Tuesday, December 01, 2015

That time we won a trip to Whistler

Last fall I bought some raffle tickets to support our friends' football team.To my surprise, I won one of the top prizes - a stay in the Coast Blackcomb Suites in Whistler.

At first we thought we'd go up in the summer, and do some hiking. But Andrew damaged his ankle in the half marathon last fall. And then when that healed, he hurt his knee. And then we had to reschedule our booked trip. But in the end, I think this was the perfect weekend to go.

For one thing, there was snow.

In the morning we decided to head to the village to buy David gloves. You see, we'd bought both kids nice ski gloves a couple of years ago, but one of David's was missing and Elisabeth's were close to being too small. What better place to buy new gloves than Whistler village, right?

But Andrew took a wrong turn on the way from our hotel, and we ended up at Lost Lake instead. SUCH a shame...

It felt a lot more snowy than this picture looked. It was about minus 5, and very cold. A good portion of the lake was frozen.

A kind stranger snapped a picture of us. What a glorious back drop!

But see? This looks cooooooold!

These three chairs were off to one side. It felt very thrones of Narnia so I made Lucy, Edmund and Peter have a seat.
And then I wandered around snapping pictures while they broke bits of ice off the edge of the lake and sent them skiffing across the ice. Have you ever done that?

I can't exactly describe the noise except to say it's strangely beautiful. And if you throw the ice just right, it goes on forever across the frozen lake.

Another cool thing was the patterns the frost and snow made. This is taken at the edge of the lake, on the beach, where the thick frost was forming beautiful flowers.

And a dire warning for those who might attempt to walk on water...

There was a little wooden bridge that led to a pathway around the lake. Elisabeth and I tried for a long time to take pictures of the ice and frost formations on the edge of the water. And in the end I settled for this cute picture of her.

More beautiful frost. And though these are taken of the frost, the snow had gotten so cold, that it was very crystalline and beautiful too.

 And after I had that picture, I went for a little walk around the lake.

 Eventually my family realised I was missing :) They caught up with me and we snapped some selfies.

Be very careful of the water temperature...it is cold!

I attempted to get some pictures for our Christmas cards...I decided we could take turns taking pictures (I forgot the tripod of course. I also forgot my hair spray, my gloves, my winter coat....).

Another kind stranger happened along and took a few pictures of us against this backdrop.

 Then we went for a walk the other way around the lake.

I'm not going to tell you which awful person did this to David. Or that she took pictures before helping wipe the snow off his face. Terrible, awful person.

But that person definitely did not do this to Elisabeth. No, Elisabeth went diving for snow all on her own. Little monkey.

 And why is it that she looks so sad, you might well ask?

Well obviously it's because she can't reach the snow hanging off the edges of her hat, and she desperately wants to lick it.

So while I looked away from Elisabeth for one second to get a picture of my bad son being disobedient and walking across a frozen fish creek....

...Elisabeth started licking the snow off the bridge railings...

Then I tried to get some more Christmas card pictures.

Fat chance of me swimming, are they crazy?!

Then we went to the warming hut. It didn't work. Maybe we needed to go closer.

We finally found our way to the village to find some gloves. But there was a candy store and then a playground.

And so we abandoned all thought of gloves. At least for a little while.

 I should probably pause and comment on the fact that we used to go to Whistler every summer.

When Andrew and I worked at Campus Crusade for Christ, Canada/Power to Change, we attended the Staff Conferences every summer. Most years, they were held in Whistler and so we would spend a week up here. When the kids were old enough, they attended a kids' club and we would spend every spare moment hiking or exploring.

 The last conference we attended in Whistler was in 2010, just shy of the Vancouver/Whistler Olympics. Unbelievably (at least to us), we've never made it back up here since. 

 The remnants of the Olympics were quite fun.

And of course, most of our old favorites were still here waiting for us.

Here are some posts from last time we were in Whistler: Day One, Day Two, Day Three and Day Four. Man the kids have grown a lot since those days!

H'anyway. The little creek that runs through the village was frozen. The kids thought it was a riot to run back and forth and up and down.

 I think they're ready for skating season.

 And then we persuaded yet another kind stranger to take a picture of us all lounging in the Olympic rings.

 [This is a brief interlude wherein I insert a few pictures from my iPhone. Mostly from Lost Lake again. Some parts of the lake were very snowy. Like this corner here, in the shade.

 This bridge was beautiful.

 Andrew spied this creek and pointed it out to me - it's a little hard to tell, but the water was flowing SO FAST and yet there was thick ice as well. Quite fascinating.

This one is from the Olympic Court in Whistler Village. And now we return to the story about our day.]

Andrew had done some research and found that Olympic Park was open. It's $15 a car load to go up there and slide. So that's what we did. After we'd abandoned all hope of finding gloves for the kids since either stores didn't carry kids' gloves, or they wanted $150 for them.

After last August's trip to Manning and the terrifying drive up to the alpine trails, I was very scared to drive the ten K up to the Olympic Park. As it happens, it was a lovely drive up there, and not scary at all. 

 And there was lots and lots of lovely snow!

 So again, the way it works - $15/car load and the sleds and helmets are free. You can also bring your own sleds and helmets if you have them.

 The sliding area is located at the bottom of the olympic jumps where there is a huge, beautiful groomed area.

 I had debated back and forth with myself over whether to bring my real camera and in the end I only brought my iPhone. What a mistake that was.

 But as you can see, we had a wonderful time sliding. The hill looked kind of pathetic as we drove up, but let me assure you, it was more than adequate for our needs.

 And there's also a conveniently located fire (stocked with loads and loads of firewood). You could bring your own wieners and marshmallows and anything else you fancied and make a day of sliding. It's on our list for this winter.

 There's also a lodge with hot chocolate, and probably a host of other things, but we never went inside to check it out.

I did, however, go for a walk to visit with the Inukshuk.

 I made it back just in time to get this shot of David crashing.

And this one of Elisabeth.

 She decided she was dead.

 So I pulled her backwards upside down back up the hill.

 Sliding is fun, yo.

 And then it was getting dark so we decided we'd better leave.

 The drive back to Whistler was just lovely. I may have almost frozen my fingers off taking pictures at every possible chance.

After changing into dry clothes and having a quick rest, we drove back to the village for dinner. The Olympic Park was just gorgeous at night time.

 Next time we come up here, it should probably be for more than 36 hours.

And I should probably bring a coat.

Maybe some gloves.

 We dawdled our way up through the village.

Andrew had commented earlier in the day that he thought these trees would be spectacular at night. He was correct.

 This couple seemed fascinated with the display in the art gallery.

 We had a forty minute wait for a table at the Old Spaghetti Factory, so we used some of that time to wander up to the top of the village and see if our friend Mr Bear was still there.

It was a blessed reunion.

 After a delicious dinner, we wandered back through the village. It was really too cold to spend too much time wandering, so it was more of a slow sprint. We darted into one store to warm up half way down. And then quickly posed for a few more pictures.

 Including one by the fire because it was warm there.

 Then we stopped at the IGA and grabbed brownies and went back to our suite to watch cooking and decorating shows and drink hot tea. It wasn't exactly how I'd envisioned spending our evening in Whistler, but in the end it was just what we needed. Cozy and relaxing and beautiful.

Sunday morning we left bright and early - Elisabeth is in three dance classes this fall and she had photos. We were at the studio off and on from noon till after nine. So I'm glad we got to enjoy this beautiful drive first.

 Because we'd left early, we were able to stop at almost every view point. It was minus 8 at one point, and I stayed taking pictures so long my fingers were starting to stick together.

I think it was worth it though, don't you?

Eventually I got some of the family (okay, all of the family) to get out and join me taking pictures.

 It was a fabulous weekend. A huge thank you to Coast Blackcomb Suites and Langley Minor Football Association.