Ski Epic 2006
By Jeremy Law
No one really saw it coming. No one thought it could be pulled off. No one had a clue what was going on the whole entire time.
The appropriately named Ski Epic 2006 took off from Halifax on January 5th with a total of 165 confused and anxious skiers and riders for one crazy road trip. As the bus convoy crossed the bridge to Dartmouth most were all still wondering if they had had the wool pulled over their eyes and were actually heading out on an elaborate bus tour designed to give the organizers enough time to get out of town with their money. Unfortunately for Parc Regional Val d’Irene near Amqui, Quebec this group was really on it’s way to their little, isolated, and quaint corner of the world; and about to leave their mark in a big way.
Not to say that Val d’Irene hasn’t had their fair share of university trips or spring time Aqua-Neige festivals for decades, but this was all new to them. With the entire accommodation complex booked solid, a crew staying in town with shuttle service, and a group in rented chalets, they were up to their eyes in immaturity, English, and broken glass for the weekend with nothing to say but Tabernac.
Now, speaking for most participants, it gets a little hazy after bonjour. All should consider themselves lucky that it wasn’t the usual -30 and windy in the Matape for this weekend. Perfect weather meant great skiing and riding throughout the trip, especially with thoughts drifting back to the green and wet city by the water that was Halifax in the beginning and ongoing ’06 Winter.
Friday night meant Dr. Law’s School of Retrology was in session. Those with the prerequisite from the smaller Ski Epic 2005 — Ski Wear 101 — were invited to step it up a notch and school the newbies in everything retro. Costumes were hilarious, music was low and from some portable speakers, and the light was the kind you might see in a basement games room. Like anyone even noticed.
Saturday saw a slower start on the mountain, but no shortage of less-than-healthy students on the sagging diesel 2 person chair that gives Parc Regional Val-d’Irene most (but not all) of it’s je ne sais quoi. Most discovered the gnarly, natural, and liftless backside and thoroughly enjoyed the BackSide Bus experience complete with smoking and hyper-friendly French guy. Some others slept the previous night off, hit the mountain for a while, and then napped in preparation for another night of insanity. Some ski trip heh?
Sprained ankle & bloody nose. You might think it was skiing related…
The surprise party theme Saturday night was embraced by all except the ‘townies’ that arrived in togas for the Ski Epic 2006 Long Underwear Party in the hill’s bar. D.J.Z laid down hot tracks from random, unmarked cds that were handed to him and iPods that were passed his way with little to no regard for their future condition. Although the bar management was less than impressed with the amount of alcohol that initially made it past the security, they seemed happy enough with the amateur 5 person shot-ski and the fast money made off of it until it broke.
Pete ‘Destroyer of All Things Good’ Campbell thought it would be funny to wear little girls long underwear to the long underwear rager. He was right.
Sure, other things were broken. Holes in walls formed and tables were destroyed beyond recognition. Fire –or smoke– alarms rang throughout the night and interrupted more than a few epic encounters. Maybe it was the fireworks, maybe it wasn’t. Those more serious about skiing and riding were kept up way past their bedtime and couldn’t believe they would be considered to be in the same demographic as those chewing tobacco inside without spit bottles.
Will it happen again? You can bet on it. Will it be as big? Probably not. Will it be as good? It can only get better.
And, as far as we know, nobody was left behind.