I left England on October 16th 2004. It is now 22nd November 2011. Having not been back to the UK in all that time has meant I have miss out on some family things.
My brothers marriage, as well the birth of his 2 little girls and them growing up being some of the bigger points to mention.
Recently, during the hectic extraction phase of my NZ season, my older brother Mark, contacted me asking how far away Banff was from Washington. A quick Google later gave him a much more precise answer than my “not that far”. He mentioned something about maybe meeting up in Banff…”yeah yeah that’d be good” says I.
Over the last few years we have had a few conversations like this which have never actually amounted to anything. Then, during my travel to Canada Mark sends word “Ok its booked. See you on 16th, can you sort us out gear? can go boarding for 2 days” WTF? really? Crazy times. 7 years after leaving England, Mark is coming to Lake Louise to snowboard. I began to wonder about the cosmic consequences of 2 separate universes colliding and potentially forming a small black hole in Alberta Canada.
So, Mark and his friend Johnny arrived, we took them to the Elk and Oarsman bar where they ordered Elk burgers, then the Magpie and Stump where we drank bulldogs (large margarita with a bottle of corona inserted upside down).
Followed by 2 days of me “teaching” Mark how to snowboard. I could have given the best example of my professional snowboard instruction, I could have gone through the progression, but, you know, I didn’t. Mark had 2 short days and did not want to be on the Sunny T bar. He wanted to go up the chair. So it was more of a “crash course” in snowboarding. And sure enough, he crashed a little more than we all would have liked. But he did get up the chair and left in one piece. He did well, he did not complain, he did wear a silly hat the whole time. He took in the views to take away the pain of that one fall… possibly my fault. He even said, maybe see you next year… so it can not have hurt that bad!
I really hope it is not another 7 years before we catch up again. My family is close, but we don’t seem to need to talk every week, or month…. but I think 7 years is a bit too long. Traveling and following the snow is hard. You have to make sacrifices along the way, throwing out clothes to make the baggage allowance, not having “things”, and missing family and friends, weddings and funerals, birthdays and engagements. All so you can spin a switch back 5…..
Having 2 days of just teaching with no riding meant that when I did finally go for a proper run then next day, I had found my feet. The board was where it was meant to be, tricks were landed, bumps were slayed, even hit some rails and a small jump. Shoulder felt good, even when I went for a little slide… still easing myself back in to it, called the day early.
Its a long season. It is a very long season 🙂