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Day 8.

February 11, 2008

Day 8 started with the combined hangover of the Irish and Aggletonian contingent of our happy group. As such, Dave and I headed up the mountain for a few quick runs. The snow was lovely, but the weather was pretty ropey. The high wind at the top, and the heavy snow at all levels was making things a bit tricky. After a couple of satisfying runs, we met Dec at the top of the Whistler Gondola for lunch.

After lunch, the three of us rode down to the middle station again. Dave continued down the mountain for a massage, and the previous evening’s booze took its toll on Dec, who gondolised his way beck down the mountain.  The weather was still pretty shoddy, but I figured that I had a couple more runs in me before heading off the hill.

The gondola back up to the top was a revelation. The snow suddenly stopped, revealing the lovely sunny day that had been struggling to get out for the previous few hours. Wary of the weather reports, though, lots of people chose to stay away. All that was left, seemingly, was me, a couple of inches of fresh powder, and the hill. For those few hours, there could conceivably have been nobody left in the world, and for those few hours, I didn’t care. I went on to enjoy three beautiful runs down to the middle station—each on an essentially empty, freshly snowed-upon piste—for the rest of the afternoon. It was quite simply one of the finest afternoons of my life. Although my less-than-rapid riding style—I’ve referred to it as “Boarding Miss Daisy”—probably isn’t terribly exciting to watch, I had the time of my life, gently meandering down wide, open, powdery pistes without anyone to watch out for, without anyone watching out for me, without any bloody skiers, without a care in the world.

The final time I got down to the middle station, to find the way back up was closed for the day, I was genuinely upset. I knew there and then that the stacked coincidences of Bingo’s hangover, Dec’s—well—hangover, Dave’s massage, the heavy snow in the morning, the beautiful afternoon, and the lack of people may never happen again. I’ll probably never have an afternoon on a snowboard that perfect again. But I had that one afternoon, and I loved every second of it.

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