katsmeat: (Crazy)
I had a hugely exhausting, and mostly cold and wet, weekend, starting at 1pm on Saturday and ending about... well just now.

The upshot is that I just passed the second training and assessment weekend I need to be a < drum–roll > Level 1 Snowboard Instructor. I'm not one yet, mind you - I must get another 20 hours or so of lesson shadowing, find the £64 to register with BASI, pass a CRB check and do some kind of child-protection course. But that stuff is all just box-ticking.

It's not a biggie really - I'd need Level 2 if I wanted to work a season in a resort, but that is a thought.

Oh yes... I also wrecked my Nitros. So I need £150 ish for a new pair of snowboard boots. And the Gore-Tex on my old, red Burton jacket has completely disintegrated, detaching in a blizzard of small flakes like an outdoor-apparel equivalent of very–bad dandruff. So it needs replacement sooner rather than later. Plus the base on my board is looking increasingly ropey, so £375 for a new K2 Turbo-Dream is ever-so-gradually turning from "nice to have" to "need to have". Although, the thought just struck I could get some of the cash by eBaying a pair of new-with-box-hardly-used rock-climbing shoes. Since, despite enthusiastically sneering at people who buy the gear before deciding if they actually like snowboarding, I kind've once did something similar myself.

But I'll worry about all that tomorrow, hey.

< grins >
katsmeat: (Thoughtful)
So, phase one is over, and club has invited me to continue with snowboard instructor training. I've been given full details of what's involved.

BASI induction course 7-8 August £25

Register with Snowsport England  £68
as candidate Instructor 

Snowsport England Induction
Course                           £25

Level One assessment day         £25

Validation as instructor         £27

Spiffy, red Gor-tex jacket with
"Instructor" on the back         £50

Once qualified, I'd get £4.10 an hour for "expenses".

katsmeat: (Crazy)
Last night, I did the first session of snowboard instructor training. Although I've said on my CV for a while I've been doing this, it's only just started (I think Lies-on-CV count, more or less, the same as Terry Pratchet's Lies-To-Children.) In theory, it's the start of four, two-hour, weekly sessions that are a kind-of audition, to see if you can both ride and communicate well enough to teach. The club is overflowing with ski-instructors, but catastrophically short of snowboard instructors. The 8 or so who showed up (out of 13 who signed up) were all pretty decent riders so I imagine the chances of anybody being washed-out are very slim.

The outside examiners from Snowsports England like to see a very regular style of carve riding so there was a bit of tuition on that - trying to tighten it up and iron out any long-standing bad habits (free, advanced tuition was actually one of the reasons I signed up for this). A couple of the aspiring instructors are seriously hot freestyle types - people who can pull-off a dozen backside rodeo flips, or whatever, in a row without thinking. So it was slightly amusing to see them getting called out on minor ticks in their riding style.

The communication exercise involved the group being divided into pairs. One wore ski-goggles, blacked-out with duct-tape like they were on the plane to Guantanamo, then had to ride through an obstacle course of traffic cones as the other shouted instructions. This felt surprisingly straightforward after a few runs. To the extend that I wonder if it's given the freestyle blokes ideas, and they're going to have a crack at a blindfold, backside rodeo flip next chance they get.
katsmeat: (Default)
A tale of good and bad luck...

Yesterday, I had the notion to kill 10 minutes in a Barnado's charity shop whilst waiting for somebody, and received that pure moment of exultation only generally had by suddenly-successful gold prospectors (insert movie stereotype of a crotchety bloke with a waist-length beard, a gold pan and a laden mule; wearing only a hat, boots and union underwear with a bum-flap)

Yes, pair of North Wave snowboard boots - a few seasons old but looking unused and only £9.95. And, praise $deity, they fitted! Perfect fit of these things being of such huge importance that the general advice when buying a pair is to set aside an afternoon and try absolutely everything the shop stocks. Whilst moseying around the empty shop, gripping the prize tightly, I noticed a crappy pair of ski-gloves. I asked the obvious question - yes somebody had come in to donate a complete set of stuff, but the jacket and pants had been sold. But half-full and all that.

I took the boots for a spin last night and they're an awful lot better than the crappy old Nitros I've been putting up with for far longer than I should. Huzzah! Thank you $deity, for the idiots in the world. Especially the people who buy all the equipment for a sport before finding out if they actually like it. I'd been contemplating new boots, and the associated £170-ish price-tag, with much apprehension.

And this afternoon, a crank axle on my bike snapped with no warning. The left crank-arm simply dropped into the snow with the a little snib of the axle. Fuck fuck fuck... I though Shimano UN54s were supposed to be ancient, obsolete, reliable, enduring and utterly bomb-proof. Now I suppose I have to get another one, given that I'm not about to pay ohmyGodHOWMUCH! to put one of Phil's on my round-town beater. Broad, consumer choice doesn't seem to happen much in the world of old-style, square-taper, bicycle bottom brackets. The distrsssingly polarized nature of the market is a fact that, I'm sure, is keeping you up at night.

On the plus side, my plan to put a fat, knobbly, off-road tyre on the front, and run it at low pressure, had worked quite splendidly in the slush.

katsmeat: (Default)
My sister let me know about this. It's why I would respond "Meh..." to anything that's ever been been said by any UK weather forcaster, ever. Especially as they insist on rattling on about -2C being "Bitterly cold".


Only Siberia was colder. Oddly, I still think I'd rather be there < shrugs >.

In other news, I took my snowboard up to the UEA campus and did a few runs on the hill there. There's a seriously steep drop that looked like it could have been fun, but the snow had been thinned out by kids sledging and I'm rather anal about my P-tex - I don't need to be paying a ski-tech to fix gouges in the base caused by stones. I'll give it a go if there's fresh snow.
katsmeat: (Nauseated)
Snowboarding...on the one day I forgot to bring kneepads.

Riding switch... Whoops, bang, OWWWW, hobble.
katsmeat: (Hat)
Currently here.

It's a backwater town - if I say a Canadian Thetford, then anybody from Norfolk on my fl will get the idea - that had one one of North Amerca's best regarded ski hills dropped on it, out of the blue, about four years ago.

You can tell they've not gotten used to the idea of being a ski resort - there aren't even any art galleries in town yet - just trucker's bars where the big screen TV's have long ago given up on the idea of ever showing anything other than hockey.

It is a good hill - I know because had a couple of near death experiences today. The last of which was when I went for what I thought was a steepish, but OK, blue run, but which soon turned out not to be a snow covered hillside but a smooth ice-rink inclined at about 40 degrees to the horizontal. Put it this way, if you walked across it, assuming that were possible, you wouldn't leave footprints.

It was an interesting position to be in - I sat there and contemplated if for a while, with the board horizontal and the board's rails digging into the ice just enough to hold me. I knew if I lost my grip, I wouldn't get it back and would wind up hitting the bank of trees at the bottom at 30 or 40 mph.

Both up and down were out so I edged myself to the side of the run, literally an few inches at a time.

Also, at the top of the mountain (8000 and something feet), they have Canada's highest restaurant. I didn't plan on eating there - I assumed I wouldn't be able to afford it. But I did go in and had the highest pee I've ever had without the help of an aircraft.
katsmeat: (Hat)
Did I mention Lake Louise is the highest (5039 ft) permanently inhabited settlement in Canada? Well it is. Here, (quickly recalls appropriate equation) the air is at 82% of sea-level pressure. At the highest point on the ski-hill, it's down to 72%.

Also, it is a dead-and-alive hole, that consists of a petrol station, a bunch of hotels, a convince store and a ski shop. With absolutely nothing to after the ski-lifts close at 4:00pm except faff about on-line and drink beer.

Note to self - next time a trip like this is being contemplated, stay in Banff.

< shrugs > At least I'm getting some work done (after an irate email from Professor Paying-My-Wages).

PS I was quite lucky getting down the Parkway on Wednesday - it was bocked by an avalanche the next day.
katsmeat: (Hat)
Location - Alberta, land of cows and oil - the Canadian Texas. Drinking my brother's beer.

Today was my first day on snow in exactly a year. A place called Rabbit Hill just outside Edmonton.

It was nerve wracking, to an extent, because when you get to the top of the hill, you find all the 'cool' nose pierced, goateed snowboard dudes and dudeettes are hanging out and you just know that on your first run, you'll have a spectacular splat after going about 40 feet.

Actually, I did OK. and the splats I did have were mainly without an audience.

Getting the Greyhound to Jasper tomorrow.
katsmeat: (Default)
I think my internal clock is syncd by the time I get into the department. So as I rolled in today at about 12, (after dealing with an annoyingly lengthy errand in the city) it now feels to me like it's about lunchtime, even though it's 4pm.

Stayed up till four this morning, that probably had something to do with it. Anyway, I'm going offski at 5 to go snowboarding.

A Question

Mar. 22nd, 2006 08:24 pm
katsmeat: (Default)
Two days left... Should I use one of them by going to Geneva for the day tomorrow? For no particular reason otherthan never having been there.

It's pissing down with rain. I think this year's season is over.
katsmeat: (Default)
From Torgon, Switzerland. Via my Palm and a pilfered wireless network.

Why is it, that everytime I go snowboarding somewhere, the weather warms up. Its scarcely been below freezing since I arrived. The disused nuclear bomb shelter, in the basement of the appartment block, however, is very nifty. It's not much use as they're using it to store sacks of cement and a broken coin-op video game machine. Still, I want one.
katsmeat: (Default)
I spend the day getting 3D diffusion code to work. I'm not sure if it is yet as the other computer is slowly chewing its way through a heat flow model while I do bugger all.

Actually, I'm not. I've been trying to buy a jacket on eBay but keep getting bloody bid-sniped! I'm also surfing for cheap ski deals. I was talking to another snowboarder who's just back from Serbia - it was madly cheap there although a downside is that one of the resort's ski-runs was off-limits. Apparently, it's still littered with cluster bombs droped by the Americans when they took out a radar station on the top of the mountain during the Kosovo War in 1999.

I'm going to Switzerland at the end of March, but the chance remains of something last minute before then. I was thinking of Poland - Zakopane gets mixed reviews some say it's crowded and antiquated, others praise it.

< just looked over at other computer >

CRAP! It's not working.


Dec. 4th, 2005 06:50 pm
katsmeat: (Default)
I'm alive. Though I somehow lost the habit of using LJ for the last two months. It's Sunday evening and I've come into the department to make sure a simulation I was running over the weekend actually was running (it wasn't, but I fixed it, should still have some results for Monday morning.)
Read more... )
katsmeat: (Default)
Embarassingly, I've started wearing long-sleeved T-shirts under short sleeved ones.

Apparently this is fashionable amongst a certain subgroup, aka skate-kiddies. But bear with me, there is a reason... currently it is hot and they insist on people covering their arms and legs on the dry ski slope. In that respect, and probably that respect only, it resembles a holy building of certain religions. Of course, the reason is not to avoid offending the deity in question with inappropriate immodesty. Oh no, the reason is that dendrex, or Snoflex, or whatever they call the white plastic stuff, feels and acts like an oven-scourer on those occasions when you're descending the slope at high speed in the way you're not supposed to.


NB I have no intention of ever wearing a Slipknot hoddie. But hopefully, some kind-hearted person will euthanise me if I ever do.
katsmeat: (Default)
Huzzah! My two weeks money fast has ended!

On Tuesday 7th I went and saw Star Wars III on impulse... I was just passing the cinema*. Cycling home, my wallet must have slipped out of my pocket. Getting all the cards replaced turned into a lengthy saga in itself. But now I've been paid so I have, at the same time, money in an account and the means to access it. I only had about fifteen pounds in a passbook account and I spent 12 of that on a cycle light set I'd agreed to buy for somebody. Aside from that, I spent nothing.

I'm just waiting for the PIN for replacement credit card number 2 (I said it was a saga) so I can hit the bike shop. My bike needs a complete transmission transplant (chain, chain-rings and cassette.) The bits on it are so worn they're only just working; the perilous state of the thing kept me from doing the Norfolk century ride (100 mile bike ride) on the Sunday before last. I could go as far as to say the while business is rather vexing!


Got to run... have to return seme library books, then I'm hitting the slopes!

< Homer Simpson > Mmmmm Snowflex < /Homer Simpson>

* Seriously cool light-saber fights and space battles. But I'm glad I had a chess program on my Palm, for the dialogue scenes.
katsmeat: (Default)
Another evening at the dry-ski slope. Only one bloke went home in an ambulance - he fell forward and broke both wrists. I'm glad I wear wrist guards. Tomorrow, I'm doing the tourist thing at the Duxford Air Museum with my new American office mate. A day off is probably a good idea because I think I'm losing it. I managed to put on different shoes this morning and only noticed when I was taking off my snowboard boots when I came off the slope. They were similar shoes, but even so.

Incidentally, tomorrow is also Empire Day ... so have a good one!
katsmeat: (Default)
I mentioned knee pads are a good idea when snowboarding on dry-slope. May I say now that a butt pad would also be very valuable addition to the usual equipment.

Put it this way, if it wasn't for my padded cycling shorts, I would be having to stand while I type this.

I fixed a puncture in my bike tyre this morning, then decided it would hurt too much to cycle in; so I took the bus. My supervisor is ecstatic over the Tsunami modelling work I've done this week, but I'm still wondering if actual money will ever be forthcoming.

Anyway, I'm going to see The Undertones tonight. That should be fun.
katsmeat: (Default)
It snowed! Lot's of it in fact. I worked at home this morning, or rather, stayed at home and stripped down the rear hub of my bike wheel, fixed a foot pump then wrote some code. I went down to the dry slope and made the remarkable discovery that real-snow + dry-ski-slope is utterly crap. Who'd've guessed? I'm being ultra careful because I'm terrified of damaging my replacement board. Also, the knee I banged two weeks ago still hurts when I kneel on it. Doctor on Monday, I think.

Of course, the most amusing thing about the day was the news comments about the weather. I swear, you'd think this was a North African country that gets snow about every sixty years thanks to some bizarre meteorological freak. Actually, the efficiency they display when clearing the roads also suggests that, but I'm digressing.

When they tell you it'll get down to a "bitterly cold" -6 degrees, it reminds me of Canada. When I was there last winter, when it got as warm as -6, the TV weather bloke told people to get outside and enjoy the good weather.

< shrugs >
katsmeat: (Bored)
This has been a blah.. afternoon. The morning was good though; I got stuff accomplished. Ordered two books, bought knee pads and ordered a new bike light bracket - I broke mine when I came of on the snow. Or rather, when I was trying a nifty rear-wheel skid on the snow.

Last night was the first one spent working at the ski-slop. Unlike ski equipment, snowboard stuff is gratifyingly simple. The person tell you what size boot they want, what length board they want and whether they ride regular or goofy. Easy! Aside from the fact that a bunch of the Monday regulars are deaf. I just checked out how to indicate numbers in British Sign Language - that should make things a bit easier next week.

This week's fleeting intellectual interest... nuclear weapons. Actually, the technology behind them is interesting and the physical processes that occur in the first miliseconds after one is detonated are fascinating and very complicated. See here.

It's just a pity they have no use whatsoever that couldn't be considered morally repugnant. Even so-called killer asteroids can be better dealt with by ways other then nukeing them, according to current thinking.


katsmeat: (Default)

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