Thursday, January 3, 2013

Whistler Blackcomb

As it turns out, I survived the blizzard and the bad roads; my bus pulled safely into Logan airport around the same time a tour bus outside Portland, Oregon skidded on an icy patch of highway, crashed through a guard rail and killed nine people on their way to Vancouver, British Columbia.

I was on my way up to Vancouver the next morning as well. My plane landed in Seattle at midnight and I slept a few hours in the new house, still unpacked, unfurnished, the heat not yet turned on. In one month I've slept there only three times. I packed a bag in the still-dark morning, throwing piles of clothes across the bare floors- base layers, jackets, down vests, clothes to sleep in, clothes for nights out in Whistler Village, sparkly things for new years, three different pairs of boots. A passport. Books. Sometimes, when I head off on a little trip like this, I'm not really sure how long I'll be gone for.  
With coffee and the radio for company, I drove North on quiet roads, past Bellingham, through the Canadian border and up the long, winding, snow-swept road to the behemoth peaks of Whistler and Blackcomb, arriving just in time to miss the last chair. Thank God. By that time, six hours of heightened awareness on narrow roads later, the caffeine had worn off and all the airports and interstates caught up with me, and if there is anything more stressful than driving through the manic, olympic-rings-soaked Whistler Village with an extreme need to pee with no parking and no bathrooms and lots of haphazard snow-stoned pedestrians clunking slowly across the road in ski boots, I hope I never experience it.

Ah, but all the tension disappeared the second I found the yurt, in a patch of woods decorated in white christmas lights. I helped myself to some of the bourbon and gin and half eaten cake that covered the one table, and then I collapsed gratefully in my sleeping bag next a wood stove and sunk into a beautiful nap. And when I woke up, the boys were home, back from the mountain.
Curry is through-and-through Alaskan. He's friendly and flannel clad and (devastatingly handsome) and always finished his sentence with 'do you want to come along?'

As in, "My university friends and I are going on our annual whistler trip before new years, and we're staying in a yurt, do you want to come along?"

It was a no brainer. There's nothing cozier than a yurt, and nothing happier than falling asleep in one after a hard day skiing and an easy night drinking beer. At the end of one of the most tirelessly adventurous years of my life, finishing off its final days with such style was perfectly fitting.


Whistler is the grand mal seizure of the ski area world. Huge. Complicated. Completely overwhelming. It's two mountains, Whistler and Blackcomb, with a jaw dropping, record-breaking, cross mountain gondola between the two. We took it first thing to get over to Blackcomb glacier for my inaugural Canadian ski run, and I was very grateful that on my growing list of fears (other people's bad weather driving, drowning, avalanches, multiple sclerosis, olives) heights is not included.
The trip was perfect. It was all my favorite things crushed together: bright layers of warm Patagonia, clean snow, endless runs, mountain sunsets, cheap burgers, amber ales, good sleep, and spending time with these two dudes who knew each other so well they all but spoke their own language. I love watching boys who really love each other interact. Always have.
On New Years eve I said goodbye to the Canadians/Alaskans and drove down to Bellingham. All the radio stations were playing their top 100 count downs and I listened to the same five songs over and over, singing out loud and drinking triple shot americanos, bodily exhausted but lit up with post-skiing cheerfulness. (Try as you may to be hipster but it's always these overplayed pop songs that become the anthem of the year. It just happens. Go with it. Let that ship carry your body safe to shore and then call me, maybe.)  

Only once on the drive South did I turn my head to consider the empty passenger seat, and realize that the adventures are different now.  Now they are all mine. It's good and it's bad.
And this was the my last one of 2012.

17 comments:

Catherine said...

I love reading your stories, Melina. I wish you an awesome 2013, full of new adventures, love and the adoption of a new house you still need to get to know...

Curry said...

As my father is fond of saying, "All hail the good life, and the true spirit of adventure". Here's to an excellent 2013 all around.

SmithShack71 said...

I'm leaving this message to you in the comment because I am sooo late, and have got to get it in gear, and get out the door, and this seems the fastest so...

I came across your blog close to a year ago, loved it, and then lost it. I slept and forgot. (I do that) So, today I saw your comment over at etst, and I was like, I like this person. I clicked on your name by your comment and it brought me here, and I said -omg! Found her again! yay.

Have a great day.
-Angie

dig this chick said...

Yay for adventure of just the right kind. Olives? I will work on this. See you in a few days! xoxo

Hannah said...

I think we may be sisters from another mister. Reading your blog is like reading a story of my exact life at this moment. Just out of a 6! year relationship, I too live for deep snow here in Bozeman, MT, and insanely good looking dudes who do rad stuff. I also have a serious addiction to reading the wise words from Nici.....Keep rocking, skiing, and here's to adventures on our own. They really are ok....and come check out Bozeman sometime were the snow is plentiful as are the cute guys.

Melina said...

@catherine....thank you so much. i love reading about the incredible adventure that you're on as well.

Melina said...

@angie

I like that story. welcome back, and I hope you settle in and enjoy yourself and I get to know you, too!

Melina said...

@hannah

SISTERS FROM ANOTHER MISTER? that is so much better than brothers from another mother. I love that. amazing.

I'm in Montana right now! In white fish, heading to Nici tomorrow. if my sister wasn't visiting seattle on tuesday, i swear i'd bop over to bozeman and beg you to ski with me. next time?

yesterday i met someone at a bar here in wf and mentioned that the first time i came to montana, it was because i'd just broken up with my boyfriend. the guy grinned, and said very sincerely, "I'm so happy to here that! congratulations! I love hearing those things."

he literally responded to the break up like it was such a happy thing, because i got to move on to whatever was next, which is always exciting. i loved him for his reaction and I want to pass it on, so here goes: out of a six year relationship? congratulations!!! I"m so happy for you!

xoxo

Melina said...

@curry, hey! let's go ski stevens.

Melina said...

@dig that's right sister, no olives. but i do love white wine. and beer. and black coffee roasters. and white wine. and wine?

xoxox

Emily said...

1. You're cool.

2. "I love watching boys who really love each other interact. Always have." Me TOO!!!! Totally.

3. I have a crush now on your friend Curry.

Emily said...

PS, I have now decided that my personal vision of happiness is, "I fell asleep in a sleeping bag next to a wood stove." Aahhh.

Hannah said...

@melina can't believe you have never heard that saying before. I love whitefish, I will be there in two weeks holding down the Remington and Bulldogs perhaps.....ha! Congrats on the break up, I suppose it is a good thing, a celebratory thing. I mean, why not?! Have fun, go ski Big Mountain and eat some nachos at the Hell Roaring. They. Are. Life. Changing.

Gaby said...

As a Vancouver girl living far from home, I loved this post. I miss Whistler so much, and long drives on that scarily winding highway. Glad I found your blog :)

Amy said...

After the bone that was thrown in way of one picture on top a Canadian mountain, I am pumped to read about your Whistler trip!
A yurt? For real? Is awesome? I feel like I just need to believe you and not try it for myself... I dunno though.
Happy 2013!

sarahzmitch said...

I found your blog through Kelle and already love it after reading only a few entries. I love the line, "I love watching boys who really love each other interact." Me too! Looking forward to tagging along through your words and pictures on your adventures.

Steve said...

Damn reading this is great and reminded me I need to play Call Me Maybe and Gangnam Style on the playlist. Pop songs are the greatest.