It’s been a long day.

We set off this morning, UK time, at 02:45. By the time we’d collected Martin, dropped the cars off and arrived at the airport it was 06:45, for a 09:30 flight. The flight upgrades we’d opted for came in handy as we jumped straight to the front of the queue. But it wasn’t all plain sailing.

just fitting...

The upgrades are booked with Inghams, the tour operator, but the airline is Monarch, so that’s who we were checking in with. There’s definitely a disconnect between the two, as the guy behind the counter was telling us that we were gonna have to pay $20 each to take snowboards because it didn’t eplicity state on the tickets that we’d paid for this… What? After paying $220 to upgrade. No way. The following discussion ended in us checking our boardbags for free; it turned out that he was a nice guy.

I was however right to be concerned about the weight of my bag. It came in at 34.5 kg, with the absolute allowable weight being 32. He was fine with me diverting items to our other bags that weren’t heavy, so after a quick bit of re-packing in the middle of a crowd we were set.

Well not quite. Manchester airport has the worst system I’ve ever seen for dropping off your over-sized luggage. A real bottleneck. Every person with a big bag queues to get into a small room, where they lift their bag onto a conveyer, wait while it is scanned and then have their boarding card checked. It took ages.

By the time we’d been through security there was around 30 minutes left before boarding. I was kinda hoping for a relaxed breakfast.

And then there was the flight itself. It wasn’t all bad. The perks that come with upgrading are quite nice: bigger seats, free drinks and a healthy selection of films to watch. The food was good too.

decent food on an a plane!

There was also this cool view out of the window as we flew over Greenland.

sea of ice in Greenland

But they ran out of beer! I had one can and then the next time I asked for one it was all gone. Damn it! What’s more, we were flying into a 200 m.p.h. headwind for a large portion of the journey which added an extra 1 hour and 45 minutes. Total flight time was just shy of 10 hours.

I’m writing this on the coach transfer from Calgary to Fernie. There’s an hour to go and it’s just gone midnight, UK time. Given that I only slept for two hours last night before setting off, I’m pretty tired. In fact, we’re all sick of the journey.

At least the views have been good.

travelling through the prairies

But you know what? I’m stoked. We’ve already ordered our passes and they’ll be delivered to our room later on, so no hanging around first thing tomorrow morning. We’ve also been given the info on booking a day of cat-boarding, which we hope to do towards the end of the week, maybe Thursday.

And it’s snowing. It’s snowing here on the road and we’re told it’s snowing in Fernie. Local time is now 17:00. There should be plenty of time to get things sorted tonight and I’ll wax my board too. Awesome.

the snow starts

We just spotted three Cayotes… It’s time to turn the laptop off.

Note 1: the terrain out here is amazing. It’s totally different to the UK (I guess that’s obvious). Calgary and the towns we’ve passed so far on the road look really cool. As the plane was decending the land was almost completely flat, and then all of a sudden, the Rockies spring up.

Note 2: the lift tickets out here are mega expensive compared to Europe, especially France. I budgetted $350 for twelve days, and that won’t quite cover 10. Oops.

I’m now second guessing my trip to Japan… and doing some research on how expensive snowboarding in japan really is.

Maybe a pipe dream for another year? hmm…

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