Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Winter vacation - Day 2

With the flick of a switch the fire place was on and Keenan jumped back into bed with us. Up at 6 am and ready to start our first day on the hill! We spent the next 2.5 hours lounging, eating and fretting over whether or not we should put Keenan in long underwear and fleece pants. We sleep with this kid almost every night and he cooks us to death in our own bed but somehow we thought he would be too cold in -15 C with just long undies and insulated ski pants! Anyhow we got the kid ready and headed over to the ski/snowboard school meeting area. Now, this place boasts in all it's marketing vehicles how it's "America's Family Resort" and without having ever been here we were wondering if it was all just hype etc. When you walk through the doors where all the families drop off their kids you realize that this is a well oiled machine that has thrown a lot of cash into earning the best reputation in family fun in the US. We checked the kid in, were handed a "claim ticket" to pick him up later and then headed over to meet his instructor team. Naturally Keenan immediately settled into a funk. He wanted to head out and snowboard right away and was not into getting acquainted with anyone. He wouldn't even take off his hat, mits or jacket so we just let him stew in his grumpiness until he boiled to death in his long underwear, fleece pants and insulated ski pants! Clearly that worked and he was out of his funk and interacting with the other kids in no time. I spoke to his instructor Derek about Keenan's snowboard and it turns out it's a little too big for him. Derek was really cool about it and set Keenan up with a sweet little Burton board for our whole stay free of charge. Definitly an awesome guy, rentals for a new board would have put us back a couple hundred bucks. Awesome service Derek, and great job exceeding our expectations! So we left Keenan with his group and headed out to check out the village. This place sure is quaint. It's Whistler on a much, much smaller scale and it's less snooty and more hip. It took us about 30 minutes to see mostly everything so we headed back to our room to set up our boards and hit the mountain. Sean took care of some last minute waxing and then we cracked open the box to my brand new bindings. Bit of backstory here. Last week Thursday I had asked Sean to take care of sorting through our gear and loading up our snowboard bag. Most of our stuff is in the bag already but Sean emptied it out to start fresh. At one point he looked at me and said "Do you you know where your boots and bindings are?". At that point I had one of those flashbacks that's kind of like watching one of those flip books but in reverse. This one went all the way back to the summer of 2007 when we were packing our stuff to move from Japan back to Canada. I had this faint memory of deciding that I would leave my boots and bindings there. I'd ridden on them for 12 years at that point and didn't I deserve a new pair? The move and all the energy put into settling in to life in Canada dulled that memory and here we were on the eve of the eve of our snowboarding vacation and I only had one third of the gear I needed. After work on Friday we headed out to Sport Chek to get me set up. They had stacks of boots on the floor but my size wasn't out. After 15 minutes of waiting around for someone to help me, Sean went to find someone and in the meantime I helped this other customer out with his boot fitting. Finally some guy came along, got my size and took off. No offer to lace my boots, help me with bindings or maybe a board. Just some side comments on what to look for in boots. Really guy? Is that your opening pitch? I just sold a pair of boots to this other dude and I've likely been riding since you graduated from kindergarten! So I walked around in the boots for 15 minutes and shopped for my bindings. No floor staff offered to help even though we clearly were having issues shopping with a 5 year old. Anyhow, I knew I wanted Ride bindings. The boots felt awesome and we found some bindings that looked good. I went to change out of the boots and here was the sales guy moving in to write his number on my boot box while he made some comment about needing to put his sales number on the box so the management knows he's not standing around doing nothing. Then he took it one step further and wondered aloud if he could actually get away with that. Really dude? You just did! Not only will you get commission on the boots but on the bindings too, lucky guy you are! Up to the cash I went. The cashier checked inside both boxes and $280 later we were on our way home. Whew! Thank goodness that was out of the way! Now back to Sunday morning, Sean and I in our room, Sean with the screwdriver in one hand and the box of bindings in the other. Can you guess where this is going? He opens the box and somehow we both thought we each had one of the bindings in our hands at the same time but we didn't we just passed the same one between us. We looked everywhere for the second one but it was nowhere to be found, there was actually only one in the box. Fxckity fxck, I was fxcked. Yup, I should have checked the box but I didn't cause the cashier had. So not only did that guy get commission on my bindings but I ended up with a half empty box. Naturally, I immediately picked up the phone and called the store to speak with the manager. She wasn't in but her assistant was, she said all the right things including that she would indeed take the single binding back and that she would be sure to right this situation. So then I had two choices, pay resort prices or drive an hour into Burlington which would mean taking Keenan out of snowboard school. So we headed to No School snowboarding shop. I spoke to a lovely young woman named Bridgette who said she'd not only help me find the right bindings but she'd mount them too but, I had to go back to get my boots and board. Oh thank God for Bridgette! I dropped off Sean, picked up my gear and headed back. Bridgette was awesome. She spoke from experience, asked me questions, listened to me and chose a binding that was right for my style and boots. She mounted the bindings and I was merrily on my way in no time. I doubt she's on commission but if she is I hope it's a double digit percentage! I didn't have enough time left to ride that day (that's the part I'll be asking Spork Chek to make right by the way) but I did head out for a skate on the square (odd!) rink. Keenan had an awesome first day of lessons and Sean had a good afternoon of riding so all was not lost!

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