I arrived here at 2:00am Tuesday morning after a harsh 10 hour layover in Vancouver. I stumbled from the plane onto a snow-covered tarmac swarming with polar bears. My dog sled team was nowhere to be found. “Looks like I’ll have to snowshoe to my igloo” I mumbled to myself.
Rudy picked me up at the airport. As soon as dawn broke [10:00am] we were on the ski trails. Since I had already been in town a whopping 7 hours my dad figured it was time to put ‘Operation Coach” into high gear. But first.
For those of you who don’t know- Rudy is my dad. He is very short and bald with a crooked nose and hairy eyebrows and ears. At first glance he looks more like a Troll than a human. Chronologically he is 70, physiologically he is in his mid 40’s. He grew up in the Czech Republic but fled the Russians in 1968. He lived with gypsies growing up and used to wrestle bears in the circus. Over the past 30 years he has been a ski coach. He has a fearsome reputation as a slave driver. He has earned this reputation fairly [eg. he once made a woman who had broken her leg WALK back to the ski chalet].
Rudy is constantly working on the path towards personal excellence. When you hang out with him you are inadvertently [and sometimes unwillingly] drawn onto that path. Our ‘family ski’ began with a quiz about waxing;
“Iz -4, 80% humidity, and soft powder packed snow. Vat vax ve use todai?”
I start sweating. It’s a trick question. In Ontario we would use Swix VR45, Thunder Bay would use Vauhti Carrot, but we’re in Whitehorse where Rode is the king of waxes.
“Two layers of multigrade purple covered with special extra blue for high humidity.”
During our ski. Rudy decides my herringbone is all wrong and ski’s behind me giggling and giving me obnoxious advice.
Down the section called ‘the rollercoaster’ he lets me go first. I realize this is a trap. Rudy’s biggest passion after skiing and fine wine is tracksetting. He has been up all night grooming the trails in the Pisten Bulley. If I so much as think of getting out of the track around one of the corners he will lose it. The problem is I weigh a good 50lbs more than Rudy and I have Goldfox on my ski’s. Around the second tight corner I am tucking at about 60km/h, and suffering G-Force sickness. I can still hear my dad laughing behind me.
Broken PB- cancelled Christmas.
Wednesday morning when I woke up no one was home. I waited for the sun to come up then made my way to the ski chalet. I could see Rudy inside. Despite owning everything Arcteryx and Mountain Hardware have in their 2010 catalogue he is dressed in his favorite garbage can finds. These are clothes he has literally claimed from Lost and Found boxes or fished out of garbage cans.
He is currently waving his arms around and yelling wildly in half Czech, half English [which he does only when really upset].
“I break the PB. Christmas is over.”
So there you have it. While driving around the ski trails at 3:00am the track on the Pisten Bulley broke. Rudy can’t get the parts from Calgary before Christmas. He is heartbroken.
Rudy didn’t end up cancelling Christmas entirely. I still had to make him his favorite dish, a cold Czech potato salad which is essentially just potatoes, onions and white vinegar. He decided at the last minute to make a Christmas tree- so he shlepped outside and cut off a tree branch from the yard which he stuck in a vase. While drinking a fine bottle of red wine Rudy informs me it’s been a good year and that his latest money saving scheme involves saving stamps that Canada post has forgotten to mark as used.
All in all I don’t think I could have asked for a nicer Christmas. Skiing and spending time with my family [however strange they are] is pretty awesome.
And now that Christmas is behind us- it’s the start of Birthday Week! The seven day lead up to Jan 1st when I turn 26!