Stay High: Whistler, BC

Co-authored by Steph Wells and Tracey Kaplanour SECOND co-authored blog post… Preface – we’re really funny… or at least think we’re really funny. For more hilarious posts co-authored by Steph Wells & Tracey Kaplan see “Summer Tease to Winter Freeze,” an El Salvadorian adventure.   

It all started on the eve before our lezbro Canadian ski trip…

Alex asks Alix: “What time are you getting to the airport”

Alix: “2:30.”

Alex:“That’s aggressive!”

Alix: “Not really…our flight is at 4:15, and it’s international.”

Alex: “WHAAT?!? It’s at 5:10…”

Alix: “No, it’s definitely at 4:15…here, let me show you the ticket”

As it turns out, Alex did book the correct, 4:15 flight (first class!) for herself…. but she booked her wonderful girlfriend, Dominique, on the 5:10 Air Canada flight (economy…womp womp). #inthedoghouse

The next day we arrive at the airport with plenty of time (at least Steph and I thought so…), aka just enough time to walk right on to the plane (and a little bit of special permission to hold the flight).

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Throughout the flight, there is one thing on my mind.

BULLSHIT there is never just one thing on Tracey’s mind…#ADHD

Okay, the main thing on my mind: “WHERE is my next meal coming from?! I ate lunch SO long ago.”

After picking up Sarah (she flew in a day earlier from NYC), Tracey immediately directs us to the nearest Thai restaurant, doesn’t let anyone order for themselves because we absolutely do not have time for that, and okay fine it was delicious – well done Tracey.  

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Then we drive from Vancouver to Whistler and check in to our ballin lodge.  If you read our El Salvador blog you might recall Tracey running directly into a glass door… well never fear, we’re even now… this condo was so clean and I was so mesmerized by the idea of the hot tub that I ran straight into the glass door standing between me and the hot tub.  

Upon arrival, there were bottles of wine waiting for us (Thanks Tracey) and a CAKE for Alix’s final birthday celebration (Steph only planned 8 birthday surprises for Alix).  After we loaded up our glasses we hopped into the tub (the hot one) (on the porch).

Then Tracey Irish Goodbye’d (classic Tracey…good thing she’s going to Ireland; she’ll fit in quite nicely), and the party effectively ended.

The next morning we awoke way too early…

We awoke way too LATE!! We made it too late to start skiing!

….and Alex and I made us a delicious breakfast of eggs, toast, and goat cheese.  

Then we ate it. 

It was delicious.  Thanks Steph & Alex.

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After a long rental/ticket pickup process we made it onto the mountain.  

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Whistler’s been having a rough time this year… the fabulously famous BC snow we came for was nowhere to be found… but like literally… where’s the snow?

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We had to lift to the very top of the mountain and stay high to catch anything but ice. 

Then I Irish Goodbye’d mid ski run.  FOR REAL… WTF TRACEY.  Thankfully she showed up at lunch to reunite with the crew.  

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After a tasty meal of pot pies and stew we set out to hit up some fresh pow pow, where things got real. Real scary. This portion of the story will be told first from the perspective of Tracey and then Steph.

I decided to ski with Steph (ski experience: 23 years), Sarah (ski experience: 24 yrs) and Kelli (snowboard experience: 13 years + 7 years skiing). My ski experience: ~6 years, peppered with one to two ski trips per year. I lived in Texas for a long time.

Steph led us to the back bowls, where she promised us fresh powder. As we’re skiing along the ridge, I drop down just a bit below Steph’s line, where I notice the looming cliff. I see Kelli come up behind me and drop ~10 feet below me. I think to myself “Kelli has a ton of snow experience…she must not be concerned about the looming cliff, so it must not be a problem! Let’s continue as we are!”

I continue skiing along the lower half of the ridge, and pause at the same time I notice Kelli is perched cliff-side, clutching a tree shrub for dear life. I look behind her, and I see a 1-300 foot drop (for the sake of this blog, 300 ft) down the face of the mountain, dotted with jagged boulders.

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Scene of the crime

I try to coach her through how to get out of the situation but let’s be real…I have no idea what I’m doing.

I then decide the best plan of action is to take my skis off and very gingerly walk down to Kelli, get behind her, and help push her up the steep edge. Before I do this, I survey the situation and I get scared. I’m not generally nervous about dangerous situations (#livinontheedge), but I know one wrong move could mean a 300 foot drop off a rocky edge.

Then I make that one wrong move. 

The moment I take off my skis, I know I made the wrong call; my surface area is now much smaller to balance myself. As soon as I take the first step towards Kelli, I immediately lose traction and start slipping. I reach my hand out to grab for Kelli, and as my hand misses hers, two things happen:

  1. Kelli screams
  2. I think to myself “Oh, no”

If there is one thing I’ve learned from my many years of martial arts training coupled with my many many years of clumsy behavior, it is how to fall. I am a damn good faller. 

As I’m going over the cliff, I try my best to tuck my arms and legs in and hit the rocks with my helmet, butt, or ski boots. Within 20 feet of the fall, my helmet ricochets off the first rock. My body is then thrown against a snow patch, my legs fly over my head, and my butt gets nailed (so hard) by the next rock. I then flip over and as I’m somersaulting through the air, I see a huge rock pass right under my eyesight and finally…white. I’ve cleared the rocks and now I spread my arms and legs to stop my freefall down the snow. I tumble down another ~100 feet before I’m able to stop myself (after taking a lovely hit to my bad shoulder). I take a moment to orientate myself, and try to immediately get up so my friends know I am alive. I get up, fall over, and as I’m stumbling I hear someone say “Don’t move, don’t move!”

Naturally, I do move, and I put up a hand to say “I’m OKAY! Everything is okay!”. Then, oh my god, I realize my butt is on fire. By this time, Steph has beelined over to me, where she is repeating “Oh my god, Oh my god….Oh my god. Tracey. Tracey, oh my god”

And now…from Steph’s perspective.

I was leading the group to this sick line of fresh I had spotted earlier… apparently I got a bit ahead of the group because I found myself waiting at the top of this super sick line just waiting to drop… but I kept waiting and waiting and no one was in sight.  

That small dot out on the bottom right of this photo is me... waiting... and waiting...

That small dot out on the right of this photo is me… waiting… and waiting…

“Hmmm that’s weird,” I said to myself.  So I naturally start taking selfies on top of this super sick line “freshies all for me!!!”

IMG_2941 As I’m putting my phone away I see a figure dressed like Tracey sliding down the rocky cliff to my right… I soon realize that figure is Tracey just as she starts CARTWHEELING down said rocks and snow.  HOLY SHIT.  HOLY SHIT. HOLY SHIT. As soon as she stops she doesn’t move for approximately 1.75 seconds and I’m like SHES BROKEN HER NECK OMG OMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOGMOGMOGMOGMOGMG.  I immediately take off towards her (nearly yard saling myself on my way down… the freshies were not so fresh, but in fact old, sun baked, and heavy. bummer.) … but back to the fact my dear friend had just cartwheeled down a 100 yard rock face and very well might be seriously injured.  

As I approach her, she shows some signs of movement and lets out an “I’m okay.” A nice skier man comes by and offers to give her a full body check as he claims to be ski patrol at Squaw Valley. Tracey replies, “Well it’s just my butt.  My butt hurts sooooo badlyyyy.” “I can check it out if you want…”  “Hmmmm I think I’m okay but do you have some pain pills??!”  “I don’t… but I’d be happy to give you that butt check if you want.”  “I think I’m okay bye!”  

As Tracey appears to be actually in one piece (THANK GOD), I ask her if she wants me to hike up and grab her skis. “Oh yeah can you? Thanks Steph!” “Sure thing Trace!”  

As I start my climb up the slope I get very hot very quickly and soon realize this is no easy task.  The mountain get steeper and steeper until I find myself about ¾ of the way to the top, completely vertical against the mountainside… stuck. At least I had retrieved one pole at this point, and decide it’s a great idea to throw it down to Tracey so I can continue climbing.

*Throws pole down mountain barely 20 ft and is then stuck in an unreachable spot*

Then come ski patrol!  “Ma’am… what are you doing… can you get down?” “Oh well I’m just retrieving my friend’s skis for her… I’m almost there…”  “Can you please go back down this isn’t safe, we’ll get the skis”  “Oh sure.. no problem…” *looks down… OH FUCK…*

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Luckily, I”m quite mountain savvy so I got down no problem, and minus the cartwheels Tracey performed for us.

Ski patrol brings the skis and poles down and all is well… Tracey comes out UNSCATHED.  UNREAL AMIRIGHT?!?!

Back to Tracey:

First off, I was disoriented when I asked Steph to retrieve my skis. As soon as I saw her halfway up the vertical, I yell out “Steph, come back!! Is that safe?” AND she responds “I feel like a badass; like I’m ice climbing!”, to which I think “Well, she feels like a badass and I really need my skis, so I guess it’s a win-win…carry on!”

Second off, I was NOT cartwheeling, I was very neatly tucking and rolling!!

BS she was cartwheeling for sure.

Third off, I am so thankful for my bionic body…I once crushed my knee in between a truck bed and a boat trailer. There was legit a hole in my knee. 20 minutes later, I was running around playing catch.

Once everyone is together again, we continue skiing! Kelli and Sarah head back to the car after the run because they are traumatized (or tired, unclear), but I make Steph ski two more runs with me, because “I need to stretch my broken butt.”

We go home early to hit the hot tub…oh wait. We had left the hot tub running all night and it was completely empty. :((((((((

So I got naked and took a bath in the master bedroom (which wasn’t even mine). My butt felt much better after that.

We then kidnapped Alix for her 9th birthday surprise…. As she was relaxing after a long day of skiing we jumped on her and tied a shirt around her face as a blindfold…. Then we carried her down the stairs and threw her in the car.  I drove in circles, I pumped the breaks, Kelli let out fake screams of horror as Sarah gripped Alix’s hand telling her everything would maybe be okay…

Then we roll up to a Scandinavian massage in the woods!! whhhhhhat! While still blindfolded, Alix was carried through the woods by Alex, as we tickled her, licked her, basically did everything to throw her off as to where we were.  When we finally arrived we took off the blindfold and gave Alix one last “HAPPY BIRTHDAY YOU’RE GETTING A MASSAGE AT A SPA IN THE WOODS FOLLOWED BY THE HOT SPRINGS!” She was shocked and disoriented and confused and stoked.  

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The beautiful Scandinave Spa

I personally had the best massage EVER.  Seriously it was so so good.  Deep tissue.  So deep. So good.  After our massages we got in the outdoor hot tub legit in the woods, followed by a dunk in the cold pool, and then some time in the steam room/sauna…. and then repeat.  We went through a few cycles of hot/cold/relax and then sat around the fire for a while glowing about how lucky we are.  (Keep in mind this is a silent spa… you are not allowed to talk like at all… obviously that was not working for us).  They gave us these ballin robes with hoods and everything about the experience was just magical.  I can’t wait to return…   

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Somewhere in the middle of the massage I think to myself “Oh my god. Food. Now. I need it”. I force my stomach to remain quiet while I relax through the massage, the hammock, the hot bath, the sauna, and the eucalyptus steam room. Eventually it gets the better of me and I take one of the cars to get food. Turns out my credit card was in the other car [insert 100 sad face emoji].

We all go to a pizza dinner where I eat nothing at all because my hunger has passed. Who eats dinner at 9pm?!

It wasn’t just pizza, but pizza and gnocchi and ALL THE BURRATA.  SOOOO GOOD. Trace, you cray.  

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After dinner, we go back to our ballin lodge where Steph invents a drinking game that hates me. #dealttheworstcards

Crazy Kings – it’s the best.  It’s kings cup, but instead of all the boring normal rules, your group makes up your own rules for each card drawn.  

I Irish Goodbye once things get rowdier than my mood allowed, and wake up to another homemade breakfast! Thanks, Dom and Alex! I definitely didn’t climb into Steph’s bed in the middle of the night because I had a nightmare and needed my back rubbed and tears wiped.

After eating, we head back to the snowless slopes. But not only are the slopes snowless today, but it’s pouring rain, not just at the base, but at mid mountain, and pretty much at the top as well. #globalwarming #sosad

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We ski one run, look for the rest of the crew we separated from, and then have lunch. No joke. The moment Steph puts the last piece of hamburger in her mouth, I’m already getting my gear back on, ready to hit the slopes. Sarah had poutine to soak up the Canadianness of the trip…

I learn what poutine is…

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Everyone else goes home (#drinkinggames), and I make Steph ski off boundaries with me, enticing her with “This will make you a better skier!!” Of course, I quickly get into terrain beyond my ski level, which is when Steph teaches me how to use my poles! I have literally never used my poles to ski down a hill…they’re just an accessory, right? Wrong! You’re supposed to use them as a gate to ski around moguls and…anything really. Now I’m an excellent poler and a much better skier…thanks Sarah and Steph!

We stop many times for pep talks and to relish the incredible beauty of the Canadian rockies.…and to pretend our ski poles are swords and we’re fencing….on guard!!  

We celebrate my new-found poling with an Apres hot cocoa and Baileys at a local cafe.

Delicious.

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Then we head home, have an amazing movie watching cuddle sesh with all seven of us on the King size bed, and get weird with Saturday night.

 To start our evening off right we collectively make extremely delicious tacos.  

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Cutting onions with ski goggles = no tears…oooh that’s what the f Kelli was doing. I thought she was just being weird.

And then really… it got weird.  And awesome.  We won’t get into detail.  #whathappensinCanadastaysinCanada

One of the best parts about this trip was watching my friends from different lives become friends. Real-life-let’s-hang-out-without- Steph friends!  Made my heart melt.  

Then Sunday….We sleep in… EVEN TRACEY SLEEPS IN!!!! And we get breakfast at a local cafe.  We take another dip in the hot tub and start making our way back to Vancouver.  

We stop at a beautiful giant waterfall en route and grab some deliciously awesome sushi upon arrival in VAN-CITAYYY.

We almost miss our flight but we don’t.

Tracey and I have a “make your best Global Entry face” contest… turns out we’re actually the same person.

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The end.

Ellipses count: 57

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