by on Apr.04, 2009, under Holiday

I’ve been back over a week so time to write a little

A snowboarding trip to Banff in Canada.

The trip started with an early morning and a short drive to the badly named Durham Tees Vallee Airport – badly named because half the road signs still say Teesside Airport! Do the whole checking thing and a short flight to Heathrow.

The checkin, this is just silly, you book your flights, online or with an agent, then you show up and want to check in, so instead of just going to the desk handing over your paper work and your bags you now need to go to a machine, and tell it your there, then go to the same deak you would have anyway and handover your bags, where they then check your tickets and passport print lables etc and basically take just as long as they used to? So no benefit unless you dont have bags I guess.

That was pretty uneventful, apart from they seemed short on staff to check in my board n their skis.

One at Heathrow, we get our bags and have about 5 or 6 hours to kill till the flight, unfortunatly you can’t check you bags in for your flight till 3 hours before, this left us with a while at the public side of the airport. Sitting in the departure lounge is a bit boring, with not a lot other than the shops to amuse you, but atleast you dont have your bags at that side. You can see what I thought about the Duty free here.

The flight itself was uneventful, long, but the film selection wasn’t too bad, so that kept me amused. I managed to get through 3 films on the way there, mostly action, Max Payne, Body of Lies and The Day the Earth Stood still, I was quite surprised the films weren’t as edited as I thought they would be, there wasn’t any obvious cuts to hide gore or blanks in the language, but they’d all be improved with a bigger screen.

Anyway flight arrived, we got our bags, went transfer to Banff, checked in board and skis in the lockers up to the room and sleep ready to hit the slopes in the morning.

There’s not really much to say about the rest of the holiday, the usual day was, get up get dressed, get breakfast, put on warm gear, and get the bus to one of the mountains, go up n down the slopes n lifts a while bus back, change, eat, then bed. repeat.

We visited each of the 3 areas while we were there, and obviously the conditions depend a lot on the weather, but Lake Louise and Mt Norquay both tended to have harder packed snow than Sunshine when we were there. I definitely preferred the more powdery snow we had at Sunshine and all the runs seemed nicer and I want to say more friendly. At each of the 3 areas there was a few bits that really weren’t snowboarder friendly just too flat in places and without a run up there was no chance of getting past it without walking or skating, neither of which anyone wants to do. The up hill bits are always fun to get the speed up on the way down and hope to make it to the top, but damn its annoying when you run out of speed just before you get there and have to bunny hop/crawl or walk to the top.

Food on the mountain wasn’t anything special, but was good enough and not too expensive, but as there’s only a few places to eat they fill up pretty fast so is hard to get a seat.

Evening meals in Banff were pretty good, huge portions (so no suprise I lost my apertite near the end), we tended towards the more standard food of burgers, fries, spagghetti and pizza but it was all good.

On our last day I had a go in the park at Norquay, its probably the easiest to get to as its alongside the first lift and the entrace wasn’t far from the top, the others seemed to be between pistes meaning you had to ride a bit to get to one then go quite a way to get to the next lift back up, at Norquay the bottom was the bottom and you went pretty much straight to the lift.
I only had a go on the rookie stuff and after a few attempts a break and a couple more it was time to go, but I was  at least not falling over on what I tried even if I wasn’t flying high off the kickers.

I think I like the park riding it definitely makes a change from normal piste riding.

The trip home was again pretty uneventful apart from the flight wasn’t full, so I got lucky n had the 2 seats beside me empty to spread out in not that it really helped with sleeping but nevermind. Managed to watch Madagascar 2 and Quantum of Solace, listened to some music read some of my book, watched a bit of the on demand tv, then we were at Heathrow for some waiting n a flight home.

I have to ask why on earth did I think that it was a good idea to go back to work the day after getting home? Get up 8/9am in Canada Tuesday arrive home about 6pm Wednesday with only about 1 hour sleep, there was no surprise I was still half asleep on Thursday!

Well that’s about it the trip was mostly fun but could have been improved by me actually being able to sleep properly! And maybe a little snowboarding company 2’s company etc…

oh and no pics I hardly took any.

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