By Katie Burrell
Catch the sunrise, ski tour past a glacier, soak in a thermal pool. Vacation is working out really well for you; in fact, you have forgotten how to:
a) Put away your own skis (blame: ski valet; note: great smile).
b) Open your own doors (blame: concierge; note: quite cute).
More importantly, by day three, you have not only remembered how to vacation, but why you should go on it way more. Now, I’m no doctor, but I will endeavor to hypothesize that there is a psychological block for hard-working, honest, humble individuals, resulting in what I will refer to as “Preliminary Vacation Anxiety Syndrome” (until I have a legal patent). This syndrome includes the following symptoms:
- An overwhelming feeling of “never enough” or “never done” when working
- A tendency to be very hard on oneself
- A fear that your world may crumble around you if you stop “self-improving” for five minutes
- Social Media Addiction (SMA)
Fortunately, working closely with a placebo pharmaceuticals brand called “Destination BC,” I have come up with a cure.
Go on vacation. Right now.
Thursday morning was infused of that feeling of jam-packed vacation itinerary excitement as we loaded our gear into the shuttles that would take us to Coast Range Heliskiing in Pemberton. Epic pow, pillow lines, over the head blower – all that heli-skiing with CRH can be – it’s kinda not right now. Which is great. Turns out, casual heli days in the sunshine, surrounded by walls of beautiful uncovered rock, through gullies of soft snow, is the skiing equivalent of getting over improving your golf handicap for one day, hitting up a mini-putt course and eating an ice cream cone. Anyone that’s like “why would I go heli-skiing? There’s no pow!” is missing out on laughing as they figure-eight down one of those classic wide-open slopes and yelling at their friends in fake European Alpinist accents (read: having fun).
Lisa Korthals (guide, legend, mother, lady boss) lead us all day with a calm smile and a pair of mint Foon skis (handcrafted by her husband, from local yellow cedar, in Pemberton, BC) through the gorgeous terrain behind Mt. Currie. We laughed at each other adjusting speeds as we blasted through the changing snow conditions and squealed** as we held chatter down in sudden sections of hard pack after smearing through wide open creamy turns.
**Bruno would probably appreciate it if I mentioned that he didn’t squeal. Not his thing. He is more of a silent speed adjuster.
After landing back “at the ranch” (which is literally a ranch, so you can actually say that), we crushed a few local beers and joked with the other groups about who was the fastest/fittest/least sweaty. Then it was back to Whistler, because, of course, we had dinner engagements…
Smash cut: walls of ice and white Canada Goose jackets in the Belvedere Vodka room at the Bearfoot Bistro, shots of smooth vodka between thumb and pinkies. Cut away: in her left hand, Katie holds a bottle of B2 champagne, in her right, a sabre. While walls of wine bottles look upon: one, two, three, smash! The sabre slices off the top of the bottle, the bubbles pour out, the flutes clink underneath as they fill, we all delight.
Cut back to a table laden with towers of fresh bread, Yellowfin Tuna Tartar, Fraser Valley Squab Breast and New Zealand Venison in Parsnip and Cippolini Onion Crumble. Cue waiters twirling around the table filling delicate glasses with sparkling water, a sommelier and a sports jacket splashing paired wines into glasses; dynamic flavours accented, zealous conversation encouraged. Pause: a charming presentation of the next course, a stream of Chilean red into an oversized glass, a knife, a fork, a bite…three sighs. The Bearfoot Bistro, end scene.
Our eyes opened a little more slowly on Friday morning, and we met up with Alta Bistro part owner Edward Dangerfield (real name) and decided that sunny groomer laps on Blackcomb would be our non-violent weapon of choice. “Dangey” as he quickly became, is one of those people that you meet and right away know that he cares about good people, good food and living a good life.
We ate at the Alta Bistro on Friday evening, and it’s safe to say that Edward, his business partner Eric Griffith, head chef Nick Cassettari, bartender Scot Curry (voted best in Whistler) and every waiter in the joint are all cut from that same cloth. After a few hours on the slopes together, Edward had listened and silently figured out what each of us would enjoy the most from the menu. Zoya was presented with Pemberton Root and Tuber Salad, Bruno an Alberta Elk Tartar and Duck Liver Parfait and myself, Crispy Pork Belly & Dungeness Crab. “He cares,” I whispered to the table, perhaps a bit melodramatically. Nodding in silent, unanimous agreement, we quietly took our first few bites. Then I dropped blue cheese down my onesie and we all lost it again.
The food is locally sourced. The wine is humbly paired. The chefs are calm. Everything feels really real, and sometimes, it’s nice to feel like you’ve made some real friends, even if you are just on a pretend vacation.
For more, read A #skiBC getaway in Whistler – Part 1
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