Couch Surfing and Pow Turning

7 Jan

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.

Chilly hike up Knox Mountain

The mountain showing some Christmas spirit.

Happy Campers!

Paying respect to the winter solstice.

Best boardshop! Worth checking out!


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.

Morning lifts

Making our way through the Black Forest.

Practicing my tweak technique

Snow Surfer

What I’m truly grateful for!

Christmas Dinner! Thanks to Kay for being an awesome cook!


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.

Post-Blizzard shot somewhere on Hwy 5.


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!

Ready to Rip!

Kayley keeping it pre-1990’s

Dumping!

Find your line!

 

Stoked Dudes

Post Shred Tacos – Urban Cantina


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.

Blue Bird!

Just a couple people…

Dropping in!

We came from somewhere on that upper ridge.

STOKED!

Bird Whisperer?

Beer to cap off the day.


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!

-Chris

Road Thoughts – Dec 22

22 Dec

Kayley and I have now been living on the road for about 6 weeks, which feels both accurate and inaccurate, if that makes any sense.

Long drives through Canada along with getting used to the routines of living on the road made it difficult to feel like the van was home since the days were filled with driving, not providing much time for cooking, and hanging out. Once the trek through the country was over and we started to spend more time in one place every couple days or so, it all started to feel like home.

To some living in a van must seem like an insane concept and to be honest it is! Who would want to give up the comforts of a stationary home, their 9-5 job, endless belongings, and normalized routines. These were some of the things that Kay and myself were constantly asked before embarking on this lifestyle: “How are you possibility going to give up ……..? And usually answering that questions with: “It won’t be that difficult”, to only then get an odd look as a response. That’s not to say everyone reacted as such, we had many friends and family members who showed acceptance to the idea (maybe they were just being nice haha). But yes, it is an insane concept, except my version of insane is more positive than negative.

After spending years of attending academia, working, then feeling the pressures of “What’s next?” or “Go find a real job?” (Whatever that is?), or “I wish I did that when I was younger” and witnessing the overall grind of ‘Standard Life’, I needed an out before I got myself caught in a cycle I didn’t want to participate in. That’s not to say I’m judgemental of anyone who finds comfort in living that standardized way of life, whatever makes you happy is what is most important, I mean some days I wish I could feel that same comfort. I can’t directly speak for Kayley but for myself, the pressures of trying to become part of the normal routine has always given me a sense of anxiety. Living in a van with my best friend has subdued that internal anxiety for the time being.

Life is simple in a complicated way: complicated because each day is filled with finding a place to park for the night, fill our water jug, empty our portable toilet, get wifi, shower, etc…. Yet, simple since those our the only stresses we typically face, which are minuscule. Of course along the way worse things may arise (Van issues, or unforeseen circumstances) but overallwhen you have ability to wake up in a rad new place every morning, it’s hard to not feel lucky. Kayley and myself had worked our butts off for the last 2 years trying to provide ourselves with the ability to live a life we wanted to live. We understand that this way of life could end at anytime but that won’t deter us from collecting as many experiences as possible.

For me, my hobbies and work go hand in hand and I hope for it to always be that way. I want my future jobs to be part of the hobbies I enjoy so much or at least allow me to enjoy my hobbies as much as physically possible. Whether it’s strapping into my snowboard, casting my fly rod, pushing around on a skateboard or simply hiking through a forest, these are the times that everything feels like the way it should be and it’s a feelings that you are constantly trying to chase. So far, living in a van has provided me the freedom to enjoy these hobbies to the fullest and giving me the direction I was looking for.

Another big thing for me is trying to learn how to become a better human, not only for myself but for others and the earth we live on. When you fill your life with unnecessary stress, learning takes a seat on the back burner and some of us get lost along the way on what is important in life, and that is something I’m continually trying to avoid. Living in a mobile box brings learning back to the forefront, whether it’s testing your patience when the van is heating up on a cold night or realizing how much water can be consumed on just drinking, cooking and cleaning, you start to understand how easy most of us have it and how we can take it for granted. It takes work to cook healthy meals, manage water use, be active, minimize our overall footprint and use technology only when truly needed, but that’s work I’m happy to put in, and get routinized with. The more I live without useless shit, the more I value the essentials and pay less attention to buying crappy stuff I never needed in the first place. When you surround yourself with the outdoors, you begin to understand the importance of buying local food, products that were made well and will last you years of use and to not take what you don’t need.

The last 6 weeks have been an all around adventure, and as you can tell, it has given me lots of time to think about weird shit haha.

I can’t thank Kayley enough for putting up with me day in and day out! She is a trooper and an awesome adventure partner! You’re the best babe!

Thanks so much to all the friends who have given us a place to enjoy a great meal, to warm our cold limbs, shown us rad places to visit and a safe spot to park at night. It doesn’t go unnoticed, it makes life a lot easier for us!

Get out there!

PS: Check out our pre-Van living thoughts on Vince Interviews Girls Podcast

Donations are rad!

-Chris