Surf n Ski 2015 - Day 12

Another big day here in Los Angeles. We started off with a driving tour through Beverly Hills and Hollywood. Our driver, Luther, was a wealth of information, telling us all about the different neighbourhoods and pointing out the sights as we passed. We drove down Sunset Blvd, Rodeo Drive and on to Bollywood Blvd. There we saw the Walk of Fame, Grauman's Chinese Theatre, The Dolby Theatre (home of the Academy Awards) and had a magnificent view of the Hollywood Sign.

From there we made the short trip to the Staples Centre for the Martin Luther King Day matchup between The Los Angeles Clippers and Boston Celtics. While the Clippers managed a comfortable lead throughout, the Celtics made a late much and made it quite close. A few Blake Griffen and DeAndre Jordan dunks late on the game got the locals home.

Luther then drove us across LA, through some pretty thick traffic, for a few hours at the enormous Citadel Outlet Mall where the kids went crazy for Nike shoes, clothing and other souvenirs. We have now travelled to Anaheim in preparation for our big day at Disneyland.

Surf n Ski 2015 - Day 10 & 11

WANDERERS HAVE ARRIVED IN LOS ANGELES. After a bright early start we departed our Vancouver hotel for the last time to make the trip South to the USA and Los Angeles. After a quick stop at our new hotel we took a public bus ride down to the famous Santa Monica. After a little shopping at the 3rd street promenade where we were entertained by a plethora of street performers and were able to get some (late) lunch and then dinner. We wandered down for a look at the Santa Monica Pier, complete with roller coaster and ferris wheel. It was super busy as it was a Saturday night and lots of people had come out for the evening.

The following day was spent at Universal Studios where many famous movies and TV shows were created. We started with a tour of the Universal Backlot where we saw the original sets for movies such as "Psycho", "Jaws" and TV shows like "Desperate Housewives" We then went to ride the "Mummy's Revenge" roller coaster together before everyone set off for a full-on day of rides such as The Simpsons, Minions Mayhem, Jurassic Park and Transformers as well as live shows like the Waterworld show. Everyone is having a ball here and with only three days of our tour remaining we are making the absolute most of every minute we have left.

Surf n Ski 2015 - Day 8 - 9

Well, our time at Apex is finished but not without one last day of awesome fun. We started our morning with a quick 60 minute hoot down the mountain on our skis and snowboards before we had a brilliant session in the tubing park. Sliding down the mountain in groups of up to five in inflated truck tubes was great fun with groups attempting to slide the fastest and furthest. We then hopped back on our skis and boards for our last few hours of downhilling before our final dinner and evening at Apex.

We then grabbed an early morning bus back to Vancouver for some last minute Canadian shopping and dinner before we fly to LA tomorrow. The scenery on our long journey was awesome. You never expect to see fruit orchards surrounded by snow and towering mountains but there they were.

Looking forward to some warmer weather and heaps more fun when we arrive in LA.

Surf n Ski 2015 - Day 5 - 7

Well, what a few days we have had. Spectacular conditions here at Apex Mountain, sunny, cold and not a breath of wind. The kids have all shown so much improvement over the last three days with everyone getting up to the top of the mountain for a ski or board. Our lessons have ben fantastic with first class instructors giving us excellent feedback and assistance.

We've also had lots of fun in the evening with skating on the hockey rink, a visit to a bonfire for locals down by the adventure skating loop and tonight a trivia night. Tomorrow is our last day here at Apex so here are some highlights from some of the kids from their time here so far;

Tehani White : “I like how beautiful the Canadian wilderness is; its unique. I also loved the snow everywhere.”

Julia Halloran: “I have enjoyed learning new things and seeing Canada. Its been great to see how different it is to Australia.”

Ben Hongell. “I have really enjoyed seeing new countries and really, really cold weather.”

Eden: “I liked talking to the instructors and the locals and chatting to them about snowboarding and what  not.”

Caitlyn: “We met some new Canadian friends and we actually got the hang of snowboarding .

Ella: “I liked meeting new people, and learning how to snowboard. “

Olivia: “The food is cheap.”

Justin: “Really enjoyed learning to snowboard and the snow fights.”

Kayla Derschow: “I have really enjoyed getting to learn how to ski and seeing the scenery.”

Genevieve Dow: “I have really enjoyed all the snow and skiing down the different runs with all my friends.”

Grace Simon: “I have enjoyed learning to ski and playing in the snow.”

Erin Burmaz: “ It has been really cool to experience how different Canada is.”

ast day here tomorrow and then we head back to Vancouver before flying South to LA for our next adventure.

Surf n Ski 2015 - Day 3 & 4

Day 3 was a day spent traveling and becoming familiar with our home for the next week at Apex Mountain resort. We departed Vancouver bright and early and headed East through the Okanagan Valley, stopping at the town of Hope and Princeton for breaks and our first views of snow. At each stop the temperature gradually decreased until we reached our final destination, Apex Mountain. We settled into our new digs and went for a short tour of the village finding out where we can get supplies, eat our meals, have our lessons and finished off by collecting our ski and snowboard gear. We were now all ready for the next 5 days of skiing and snow boarding. In the evening we played a game that he;per us to continue getting to know each other and we had lots of laughs.

Day 4 was our first day on the snow and after meeting our instructors we had our first two hour lesson for the week. It was great to see all the group members persevering with what is a completely foreign activity and environment for most of us. The skills are improving rapidly and as the day progressed, more and more of us were able to graduate from the practice slope and head up to the summit for a ride down the Grandfathers Trail, one of the easier trails but providing great views of the entire mountain and its surrounds. Tonight is movie night after another great dinner.  Looking forward to four more days of awesome snow and great fun.

Surf n Ski 2015 - Day 2

Well, after a well deserved night of deep sleep (the several people who missed breakfast and were late to our morning meeting were proof) we headed out for our first full day of touring. We set out to explore some of what Vancouver has to offer.

Our first order of business was to make sure everyone had all the ski gear they needed for our time at Apex Mountain so we caught the bus to the Kitsilano area of town for a look at the ski outlet stores on West 4th Avenue. Once everyone had the goggles, beanies (or toques as they are refereed to here in Canada), gloves and anything else they needed for the cold weather we walked a short distance to Granville Island to grab some lunch from the public market. After a good look around the fresh food markets looking at beautiful cakes, fresh coffee and the biggest apples we have ever seen we all settled in for bagels, pizza, chinese food, burritos and anything else you could imagine. On the way off the island we saw two seals playing among the sailboats moored there.

Back on the bus and up to Stanley Park for a walk around the sea wall. The park was brilliant, with its small pockets of forest and open grassy lawn areas. We even saw a cricket ground an pavilion. As we walked we were really lucky to see an otter playing in the shallows no more than 6 metres from where we were standing. A few steps down to the beach for a little rock skimming only reinforced that rock skimming is a dying art and that this generation of young people have suffered from the introduction of electronic entertainment. We stopped for a look at several huge them poles caved by the indigenous inuit people of Canada and several other pieces of sculpture placed around the park. Only one squirrel was spotted by one of the staff unfortunately but we have plenty of time for more wildlife spotting in the coming days.

From here we headed back tot the downtown area where the students were able to indulge in a little more shopping where Victoria's Secret was a particular favourite, especially for one of our male staff embers who shall remain nameless (Bully). Dinner from the buffet at Urban Fare was fantastic before we headed back to the hotel for our evening briefing and we are now settling in for an early night before an early departure tomorrow.

Looking forward to getting to Apex Mountain tomorrow. For many of us it will be our first glimpse of real snow......can't wait!

Surf n Ski 2015 - Day 1

An epic day of travel today (especially for those from Karatha) but we have finally reached Vancouver. Despite our fatigue we headed out to cath the Vancouver Canucks take on the Florida Panthers in the NHL. Great fun, a few little dust ups and despite the away team taking the point we had a great time. On the way back to the hotel we stopped off at Canada's favorite donuts and coffee at Tim Hortons (the first of many visits). Off to bed now for a well earned sleep before really exploring the city tomorrow.

Welcome to our 2015 Tour Blog !

Welcome to our 2015 blog. this is where we will be posting photos, some video and tour reports for the tour. Safe travels our WA students and staff who depart today/tonight !