We took Will’s school friend Ross along with us. The drive there was completely uneventful and the kids were great the whole way. They did have their i-Pod touchs to keep them entertained (music, video and podcasts) and also had the DVD player to watch their new DVDs from Christmas. Will has converted Ross to appreciate both Hamish and Andy and Thank God You’re Here. We couldn’t hear a word of what was being said of course as they had earphones on, but the laughter in the back seat of the car was great. Ross also made sure that he practised his very best Aussie accent while with us. He is determined to pick it up. I also got him to explain a few Canadian-isms to me. Ross is an expert!
So, skiing was of course the primary objective of the trip and Kimberley did not let us down. There are only three chair lifts on the mountain, but they are so well positioned that they provide access to about 70 different runs of varying difficulty. Interestingly even the green runs were what we would call blue-ish in Australia (Sam said they are probably aqua). There was always a difficult section on each run, but the main runs are wide and well groomed, so being a bit steep was not a problem.Unfortunately Ross had a pretty serious stack on his very first run and the binding on the ski actually broke! He was taken down the hill by ski patrol and they watched him for a while. His symptoms did not point to anything clearly as his pain reactions were quite severe, so they sent him by ambulance to Cranbrook for further assessment. Of course it is your worst nightmare to have to ring the parents of the child you have taken on holidays when you’ve just packed their kid off to hospital. I’m sure every parent relates to this feeling. Sandy and Mark (Ross’ parents) were fine about it and we all had a feeling that it was going to be fine. We got ourselves down to the apartment, changed and followed the ambulance to Cranbrook to Emergency. Fortunately Ross’ leg started to feel miraculously better just as the doctor arrived to examine him. This seemed somewhat like a spiritual healing… or the shock of the very big fall and breaking ski had evened out and Ross was able to sense that it was safe now to walk. Whatever happened… he was perfectly fine and after a day off with a bruised thigh Ross rejoined us for skiing on day 3 and day 4. He improved very quickly and skied in control the whole time! That fall reminded him that skiing is dangerous!The village at Kimberley is just delightful. It was a mining town up until 2001, with the richest lead and zinc mine in the world and generating one of the highest per capita community incomes in Canada. The town was built with a Bavarian theme some time back, but it is now trying to shake that image with more people arriving in the town to create a new haven for Post-Materialist movement groups such as “Cultural Creatives”, “Simple Living/Voluntary Simplicity Movement” and “Nowtopians”. Somewhat like the culture in Jan Juc and parts of Torquay in Australia. The trend is to move away from the work, career, financial and consumerism focus to living with sustainable growth and a focus on ecosystems that support life on earth.
With this change in focus the Kimberley and Cranbrook district has seen growth in new industries and the Kootenay Knitting Company recently won the bid to supply the official garments to the Vancouver Winter Olympics in 2010. Or as the Canadians see it… THE Olympics, the other one is the Summer Olympics and not really their event!
Skiing in Kimberley is a completely different experience to Sunshine (near Banff) or even Marmot basin (near Jasper) as the locals run the ski hill, they are the instructors, the tow operators and the food store managers. It is run for the town, by the town. There are very few foreign workers (like in Banff) and the feeling is comfortable and homely. There is a sense of pride in their town.
The final trip home was long as we had about 15cm of snow overnight, the car had some engine trouble which needed to be attended to before leaving. So after trying to leave at about 10 we left at 11 and we arrived back in Edmonton at about 9:00pm, dropped Ross off and arrived to our home at about 10:30pm… 10 1/2 hours after we left and just in time to welcome the New Year with a hot chocolate!