Whistler and its bowls were a once in a lifetime thrill for people like me. If only I was lucky enough to have been born in the great White North, then maybe I could’ve made it a weekly thing. But, I wasn’t. So I guess I will have to stick to Alps for a few more winters. All the time pining to go skiing in Canada again.
/////////////// Martin Nolan is a traveler who enjoys writing about everything from skiing to backpacking to the best burgers in London. You can also follow him at his blog The Travel Ramble or on twitter @martinnolan7