So to continue on from my last epic marathon of a blog!!
My first morning in Pano I was up very early (and ate breakfast Lauren and Caity, you will be so pleased!! - these amazing porridge sachets that are like maple flavoured! YUM!) and then we walked up the hill so as to catch the first bus down to Invermere to buy our groceries! We hadn't really had a chance to see the resort properly the night before as it had been really dark, so this was the first time we had properly seen everything! It is so gorgeous! So much snow everywhere - like if you stray off the paths they have created you will easily find yourself in knee deep snow! Its incredible!
So we finally got to Invermere and our first stop was The Bargain Store (which is pretty much Canadas Warehouse) to get some bits and pieces before wandering through town for a bit, stopping off at the bank and then going to the supermarket. The food here is so different from the food back home! Like nothing is the same! And the supermarkets are organised in the weirdest order! So shopping takes soooo long!! But we finally finished all of our shopping, paid for it all and then realised we had at least two hours of waiting in the cold (I think from memory it was about -7) for the bus... Aimee and Gemma really wanted to catch a taxi cause we had to go to Employee Experience (basically HR) to pick up staff passes so that we could go SKIING!! I was really hesistant as I realised that I had only $20 left to last me until pay day however in the end I didn't really have much choice and so we caught the taxi back to Staff Accom, unpacked all of our groceries and then I had to lug my skies, boots, and poles all the way up the hill (was not very pleasant!! Was very glad to have snow boots at this point as i was walking in them and not ski boots! Was much much more comfortable!), went to EE to pick things up (this took like half an hour as there was a huge line) and then finally got out into the snow for the first time!!
It was a staff skiing day, which means that the mountain wasn't open yet but they opened just one run to staff (there were racers up there too but they were on a different run to us!) so there were absolutely no lines at all! Had about an hours skiing before the mountain closed but tbh, that was all that I needed, I was quite tired and my legs were rooted so I was happy with an hour! The snow was amazing, a little icy in parts but I would compare it to Ruapehu on a pretty good day. It was hard packed with a dusting of snow in the top so was pretty much the perfect conditions for me! The view from the top of the run was amazing - and this is only a third of the way up the whole mountain! I can only imagine what the view will be like from the very top! The runs are also insanely long! Like I would say this one run is about twice the distance between the Giant and top of the High Noon - so your legs get so sore coming down!
Then it was time for home, which meant walking down hill carry my skis and wearing my ski boots - not particularly comfortable!! Then was time to cook my first dinner! I went with Chilli Con Carne - or a version of haha this was rather bland but filled the hole! And was enough to last me two meals which was a bonus! After that it was into bed relatively early as Thursday was my first day of work!
Woke up at about 745, enough time to get ready, make my lunch etc and then walk up the hill to my orientation, which was pretty much just all about Panorama as a resort, what the rules are, what Mountain Operations and Ski Patrol and Avalanche control etc do - all pretty standard! A lot of what they said was really scary though! They are really trying to enforce helmets up here, so much so that they offer staff 40% off a helmet to try and encourage them to buy one! But they told a number of stories about avalanches, and crashes that people have had up the mountain - was very scary and I am glad that I already have a helmet!!
After this I had an insanely long break of like two hours before finally meeting up with the department. We had more orientation, mainly just about my department and then we did name and introduction games and listened a little more. After this it was home time, ate my leftover dinner, and decided not to go to the 'townie meet the meat' party, which was the first party in Invermere for staff. Gemma and Aimee were going but I decided it was too hard because I had work the next day and would have needed to stay in Invermere as there were no busses home.. After they all left I felt a little lonely for a while, so had a drink with my English flatmate Aaron and then went next door and found a few Nzers who hadn't gone to the party either, so ended up having a few drinks with them. It actually ended up being an awesome night!!!
Friday was an entire day of training at the Desk, and I finally found out what my actual job was and what I needed to do! I am working at the front desk and dealing with all Guest Enquiries, so this is dealing with key cards that don't work, to just general enquiries about the resort, and selling lift passes and activity passes. It seems like it will be really fun and I have awesome perks! Because of the amount of contact I have with Guests and because they will often ask for recommendations, there are heaps of restaurants in town who will ask for us to come down for tastings so that we can suggest that guests go there. I also get to go Snow mobiling sometime soon and I get a free ski lesson (while being paid!!) so its all very exciting!!
Anyway, so my first day of training was literally spent standing behind the desk listening to my manager talk through all the tickets that we sell, and how to use the computer system. It was really really boring and really difficult to absorb anything as I was exahausted from the night before and there is only so much that you can learn from being talked at!
I had forgotten to get some meat out of the freezer this morning and so was left with porridge and toast for dinner , before heading up to the hot pools. These are so gorgeous, they are set right up by the top of the runs so are surrounded by snow, its just the most amazing and peaceful place! Very cold getting from the changing rooms to the pools, or even worse, changing pools once you are wet though!
The next morning was the coldest I have been so far in my time here. I have no idea what temperature it was but it was FREEZING. I had work at 9, and first up we went for a tour around the resort, most of which was outside and by the end of it, my nose and ears were stinging so badly, it was incredibly painful! The tour was really interesting though, and I now feel like I have a better understanding of the resort! When we arrived back at the desk, it was crazy busy and so we were literally thrown in the deep end but it was good, learnt a lot more doing this than I did the previous day!
After work finished I wandered back to my flat, and Gemma and Aimee were just preparing to leave to catch the bus to Invermere so I tagged along with them and we wandered the shops for a couple of hours before catching the bus back up! There are heaps of amazing looking fast food restaurants in Invermere that I am really looking forward to trying out when I have money!!
Sunday was the first day off, and so I did not set my alarm, hoping that I would still wake around 9am... I actually woke at 11 so must have been much more tired than I realised! I did some washing and just mucked around the flat for most of the day, headed up to the village briefly to talk to work and to have a look at the Ski shop Final Gate, and then had a dinner in Invermere at a restaurant called Birchwood for free through work! The restaurant is just opening up, and they want us to promote them to guests so invited us down for a tasting - it was amazing. The best food I have had in a LONG time! (I have photos girls, they are coming!)
Monday morning I had work at 9am, but this was just more orientation and learning about all of the activities offered at Panorama. This was over fairly quickly which was great as today was the first official day that the mountain was open and so I was able to get up skiing again!! By the time I had lugged all my gear up there again, it was almost 1. I met a few guys from the NZ crew and went for a first couple of runs with them, and then the only skier that I know so far, my flat mate, Mark, decided that there was some amazing powder from earlier in the day that he wanted me to ski thorugh so he told me to follow him and then off we went. We stopped part way along a trail, and he told me to go down a particular track, so off I went - the powder was so thick I was sinking as I was skiing, it was not particularly nice! I skied for maybe 20m, before realising that the way I was going was a dead end. This meant that I had to take my skis off and walk all the way back up the hill. This would have been fine, except that every time I took a step, I was knee deep in powder.. It was an incredibly long walk back up the main slope and by the end my legs were absolutely rooted!
I skied for a bit longer, making the most of the hard packed groomed trails so as to ensure that I didnt have to same problem again ;) By about 3pm I was too frozen to keep skiing (there was no wind but it was also about -6 and when you are skiing at that temp, it feels exactly the same as a cold wind!!), so we headed back to our rooms to warm up and eat so food!
After dinner we walked up to the hot pools again, and they were just as amazing - I can't stay in them for long though as I get way too hot! - before coming back down for bed!
It is now nearly midnight and I am finally all up to date with this so goodnight all, I love you and hopefully can talk to you soon! I am rachel.byrne5 on skype so add me so that we can chat properly :) xxx