From Beach to Peak
This story was written for Corona Extra Canada, for their Winter 2016 "Closer to the Sun" campaign. This is post 1 of 8. The original blog can be found here.
Whistler. The iconic ski town had always been more like a fairytale to me than the inviting, locally-praised community it really is. I had heard about it, imagined the bustling mountain town in my head (to be honest, it looked kind of like Switzerland, but with more Australians), and didn’t know if I would ever get to see the infamous peaks with my own eyes.
The truth is, it had been a while since I had been to the snow. Living seaside on the Pacific Coast boasts more surfboards than snowboards and a storm of any kind makes the highways turn into a losing game of Tetris. Needless to say, packing and preparing for the mountains mid-winter was a bit of a process for this beach girl. Mitch, however, grew up on the slopes. Downhill skiing consumed his winters, and water ramps kicked the dust off during summer. Mitch helped ease my packing anxiety by alerting me that après clothing is just baggy snow gear with powder in the pockets. Two days later, I would also learn that post-slope accessorizing is nothing more than a goggle tan and raw, pink cheeks.
Mitch and I departed Vancouver Island yesterday morning, bright and early. I am thrilled I get to use that phrase to describe our day of travel because uninhibited sunshine is not readily available this time of the year. We definitely hit the jackpot as the sun was peeking out from the clouds more than it was hiding. Mitch’s photos almost look doctored to me, but it’s because we have not been gifted that much blue sky since the start of the year. Even in transit, we took advantage of the rays with some ferry sun tanning (okay, so the tan part may be pushing it) and made a few stops along the way to stretch in the afternoon light.
One such stop had us roaming down a wooded path to the coast, just south of Squamish. It was one of the last times we would see the ocean on our way to Whistler. Standing on a rock, overlooking the fjords that buffer the B.C. coast, was a beautiful melding of two, very different worlds- the ocean lapped at the rocks below, and the majestic, snow-covered mountains stood soaring against the backdrop. We lingered for a bit, soaking up the view, before meandering back to the car. Uncharacteristically, Mitch forewent the decision to take a dip in the frigid ocean. Though I know why. Now in sight, the mountains were spelling our names into the snow.
We pulled into the quaint ski town an hour before the evening’s shadows draped across the (not-so-quaint) Blackcomb and Whistler mountains. From our balcony, celebratory limes were popped into two Coronas. We toasted to the beginning of our adventure, and soaked in the scene stretching from the bustling town below to the most serene-looking summits. I have seen countless sunsets grace a number of coasts, but none have looked like this. The sun must reserve something special for the snow-studded alpine. Its glow was pink and soft, and engulfed the peaks into a smooth scoop of strawberry sherbet. Dreaming of a waffle cone and a cherry, and with hopes of powder-fresh brain freezes ahead, we rested up for our first day slope-side.
(photo credit: Mitchell Taylor)