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Last Minute Adventure

March 15, 2011

As I’m sure a lot of you know, I’m originally from Vancouver and I have been lucky enough to grow up near quite a few mountains, Whistler Blackcomb (of course), Cypress, Grouse and Seymour, but the one that I have over looked for years, Mt. Baker.  I use to pole vault in Bellingham, WA in high school and was practically down the road from the mountain, but never went skiing.  Here is how this story begins.

I got a call from a friend of mine on the Monday night saying that he was making a last minute trip to Baker leaving Tuesday coming back Thursday night, he had friends down there so we had a place to stay and the lift tickets were cheaper during the week (love mid-week pricing).  It was pretty easy to make the decision.  I haven’t been anywhere this whole season.  With putting competing on the back burner this year and just finished three weeks of solid work, I was ready to bust out of here for a couple of days.

Here is the adventure part, yes a friend I agreed with to go on a ski trip with, but someone I have never traveled with before and only skied with a couple of times, going to a mountain I have never been to before, staying with people I have never met, going across the country’s border with someone I have never traveled before with and none the less not in my car…you can see where I was going with this…  Part of me was really worried, like what was I thinking about agreeing to a trip like this.  I’m normally the worrywart especially when it has to do with borders (I think I’ve watched too many drug-lord type of movies).  Then the other part of me was thinking, “I need this, I really need this.  I need to see something new.  Hang out with new people. I need to be on an adventure, even if it’s for only two days.”  So I said YES.

Packed, everything.  I have to say whether you are going for two days or two weeks, you seem to pack the same amount when it comes to a ski trip, plus I’m a girl and I’m not very good a packing light on the best of days.

Made great time, 3ish hours with the border crossing to the place we were staying at from Whistler to Bellingham, WA. Best time to travel is way after rush hour, after dinner.

The next day I was so excited to see a new mountain; I almost didn’t need an alarm clock to wake me up.  I was packed and ready to go.  Packed up the car and we were all off to the hill.  Little did I know (or just lack of looking into it) we had an hour drive a head of us to the mountain. The place we were staying at is actually right on the way, but it was still close to an hour.  It really made me feel lucky about my 10-15 minute walk I have to the hill from my house in Whistler.  What a great drive, single-lane traffic, really scenic and bendy road but not in a get carsick way.  The actual mountain road really took me back to New Zealand mountain roads, really narrow and no road barricades, but I kept my seat belt on this time (that’s another story).

The windy, tight, but picturesque road. Thankfully well maintained.

We get to the top, hardly any cars…very weird when there it’s a powder day.  Found out the mountain just got shutdown for the day, with high avalanche conditions and high winds (116 miles=186.68 km/h).  Back down the road we go, not with out a stop to Chair 9, lunch time.

Chair 9 is the new hang-out in Glacier (it’s a town just below the mountain).  Great open concept area, games room upstairs, full-bar and (the best part) a woodstone pizza oven.  The pizzas that come from that oven are amazing, we each had different flavors and all were amazing.  Chatted with the owner over pizza and a pint.  And found out no matter where you are ski towns are the same, chatting over the conditions, other resorts and how skiing has changed quite a lot over the past 10 years.

The best pizza!!! So amazing, it's call the Canuck with bacon. MMMMmmm

The next day, we checked the mountain reports (a few times before we left the house this time) and it was go time!  Get to the hill and there were some people it looked like playing hooky from school, work or people just like us, people lucky enough to have a day off.  We got our lift tickets, packs on with avalanche gear and to the lifts we went.  Not quickly though, there are no high speed-quads there.  They are all quad lifts, but going nowhere fast.  They all look the same, the lifts, all black with just a number on the side of the bull-wheel to tell you which one is which.  It didn’t take me long to get lost on own (there was a reason there were no track to the far left of that tree run…).  Good thing I was skiing with people who after that really explained where and when to make the sharp turn back to the lift.  Skied all day, lunch on the lift, chatting, laughing and more powder every run.  It snowed all day, wind took the trees shook their snow off and more snow was on the ground.  It was some of the best powder I have skied in ages on a day off.  Please don’t get me wrong coaching people in powder snow is good to get people use to it and see a smile on their face then shoot you curse words.  But not to look behind me all day and not talk “about skiing” was really nice.  It was really a day off.  Time flew by and it was time to head down, but there was no frown on my face.  I just finished one of my best days of the season.

Of course you take a picture with the Ravens.

So there you have it.  Sometimes you just have to leap into the adventure even if you have some reservations. You have to way out all your options, go with your better judgment, have similar music taste, and be clear on who you are traveling with that you don’t want to go to jail (haha) because you might just have the best last minute (powder) adventure you ever had.


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