Advice needed Advice for a first time international snowboarder :)

Paul-

First Runs
Dec 15, 2015
5
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3
Hi guys,

First time posting on the forum, about my first time travelling overseas to snowboard!

I am planning on heading over to Canada at the end of January, and wanted to get some advice on a few things.

My vague plan at the moment was to fly over and spend a few days at Banff, then head to another resort for another few days, then head down to Vancouver and spend some time exploring around there before flying home.

1) Best resorts to go to. I am planning on heading to Banff for a few days, but I was considering checking out one or two others as well, any suggestions? If it helps, I do a mixture of freestyle and freeride.

2) Taking my gear. Has anyone had any issues in terms of weight, taking your gear on the flight? Do you have to pay extra? I've got full gear that I would prefer to take with me, as my boots are specialized for my feet. I was thinking of buying a new board over there if I need to, as I'm looking for a new freestyle board anyway.

3) Season status. Is the snow good at the end of January? What is the best time of year over there?

4) Good touristy things to do while over there. Question speaks for itself, obviously I'd love to check the place out, so some good sight seeing locals and other advice on good touristy things would be great :)

Thanks for any and all info guys.
 

gareth_oau

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weight for travelling depends on who you travel with.

Cathay Pacific allows you 2 bags of 23kg. Others will charge you an arma and a leg per kg over their 1 bag limit.

have a look at your airline's luggage allowances
 
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BilbyBill

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weight for travelling depends on who you travel with.

Cathay Pacific allows you 2 bags of 23kg. Others will charge you an arma and a leg per kg over their 1 bag limit.

have a look at your airline's luggage allowances
Air Canada will charge $100 each way for an extra bag up to 23Kg (which could be a ski or board bag)
 

NeckDeep

Hard Yards
Oct 10, 2013
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1. Is your plan to drive/bus from Banff to Vancouver? If so, Kicking Horse and Revelstoke are en route and are two of the best resorts in the country for big freeride terrain. No good for terrain parks though, although theres great terrain parks at the Banff resorts.

2. Mostly airline dependent, but you could scrape by with one big ski/snowboard bag filled with ski gear and clothes + a carry-on bag. Carry your boots on the plane too if possible.

3. Snow will be fine end of January, but Banff will possibly be very cold (< -25deg) if a cold snap hits. And tends to be a little on the dry side through the dead of winter. Will get milder as you head towards the coast. Best time to ski Banff is March, milder weather, deep base and more snowstorms. Jan/Feb is great for the rest of West Canada

4. Do a trip up the Icefields Parkway, stunning scenery up there. If you're interested in ski touring/splitboarding, it's worth looking for some guided touring in the area too. Yamnuska out of Canmore run a pretty good operation.
 
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Crystal

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If you are taking your snowboard bag..pack it with all your gear. Then take another bag for clothes and stuff. You'll be fine.

Do you have transport or are you doing public transport ? Remember Banff is remote from the ski hill, you will need to bus it up and down each day. For a true experience go stay at a resort in a backpackers if budget is tight. Silver Star has a great one as do many other hills.

You say how you like to ride...but what level are you ? do you like steeps, off piste, trees, the park, groomers, hiking toi earn turns out the back ect. People can give you more info based on what you like to ride. Are you good at traversing ?. Some of the great hills have shit traverse runs for boarders but there is a real pay off in terms of terrain. If you can't traverse easily though it will kill your whole experience as you'll be jumping down the cat tracks swearing and cursing. The boarders I ride with are excellent at fairly flat traverse cat tracks and I give them a tow when I'm feeling nice...so works well. I am just suggesting this as some hills that may suit your level of riding will kill you in terms of having to hoof it all over the place.
 

CarveMan

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3. Snow will be fine end of January, but Banff will possibly be very cold (< -25deg) if a cold snap hits. And tends to be a little on the dry side through the dead of winter. Will get milder as you head towards the coast. Best time to ski Banff is March, milder weather, deep base and more snowstorms. Jan/Feb is great for the rest of West Canada

This was going to be my advice.

I'd like to visit Banff in summer.
 

BrisSam

Hard Yards
Jan 6, 2011
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1. If intermediate to advanced the check out Big White, Silver Star and/or Sun Peaks. If Advanced+ then check out Revelstoke and/or Kicking Horse. Everyone has to do Whistler Blackcomb at some time in the life too...

2. We are flying Qantas at the end of the month and they allow 2 x 23kg checked bags per person. Check with your airline's website for accurate info.

3. As mentioned above, I agree with late February and March for the best time, but you have to make the most of what you get once you are there as it is out of our control. ;) I recommend layering with a good shell outer so you can adjust to conditions and activity level. Also recommend merino over poly, but they cost more. Suggest glove liners, scull cap beanie with turtle fur (neck warmer) or a balaclava to help stay warm when below -20C. If you start to feel cold in your extremities then start wriggling them and go in before you get too cold. Goggles with replaceable lenses where you can put in a lens for overcast flat light or switch to bright sunshine (e.g. Smith I/O).

4. In Vancouver check out Grouse Mountain and Capilano Suspension Bridge (and giant trees).
 
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Paul-

First Runs
Dec 15, 2015
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3. Snow will be fine end of January, but Banff will possibly be very cold (< -25deg) if a cold snap hits. And tends to be a little on the dry side through the dead of winter. Will get milder as you head towards the coast. Best time to ski Banff is March, milder weather, deep base and more snowstorms. Jan/Feb is great for the rest of West Canada

So maybe it would be better to reverse my trip? start in Vancouver in late Feb and finish at Calgary early March?

You say how you like to ride...but what level are you ? do you like steeps, off piste, trees, the park, groomers, hiking toi earn turns out the back ect. People can give you more info based on what you like to ride. Are you good at traversing ?. Some of the great hills have shit traverse runs for boarders but there is a real pay off in terms of terrain. If you can't traverse easily though it will kill your whole experience as you'll be jumping down the cat tracks swearing and cursing. The boarders I ride with are excellent at fairly flat traverse cat tracks and I give them a tow when I'm feeling nice...so works well. I am just suggesting this as some hills that may suit your level of riding will kill you in terms of having to hoof it all over the place.

Intermediate-Advanced rider. I've honestly spent most of my time Snowboarding solo, since my friends were either beginners, or skiers. So I've never really had much of a standard to compare my skills to haha. Spent a lot of time this Aussie season traversing some of the more flat runs and did okay. I prefer steeps, trees, the park and don't mind a bit of hiking. I'd be nervous to try off piste over there by myself though.
 

FatBoyDave

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Weather is a lottery. Book your trip and make the most of what you're lucky enough to get. (For what it's worth I'd want to be reminded of Vancouver when I left and not Calgary. Vancouver is way prettier than Calgary and there's more to see and do there as a tourist.)

Layering is the go, but only if you need to. Ski gear (if you aren't fussed on brand names) is marginally cheaper over there than here. With big stores like MEC in Calgary and Vancouver (http://www.mec.ca/Main/home.jsp), think Anaconda type stores but all ski gear. Take what you gear you have and if it it's forecast to get really cold (-20), get some glove inners, a balaclava, etc... Otherwise you might not even need them.

Honestly, most of the resorts over will blow your mind in the sheer scale. Intermediate/Advanced here translates to Intermediate over there, just based on the terrain variety they have on offer.
You won't need to consider back country with the time you've allowed. You'll still be exploring the inbounds/side country.
Sunshine over 3,300 acres
Lake Louise 4,200 acres
Whistler Blackcomb has a combined ski area of over 8,100 acres, (it's seriously massive).

Australia's biggest resort Perisher as a comparison 3,000 acres, or if you're from Vic, Buller quotes 740 acres and Hotham quotes 790.

From memory Kicking Horse is quite a way from Banff and really geared more to the serious steeps advanced boarder/skier. Sunshine and Lake Louise each have a variety of terrain (and are closer to Banff). You really should go to WhistlerBlackcomb if you can do it, only 2 hours from Vancouver by Bus or Train.

As for the quality, snow in the Banff region is generally drier than on the coast but weather as always is a lottery...
 
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gareth_oau

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Ski gear (if you aren't fussed on brand names) is marginally cheaper over there than here. With big stores like MEC in Calgary and Vancouver (http://www.mec.ca/Main/home.jsp), think Anaconda type stores but all ski gear.

the prices are marginally better, but the range is significantly better.

and if you go later in the season, then the big sales start to happen
 

BrisSam

Hard Yards
Jan 6, 2011
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Off piste in bounds is fine. Side country and back country you want to go with others and have tools and the know how to use them (or so I have read). I limit myself to staying in bounds and find plenty of great off piste terrain to ski over in western Canada.

We are starting in Vancouver for a few days to buy some equipment (hopefully cheaper) and to adjust to time zones at less expense, then we are off to Big White for 2 weeks with season passes, then back to Sun Peaks for 9 days of skiing. Your trip plan sounds great. Post on FB asking if anyone else wants to join you.
 

sly_karma

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This was going to be my advice.

I'd like to visit Banff in summer.
Hordes of tourists then CM. I mean frickin hordes, all over the place like a rash. The winter is busy too, but not like summer. Best time is the shoulder seasons, May and September/October. If you go in May you can still ski Sunshine or hike, hike, hike. Most of the high mountain routes are at their very best in May. Late Sept early Oct will be less about snow and all about autumn colours. Beautiful. The main tourist draws are still going strong but you can actually drive the icefields parkway and see scenery rather than the guy in front's bumper.
 
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CarveMan

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Hordes of tourists then CM. I mean frickin hordes, all over the place like a rash. The winter is busy too, but not like summer. Best time is the shoulder seasons, May and September/October. If you go in May you can still ski Sunshine or hike, hike, hike. Most of the high mountain routes are at their very best in May. Late Sept early Oct will be less about snow and all about autumn colours. Beautiful. The main tourist draws are still going strong but you can actually drive the icefields parkway and see scenery rather than the guy in front's bumper.

Great advice! :thumbs:
 

Paul-

First Runs
Dec 15, 2015
5
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Thanks for all the replies everyone! Loads of great advice in here.

The pick seems to be Banff and Whistler at the moment. For my first trip at least! I'm fully expecting to fall in love with the place and come back many more times.

I'm starting to realize how many things I want to do in the Rockies that aren't boarding ie dogsledding and snowmobile riding!! So I think I will be changing my schedule a bit so I can spend a lot more time in the Rockies.

I was planning on getting public transport around the place, but I've been told hiring a car might also work for me? any thoughts on that?
 
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NeckDeep

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I swore I'd never go Greyhound again in Canada, but took it this year from Vancouver to Banff, stopping overnight in Revy. Considering the insane prices of flights, its wasn't too bad. It's ideal for getting to all those awesome ski towns in BC on the cheap.
 

sly_karma

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Canada is like the US and unlike Europe - most things are structured around cars rather than public transport. Like Australia, distances are large and the towns and cities are spread out. If your budget can handle it, a car will open up a lot more possibilities and flexibility.
 

HoopDogg

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Hi Guys and Gals,

Looking at heading to Canada for 3-4 weeks next season and had some general questions for those in the know.
At this stage looking at doing the obligatory stay in Whistler and doing some exploring of the interior.

I'm mainly after some advice re: what resorts people would recommend in interior BC. I would say im a strong intermediate rider, did niseko/rusutsu/kiroro last season and there wasnt much that fazed me in terms of terrain, but Hakuba the trip before was testing in parts (mainly BC). The Idea of spending some time in Nelson sounds appealing, so Whitewater is a natural choice there. Was also potentially looking at doing a few days/week in Fernie and/or possibly at Red. Revelstoke seemed interesting, but looks like the terrain there is suited more towards the advanced rider??

If anyone has any experience with any of these resorts, any advice would be much appreciated. I would be looking at potentially doing about a week at a couple of places, and then 10 days-2 weeks in Whistler, so would maybe fly into Calgary and work my way back west?

I'm a Canada noob, so any help is much appreciated, cheers!
 

sly_karma

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Red, Whitewater, Revelstoke, Apex and Kicking Horse are most loved by advanced and expert riders. Not to say they don't have novice and intermediate terrain - they all do - but there's not the massive selection of blue runs like there is at the big family vacation kingdoms: Big White, Silver Star and Sun Peaks. Those are the two broad types of resorts in the BC interior, although there are a few like Fernie and Pano that fall in between, they have plenty of steep terrain but also a big focus on the full service family holiday crowd. Whistler is in a class by itself because it's so huge - vast swathes of blue terrain but also an enormous range of black and double black. Loads of everything is the easiest way to look at it, and that also applies to lifts, shopping, pubs, eateries, and people.

All of the first five mentioned have numerous lines that will pucker all your puckerable parts.
 
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Legs Akimbo

Grumblebum
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It's a while since I skied Fernie, but my recollection is that the trail back to the bottom of the Timber Bowl Lift (left side of the trail map) was long and flat. I don't know if it would be good for boarders.
 

blowfin

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It's a while since I skied Fernie, but my recollection is that the trail back to the bottom of the Timber Bowl Lift (left side of the trail map) was long and flat. I don't know if it would be good for boarders.

Don't think it's a big problem, one of my mates in Van talks the place up because of the huge trees. He never even mentioned the flat sections. I just keep staring at the bowls...

3-4 Week Road trip @HoopDogg, I would suggest going for a variety of terrain. The vast majority of resorts are going to have stuff that will challenge you if you are used to Niseko.

Whistler basically gives you everything, Trees, Alpine bowls, Chutes, groomers, you just have to have the time to find it and enough snow for it to not be insane to pursue some of the lines. You also have to tolerate the crowds (avoid weekends and holidays). Get one of these if you are in any way serious about finding the best off piste lines there, totally worth it.
http://quickdrawpublications.com/guidebooks-2/skiing-2/
Personally I would skip Whistler, but I lived in Van for 2 years and know how torturous the place can be on a POW day. Certainly worth checking it out if you haven't been. It's basically a sampler of everything BC has to offer.

As far as choices for the interior goes, I'd suggest going for a mix of terrain types across your destinations. Places like Red don't have true Alpine bowls, but the terrain is simply amazing. Kicking Horse on the other hand (for example), is known for it's bowls and alpine. If I were you I would put some time into studying the terrain of the resorts, and pick a few that give you a nice mix of Alpine terrain and stuff below the tree line. Having a quick daydream, if I were flying into Calgary and driving out, I'd probably start with Kicking Horse, and then take a left down highway 95 ;)
 
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sly_karma

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It's a while since I skied Fernie, but my recollection is that the trail back to the bottom of the Timber Bowl Lift (left side of the trail map) was long and flat. I don't know if it would be good for boarders.
Trouble is, can you think of a resort that doesn't have runouts and traverses and cat tracks? Unless you are happy to stick to under the lift or the one or two runs to either side, you'll probably use a cat track to get back to the lift. Happy to be corrected, any snowboarders out there care to name a couple of resorts that really do have board-friendly terrain?
 

Legs Akimbo

Grumblebum
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Trouble is, can you think of a resort that doesn't have runouts and traverses and cat tracks? Unless you are happy to stick to under the lift or the one or two runs to either side, you'll probably use a cat track to get back to the lift. Happy to be corrected, any snowboarders out there care to name a couple of resorts that really do have board-friendly terrain?
Absolutely. But almost all the runs on that side drop into what I recall as a notably long runout.
 

KneeDeep

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Trouble is, can you think of a resort that doesn't have runouts and traverses and cat tracks? Unless you are happy to stick to under the lift or the one or two runs to either side, you'll probably use a cat track to get back to the lift. Happy to be corrected, any snowboarders out there care to name a couple of resorts that really do have board-friendly terrain?
Alta and Deer Valley, lol
 

blowfin

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Trouble is, can you think of a resort that doesn't have runouts and traverses and cat tracks? Unless you are happy to stick to under the lift or the one or two runs to either side, you'll probably use a cat track to get back to the lift. Happy to be corrected, any snowboarders out there care to name a couple of resorts that really do have board-friendly terrain?

Yep most places have flats bits in parts. You just deal with it really, it's not like skating along is hard once you get the hang of it. You also get to know where you need to maintain your speed pretty quickly, because it can save you those valuable seconds/minutes.
 
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LMB

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Alta and Deer Valley, lol
ROFL

Yep most places have flats bits in parts. You just deal with it really, it's not like skating along is hard once you get the hang of it. You also get to know where you need to maintain your speed pretty quickly, because it can save you those valuable seconds/minutes.
Long run outs that often end up in skating however are only worth dealing with if the bit before it is outstanding.
EG: The Holiday run at Grand Hirafu. As a run it can bite my ample heinie! But as the run out from Miharashi or Rob Roy - it's tolerable.
 

Crystal

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+1 is a boarder and has never had an issue with any of the cat tracks or run outs at all the resorts where people say "oh no..that's no good for a boarder". Speed is your friend.
 

LMB

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Yebbut he's a good boarder... the ones still learning will have an unpleasant time.
They've also got to have enough weight behind them the get that speed in the first place. I'll never forget the tantrums from the youngest when he was a half pint in Zermatt - everyone would bomb it down to make the uphill and he would just stop about 4 or 5 board lengths shy. Didn't know whether to be heart broken for him or laugh as he spat the dummy...
 

Chester

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Added to the light weight factor, kids also struggle because they're riding smaller boards. No matter how good they are, they can only go so fast when straight-lining.
 
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LMB

Old but definitely not Crusty!
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ROFL

Love the banter. :cheers:

I board because I decided to 'get with the programme or get left behind', it was always thier choice.
BLAME THEM ;)
They're all bi-slidable to varying degrees nowadays. It's we fossil parents that aren't up to learning both well - got started too late!

@sly_karma , I reckon it's the wise parent who sticks thier kid in full day lessons until they're (edit: don't post at 5am, may result in incorrect word usage!) old enough and skilled enough to never chuck a tanty. I don't claim to be a wise parent though... LOL
 
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sly_karma

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ROFL


@sly_karma , I reckon it's the wise parent who sticks thier kid in full day lessons until thier old enough and skilled enough to never chuck a tanty. I don't claim to be a wise parent though... LOL

This certainly seems to be the preferred methodology where I ski, parents get kids to strong snowplow stage, then the kids go into 12-week race or freestyle skills development program from age 6 or 7 through to about 12. Then they either continue into structured competition or just ski with family, typically by then they have the skills to leave parents well behind and gasping for air.
 
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LMB

Old but definitely not Crusty!
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Only problem with that is I LOVE spending time with my kids on the hill. Tanties and all. Boarding with them is one of life's greatest joys. Lessons are great, but I couldn't just stick them in ski school day in and day out.

They are days past though. Now they wait for me, give me advice, tell me to keep my speed up, wait for me when I'm stuck in powder because I didn't head thier call... LOL

It's still one of life's greatest joys.
 

Paul-

First Runs
Dec 15, 2015
5
1
3
Hey guys!

Sooo since posting my original message on this forum I have unfortunately had a couple of setbacks which prevented me from booking my trip.

Things are starting to clear up now, but I feel like I've missed the boat. Although I read that some resorts in Canada can go right up into May?

What is the snow like over there at the moment? if I was to still go this year, it would now likely be end of March/start of April. Is the snow likely to still be good then? Still thinking Banff then Whistler.

Cheers.
 

gareth_oau

Pool Room
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Sun Peaks Resort posted these pics this morning

12764407_10153897345283006_5282182572353893445_o.jpg


12747942_10153897350878006_574229741797408906_o.jpg


12764764_10153897345313006_7807930203531266036_o.jpg


I know, horrible isn't it
 
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sly_karma

Green Bastard
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The interior BC resorts just keep getting better at this time of year. Unless it's low elevation and south facing, the slopes will keep accumulating snow for another month yet. The typical scenario at Apex - since I know it best - is for peak snow depth to be reached during the second half of March. This year will be one of those where the skiing is full winter conditions right to closing day in early April. Settled base is already 250+ cm, so any little dollop of new is just icing on an already very delicious cake. Many of the most memorable powder runs I've had there were in the last three weeks of the season. My favourite time of the season without question.
 

Apresski

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Hey guys!

Sooo since posting my original message on this forum I have unfortunately had a couple of setbacks which prevented me from booking my trip.

Things are starting to clear up now, but I feel like I've missed the boat. Although I read that some resorts in Canada can go right up into May?

What is the snow like over there at the moment? if I was to still go this year, it would now likely be end of March/start of April. Is the snow likely to still be good then? Still thinking Banff then Whistler.

Cheers.
My daughter is in Whistler at the moment, having a fantastic time, snow is good. Get over there!
 
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