Worried At Whistler

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This blog entry about the events of Monday, February 28, 2005 was originally posted on March 12, 2005.

DAY 499 (Part 1):  Vancouver is a great city for outdoorsy-types as there are plenty of outdoor activities in and around town, from sailing to Ultimate.  While sailing a boat and tossing a Frisbee around are good fun, they weren’t what brought me to Vancouver.  What did that (other than the chance to visit friends) was snowboarding.

The Vancouver area has several mountains for snow sport enthusiasts, but none are better known than Whistler Mountain, the Intrawest-run snow resort that has become synonymous with Vancouver.  Whistler, along with neighboring Blackcomb Mountain, are more-than-formidable mounds for any skill level, from beginner to Olympian — it’s no wonder they, along with the city of Vancouver, are the proud Canadian hosts of the 2010 Winter Olympics.  “Vancouverites” have already been getting the mountains ready for the international affair, and I put that in quotes because it’s really the Australians doing it; a huge majority of Whistler/Blackcomb is staffed by Aussie snow bums working the mound in return for the opportunity play in the snow without spending the small fortune it costs to be at Whistler.


DAVID SEBASTIAN HAD BORROWED his parents’ Subaru Outback and we had it packed up and ready to go by eight in the morning — his skiing gear, plus all the snowboarding gear and apparel I had borrowed from Anthony the night before.  It was still another two hours to Whistler from Vancouver along the Sea to Sky Highway, which flew by with our usual banter.  Not surprisingly, on our way up, Canadian rock star Bryan Adams’ “Run To You” came on the radio.

The first parking lot was full by the time we arrived around eleven, which was sort of surprising, it being a Tuesday and all, during what everyone seemed to be calling “the worst snow season in over twenty years.”  My time in Vancouver was during a warm spell, with unseasonably warm temperatures.  While people in northeast North America were complaining about the accumulations of the snowy winter, I had heard many Vancouverites complain that they weren’t getting any.

“It disheartens me to see it so bare,” Sebastian said — I mean, Dave said — as we rode the gondola up to the midway station.  The scene was different on the upper mountain; the higher elevation sustained the fresh powder that had started since the night before, and making the trip more worthwhile.  The snow was still coming down in spurts, sometimes in blurring white out conditions, but it was better than nothing — actually it was “the first decent day of the [Vancouver] ski season” — a day good enough to make a Canadian proud to be back out there.  We took the lift up to Whistler Peak and started the day off easy with easy green-marked trails and intermediate blue-marked trails, which was a good thing because it was hard for me to adjust to not only someone else’s equipment, but to the fact that I hadn’t done any boarding in a while, not since the time I was at the coastal sand dunes of Namibia

“You gotta do the Whistler Bowl,” David Sebastian said, leading me to the advanced black diamond trail.  “Bragging rights.”  It probably wasn’t a good thing that I was already sore all over from playing Ultimate a couple of days before, but I went anyway down the mogul-filled trail.  My knees were shot already, putting all strain on my lower legs, and I cramped up to the point where I couldn’t even walk straight.  I didn’t want to be a downer to David Sebastian so we split up for a couple of runs and met at the base of one of the chair lifts.  Eventually I got my groove back after some rest and a Snickers bar, but soon other concerns sprouted up. 

“[I think I forgot to lock the car,]” David Sebastian said with a look of worry.  He asked me if I remembered him pointing the remote towards the car to lock it up; I did, only I couldn’t remember if it was at the time we left the car for the day, or the brief time we went to take a piss in the bushes when we first arrived.  We decided to ask the guy working the mid-station snack bar selling water and candy bars (at insanely inflated prices) about the security of the parking lot. 

“I haven’t heard of anything, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen,” was his very neutral answer — until he mentioned that he once had a board stolen in Whistler Village at the base.  David Sebastian and I thought it out.  Go all the way down?  What if it’s locked?  We would have gone down for nothing. 

“What are the chances something got stolen?” David Sebastian asked the guy.

“[I don’t know,]” he said with a shrug.

“What are the chances that we locked the door?”

“Really, we’re just looking for a scapegoat,” I added.

“I’ll say a seven out of ten chance.”

“Okay, take his name down,” I joked.

“Uh… Tony… Smith…”

We put our faith in the seven of ten and went up for a couple of runs. I was really getting my groove back, carving back and forth, riding with the best of them (picture above).  Why do people complain about snow?  You can play in the snow! I thought.  Sebastian was having a good time too, but the thought of the car was always lingering in our minds.  Was there anything important in the car?  Well, our wallets and credit cards.  But those can be replaced.  But wait, what about the actual car being stolen?  I sort of put my faith in the kindness of Canadians, but then remembered that I had a bike stolen just days before.  Is the car locked?  Of course it is; it’s a reflex to lock it — but wait; then why am I thinking of it?

“What are the chances of something getting stolen from the same guys twice?” I asked David Sebastian.

We shrugged until we figured we might as well just go down and get peace of mind.  “I’m feeling responsible,” David Sebastian said.  I watched our gear at a bench in Whistler Village while my Canadian friend went to go check.

“What’s the verdict?” I asked him.

“The fact is that the car is…”

“Stolen?”

“Not locked.”

“And our stuff is…”

“Not stolen.”

With that said, we enjoyed the last part of the day doing runs up and down the big winter wonderland of Blackcomb’s upper mountain.  For some reason, my lift ticket was missing — it must have ripped off in one of my nasty wipeouts that morning — but we managed to talk one of the Australian ticket checkers into bending the rules.  “Your story checks out,” the guy from Brisbane said. 

“Alright.  I love Australia!”

With each run I was getting more and more comfortable with the conditions and the gear, and the actual first names of my company.  “DAVE!!!” I called out to David Sebastian at one point.

“Wait, did you just call me Dave?”

At the end of the day, we ended up having a good time, despite the cramps and the worries about the car.  It’s a good thing we checked up on it though; on the way home, news radio reported that a car was stolen from Whistler and the thieves were on the lam towards Vancouver.






Next entry: Home Is Where The Nettles Are

Previous entry: The Island




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Comments for “Worried At Whistler”

  • SLOWLY BUT SURELY…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/12  at  12:28 AM


  • Whistler looks really neato - but too damn cold!

    I like nettles - I used to eat them when I was a kid… if you get stung by nettles, you should find a fern and rub the spores on you - it will stop the itching… FYI.

    Did you like the Sea to Sky highway? It’s purty… in the dark it’s scary, though, I thought!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/12  at  12:56 AM


  • I’ve spent many a reading break and winter break up in whistler at my good friends condo.  If you aim properly you can spit on the place from the Excalibur gondola.  Great party town, great ski town…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/12  at  02:10 AM


  • TdOt:  See what ski hills are supposed to look like!!!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/12  at  02:34 AM


  • Aww….ERIK TGT - that’s nice. And true, too. If there ain’t nettles it ain’t home. For me, at least. I maybe can’t speak for my whole country - though I often pretend…  Anyhow, Erik, if you think you could make one of those cool trailers (what with the rockin spiderman music and all…) for Nifty Nettlefest 2006, I bet it could really draw a crowd. I mean, it could be huge, man. And I’m talkin’ International Talk Like a Pirate Day huge. That’s right. I bet we could even get the Buckley’s guy onboard…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/12  at  11:22 AM


  • looks TOO cold out there, but glad to see y’all had fun and even got some home cooking!

    why do people hate snow?  well, i’m sick of all the snow we’ve gotten on the northeast.  it’s pretty when it first comes down and you’re watching it from the warmth of your home w/some hot cocoa or whatevs floats your boat…but, i don’t like it b/c it signifies cold…damp…slushy and sometimes even icy road conditions, etc…you know, like me having to get a tow truck and taking 5 hours to get home instead of the usual 25-45 mins.  yeah, i’m still pretty swoll from my “snow day” this past tuesday’s snow / ice storm.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/12  at  11:43 AM


  • by the way - it was awesome to finally meet and talk with you, your brother and friends at zen lounge!  even like swapping RU SCREW stories. seriously, i felt like i walked into an RU RAPS or FSA party at first.  ahhaha!  where are those darn greastrucks?  anywho, i still can’t believe you were telling me it feels like you never left! 16 months away from home and you feel like you never left…i still find that odd…

    sorry i couldn’t join y’all for your “harold and kumar” run to “what you crave”, but i HAD to get going - got scared of those HUGE snowflakes comin’ down!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/12  at  11:48 AM


  • THE DAVE (OR IS IT “THE SEBASTIAN”?):  Crank up the E.S. Posthumus before continuing to read:


    Twelve months ago…
    A festival began…
    With a bowl full of nettles…
    And the Buckley’s guy too…


    (place rockin’ photo montage here)


    After picking them
    IN THE FOREST…

    And cooking them
    WITH BATTER…

    Adding
    SALT TO TASTE…

    You’ll never think of
    NETTLES THE SAME WAY AGAIN!


    ON MARCH 1ST…

    HOME IS WHERE…

    THE NETTLES ARE


    The Crescent Beach
    Second Annual
    NIFTY NETTLEFEST 2006


    WEDNESDAY, MARCH 1, 2006

    THE KING HOME
    WHITE ROCK (but we really mean Surrey)
    VANCOUVER, B.C., CANADA

    R.S.V.P.
    http://www.naturepark.com/snettle.htm

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/12  at  12:27 PM


  • STEPHANIE:  Not a problem; we’re both in the neighborhood, so there will be plenty of opportunity.  See you in Central Park!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/12  at  12:33 PM


  • I’ve been stung by nettles and it’s not nice.  They grow as weeds in Ontario. (Canada)  Thanks for the tip, Noelle. I didn’t know you can eat them!  I’ve seen those Buckley’s commercials….......will look for Sebastian’s grandfather when I get back. And I can say “I know who that guy is!”  And Erik, at least you didn’t have to get air-lifted off Whistler! Happy to hear you are enjoying your Canadian experience!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/12  at  01:19 PM


  • Erik:  You weren’t in Vancouver long, but you did pick up the subtle Surrey/White Rock jest.  I met a couple people overseas from White Rock; I only had to look at them with a cocked head and squinty eyes for a moment before they fessed up.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/12  at  05:32 PM


  • ERIK TGT: I love it! It’s got promise - I can sense it’s gonna be huge. Just need to work on somehow getting “rockin’ nettle photo montage”.....

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/13  at  08:56 AM


  • Vancouver Erik: I see what you mean. That’s the kind of mountain I could REALLY damage myself on! I can’t wait!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/13  at  12:58 PM


  • Nettle-fest, I love it.  I’m coming to David’s, I mean Sebastian’s, house!

    Erik,  I think you have a future just making trailers.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/13  at  03:14 PM


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This blog post is one of over 500 travel dispatches from the trip blog, "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World (Or Until Money Runs Out, Whichever Comes First)," originally hosted by BootsnAll.com. It chronicled a trip around the world from October 2003 to March 2005, which encompassed travel through thirty-seven countries in North America, South America, Africa, Europe, and Asia. It was this blog that "started it all," where Erik evolved and honed his style of travel blogging — it starts to come into focus around the time he arrives in Africa.

Praised and recommended by USA Today, RickSteves.com, and readers of BootsnAll and Lonely Planet's Thorn Tree, The Global Trip blog was selected by the editors of PC Magazine for the "Top 100 Sites You Didn't Know You Couldn't Live Without" (in the travel category) in 2005.


Next entry:
Home Is Where The Nettles Are

Previous entry:
The Island




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