Chandri MacLeod (chandri) wrote,
Chandri MacLeod

The Greater Canadian Jumping Bear

So yesterday, I went to Whistler and jumped out of a tree. Okay okay, there was a big steel cable attached to it, and then to another tree, and I was in a harness, but it was awesome. Seriously, guys, if you ever get the chance to go ziplining, TAKE IT. (But not at Skyline. That's the one where the pulley snapped and the guy died. And Whistler kept having to assure people that THAT WAS NOT THEM.)

We - me, my friend Brad, and a bunch of his friends from the Island, some of whom run Loading.Ready.Run., which you should check out if you never have - went out to breakfast first at a place in Burnaby called Jane's - one of those ubiquitous greasy spoons where you get a huge breakfast for like six bucks. Good food. Then we piled into cars and drove up to Whistler. Actually I slept the whole way, because I got up at 6am to be at the Brentwood skytrain at 9am. But, y'know, Whistler. Sea-to-Sky Highway. Bad construction. Big drop. Pretty view. You can figure it. *waves hand*

Walking around for an hour before our appointment, I, of course, managed, to get a sunburn. Because, well, yes, it was like seventeen degrees up there, but even though I know better I have trouble equating "skiing" and "snowboarding" and "lots and lots of snow" with "sunscreen. It was an absolutely gorgeous day, though, sunny and warm and with just a little bit of a bite higher up. The Village, of course, was as always snow-free. They actually heat the cobbles to keep it out of the streets, one of many indicators that Whistler is one of the most expensive places to live in southwestern BC. The burn is mostly fading by now, though, just in time for me to come by more sunburn, more honestly, at sea level. *wry*

Brad rode a bucking razor. No, seriously. Sheik was doing a promotion where they put a saddle. On a giant plastic razor. And had people ride it, like a bucking bronco. (He fell off. But when we left he had the best time, so that's something.)

Anyway, you get to the track, and they strap you into a harness. (The guys in our party called this the Wedgie. They called it a few other things, too, because, um, yeah. ;) Then you get in a van and they take you up to the first station. There are... six? Stations, all spread out and connected by lines. The very first station isn't actually in a tree (I don't think the second or third one was, either, but several of them were, and they sway. In the breeze. And from people landing in them. Odd that this is scarier than flying down a cable at many kph, but there you go.)

You climb the first tower, and they clip you to the line. There are several different lines, and they get progressively longer and higher up, and therefore, of course, faster. On second-to-last line, we were apparently going somewhere between 60kph and 80kph. I probably wasn't going that fast. I'm not heavy enough to build up that much momentum. It still felt incredibly fast. It was awesome. Imagine flying down a mountain with nothing actually between you and the ground at ridiculous high speeds, and the knowledge that they only cut the trees along the route as low as they absolutely have to. It's kind of amazing. After the second time you don't even hear the zip on the cable, because you're too distracted by OMGFASTWINDRIVERSKY. Especially on the very last line, which was traversed upside-down. Fortunately, the blood rushing to your head doesn't start to make you dizzy until you're almost to the other side, so it doesn't really matter. I don't think I'd go bungee-jumping, but that was FUN.

So, yes. Vote yes for ziplining. Although next time I think we might go while the Telus World Ski and Snowboard festival isn't going on. We didn't even know about it until we got there and had to circle the free lot twelve times to find a parking space, and the Village (roughly three times as big as the last time I was there, years and years ago) was insanely, ridiculously, stupidly crowded. Lots of free sample booths; a tent giving away free energy drinks, the Happy Planet stand, and a booth giving away something called hemp milk and free handfuls of hemp hearts. Hemp hearts, for the record, are good and good for you. I eat them in oatmeal. The "hemp milk" I have to compare with soy milk flavoured with... I don't know. Nuts of some kind. Not unpleasant, exactly, but really, really weird, and it tastes kind of powdery. I'm still not sure whether I liked it or not.

I've known Brad since high school (so as he said yesterday, going on something like twelve years), and we don't see each other that often, but when we do it doesn't seem to make that much difference. As evidenced by the fact that the second we got down to the bottom of the track, he was crouching in the snow, and I was diving to make a weapon before anybody else even noticed. The result: snow down my back, snow down his front, and snow in just about everybody else's hair, including out guide's, because let's face it, you don't become a ziplining guide if you have no sense of fun. (She also spent the entire trip making dire predictions and warnings, about the enormous grizzly bears who were capable of leaping hundreds of metres into the air to swallow whole any silly trekkers who did not do exactly as she said - one of our party was kind of worried about bears, so she made a point of stopping on the trail to show us clawmarks on the trunk of a tree where a party last year had surprised one into fleeing up into the canopy - how she felt a kinship with a bird as sinister as the spotted owl - which swallows its prey whole and then spits out the fur and bones - and how if we screwed with our harnesses and fell and died, her mocking laughter would echo in our very souls. I liked her. She was good people. She's got good aim, too.) Good times.

We hung around after ziplining to have dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory (just about the only reasonably-priced restaurant in the village that hadn't been booked 'til midnight by 6pm; we waited 15 minutes to get in, but as we were coming out the wait time had doubled), and then we wandered over to watch a little of the Big Air competition. This is where skiers and snowboarders come down a really steep ramp, and then up a really steep jump, and do tricks as they come over the top. And this sounds entertaining, but they were half an hour late getting started, so what we actually got was ten minutes of warm-up jumps, and then thirty minutes of standing around in the dropping temperature (none of us wore proper coats, because it was really warm when we got there and we hadn't exactly planned to stay for the contest) with American tourists blowing smoke in our faces (yes, I'm SURE) while the DJ played terrible 90s dance music and yelled about how awesome he was, and how awesome the competitors were, and how awesome Telus Communications was, without any competitors actually appearing. (At one point we counted - he said "Telus" twenty-two times in four minutes. It would have been impressive if I hadn't been cold. When it finally did start, we had already gotten bored, so we didn't stay long.

Anyway, yes. Jumping out of a tree. I highly recommend it. :)
Tags: city, irl folk, travel

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