For passionate skiers a 'white Christmas' means more than just a pretty view of the flakes out the window, rather a powder day on the mountain. This year Whistler Blackcomb made Santa’s good list and was gifted with 4meters of snow in December! In contrast, it seems those Euros must have been naughty as their resorts are dry.
It turns out that having accepted festive invites to come back from the Alps was (innocently) well timed. My parents accuse me of only chasing the snow but we compromise with a family dinner December 24th in North Van so that I can make it to Whistler on Christmas day. Getting around the North Shore without a car is a challenge but this solved the issue of gifts - I didn't buy any. I abandoned the idea of going around by foot for last minute shopping when that Vancouver non-stop rain kicked in, but before I sound like a Christmas 'scrooge' I'll add that I came from Europe with gifts in hand. It was time to turn the focus to the real fun - ski plans.
I went on my go-to ride sharing site hitchplanet.com (previously hitchwhistler) and immediately found three rides heading to Whistler Dec.25th, similarly priced, all around 6:30am but one guy 'Bob' was 5min from my house. I thought I scared him off by asking too many questions but he was so nice he actually offered to bring me a coffee with the pick up! I pushed my luck by asking for a hot chocolate with almond milk, to which he politely replied he did not have. Was Bob actually going to bring me a homemade coffee? I already thought a Starbucks stop was good, but this true hospitality was a nice welcome back and the real Canadian friendliness a pleasant change from the almost comical grumpiness I see in France (my second home).
My parents were up at 6am to wave me off, giving us the weather report and my old school lunch bag for the road. At this point Bob is wondering how old I really am, my grey hair with parental goodbye has thrown him. We move on to collect our 2nd passenger Haley, welcomed with the special coffee and a surprise Baileys with it. She offers homemade muffins and I feel bad that I came empty handed for this festive rideshare. Bob drops us at the Village and actually hands me a sachet of hot chocolate so I could make my own with the 'milk' of my choice!
While getting a ride to Whistler was great I was then lacking the motivation to bus the last leg of the trip: Village to Alpine Meadows. The last time I attempted a Christmas day bus trip it took 2hrs from Creekside to Alpine! This time half asleep with three bags I happily accept the offer to pick me up. My friend jumps out of his van in Whistler village complete in boxer shorts, a Christmas tie, and sandals.
A winter welcome Canadian style! It's only 08:30am and time for a Christmas bonanza of present unwrapping, overeating, a day on the hill, and cross country skiing. None of which would have been possible without the willingness of people to share their cars.