Freeze, Thaw, Repeat
This story was written for Corona Extra Canada, for their Winter 2016 "Closer to the Sun" campaign. This is post 4 of 8. The original blog can be found here.
After a day on the slopes, nothing beats a dip in Mother Nature’s personal bathtub. Hot water cures windburn, sore muscles, and chilled bones- and nature cures just about everything else. So it seemed fitting to conclude our week in Whistler with a spa-worthy soak at the nearby hot springs. With bathing suits in hand and clad in dry pants (this will be important later), we set out for an all-day après ski.
On a map, the Keyhole Hot Spring’s trailhead isn’t far from Whistler, however, the drive does include a lengthy logging road with no shortage of potholes and mud. Spinning tires on back roads may bring back a long-lost teenage nostalgia, but the best part of the voyage is after the car is parked- it’s the 2K trek to the hot springs. It includes snowy paths that wind along the river, astonishing valley views, and an extremely icy trail that more closely resembled a bobsled chute than a walking path.
When we came upon the first major descent, we tried our best to stay on two feet. I took the off-the-beaten-path approach, stomping through knee high snowdrifts that paralleled the frozen trail. Mitch attempted the more direct route and endeavored to surf down the face of the icy hill. His approach may have had more flair, but to be honest, nether was working. Approximately ten awkward, laughable, and potentially hazardous minutes later, we took the tip of a passerby- don’t fight it. We parked our derriéres in the ice and slid the 20 meters to the bottom of the hill. Other than the subsequent chill of wet denim on bare buns, it was pretty darn fun. A few more slips, slides, and hilarious mishaps later, we were almost to our, now very well deserved, destination.
We hadn’t passed too many people along the way, so you can imagine our surprise when we finally made it to the steaming pools and realized we weren’t alone. We were very not alone- picture Spring Break Miami but with tinier pools, less personal space, and more Australians (they always know a good party, after all). At first sight, it wasn’t the relaxing, natural, spa-like scene we were hoping for. However, after a two-hour drive, multiple butt slides, and a wet-pant-trek, we weren’t going to let our precious soak pass us by.
We backtracked to a shallow pool around the corner that we were told was too hot to enjoy. Mitch proceeded to ramble around finding big chunks of snow to cut the heat, which trickled out from tiny cracks in the mountainside. I took it upon myself to wade in and give directions. More snow! A bigger piece. And a little one. No. Bigger… okay, that’s good. (Hey, someone had to do it.) Mitch’s makeshift, cool water tap proved perfect. From our personal tub wedged between the river and hillside, we soaked in the heat, steamed in the cool air, and unintentionally exfoliated on the pebbles below. It was a full spa experience, after all. We didn’t even mind the deep house music drifting over from the banished Spring-Breakers.
With dry clothes, patio seats, cold Coronas, and a few good stories under our belts, we wrapped up our last night in the Coastal Mountains. We may not have gotten any fresh powder until the day of our departure, but we did score some epic runs, unreal moments atop mountains, the exhilarating rush of makeshift water slides, and a deep unwind in nature’s bath tub, all in the most beautiful setting one could ask for. Here’s to you, Whistler. And cheers to the road ahead.
(photo credit: Mitchell Taylor)
This campaign was full of spontaneity, brewskies, and fly-by-the-seat-of-your-ski-pants adventure. To read these stories chronologically, start with the first post, "From Beach to Peak", where we head to Whistler, British Columbia.