Whistler, it pains me to do this. I love you, but you’ve got to get your shit together.
For the last few years, no matter where I’ve been in the world, I’ve made the pilgrimage to Whistler to enjoy a white Christmas. However this year, I will be heading back home to the Gold Coast for Christmas, as it is one of the rare years when all of my family will be in the one place at the one time.
Growing up on Australia’s Gold Coast, Christmas falls in the middle of Summer, and daytime temperatures regularly nudge up into the high 30’s (around 100 degrees Fahrenheit) with high humidity.
Doesn’t sound too bad? Well, it mostly isn’t, but it sure doesn’t feel like Christmas when you have sweat pooling in your butt crack, you can’t drink red wine at room temperature else you’ll burn your tongue, and your flip flops melt when they hit the pavement. In fact the only white you’ll see at Christmas is when I don the bathers for a relieving dip in the pool.
Anyway, because I’m heading Down Under for Christmas, I’ve been forced to bring my traditional Whistler trip forward a few weeks.
I was so, so, so, so, looking forward to this. It is the one thing that I truly look forward to all year.
Whistler is an amazing, beautiful place. The restaurants are fantastic, the skiing unrivalled, and red wine just seems to taste better when consumed in front of a crackling fire.
This year, everything has been slightly off, and I don’t know why.
December usually has the highest snowfall. But this year, it’s not snowing, but is a bitterly cold and windy -15. The windchill runs through to your bones. Even the local bears refuse to come out to shit. So I’m trapped indoors.
Add to that, I’ve been snapping awake at 4am every day due to jet lag. Whistler is not a morning person, and doesn’t even start to stir until 10am.
Normally, that’s not a problem, because any downtime gives me a chance to catch up on hundreds of emails, phone messages and looming deadlines. But now I’m freelancing, I can do all of that in one toilet sitting, and therefore have much more time on my hands (after I’ve washed them).
That would usually be great… but. The indoor sanctuaries that I usually hold in such high regard, seem to be struggling this year too.
My first night in Whistler, I head down to Hy’s Steakhouse, which I have been to numerous times, and which is normally very good. However this time, we get a 10-minute speech on how they use the only best 1% of beef in Canada. That’s all well and good, if you know how to fucking cook it.
I order it rare. It comes out medium. Tilt.
On top of that, their claim to fame is making a Caesar Salad at the table. I’m no chef, but anyone can whip up a fucking Caesar salad. It is the easiest and simplest of salads. So much so, it should be renamed the Paris Hilton Salad.
Perhaps the chefs are too snooty to make it? I don’t know, but I don’t want my waiter wasting 10 minutes making me a shitty $12 salad, when he should be bringing me the fucking beer I ordered half-an-hour ago.
Then next night, we head over to Keg Steakhouse, another usually fine establishment. This time, my sister gets plastic in her baked potato? Double you tee eff Whistler? How is this even possible?
Perhaps I’m just too early, and everyone is not yet on their A-game?
Fortunately, the following night, we had a relaxing night in, watching movies in front of the fire sipping Schnapps. Funny thing Schnapps. 360 days of the year, I don’t touch the stuff. But somehow in Whistler, it is the nectar of the gods. Which god? I’m not sure – probably the Butterscotch one.
One blissful night aside, the lack of snow is really bugging me. Apparently all of the big snow dumps are due the day I have to head off to Montreal for business. Aside from enhancing the skiing experience, snow actually makes the weather more pleasant. Without it, the biting wind is driving me insane.
So for the first time in my life, I have actually WANTED to escape from a Whistler Winter to a southern hemisphere Summer.
Fire up Whistler! You are usually a smurfy place. You now have 3 more days to give me a happy ending. I assure you, if you do it right, it usually doesn’t take anywhere near that long.