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Life & Times Of A Lady Shredder In Whistler - The Blog!

skip11 - 29 November 2014 11:45 AM

Try some NOW bindings, I think they have a small size run this year. I freakin love NOWs, I have 2 pairs haha. If else fails, you can always go EST to maximize board feel with your malolo, not too sure what the women’s models are called.

Yeah, I think I’m keen to give NOW bindings a go, for sure. I need to look into that a little more!

For my Malolo, I can’t go EST! They actually have the old Burton 3 point system, in fact…so I’ll have to see what works.


Great blog Lulu enjoyed reading through that so keep it coming!

Hopefully catch up with you along with the rest of the BW crew in a bit over a month! shaka


Is it wrong that I was totally stoked that you loved the Eminence?!

Keep the reviews/blog/everything coming.  I love reading it all.  shaka


Chapter 3 - a bit slow on the snow front

So, after day 2 of my season going so swimmingly - with all that new snow and all - the last week has been a bit dry on the fresh snow front! That arctic freeze did happen, just like the conditions said they would and so, temps dropped down past -16 celsius and even colder on the mountain.

I’ll talk a little about day 4 & 5 on the hill shortly, but interestingly I did a few other activities which I really enjoyed. These are some things that are really helping me to start to feel like I’m living and not just holidaying/seasoning here!

I finished up my last post on Tuesday and so Wednesday I was back to work. We run a lot of trips and courses for splitboarders and so, we also have a rental fleet. 95% of our boards are Prior’s. One of the managers at work organised for us to go and meet the GM at Prior and also do a tour of the factory, which is located in the south of town (in Function Junction). Upon arrival, I found out that I actually already knew Emilie, the GM. She was one of the coaches of the old Roxy Camps Whistler ran, back when I did it in 2011. So, we recognised each other which continues to remind me of how small this place is! That aside, I enjoyed getting the tour of the factory and it was really interesting to learn the process of making the boards. It’s really cool - you can definitely see the quality and time that goes into each and every board they make. What I took from this, was that I really want a Prior splitboard. They can custom make the shapes and cambers and also the materials. It’s awesome…so watch this space!

On Thursday night, I was grateful to be invited out to dinner with a new friend of mine and a bunch of ‘local’ friends of hers. It ended up being about 20 people and it was really nice to meet some more people and make more friends. I’ve been told by a lot of people that making friends with the ‘locals’ can be difficult, because they get so used to people coming and going seasonally. As I’ve moved here for the next 4 or so years, I’m keen to become part of the community, so it was really nice to feel involved and invited. Leaving my friends back home was the most difficult thing about leaving Australia, so it’s encouraging to begin making new friends!

On Saturday night, Dan and I went to the Whistler Brewery 25th Anniversary party at Longhorns and I was able to meet a bunch of people from Boardworld! I was being designated driver, so I let Dan get his booze on. But, it was great meeting up with Rob again, and I was able to meet Jeremy, Michelle, Dean and also John. Such a fun night!!

Ok, so onto the riding!
Day 3 and onto Blackcomb Mountain!
Where –
When – Noon until around 2pm-ish
Who – Today it started off with just Dan and I, but then we bumped into Andy again (it’s such a small mountain right now wink ) and I also met Tyler.
What gear – To be honest, I grabbed the Eminence again…equal parts laziness and also icy conditions, so I was thinking magnetraction would help out a little.
Stoke level – We took a few laps through the intermediate park on Blackcomb. I’m still getting my snowboarding legs back, so I didn’t do anything too crazy. There’s a small 10ft jump at the top (barely got any air off it!) a sweet hip about halfway down and also a box at the top as well. I was tempted by some of the bigger jumps, but the park was really busy and the snow was so icy and hardpacked, so I’ll give myself a few more days (and hopefully more snow!) until I push it. Still happy to be up there and as we say, “a shitty day at the snow is better than a good day at work”...but I’d say about 5 out of 10. We need more mountain open and also better snow! It was about -15, so I threw on a couple more layers than normal. It was super cold, but nice and sunny nonetheless.

Day 4 and I REALLY need more runs open!!
Where –
Whistler Mountain
When – There was no fresh snow or new open runs again, so we headed back to Whistler mountain for a little bit. Another late start, around 12noon until 3pm.
Who – Dan and I met up with Rob again for a few afternoon runs
What gear – Eminence (again)...could almost do with another wax, maybe? Although, it was really hard packed and icy - so we were just bombing runs and I’m practicing my carving.
Stoke level – Rob looked like he was having a great time on his skis. Conditions are perfect for two edges right now - some sections you could almost ice skate. So, it was exactly like Australia conditions, really!! I was enjoying the pace and speed actually, so I’d say 6-7 out of 10.

So, nothing overly exciting to talk about this week, but I’m also going snowboarding tomorrow for my birthday, which should be fun! Snowboarding on my birthday is such a novelty! I normally get the summer bbq birthday parties!

There is some precipitation forecast throughout the weekend and my fingers are crossed firmly, hoping that it happens. We really need it!!

Until next time :-D


Day 5 - Birthday Shreds!!

So, this will just be a short update, but yesterday morning was full of so much awesomeness - I wanted to update!!

I got up early with Dan and got to the village gondola at around 8:45am. My new friend Ashley had arrived from Australia just the day before and so, we’d organised to meet up at the Roundhouse (she was coming up Creekside Gondola). Once we finally met, we headed over to get our first run of the day in, and I caught up with my good friend Jasmine (Jas)! Now, I met Jas in 2011, back when I first visited Whistler. Jas was living in Whistler then, but she has since moved back to Squamish. During my own personal planning of relocating to Canada, Jas was super kind and offered for me to stay with her until I settled in. I am still grateful to this day, and I don’t know what I would have done without her during that time!

Shred-wise…I gotta say that Jas is by far one of the hardest charging and best riders I’ve been with in this area, without a doubt! I always love challenging myself to keep up with her and I really admire her style.

It was great to ride together with both new and old friends and even though there still wasn’t much terrain open, it was my birthday, the weather was nice, I had friends around me and I got to snowboard!! How can one be disappointed by that?

Where – Whistler Mountain, but now you can ride out to the village!
When – 8:45am load, until around 11:15am
Who – Dan, Ashley, Jas and a couple of Jas’s friends
What gear – Still riding the Eminence and Flux bindings and I’m still loving it…I see a trend…but, mind you - Dan did wax it the night before!
Stoke level – Still no fresh snow, but down lower towards the village, there were some fake snow ‘freshies’ to be had. We just had a lot of fun. I’m continuing to work on getting my snowboard legs back a bit, and it was Ashley’s first day on snow since the Australian season. That said, I was ripping some carves and trying to be dynamic on the board and with my movement. Still playing around on some natural rollers, hits and features and still developing my switch technique and ground 180’s in all directions - plus frontside 1’s off my toes. It was my birthday, I was having a good time, I was constantly smiling, and I loved the company. I’d say stoke was sitting at a solid 9 out of 10.

Looking forward to hitting up some of this (hopefully!!!) fresh snow next Monday/Tuesday, which is forecast for here. I’m just hoping that the freezing level drops…eek!

Watch this space peoples!

And don’t forget, if you’ve got questions, want to see anything special, or in particular; let me know…


Just a quick update: sorry it’s been a little slow on the content here - for those of you here in Whistler, you understand why! (Damn you, r&#n).

I’ll be headed up for some turns in the morning (on a different board) and then again on Sunday on a splitboard. I’ll also be posting an update on my fun time at Bounce the other night as well.

In addition to a wall of text, I’m going to twist Dan’s arm to actually take some footage of me riding so we can share a little shreddit!

Catch you soon, peeps grin


Are you going to ride on Saturday?


Hey there people!

More blog coming tonight - it’s been a very long and busy few days, but lot’s to update!!

Watch this space…


Chapter 6 - R#&n, Bounce, Avalanche Training & Playing Catch-Ups!!

Ok, so yes. It’s been a few days since my last update. But rest-assured, I’m still here and staying plenty active, despite this not-so-great weather!

Big update, though - so sit back, relax and take a load off.

As those of you who are currently in Whistler - or watching the forecasts/reports closely - know, unfortunately last week we had what they affectionately refer to as, “the Pineapple Express”. Or, in layman’s terms: looooooots and lots of precipitation, but unfortunately the temps sit above zero (even in the alpine!) and so we get a buttload of r#&n. Dirty word, that one.

However, I’m doing my best to totally make the best of the snowboarding downtime and keeping busy elsewhere!

First off, I’ve been spending a lot of time with a new friend, Ashley. Now, I had only previously met Ashley through a Facebook group we were both members of, and now she’s living in Whistler for the season, it seems we might become good buds. As the *cough*rain*cough* was pummeling us on Monday, we decided to catch up on Tuesday on my day off. Tuesday’s forecast didn’t look all too terrible, so I had a late start on the mountain, met Ashley at the Peak 2 Peak and then rode down to the village together. That was the end of the snowboarding for the day! Although it was super short and sweet (but not that much on the sweet side, really!), I’m still counting it as one of my days towards that elusive and holy grail of 100 days on snow! Cheeky, yes, I might be…

After our rather disappointing solo run down to the village, we were off to the gym. Yes, the gym. I’m a bit of a gym junkie, myself. And by gym junkie, I mean weights…I love to pick up heavy things and put them down. Again and again…repeatedly, in sets. I’ve really been missing working out with the gym buddy of all gym buddies (my friend Amy, back home) and also, I’ve really missed having a squat rack!

Quick Public Service Announcement: Do your squats. No, really. Just do them.

Luckily for me, Ashley is also a bit of a gym enthusiast herself, as well as doing pole fitness and muay thai back in Aus. Although our work out styles/programs are very different, it’s still really nice to be able to make going to the gym a social affair. Ashley and I have both joined up at The Core in the village and it’s got all of the mod cons that I need in a gym. This includes a couple of squat racks, a great cable set up and lots and lots of free weights. Oh, and did I mention the squat rack?  wink

So after smashing our legs in the gym, what next?

BOUNCE!! Yeah, see I’d never been to a trampoline place before, but I’ve always wanted to go to one. Whistler has one called Bounce and it was just as much fun as I thought it would be. Ashley and I decided we’d try to challenge ourselves by trying to learn the early stages and basics of a tamedog. Although the idea of cartwheeling is not intimidating to me (I spent a lot of my younger years doing gymnastics)’s a whole different thing to comprehend when you have a board attached to your feet and you’re doing it with no hands. So, needless to say, I was super timid and didn’t really get that far. I did try quite a few inverts and discovered that for some reason a front flip is so much more comfortable for me, than back flips. However, watch this space…I’ll get there!

Bounce was a lot of fun and I highly recommend it to anyone staying for the season, or even visiting over a couple of days. They do drop in rates and also season passes. Check out their website here!
It is different to snowboarding, yes, but there were some elements which I hope to transfer from the safer tramp/foam pit environment, onto the mountain. I just can tell that I need to give myself more time!

So that was ‘day’ 6, but was raining and miserable with no vis, so zero pics sorry!
Where – Whistler Mountain
When – About 11am to noon.
Who – Just Ashley!
What gear – Yeah…the Roxy Eminence again…this is interesting
Stoke level – I don’t know, probably pretty low! I actually barely remember the day. So, let’s say 2-3 out of 10 maybe.

Another post and some FOOTAGE coming up shortly and then I’ll be up to date!




Chapter 7 - Hello Pow, Arguments & NOW The Avalanche Skills Training!

Day 7 (or 8??...starting to lose count!) and the snow had arrived in the alpine, with around 25cm of fresh overnight. Dan and I jumped on the gondola about 8:30 and agreed to meet some friends up at the Roundhouse. Due to some delays with Red Chair, Ashley encouraged Dan and I to ride down to meet her in the line there. Luckily, Etienne also agreed to meet us back at Roundhouse, so Dan and I got to slash some freshies!

This is kinda where it all started turning sour. Does anyone else here ride with a partner or friend, who sometimes you are just literally not able to communicate with? That’s Dan and I. For a short background, Dan and I have been together for 13 years and married for 5 of those. We’re usually pretty solid together, but sometimes we struggle! Unfortunately, on this fresh snow day…we were in that space.

First run of the day? Dan goes one direction, I go another. Greeaaat. Good start, idiots!  grin

We managed to find Ashley and Etienne and we got a couple of runs in with them. The snow was quite nice in parts, but the freezing level was still pretty high, so it was very ‘heavy’ snow from Roundhouse down. Sadly for me, I work weekends and they weren’t opening the alpine lifts ‘til the next day!

Frustratingly, the morning didn’t improve too much between Dan and I, but I guess that happens sometimes. Some days, you just have to chalk it up as a communication fail. I still got a few nice turns in though, and even convinced Dan to take a few GoPro shots. Here’s a short little edit of the day:

Nothing too incredible, as you can see! It’s interesting watching myself back as well. I can be super critical and seeing my technique here, actually makes me cringe. Although that said, I’m also motivated by watching this, and it encourages me! Let’s see how I look around April time, perhaps?

Day 7!
Where – Whistler Mountain
When – 8:30am to 11:30am.
Who – Dan, Ashley & Etienne
What gear – I brought out the DC Ply again. It’s a 146 and I paired it with my Switchbacks. Although I really love this board & actually, I think on any other day I’d really love this combo…this was the wrong kind of board to bring out that day! So, I’m not able to give it a fair assessment. Basically, I felt like it was trying to ‘sink’ and so, my legs were killing me from trying to stay above the fresh snow. Nevertheless, the Ply will get more days out, but not on fresh snow days, I don’t think.
Stoke level – The strange dynamics with Dan screwed my mojo a little, but it was great to get some slashes in there!

So, onto the Avalanche Skills Training Course!!
Disclaimer: I do work for Whistler Alpine Guides, however this review is as a participant

Working where I do, I knew pretty much what to expect and what was ahead of me. I have been lucky enough to do a little bit of splitboarding back in Australia, but nothing in the vicinity of what is now available at my back door in BC (and beyond!). Now, what really threw me was actually how unfit I was in a mountain/touring fitness sense, especially given that I gym a lot and workout frequently!

Despite being the last in the group (don’t worry, that’s added fuel to my fire and ! won’t be last for long!), I truly enjoyed the course. We were lucky enough to have blue bird conditions after some fresh snow on the previous Thursday/Friday, so it was great! We headed out past Flute bowl on Whistler & managed to get some great fresh tracks in there as well!

Day 8!
Where – Whistler Backountry
When – 8:00am until 6:30pm when the debrief was completed
Who – Ryan (the Instructor), myself, Ashley and a number of other participants
What gear – So, lucky for me I was able to borrow a friends splitboard that is actually in my size. She is sponsored by Voile, so I got to ride her Revelator in a 149, with her Voile bindings and skins. The board was good. Longer, stiffer and even wider than I’m used to…it rode the powder really well and the length was great for me, for touring mode. At the end of the day though, riding out back to the village, I really would have preferred a reverse camber and also a twin board. My legs were tired and it was very committing riding such a directional board on the groomers (in comparison to what I’m used to!). I could also really feel the edges!!
Stoke level – Despite how tired & unfit I felt, I really, really loved the course! My stoke was high - got some great turns in, made a new friend in Canada, and learned so much about the backcountry. I recommend this course to everyone and anyone who is considering spending anytime outside of the boundaries and even in more challenging terrain where it isn’t avi patrolled as much/consistently!

I can’t wait to tour more and I hope to be able to blog about it more over the season!

Have you splitboarded before? What did you like/dislike about it?

I didn’t take any footage because I was focusing on learning, but here’s a few pics of the day :-D

Looking out into Flute Bowl

Split/touring mode!

Yisssss!! Achievement unlocked: AST1 Certification! *pumps fist*



Awesome updates, Lu. Congratulations on the AST 1 certification! I’m really pumped to do the course. I enjoyed the video as well. I’m looking forward to riding with you soon. shaka


It’s been an interesting last few days riding (as a lot of you already know!), but I’ll be updating the blog over the next few hours!


Lu where is the updates?


Yea Lu, where the F is are your updates. Your blographer is disappointed you’re not working as hard as she is.


Chapter 8 - Injuries, Sickness, Christmas & New Year…and yes a *small* hiatus…part A

Ahem, hello? *Tap, tap, tap* Is this thing on? Can anyone hear me?

I know, I know I’ve been gone for a while, but as a wise man recently told me, I was “down, but not out”. I apologise in advance, but this particular entry might appear to talk more about the fails, than the wins. But, after all is said and done, my enthusiasm and excitement about the remainder of the season has not waned!

So, it has been a very interesting couple of weeks on the snowboarding and general life front here. Most notably, it all really began when I went out to go riding during a work break, with Dan and Andy on the 20th of December. Now, Dan had been messaging me that morning, telling me that conditions were looking good in the Whistler park, with some fun and new ‘Lu-sized’ features I could play around on. Ok, sweet! So, I got my Ollie Pop and Switchback bindings together for a bit of a park progression session. Well, at least that’s what I thought the plan was.

Upon my arrival to the roundhouse, I met Dan and Andy and as we greeted one another, Dan turned around and realised that the Peak Chair had just opened, after some fresh snow. Straight away, the plan was changed to going up Peak and I was quite flustered, but not really together enough to argue otherwise, so I followed them up there, despite feeling rushed and also to be honest, a bit anxious. Now, I’ve ridden up on the Peak chair already, a number of years ago and I’m relatively comfortable in black and double black terrain (although, I still want to progress further in this area!,) but I didn’t really have my head in ‘the game’ that day.
Frustratingly, on the first run of my day, which also happened to be my first time up Peak chair for the season…one fall and I lost my mojo and also my phone (I forgot to zip up my pocket in all the excitement). It just rattled me and so, I decided to call it a day.

Sadly, the next day didn’t get any better…in fact it got quite a bit worse. *BLOOD WARNING*
During a lunch break from work on the Sunday, I decided to meet up with Dan and a few of the Boardworld crew! We’d had some more fresh snow overnight, but it was still pretty poor vis. After an initial discussion, the vote was in: Blackcomb mountain, with the view to check out the glacier. At the top of the glacier chair, the decision was made: it was still quiet and we assumed that the glacier itself would still have some fresh lines on it. After heading up the tbar, it was obvious there were few tracks leading up to the glacier, so off we went (breaking trail for some of it!). There was some signage around the avalanche risks and conditions and after an assessment, we felt we were all happy and comfortable to ride down.

The first few turns were awesome. The snow itself wasn’t giving away to ‘pow’ slashes per se, but it was that beautiful sort of velvet feeling snow, that you could really get some nice turns in. About halfway down, the group (about 6 of us) rejoined to discuss where to go from there.

Everyone’s happy and oh yeah, good times!!

As we needed to keep our speed up, in order to get back to the track, I was traveling pretty fast and was about to lay in a nice heel slide slash when unfortunately, a large boulder (covered in snow) appeared before me - but it was too late.

Oh noes!

I remember hitting the boulder, board first and then a lot of flipping, pain and a bit of nausea. I landed on snow, face down and my feet downhill. I was in a lot of pain and initially, couldn’t really breathe, open my eyes or move my neck. All I could do was yell out, “help, help”. Very quickly, Dan and Jeremy were right there with me, and I felt I was starting to come around a bit more. After what felt like ages, I could open my eyes and I felt okay enough to sit up. That’s when they noticed the blood. During the crash, I think my chin smashed into my left knee, which resulted in me biting a good chunk into my tongue and also chipping one of my teeth. Once I realised (and tasted) that I was bleeding, I leaned forward and started to spit it, and some tooth fragments out of my mouth. This wasn’t very pretty and it certainly wasn’t comfortable.


To be honest, it hurt but then I also didn’t want to be too much of a dampener on everyone elses day. As I started to move myself more, that is when I noticed my other injuries - some kind of muscle ‘pull’ behind my right knee and also a lot of pain on my actual left knee. I looked around and realised that there were a lot of people waiting for me, and I think that is about when the adrenaline kicked in.

I managed to ride back, all the way to the village and even walked alone back to work. That is when I sorta clicked that I had a slight concussion. I was seeing ‘swirls’ when looking at my computer screen and realised that my jaw was also in a lot of pain. Dan came back to the village and we went to the medical centre. The final professional diagnosis was:
- Subluxated jaw
- Hyperextended hamstring tendon
- Damaged and bruised left patella
- Chipped tooth
- Concussion

The magic words of the day? “This was not a season ending fall, or injuries”. That was music to my ears, but then the doc also recommended 10-14 days of rest. That also hurt :-(

So, not super damaging, but painful enough to really put a dampener on my pre-Christmas/New Year shenanigans! This was also the first time I’d ever had such an intense accident/fall. And frankly, not something I’d like to emulate anytime again soon!

More to come…and annoyingly, it does continue to get worse, before it gets better…