After I whined in a recent post about skiing, I now must report that I did not ski on our recent family vacation. I had good intentions, but discretion dictated that I abstain this year.
In mid-December, we drove to Whistler, British Columbia, in a snowstorm in the dark. (It’s a common occurrence to drive in the dark in Canada in December – the short days and gloomy weather keep it dark most of the time.)
That night, I came down with some type of stomach bug. A mild bug, but enough to justify not going out the next morning with the rest of the family to breakfast, to rent ski equipment, and then to the slopes.
By noon, I was ravenous, so I set out from our rented condo across the street to Whistler Village in search of scrambled eggs (for my still delicate stomach) and snow boots.
I had packed my old hiking boots, purchased in 1998, which I had worn on the trail and in the snow for almost fifteen years. But I hadn’t examined the boots before packing them. When I pulled them out of my suitcase, I discovered that the rubber soles were separating from the suede and Goretex uppers. With every step, the soles separated a little more.
I needed new boots.
Thankfully, Whistler Village boasts the largest The North Face store in Canada, and The North Face store had nice (albeit expensive) snow boots in my size. I bought them and wore them out of the store, abandoning my faithful 15-year-old boots in the store. The new boots were delightfully warm.
And I found some scrambled eggs.
Back I went to the condo. I didn’t mind my forced solitude; I had several books.
But no wifi access in the condo. There was a distant and unreliable signal we could pick up for a minute or two at a time, but I could only download one email at a time before losing it. I had some internet withdrawal symptoms, but not severe.
That night, when my skiing relatives returned, my husband announced, “You would have hated it.” If my husband declares I would hate some athletic endeavor, it is likely that I would loathe it. “Deep powder. Narrow runs.”
I do hate skiing in fresh powder. And I hate narrow trails. I can get down intermediate runs when they are wide. Otherwise, I stick to beginner runs. And those aren’t any fun when they are trails with steep drop-offs that criss-cross the expert slopes so that I have to watch over my shoulder to be sure a cannonball skier isn’t zeroing in on me.
“And we had to buy our helmets,” my husband continued. “They don’t rent them here.”
“How much was that?” I asked.
“Over a hundred dollars each.”
My daughter already owned a helmet, but my husband and son each had bought a helmet. The cost of this vacation – including my new boots – was mounting rapidly.
So, if I was going to ski, I would have to rent the equipment, buy a helmet and a lift ticket. That would have cost more than my new boots. It was an easy decision not to ski this trip.
The next day, after the family headed out, I puttered around the condo in the morning. I read some more, but without internet interruptions, I got bored. So in the afternoon, I explored Whistler Village. I found a beautiful public library with free wifi! My laptop and I spent two happy hours downloading and browsing while gazing out the window at the falling snow.
The third day we all trekked to the top of the mountain, me in my new boots and the rest of the family with their skis. My sister-in-law had treated us to breakfast in the restaurant at the peak, which forced me to abandon the condo for the mountain top.
We enjoyed a huge buffet breakfast, then surveyed the horizons through snow and clouds. It wasn’t the best day for sight-seeing (cloudy, with more snow falling), but it was still beautiful. We rode the peak-to-peak tram, and I took pictures while the others set out for their last day of skiing.
My only guilt was over whining so much in my earlier post. Mea culpa.