Ferda Girls

Oh my god I love bikes. Like, a ridiculous amount. Like, silly giggling when I hit jumps and land them smoothly.

I smile when I load my bike onto the lift and sit down on the chair, ready to “climb” the mountain.
I laugh out loud when Katie cracks a joke, breaking any nervous tension our group may have.
I cheer when Bee conquers her latest obstacle without falling.
I beam when I watch Dani head into any technical trail, without fear.
I grin when Mel hits the trail C-more and enjoys it, breaking through her mental block.

These four girls have changed the way I feel about riding. I have fallen so deeply in love with it and them this year, and for that I am so goddam happy that I made the decision to stay in Whistler.

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I can’t speak highly enough about the Women’s Night program that Whistler Bike Park has established. Giving girls all over the world (locals and visitors alike) a chance to be coached through some of the biggest and best trails of the world is something incredible. We also get to team up with the girls at the same level and feel comfortable in each lesson, which helps a great deal.

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To our coach, Jeremy, I am so stoked I forced myself into your group. You taught me confidence, which has changed everything about the way I ride. I have managed to get myself down some trails that I would have never imagined I could a year ago. Not only do I make it down, I do it well and I have a damn good time doing it.

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This year, thanks to Jer and these amazing gals, I accomplished my season goals – hitting A-Line and making our way down Top of the World. TOTW was something else, a 5,000ft descent from the peak of Whistler Mountain with any kind of trail you could imagine included.

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On nights when we couldn’t make it to the park, we still got together for shenanigans. Trail riding, frisbee golf, drinks and figuring out the Escape Room are extracurricular activities we also enjoy… in case you were wondering.

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The banter, the laughter, the jokes, the snack stops, the adoration and joy in this group is something I’ll always remember from summer ’17. Bring on next year!

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Love you crazy kids, my silly sock wearing team.
Hanbel.
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10 Things That Make Me Terribly Happy About Summer

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  1. THE BIKE PARK, I can’t even begin to tell you how good this season has been. (But I will, stay tuned)
  2. Samurai sushi take out, eaten by the lake, talking until the mosquitos eat us alive.
  3. Pinafores!
  4. Sitting on balconies, listening to Henri’s tunes and drinking wine with the best roommates.
  5. Swimming in lakes of varying temperatures (glacier water is damn cold people!)
  6. Warm evenings sitting at Tapleys patio, before hectic nights out.
  7. Dancing. So much dancing! (In clubs, at work, at home, walking down the street)
  8. Riding into work as the sun rises over the mountains.
  9. Giggling with Sybil and we slowly die of heatstroke in the Penthouse Sweatbox
  10. The people. My summer people made it so much better than I ever thought it could be.

Hanbel.
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I Think I’m Fallin’ For You

Well, well, well. Here we are. Two weeks shy of our six month anniversary of our Australian hiatus and we’re packing our backpacks to head back home (only for two and a half weeks!).

Yesterday was Canadian thanksgiving, but also the last official day the bike park was open and therefore the last day of the summer season! It was quite fitting for those two things to fall on the same day (ha, Fall – geddit?). It was quite a day of reflection and to feel thankful for this incredible place. I’m feeling so full of joy looking back on our first Canadian summer.

The last few weeks in particular have been a dream, from conquering my goals in the bike park;

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to walking into work everyday with a huge smile on my face;

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to having Alistair’s girlfriend Ellen visit, having a ball with her and hitting up the train wreck hike again (it doesn’t get old!);

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to watching Fall officially hit Whistler, with trees changing into the most vibrant of colours;

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and seeing the first snowfall of the season!!!

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We’ve also spent a small fortune on winter gear, snowboards and ALL THE LAYERS. I’m getting so pumped for winter and what this new season will bring for us.
But first, to head home and celebrate the wedding of two very dear friends! Can’t wait to see some familiar faces, eat some fresh food and soak up the last of the sunshine. See you all very soon!!!

Hanbel.
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P.s. I couldn’t pass up this opportunity to wish my love a very, very happy 29th birthday!
I feel like I’ve said a variation of these words a million times since we left, but my goodness I am one lucky duck. To get to explore so many new places, a new way of life and new experiences everyday with your best friend by your side is a dream come true.

We both thought this move might be a bit of a test for us, and I think it’s safe to say we’ve never been happier – individually and together. Bring on the next year and more incredible moments like these! I love you, you crazy kid. x

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One Second in Whistler

I have loved this app, re-watching the little clips always puts a smile on my dial. I just mashed our first four weeks of Whistler life and it’s a nice reminder how nervous I was in the beginning and how life is steadily improving here, day by day.

However, I seemed to have forgotten my camera and miss having actual photos to look over. I started work last week also, which makes it a little more difficult to pick up my phone all the time. So, please enjoy my last One Second Everyday video … for now.

 

Ahhh Whistler, I’m so glad we picked you.

Hanbel.
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Oh Yes It’s Ladies Night! (And We Have a Home)

I’m still coming to grips with the fact that this is home:

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The past couple of weeks have been such a whirlwind of activities, finding bearings and house hunting. It’s as though now I’ve found my feet here I can truly appreciate this town. Whistler is a cool little spot. No-one wears heels or fancy dresses. It’s perfectly acceptable to walk into a bar in riding gear. I have never seen so many mountain bikes in one spot, and it’s not even peak season yet. There are mountains in every direction, not just Whistler and Blackcomb. Every path you wander down in absolutely covered in greenery, I can’t get my head around it. It’s very nice getting to know it, even if it is on my own for the most part.

We’ve been quite busy since I last spoke to you all; adventures in the bike park, starting ladies’ nights (me), finding a home and smashing the course (Punk).

Here’s a snapshot of the last week and a half, hope this give you a better picture:

Taking the bike on an adventure around a few lakes and small trails; getting my first full face; a christmas tree on one of the lost lake trails.

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Scrabble with Blake and Tash, a.k.a Mum and Dad. This day was 4 degrees and snowing on the mountain (where Andrew was riding), so mulled wine was a necessity;

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One of my new favourites places, Lost Lake. On this sunny, gorgeous day it was absolutely breathtaking to see the mountains reflecting on the water;

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Whistler runs ladies’ nights in the bike park, where you sign up for a coach and go out in a group – girls only. I’ve done two now, and they are super fun! They’re also helping my confidence and skill set so much. Anyway, the highlight of Monday’s lesson was spotting four bears along the trails!!

And finally, home sweet home! Our place is so sweet. A cozy loft-style room, that’s a decent size, 5 minute walk from the village and more importantly… all ours!

As I mentioned above, Andrew is doing an awesome job on his course. He smashed out the assessments for Level 1 and 2 (which means he can teach beginners to intermediates now), Canadian senior first aid and is now working on rider progression. He’s bought himself a downhill bike and couldn’t wipe the smile off his face that day. He’ll finish up Tuesday and move into the place with me, and I begin working on Monday. It’s all happening round here!

Much love to you all, missing everyone back home. Send me stories please!
Hanbel.
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Home Sweet Home

Well, this is home. I’m not mad about it at all.

Whistler is a pretty speculator place. Yes, it’s touristy, and yes, Australians flock here, but it’s for good reason. No matter where you turn, you are greeted by mountains, creeks and astonishing views.

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We’ve hit the ground running here, Andrew went straight into his course from the moment we arrived (he’s training to be a mountain bike coach, for those who don’t know). I’ve been lucky enough to crash with Tash and Blake (friends from home), which has made life so much easier.

I have also been lucky enough to score a job in Whistler already, working for a company who organise holiday rentals, activities, restaurant bookings etc. for higher-end travellers. I start in a couple of weeks and am actually pumped to get back into full time work.

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In the meantime, I’m taking myself on small hikes and rides, checking out the village and just hanging out with my new besties!

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Being a tourist town, life is a little more pricey up here. Groceries in particular, are really making me a sad panda. Though, we have found one perk. 1.5L of red wine for $15. So we might just live off potatoes and wine from now on…

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Why do I always pull this face?

The mountain bike park opened up this weekend, and the village has been flooded with riders in all shapes and sizes. We’ve enjoyed a couple of afternoons in the sunshine watching them all come down the hill. The kids who ride with no fear, flying down the trail, are so incredible to watch!

On Andrew’s day off we took the bikes out to a smaller, cross country style area. Even though my lungs got a huge shock, it felt sooooo good to be back on the bike!

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Just this morning I took myself off to Lululemon’s free yoga session, and later today we’re going to hit up a Farmer’s Market down the hill. There’s always something happening or something new to discover, which is helping us all stay positive while performing the arduous task of finding somewhere to live. Whistler housing is insane, there are not enough houses to go round, and we’re struggling a little at the moment. Finger’s crossed something pops up soon!

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Just gotta keep that zen 😉

Happy yoga vibes,
Hanbel.
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I Think I’ll Have Myself a Beer

Except by me, I obviously mean Andrew. #glutenintolerance

Although for all the places we’ve travelled so far, Portland is definitely the most food intolerance/ preference friendly. This town is basically a giant hipster suburb.

There’s a brewery on every corner, a fixie flying past at any moment and the most perth-like coffee we’ve come across so far. Safe to say, I like this town.

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We hit the ground running, heading to a “Big Lebowski” themed bar, a rooftop hangout, meeting locals, and playing ping pong against them for most of the night. I feel like I need to mention that among all the Americans we’ve met, these guys were the friendliest, most easy going and easy to talk to. It was such a pleasant surprise getting to hang out with them for a night.

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With more sunshine heading our way, we got up early to sneak in a run, before heading out for some of the weird and wonderful things Portland has to offer.

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Ugh, this coffeeeeeeee! I need another in my life ASAP.

Also, notice the glittery wall behind it? That bad boy is part of Voodoo Doughnuts, an institution among Portlandians. You queue up amongst tourists and locals alike, with the scent of sugary baked goods wafting through the door. You walk past the bright pink sign on the door, to be greeted by cashiers looking way to cool for school, and two giant rotating glass cabinets of doughnuts.

This is when the panic sets in; do you want a regular, cake or vegan doughnut? Maple or glazed? Covered in oreos? Topped with fruit loops? THERE ARE TOO MANY TO CHOOSE FROM.

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Get the maple, it was THE BEST. Enjoy the hell out of it and try not to feel too guilty, because there’s always another form of exercise you can try. It’s called BrewCycle and it’s super fun.

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Eight people hop onto this contraption for pedal power, three get to chill on the back seat, and one “tour guide” sits in the middle to steer. You get to a maximum speed of around 7km/hour and sing along to whoever’s manning the iPod.

This vehicle took us to one brewery and two dive bars, where we sampled Portland’s finest and ended up with a hasty shot (we’ve got 10 minutes left, let’s do a shot!). Which seemed like a good idea at the time, until we rolled back into headquarters for another beverage and the rest of our tour got white-girl wasted.

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Ahhhh Portland. You have amazing gluten free burgers for maximum alcohol soak-up-age, the best coffee in the states (I’m calling it!), beautiful weather and our kind of people. I will be back to visit you in a heartbeat.

Hanbel.
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