December was definitely a tale of two halves! The first being that of the dreaded final exams. Admittedly the extent of these exams did come as a little bit of a shock having spent the year convincing myself that the Canadian style of continual weekly assessment would result in little more than a pub quiz at the end of term. In the end however, the exams were not too bad, and the fact that I had been forced to review content throughout the term meant that revision for the final exams was not as traumatic as usual.
With the exams over, Whistler beckoned at last!! Having missed the opening weekend with work, it was finally time to travel up north for what was undoubtably the best week of the exchange so far. Having made a 6am bus with a company worryingly titled ‘Epic Rides’, we arrived in Whistler at 8 with plenty of time to quickly pick up my season pass in preparation for the first lifts. All was going well as the attendant checked through my paper work and ID until she asked for my Student card. I opened my wallet to the immediate realization that my card was still in my pencil case, stored neatly in my draw….behind a securely locked door…on campus – 2 hours away. I was unimpressed – as was the attendant when I suggested I could log onto my account on her computer to prove I was a student, or recite some of my engineering notes from the exam the day before. Eventually however, after a miraculous sequence of logistics, I had my student card, and more importantly my season pass!!!
After an early dump of snow, conditions on the mountain were ideal, and I quickly found myself worryingly out of my depth with a group of distinctly better skiers/boarders. By the end of the week however I had accomplished my goal of making it down one of the off the well known off piste trails – making would probably be a misleading term…..it certainly wasn’t pretty, and a good portion of the run was completed on my back but I’m counting it and it will be continually referenced during après ski conversations next term I’m sure. A pair of snapped ski poles, and run in with a tree later and it was time to travel back to UBC in time for my flight home. A journey made unnecessarily problematic with my snowboard boot deciding to discard its entire sole in downtown Vancouver whilst trying to catch another bus.
I flew home with very mixed feelings – on the one hand very happy to be spending Christmas with family and looking forward to some proper home cooked food which wasn’t pasta or curry. On the other hand however, having met such a great group of people it was a shame to have to say goodbye to those staying for 1 term, and staying in Whistler for Christmas was very tempting – though the chances of making it to the new year in one piece would have been fairly low, so maybe that was for the best!!
I’m now looking forward to returning in the New Year and can’t wait to see what Vancouver has in store for term 2. I will hopefully have a better idea of what to expect work wise so will be able to explore the city and whistler a little more. Also the prospect of a west coast road trip to round off what has already been an incredible experience is definitely something to look forward to.