A Locally Owned, Mom and Pop Storm


Adventure is up to you. There is no existing framework to sturdy it, no spider’s webbing of emotional infrastructure to tell you what newness and excitement must entail. No plane ticket minimums, drink minimums, must-see attractions, see-to-believe spectacles, guaranteed good times or even hint-laden guidelines to begin ushering you aboard an ever buoyant vessel of sure-fire-adventure-stuffed experiences. (Photos by Stewart Medford)

Knowing that, I still had a hard time registering what the boy with the car was saying. He was forking up all the gears of a once spotless, three-man road-trip across the province.

"What?" I said over the phone

"Its nine hours each way…" he stuttered.

I shook my head back and forth. No – No. Not now. A small part of my day before consisted of confirming our hostel space in Golden, near Kicking Horse BC: the notorious, joy-inducing, testosterone and sled-oil fuelled section of the steep East Kootenays.

For me and the boy with the camera, Stewart Medford, booking the five consecutive days off work to begin even fathoming a trip to such a place was next to impossible. He’s a photographer at a Powder Mountain, a local Whistler cat ski operation and I’m a Blackcomb Terrain Park employee AKA: we’re two boys who do our work in ski boots and to get any time off in early February wasn't easy! But we aligned ourselves as best we could, remained cordial with those at our command, and it actually managed to happen. And now this was happening.

"… it's just going to cost more than I got," our once-ride finished regretfully. And with that kind of language, I understood it was all over. With a sorrowful nod, I hung up the phone and called the boy with the camera to discuss our next move.

"Dude, lets just stay here." He immediately said, having just sat down to dinner.

"We do live in Whistler." I affirmed remarkably before quickly switching sides: "but the Horse is in the middle of an onslaught right now!" I was torn. Our ears on the ground had provided reconnaissance from the area and they said with our (pre-existing) arrival times, we were going to have the time of our lives. Were…

Were, were, were…

"Well, what do we do?" Medford said, chewing on well-lathered ribs a few kilometres away, sitting on a maroon couch in the hotel room he’s occupied for six months.

"What do we do…" I echoed complacently, staring straight ahead in my tiny mood-lit room. I was surrounded by a silent, potent, very capable quiver of skis that patiently waited for our combined conclusion like an antsy Moroccan camel caravan.

We had to decide: Do we get on a greyhound, a thumb, and a dream? Do we pack, spend, mission about: exhausting ourselves, our banks and our wits? Or, do we stay home and enjoy the next few days of an incoming, familiar, locally owned, mom-and-pop storm on our own home-sweet-turf?

Ah, the path of least resistance.

It’s predictable: we skiers choosing to avoid the option with the most obstacles in it (like the best tendencies of H2o) by “stranding” ourselves at home for the simple hell of it. We’d ski, shoot, write and leak our way around another underestimated storm cycle, and in doing so, adapt what ‘adventure’ means to us: customizing it, by simply staying put.

Here’s what we “came back” with.

-Ben Wannnamaker


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