18 December 2008

Manmade Snow and The Darkness

So yeah, I was super excited to land in the UK for a whole host of reasons. However, one of the reasons why I was most psyched was because the day I landed was Kathleen’s Christmas outing to none other than the Chill Factor(e) – a man made indoor mountain in the middle of Manchester (and I don’t know why they put the ‘e’ in parentheses and whether you are supposed to even pronounce it or not). I mean there is no surprise that I was definitely a little apprehensive about the lack of snowboarding here in the UK, but this had to be a good sign. After an uneventful flight on a unspectacular airline (Delta), I disembarked to find that my snowboard had managed to find its way to France! Not sure if it was the idiocy of the aforementioned airline or perhaps the draw of Les Deux Alpes but my board did not make it. Fast forward 90 minutes and Kathleen and I are standing at the top of the snowdome wearing extremely hard and uncomfortable boots, long planks attached to each of them and carrying poles. Wow… I was skiing for the first time in 20 years, indoors, in England, and the effect of the jetlag made the whole thing see even more surreal. Needless to say the next 2 hours were full of a bit of pain, a lot of laughter, and multiple instances me trying to get ‘awesome’ on the bumps (As you can see, I was pretty successful).

Sorry to say, but I’m afraid my feelings towards the sport have not changed too much. To quote one of Chip’s favourite phrases, skiing is just “not that rad.” However I was able to bond with a rather loquacious snowboard shop employee who may prove to be a useful connection in the future.

It is now 6:30 AM (and about 10 days after my skiing experience) and I am in the town of Cockermouth, in the county of Cumbria, in what is commonly referred to as the Lakes district. I just got back from a 3 mile run in what I am told is some of the most beautiful countryside in England. However, I am not sure if that is true or not because it is dark. Dark, dark. I don’t mean you can see the morning on the horizon dark, I mean it is like I set my alarm for 2:00 AM and decided to go for a run. As Kathleen mentioned above, it does not really get light out until after 8:00 AM and starts to get dark around 3:00 PM. This makes for short days indeed. I was a bit worried about how I was going to adapt to this, but I think the running has helped. Keeping a fairly strict schedule, I have been sure to get up a little bit earlier every day. Now I must say I am pretty comfortable with getting up early and not really seeing the light until I am on the final leg of my commute to work.

It is amazing how quickly your routines can adapt, as long as you set your mind to it. Plus it helps that I keep reminding myself how good the beer is going to taste come summer time sitting outside in the daylight around 9:00 PM.


  1. This is an awesome picture of you on skis, Mark. Glad you guys started a blog. Hi Kathleen! Robbie shared the blog link with us. Do you want to be blog buddies? Its mostly about Jackson but hey, whatever...

    Hope you guys are well and keep the posts coming.

  2. I love your blog and will add to my ones to read daily. This post made me laugh out loud! You guys are great!!