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Published: June 25th 2017
Geo: 50.1183, -122.954
The Peak to Peak Gondola was calling today. Mindy had organised the Sightseeing passes for us so that we could visit Whistler and Blackcomb .
Again, we had enjoyed the experiences in summer but the beauty of winter is undeniable. The trees that we had marvelled at in summer were buried deep in relentless white drifts of snow. The slopes were dotted with skiers and boarders and there wasn't a bear to be seen anywhere.
The ride in the G1 takes approximately 30 minutes to deliver you to The Roundhouse. It is very cold and visibility is quite muted because of the fogged glass. The wait today was no more than 5 minutes and we were cacooned in the Perspex bubble with two young gung-ho boarders who were planning their next series of jumps, somersaults and twists. They had all the gear and an equal quantity of bravado... really wanted to stalk them to see how they went.
Boarded the Peak to Peak for the 11 minute traverse of Fitzsimmons. Again, so cold. Would have been a degree or two warmer if we had thought to close the top window. The snow was blowing in and blanketing the seats with the white
snowflakes. But if you are here for the winter...why not ride Peak to Peak with flurries inside the gondola. Made for a perfect snuggling crossing.
Outside the Gondola was a mad house. There were skis and boards everywhere. And it was like being in the middle of a crazy street with no traffic rules. People were slipping and sliding from all directions. Some with sheer elegance, others in a state of disarray with arms and gear flying everywhere. But everyone had the same goal and that was to get inside to eat.
Just so convenient that Mac is tall. He can stand in the entrance of a crowded "find your own seat" restaurant and do a quick scan and find a potential seat. We probably took 5 minutes in the lunch rush hour before we had a spot! The organisation and service were amazing. Plenty of food choices. Lots of entrance points and checkouts. People were just barrelling through.
I guess when the lift pass is $125 a day for access from 8 am to 3 pm you don't want to be sitting for hours in a restaurant. You want to get back out on the mountain and play in the "pow".
non skiers, well, time is your friend. We tucked into a leisurely lunch of soups and washed it down with hot chocolate, cookies and coffee.
Our ride back was just the reverse. Mind you, we did hit a bit of a queue at the Whistler station because everyone was trying to download at the same time as we were returning. But again, the efficiency was amazing. Everyone just shuffled along and before we knew it, we were back on that downhill run into the Village for the last ride on this trip.
The mountain really turned it on for our last day of sightseeing. Snow, fog, mist and absolutely no rain. A superb winter day that was seared into our brains.
But that combination took on an entirely different meaning for the intrepid boarders of the day, Ian and Anthony. The three boys had made it out early for the last day on the mountain. Visibility was particularly poor and after a few twists and turns and lack lustre runs, Michael made his way down the mountain, wanting to keep all his body parts in tact for Japan.
Ian had saved the best till last for Anthony...well, that was his intention anyway. They were
off to the Glacier Cave. Unfortunately, with poor visibility they found themselves hanging from the side of a precipitous cliff with nowhere left to go but up. They had to dig in and use the boards to pull themselves up a half metre at a time back off the ledge, up the cliff face to the main track. There were many recounts of the pain, exhaustion and sheer terror. Team work, a little ingenuity and determination saved the day. And although one wrong turn dampened the experience, the cave was worth it.
Ian was feeling a little down that this was to be Anthony's memory of the last run of the visit, but Anthony assured Ian that he would be back!
The conversation was of course around the "we escaped with our lives" stories from Ian and Anthony and work from Mindy. We were all avoiding the elephant in the room! This was our last night. How did that time disappear so quickly.
Anthony and Ian hit the night scene. Mindy trudged home to catch some zzzzs before another day of work and Mac and I strolled home slowly drinking in the winter sky in a fond farewell.
There's plenty of time for packing
and cleaning. After all, the first bus wasn't due here for Anthony until 4.15 am. Toronto and the Falls were calling him.
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