Days Remaining to Next Beer: 338
While the winter Olympics in 2010 may have helped make Whistler an international household name for folks not hip to the ski bunny scene, Whistler already had a fair amount of clout prior to all that hubbub in snowboarding and inner tube circles, pardon the pun.
For me, though, what makes Whistler special is spending time there with family and friends, especially when there are crazy snow drifts outside for the dog to rump around in, and for Alex’s Amazing Snow Bar.
True, summertime on the mountain has ample recreational offerings, loads of great joints with tasty foodstuffs and surplus of shops selling off last season’s gear for the cheap. There’s artists putting their work up for sale via the walls of any café or bistro looking for some casual gallery income. There’s crazy paths for the hikers and off road bikers with the lobster armor that would look better if it were actually made of lobsters like those biodegradable golf balls, at least makes them looks like extras from Mortal Kombat, Reptile wins! Get over here!
Many hotels like the Fairmont are big dog friendly, and their bar spaces typically have live music from live musicians, as opposed to the dead ones, and you can pick up a CD of three on the cheap before those cats head south to SXSW and get signed and famous and charge more than a ten spot for their disk, and forget about asking for their digits. Sorry ladies, he’s taken.
Winter though, Winter is when the heat lamps offer patio survival and village snow gets ploughed into massive mounds for children and dogs and drunks alike to scale and smile proudly at passerby from the summits.
Where people stomp through in snowboarding boots or heel toe around in ski boots or slide through on snowboards or shuffle through because they’ve never seen snow and ice before. We just love it up there during the winter, where he who controls the hot chocolates controls the universe, where fires roar and blister in massive fireplaces, where recreationalists and hardcore athletes intermingle with the commoners and armchair enthusiasts like myself. And yes, I would love to ride a Lay-Z-Boy down a slope, though probably not a black diamond. The ones the bunnies use would be fine. Or Hugh Hefner.
Winter is when you can rent a condo type house with ski in – ski out access and a hot tube out back between the building and a snow bank. And that, friends, is where the mayhem happens, AKA the Snow Bar.
Imagine if you will several scantily clad peoples, some of them burly men folks, others sassy lady folks, and still others not invited folk because they weren’t on the list.
Imagine if you will that there’s no heaven and no hell too, just a hot tub next to a snow bank filled with your companions and compatriots, laughing and making merry and carrying on, while the heat from the water creates a fog bank that rolls over the snow bank wherein several groves have been masterfully cut and filled with an assortment of spirits and acumens, snacks and bottled waters straight, seltzer, and soda.
There are towels, robes, flip flops, and sneakers on the ground before the hot tub, at the ready for the cold journey between the hot tub and the house.
An almost annual event, the Whistler trip has been a part of our crew’s repertoire since whenever, and now that we have young mister Otis in our midst, and John and Kelly their daughter, it’ll only get more magical because kids bring a whole new energy to the occasion. Now if we could just find a fella worthy of the mighty CG...
The hot tub and Snow Bar are an accent though, a glaze on the donut of life in Whistler, compared the rest of the long weekends we’ve spent there. The massive meals everyone pitches in to help with as different folks take the ringmaster hat for a meal and direct and delegate as need be. I tend to stick to washing dishes, since that’s what the Navy trained me for.
There’s parlor games, board games, card games, and straight out free for all gabbing & gossiping. We’re all fairly swamped and soaking in it with our respective lives, so a long weekend in a wintery wonderland is soothing elixir for the soul.
There’s time as well to find a couch in the corner and part the pages of a book or rag, to draw a bit or write a bit or tap out some Morse Code messages to the muses that’ve been neglected so much lately for sake of work or whatever excuse has the reigns this week.
There’s time to ski away down the slopes, if you’re so inclined, again pardon the pun. Not being ones for slopes and boards, we take to dog for hikes along the pack into the Village, collecting lost and dropped cell phones as we go. There’s cozy chairs near roaring fires in the Village, where well groomed Australian college kids will fetch you pints and tapas while you bask in the warm glow of a cave man’s primal satisfaction, safe and comfortable, full of love and available credit on the cards.
While Hasil Adkins croons to his Blue Star in my earbuds, I croon as earnestly to Whistler, to the Snow Bar not yet built, making promises like Hasil to see them again soon, cause I miss them, and all the warmth and wonderful Wintery welcome they afford.