It’s weird transitioning from being in a van to being in an apartment, even though it was something we wanted over the holidays, especially with the cold air taking over the PNW. The feeling of running water, a refrigerator, private shower, an oven, consistent wifi, heat and a couch. It is crazy to think about how lucky you are and the basic necessities you miss while on the road. The opportunity of having these ‘necessities’ makes that feeling of ‘miss’ greater. If this opportunity didn’t arise, that feeling probably wouldn’t appear. It’s cool to have such awesome friends that will trust you with their shit and let you press the refresh button. Living on the road isn’t hard but there are times where it isn’t easy.
Kayley and I took advantage of a week under a stationary roof. We cooked tons of meals thanks to our Thug Kitchen Cookbook, watched too many seasons of The Office, drank our fair share of beers and yes, of course, we did some snowboarding. Big White was prime both days we chose to ride. Dec 21: it has snowed a bit the night before which left the runs nice and soft, we even had sunny breaks all afternoon. Black Forest was filled with tons of untouched snow and the lift lines were bare. A solid day to get tons of laps in and find all the juicy side hits.
Dec 24: We originally were planning on going up to the mountain on Christmas but with 25cms+ coming the night of the 23rd, it was only necessary to get fresh pow laps on the eve of X-Mas. It couldn’t of been a better day, it snowed more in the morning and was blue bird all afternoon. The day was spent in the trees carving our own tracks in the deep stuff and sending it off whatever natural booter we could find. Not a bad way to spend the holiday. Big White is fun to put it simply, it has terrain for anyone and whatever you are looking for. Plus they don’t call it Big White for nothing, you’ll always find some freshies.
As much as we wanted to stay longer, we both started to the feel the need to get in the van and hit the road. Also, I had been watching the forecast and Whistler had a massive storm coming in and we needed to be there for it.
The drive from Kelowna to Vancouver was a sketchy one. The corridors had been getting hammered with snow/rain over the last little while, making the conditions less than ideal. But with the future storm on its way, it was our only chance to get outta there. Mountain conditions can change rapidly and all attention must be put on the road, no room for mistakes. It’s ether beautiful or impassable, well in the winter that is.
The following day we made our way up to Whistler, the Sea to Sky drive is rad, total PNW vibe; foggy, mountains and greenery. It was nice to see Whis totally covered in snow and the storm had already began to set in upon our arrival. Once getting our passes dealt with, we met up with our good friends, Corey, Keele and Paz. I had worked with Corey and Keele at Boardsports in Toronto. Corey and Paz both work in the Whistler village and Keele was visiting for the week. It was awesome being able to rip with these dudes the following morning. We headed to a local diner that night and it was puking, bringing the stoke level to an all time high. We all hit the hay early in preparation for a full day of pow slashes.
Kay and I awoke early, arrived at the Whis gondola around 8am with the snow still coming down. Once we walked out of the gondola up top, the mountain was in full blizzard mode. We strapped in, leaned back and got some deep slashes in. Before meeting up with the guys we hung around the Emerald Chair since alpine wasn’t opening due to the high wind and low visibility. The day was a dream, plowing through waist deep fluff, high-fiving, and big smiling. There are zero complaints on days where you find yourself in 45cms of fresh snow (Well, the only complaint I had is getting lost with Paz and almost falling 15 feet into a creek but other than that a radical day!). If you find yourself in Whistler on a powder day, lap under the Peak 2 Peak gondola, lots of rad glade runs, easy pillow hits and it all funnels back down to the same cat track!
Day 2: We were given a beautiful blue bird day and zero wind, but with that comes massive lift lines. Whistler not only known for its snow, it’s known for stupid long lift lines. We tried our best to find the remainder of the untouched stuff all day, eventually making our way to alpine, where we had some of the best runs of the season. The Flute Bowl on Whistler Mountain was steep and deep. It was the prime day for the Cool Bean; surfy turns were had all day, my face hurt from smiling. Friends were made in the lift line, advice was traded and stoke was shared. To finish off an awesome couple days I even met a legend and one of my all time favourite shredders in the Whis library, Bryan Fox. He came to Whistler to catch the same pow laps and enjoy the beautiful weather before heading to Japan. Surreal moment for sure.
Since Whis isn’t the most accommodating for campers, we ate out each night, La Cantina had insanely good tacos, their fish taco was out of this world. The other night we grabbed some greasy but good pizza from Fat Tony’s right by the Whistler gondola and enjoyed a heavy IPA at the Brewhouse in Olympic Village. Also, parking is impossible in town. The parking authority is very strict, there is minimal street parking, the ski lots are a no go for overnight, so we found out the convention centre and library had overnight parking for $5 and $10 for 24hrs, so luckily we snagged a covered spot at the library and held it there till we left town. With the cold weather moving in we decided to head back to Van, rest and plan our trip down to the U.S of A. I’m stoked to get down there, shred Mt. Baker and Mt. Bachelor and see Seattle, Bend, Portland, the list goes on! I’ll check back soon! Keep being rad and get out there!