Wednesday, April 30, 2008
no worries, bruh.
i wasn't planning on going to whistler this year, but kyle and maharlika are evil to the core and somehow twisted my arm and convinced me to go. it didn't hurt that my flight was free with credit card points and i really had nowhere else to be that week. so, the 3 of us planned an excursion to the great province of british columbia, canada. my journey began with a larf, as i went to check in at the cathay pacific desk at jfk and was told that my passport was due to expire the day after i flew back. whoops. has it been that long??? luckily, they let me on the plane because i was "only going to canada". good show, chaps! ahh, our great neighbor to the north.
cathay pacific is an asian airline (i checked with my asian friends to make sure it was reputable- that's how i roll.) that was pretty impressive- giant plane, lots of leg room, and a pleasantly empty flight to vancouver. first plane i've ever been on that had an UPSTAIRS (i was not allowed UPSTAIRS)! the tv screens on the back of each seat provided a vast array of entertainment- from movies, to tv shows, and even video games. as well as informative shorts with suggestions on how to stretch during a long flight. the selection was ideal! i'm pretty sure the the asian movie/tv channel offerings included more than one leehom joint. after touching down in the great white north a little after 1am, we hit customs and pretty much did the homeless person/college student in transit thing- found some empty benches in the international terminal and crashed until the car rental place opened up at 5:30am. a new york jew, i was unable to fall asleep in such an open area, so i kept myself busy by spouting insults at the rich people in the hotel upstairs from us. fuck those douchebags. kyle and maharlika now had the pleasure of the lynn that has been awake about 36 hours, something that usually only editors, producers, and the occasional rockstar experiences. madness ensues.
paul* gave us some breakfast advice which was to go to the same place he had taken pete, richard, and i a few years back: paul's omelettery. i didn't remember much about it other than it was awesome and i wanted to go back. we killed a half hour at a starbucks and maharlika almost got hit by a bus, but we crossed the street and sat down to some down home vancouver breakfast. then i remembered what was so awesome about paul's- they always put (unless you don't want it there) a manage a trois of cheeses into their omelettes. i can't remember which ones, but one was cheddar, and another is a type of cream cheese. just-- holy fuck it was good. and the waiter was a yanks fan so he took care of us. oh, it might have been here where the culture shock hit. the guy at the car rental place was really cool, gave us a map, drew directions out for us, etc. but the waiter at paul's was so nice that kyle and maharlika were in shock- is everyone so friendly? yes. why? we're in canada, eh?
we hit the road and went up the sea-to-sky highway still in a massive construction phase as they widen it from 2 to 4 lanes for the 2010 olympics. they are blasting the sides of these mountains and the difference between now and the first time i was up there like 5 years ago is astounding and jaw-dropping. squamish now has a walmart and a home depot. vomit.
when we pulled into creekside and checked-in, i made the final decision to not hit the mountain that day. i was way too tired to function on the slopes. kyle and maharlika were hardcooooore though and they totally went up. maharlika's first gondola ride, no less! i took a nap in the lodge's game room until our room was ready, at which point i did not sleep more, i took a shower because- and i still stand by this statement: after trying to sleep in an airport and being in traveling mode for that long, i felt dirtier than i've ever felt after any moe.down. (that's 4 days without showering, plenty of partying, and being outside pretty much the entire time, mind you). i was absolutely disgusting and i wanted to burn my hoodie which i was afraid to touch anymore (i didn't, i washed it, i love that hoodie- i'm wearing it right now actually). anyways, once that ordeal was over i put on clean clothes and met kyle and maharlika for apres ski (apres shower) at dusty's, where i had a hot chocolate with creme de menthe (life is hard). later on we did some food shopping and had dinner over in the village at citta, which always works out. besides, they have frozen margaritas. i can't remember if this was the place heinz, courtney, and i did the rock n' roll bingo night at or if that was the amsterdam cafe?
sleeping in a bed that night was fucking fabulous, i could have easily slept for 12+ hours, but unfortunately this type of trip doesn't cater to that luxury. however, sleeping a full 8 hours in a bed and waking up THERE seemed like a 14 hour sleep in a castle after the night before. we were up at 8 to pick up our freshly hot waxed skis/boards and get up on the mountain. i decided not to take a lesson this trip, but mostly because i have been doing pretty well with the lesson i took at breckenridge back in february- where i learned to ski with "soft feet"- i was pretty impressed with myself connecting and attacking moguls- and actually ENJOYING them! nuts! who knew? we headed over to harmony and symphony areas which are gorgeous (i don't care what russell says, that area is awesome). had a great day of brilliant conditions- powder, some fresh, some packed, some groomed, some not, weather was great and i was spent at the end of the day. awesome. we had a classy-type dinner at the mix by ric's, which included (refer to pictures below) a sublime (sauza, triple sec, mint, pineapple, lime) and a buddha fix (mango vodka, lychee, vanilla syrup, cranberry, soda) cocktail, tuna capaccio or something not quite ceviche and bruschetta with a putanesca cheesy dip thing that was awesome... i had a something-encrusted wild salmon over an edamame and mandarin salad... maharlika had some sort of deconstructed simple caesar salad or something that looked great but i think tom colicchio would have ripped it apart on top chef for being pretentious. and kyle had some sort of awesome spinach salad with strawberries or something it it... i should have taken a pic of the food menu i guess, i don't know how huiwen keeps track of this shit.
i bought a few nanaimo bars at the village market for dessert. holy fuck i love those things. it's a layer of chocolate/coconut cookie, a layer of creamy goo, and then a hardened ganache-type chocolate top. YUMMY. i may have to try to make these so i can have them year-round.
the next morning started out pretty clearly, sort of. we went out on the patio and put on whistler-tv (the best tv station ever) to check out the weather. visibility was "variable". kyle put her skis in the locker and got a snowboard for the day cuz she likes joltingly painful falls. as we headed into the clouds we remained hopeful that "up top" was clear (i've skied through those fog clouds before, it's a rainforest inside of them, but clear as day on either side). it kinda wasn't. so i had to find the peak chair by memory, because we couldn't see 50 (then 20, then 5) feet in front of us, "i think it's over there." "where?" "fuck." at one point we got separated because i was totally blind and got dizzy trying to see so i stopped to wait for more visibility. as we were told later, in those conditions, "you can't tell which is snow and which is sky"- quite right- you don't know up from down and it's a total white-out. anyways- we went up peak chair and it was a really pretty site- we were on top of a blanket of clouds, quite literally. unfortunately, on our way down the saddle, that blanket closed in on us, and we really couldn't see anything. it's a weird feeling to know you're inside weather just sitting there in your gear. at some point you're going to have to leave, but you're hoping it'll clear up in a minute or two so you can see where you're going.
we went like 10 feet by 10 feet at a time on our way down so we didn't lose each other. soon we just decided to go eat some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and maybe the sun would burn the clouds off after lunch. HA! on our way out of the hotel we stopped by the front desk to talk to a very cute local and front desk dude named russell and asked him for weather advice and where to head. as he checked the webcams for us two of the other front desk guys came in and said there's an unmapped area called something-or-other, but there was no way we'd find it without a local. then the cute boys decided to send us back under franz's chair- but gave us specific instructions to stay left/in the trees. they had a lot of confidence in us so we played along cuz they were cute.
so we went and found this really cool little mogul-y area where they told us to go and it was a pretty fun run, we did it a few times and liked it much (goes to show- always make friends with the locals!). and wouldn't you know it, at 3:30pm PST, 1/2 hour before the lifts were gonna close, the weather cleared up and we headed over to some of the blue runs as maharlika caught some sweet air at the terrain park. at one point i found myself sliding upside-down on my stomach on some moguls, but i was laughing, so it couldn't have been that bad. we hit the brasserie in the village for dinner- onion soups, salads, and awesome people watching. unfortunately our waitress was a bit special (some day she's gonna be quarterback), so she got a looney and not a two-ney. and if you know what that means, you're a commie.
the schick extreme razor rodeo was also set up in the village this day to help kick off the telus festival.
the forecast for friday was a warm one and the weather delivered. this was definitely the spring skiing day of the year- warmer than it should have been and then it was gonna get cold again the following week. we got up on blackcomb with an agenda, hopefully the snow would stay skiable long into the day. we got stuck on the jersey cream lift while a big air show was going on underneath us featuring pirates and star wars characters which was interesting, but we really did want to get some of our own sweet air that day. we hit the cloud 9/7th heaven area, which was just absolutely gorgeous. i don't recall ever hitting that side of blackcomb before and it was really beautiful with some great treed areas and an open bowl feel, i definitely will have to spend more time in this area on future visits. it was also directly underneath some hot sunny weather, so the snow definitely turned at one point. we reapplied sunscreen and decided to head over to the blackcomb glacier bowl before the sun got too high in there- also, that run takes a lot out of you, so it was best to do it while we still had some vim left in our blood.
we went up the showcase t bar (i'm afraid of these things- the last time i was on this one/the first time i was on a t-bar, i fell like 4 times, in various stages of t-bar-ness. it sucked. i got bruises, yo.) which is the only way to access the glacier entrance. at the top of the t bar you have to hike into the bowl by going up a really steep short hill, carrying all your equipment mind you, and then--- and this is the part i didn't remember from the first time--- so i'm not sure if an avalanche wiped the path or i just blocked it out- but there's a precarious ledge that was *maybe* a foot wide at it's widest point that we had to crawl along, in SKI BOOTS, still carrying all our gear. i actually got nauseaus while doing this, i was nearly shitting myself and hyperventilating- so i went really really slowly-- but finally made it. ugh. just thinking about it now freaks me out. kyle got a great shot of it:
there were two guys in back of us and one of them fell off into the almost vertical barely mogul-ed wall and his buddy jumped off in after him (see slideshow below)-- they both looked pretty dazed when trying to get their shit together and crawl upwards towards their gear which was a good 10 feet away. it was pretty ridiculous. we all gathered ourselves up after the treacherous hike in and eventually picked spots to enter- we worked our ways to the inside portion away from the marked trail. i went horizontal across to the middle area of the bowl and somewhere about halfway down we caught up with each other to chill for a few minutes, take in the beauty, and steal it's soul with photos... and think about the hike in where we could have broken our necks and were like OMG WE ARE EXTREEEEME! WTF DID WE JUST DO??? i took the opportunity to interview us about how extreme we were. the audio is bad from high winds so i typed out a transcript- and the video is bad because apparently my camera was in the midst of breaking. while the quality on this clip is low, i feel it represents just how EXTREME we are, so i'm posting it anyway.
lynn: here we are in the blackcomb glacier bowl and we had to hike in and the two guys that were in back of us fell off that cliff... and i'm glad that it wasn't us... yeah, it was pretty scary. i was shitting myself.
kyle: (unintelligible due to high winds) ... looked down on that thing...
lynn: yeah, i was trying not to because i was getting nauseas.... so, how's the blackcomb glacier bowl treating you?
kyle: it's awesome. yeah.
lynn: how was the hike in?
kyle: (unintelligible) traumatizing (?)
lynn: with carrying your skis and (unintelligible)?
maharlika: i think the snow is so cold because we're on a glacier.
lynn: that's a good theory
maharlika: it is, it's very cold, my ass is freezing.
lynn: and i think it's good that we hit it now because if we waited until the end of the day it would be like slushy and avalanche-y, they'll probably close it for blasting later... so, how has your experience on the blackcomb glacier been treating you so far?
maharlika: well, i had to hike a little farther to find a flatter area to drop in, and then i look up and i realize the snow had been falling off the mountain
lynn: yeah, there's like little mini-avalanches all around us
lynn: (unintelligible) it's 6.5 miles until we actually get to the next chairlift, so we should go.
we left the bowl and all had a jolt when hitting the slush-line. it's like slamming on the brakes, i nearly lost my shit (a couple of years ago i hit a slush-line and got whipped backwards out of my skis- my neck actually made a CRACK sound when my head hit the ground... that was the first time i ever considered wearing a helmet...) but let out a girly shriek and heard a "whoa" from the guy right in back of me... it was a shared moment of panic. when we got to the bottom there's a rest area where we sat and met one of the bands performing at the telus festival, they were dressed in robes from the westin hotel and long john's and asked us to take pictures of them. it was pretty funny. it was at that moment my camera broke. sad. maharlika got some shots though:
it's 6.5 miles from the entrance to the bowl to the closest chairlift, so it took a little while but we went down to the bottom of the glacier chair and went into the lodge for some grub. then we headed down and did the rock 'n roll -> backstage pass run. this is usually my favorite run to do, but the trail was ungroomed and since it was so warm out, it was REALLY REALLY difficult to ski down this in any normal way. i had had it, if i kept going i would have gotten hurt. kyle runs marathons and maharlika is training for a race-> they weren't as tired and achy as me, so they did another run and i got stuck on the gondola with some friendly people on my way down... it's tempting to start running to make my skiing better... <-- see? utter madness.
that night we watched a few minutes of the big air show going on in the village and pretty much everyone competing kept eating total shit at the bottom. while it was kind of funny, it would have been cooler if they were hitting their landings. we decided against trying to sneak into the mtv canada booth we were standing next to ("we're from the new york office.") and after perusing many menus ended back up at citta. this time we sat in the atrium overlooking the main stroll and had some amazing people-watching as the big air event ended. we played "count the hoodies" (our own included).
we woke up at the asscrack of dawn on sunday and stopped by the creekside market to stock up on chocolate bars to give to folks at home. while up there i discovered the lovely hagensborg truffle pig made in vancouver. it's exquisite.
and the bar is sectioned into little tiny piggies.
the mint one is superb! and then we left our wonderful home at legends lodge and headed down the sea-to-sky, stopping in britannia beach at galileo's coffee for some awesome breakfast. and it was the perfect place to hop out and hop back into the car (i got a cup-o-coffee and a ham/egg/cheese on an english muffin). returned the rental, headed to our terminal, and killed a couple of hours in duty free. ALL THE TOBLERONE YOU COULD DREAM OF-- ALL IN ONE PLACE... once again, cathay pacific flight home was peaceful, beautiful views of the rockies and the sunset over the midwest. watched a j.k. rowling documentary and played battleship on the video console (totally sweet). when we landed i think the thing that was most offensive was the jfk experience, we were slapped right in the face with nyc culture that included a fully armed customs cop yelling and berating/threatening this frail old indian woman because she didn't fill out her card correctly. ahh, new york... bring me your huddled masses yearning to breathe free... i got my bag back and the handle was completely demolished- "sheered off" is more like it. out of spite i wouldn't pay the $3 to rent the cart (CARTS ARE FREE IN CANADA) to bring my shit through the doors... unfortunately for me i had my skis and boot bag to also contend with. but fuck it, i won on principle. listened to the yanks game on the way home and was very happy to see my doggy.
you rule, can't wait to see you again!
*since paul couldn't make it up to join us on saturday, i told him he'd have to come to moe.down to make up for it. sounds like he and megan are gonna do it this year!!! awesome!
SLIDESHOW TIME, SUCKAS!!! consider this a tribute: samsung L55W, R.I.P. 2006-2008