Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Family Time Away

I just unpacked and washed our clothes from our time in Whistler over the weekend. There was sweaty, stinky snow gear: gloves, woolen hats and socks, long underwear. We had such a wonderful time, that I still felt warm with memories as I loaded it all in the washing machine.

Some dear friends offered us their timeshare at a condo for Friday and Saturday and we gladly took them up on the offer.

Whistler is gorgeous. It's about 2 hours north of Vancouver along the Sea to Sky highway. The village itself is pedestrian-only and is full of quaint accomodations, restuarants and shops. It's a very high-end resort destination nestled just past Squamish and along the coastal mountains.

Shortly after our arrival, we explored the village and had lunch at a cozy French Bistro called La Brasserie des Artistes. The ski and snowboard festival was just getting started and people from all over the world were making their way across the courtyard and toward the live music near the Blackcomb Gondola.

Our kids were congested and feverish from colds, so we didn't stay out in the snow too long, just enough to breathe crisp, clear mountain air and to get a feel for the atmosphere. On our way back to the condo, we drove leisurely through some high-end neighborhoods and got ideas for further renovating our little bungalow.

Since the kids were still sneezy and cranky and sleepy the next morning, we decided to keep them inside. So, we gave eachother awhile to explore alone.

I mostly walked around the village, popped into a few snowboarding shops, settled in with a cinnimon bun, apple cider and a magazine toward the end. It was lovely, and I thought a great deal about snowboarding and about whether or not I should try to get outfitted again.

I used to have my own board and boots and everything I'd need for a day on the slopes. But during my 4th semester in University, money was tight, so I sold my stereo and snowboarding gear to cover a looming tuition bill. I've been wanting to replace the gear ever since.

The shops at Whistler are expensive. I found a snowboarding outfit I loved and it was over $500! I was overwhelmed by the idea that all those bodies were walking around wearing and carrying nearly $2000 worth of stuff. I came back feeling pretty discouraged, that this hobby I love is extravagant and extraneous and not worth the money.

But I LOVE to snowboard. It is my favorite sport, hands down. Is there a economical way I can get re-outfitted? I had a long chat with a friend after the trip. He reminded me that I love used stuff, and serendipitous finds. And that if I'm willing to wait, there's a good chance I'll find just want I want and need, for a fraction of the price I'd pay for new gear.

This is more my style anyway.

Later that same day, I took Alley on the Gondola to the Tube Park. We had a wonderful time tubing together! I was amazed at how brave she was. I mean, she was barely tall enough to be allowed on the mountain. And she launched herself fearlessly down the mountain, laughing and squealing the whole way.

As we rode back down the Gondola, cozy and warm in our snowgear, I added up how much we had paid for it. Alley's snowjacket was a hand-me-down, her snowpants 50 cents at a garage sale, her boots 2 dollars at MCC thrift. My Down Jacket is 30 years old, a hand-me-down from my dad, my snow pants 2 dollars at MCC thrift. My hiking boots $125 new, but 5 years old and still trucking fine. Our hats and gloves no more than 5$ in total, from MCC thrift.

And we were super warm after a pretty chilly tubing adventure.

So, I am encouraged, that it is okay to do this seemingly "extravagant" thing I love. I just need to remember who I am and make mindful choices about what I REALLY need in order to do it.


elizabeth said...

enjoyed reading this... your kids are feeling better now i hope?

$, things and buying responsibly is a challenge! i hope you find the snow board things used... i know i have found things unexpectely that i needed just then...


Natalie Bryant said...

From another snowboarding buddy to the next, you definitely can find things on sale and used quality gear. And once you find it, it comes close to lasting forever. I still have EVERYTHING I need to snowboard (outfit and gear) from fifteen years ago. Once I awhile I get the board waxed and pull out the jacket, boots and gloves and I'm ready to go! I am with you -- it is the best sport, hands down. You feel like you're flying. :) Remember laughing all the way down the hill...I still have those photos.

AIMEE said...

will pray right now for the perfect gear for you that arrives in an unexpected way!!

Love your descriptions!

tamie said...

great post. i love the photos too...

and, happy birthday to the soul baby!!!

Mama Monk said...

Thank you Elizabeth,for your encouragement. and Aimee for your prayers! Natalie, i love the memory i have of us snowboarding! The one with the crazy multi-colored toques on...and goofy smiles. And Tamie, thanks for the birthday wishes for my boy. He celebrated in style with a big pancake breakfast with friends and family. FUN! Wish you could've been there.

Rach said...

MM, I see you're reading TWEM....I'm part of an online discussion group called Possibilities Inc. that is using that book as the basis of our readings and discussions - not that there's much of either going on! Do you want to join us? Some of us are still (after three years) on Don Quixote!

L.L. Barkat said...

Snow! What an odd thought, as I watch the forsythia bloom and the buds burst green on woodland bushes.

Mama Monk said...

I would love to join you guys. That would be good incentive to plug through the list. Maybe i should skip Don Quixote? It sounds like a doozie to start with!

Thanks for asking!

Mama Monk said...

I'm so glad you are having signs of SPRING in your parts. It sounds lovely.