A few months ago Zach and I were discussing ideas about going on a family vacation. Since we are coming up on Zach’s 30th birthday, I told him that he could pick where and when we would go. I figured (considering I know how Zach’s mind works) that he would pick a “city” vacation or a tropical destination. When he told me he wanted to go snowboarding in Canada it totally threw me off. Mostly because the only knowledge I have of Canada, and the only reference that comes to mind, is the movie Cool Runnings. I am serious. But I went along with it. Zach planned the whole trip. He scheduled activities, booked the hotels, made restaurant reservations. I was only in charge of packing for Sloan and myself – which was harder than you would think considering we’ve never been there before.
I was hesitant about the flight, mostly. International flights [even though we were just traveling to Canada] are always a little more cumbersome than domestic flights. You have extra security and the whole customs/border control situation to deal with. I was just hoping that it would go smoothly for all of us, but mostly for Sloan. She was as happy as could be at the airport. She loves people watching…
We got to board early [the biggest advantage of traveling with babes] and got all settled in our seats. We left on time, Sloan flirted with the male flight attendant that was manning the drink cart (no shame, it got me an extra Bischoff cookie) and not long after she got sleepy. I wrapped her up, put on her headphones, and she was out for the count. The flight couldn’t have gone better. When we arrived we grabbed our luggage, picked up our rental car, and headed up to Whistler.
We checked into our hotel and somehow got upgraded to a suite. I still don’t know how it all happened – I am still wondering if they were worried that Sloan would keep the other guests up all night, so they shoo’d us up as far away as possible? Either way, we were thrilled.
The free upgrade meant Sloan had her own room. We got her all ready for bed and decided to order room service for dinner and eat it in our little dining area. It was so nice to relax just the two of us after all the traveling.
The next morning Sloan woke up chipper as ever. Believe it or not – Sloan sleeps better on vacation than she does at home. I think she appreciates hotel life as much as I do.
The whole reason Zach chose Whistler is so he could snowboard. They have year-round snowboarding because of the glacier. I was happy to float around in the pool with Sloan while Zach hit the slopes. We had the heated outdoor pool all to ourselves and the weather was unbelievable.
Afterwards we went back to our room to change and meet up with Zach so we could go on a little excursion. As if the hotel hadn’t already hooked us up enough – they were hosting a Moxilla training conference. How does this relate to our little family? The swag. Tech companies love their swag. And food, as well. Every morning, afternoon, and evening there would be a giant spread left out near the elevators. A rookie move, on their part, but a big bonus for us. There would be tables of leftover soda, candy, fruit, and other snacks – all abandoned. Zach and I would sneak the free treats as fast as we could before we would leave the hotel and stash our loot in Sloan’s stroller. That way, if we were ever caught and didn’t have a Moxilla badge to flash – we could just blame it on the baby. Nobody gets mad at babies. Back on track: we took some of our free [lifted/abandoned] goods on a family hike that afternoon to Brandywine Falls. We made the short drive down HWY 99 and parked our ride and set off down the trail to the waterfall. The short hike was beautiful all on it’s own. You crossed bridges, train tracks… …and walked through a galley of gorgeous trees.
Once we got to the outlook, we couldn’t believe the view. The whole upper area was fenced off and there were a few other hikers nearby. We decided to take a little stroll where nobody could see us and hop the fence to get a better view. So basically, Sloan broke her very first law on Canadian soil.
After our hike we ventured back to the hotel to shower up and get dressed for dinner. Sloan took her afternoon nap and when she woke up we walked through Whistler Village.We ate at a busy pub where we tried the local cuisine – poutine (frites topped with gravy and cheese curds). Sloan was hesitant, but Zach and I thought it was surprisingly delicious.
The next morning I woke up mid-panic. I haven’t set an alarm for almost 8 months. Sloan wakes up around 7:00/7:30 every morning – so there’s no need. She must have decided to sleep in on vacation because I woke up startled at 9:00. I had to wake the poor girl up to feed her. Once we got up and ready we walked down to the tram adjacent from our hotel. It was cooler our second day [65 degrees is my kind of weather, though] and we hopped in our gondola to ride to the top of Whistler.
We then boarded the Peak to Peak Gondola – which spans across the peak of Whistler Mountain to Blackcomb Mountain. It’s the longest spanning gondola of it’s kind. The views were pretty spectacular. Our car had a glass floor so you could see all the way below you.
Afterwards, Zach went back to the room to change into his snowboarding gear so he could get a few more runs in and Sloan and I ventured to Whistler Village. We shopped around for a few hours until Zach made it back to the hotel to meet us.
We decided to get another easy hike in before dinner. Loggers Lake was a quick – but uphill – trek up a mountain nearby. Once again, we had the place all to ourselves. It was overcast and other than the sound of lapping water, it was absolutely silent.
After our walk around the lake we hiked back down to the car to get some dinner. We ate at a Mongolian Grill inside Whistler Village. Zach was in heaven. It brought him back to his O-Town roots – but this place was a little nicer than Lee’s Mongolian.
The next morning Zach and Sloan lounged around our hotel while I got to hit up the hotel gym. The views were gorgeous. Afterwards we all got ready, checked out of our hotel, and ventured out again to the Village. We visited all the Olympic memorabilia and Sloan deemed the bobsleds pretty entertaining.
We had lunch at a Cantina – fish tacos and Diet Coke.
We flew over several other mountain top lakes and two gorgeous glaciers – over 10,000 year old ice. Of all the things we did this trip – the seaplane ride was my favorite. Sloan would have loved it if she could have kept her eyes open.
When we got to the top we decided to brave the suspension bridge – unlike the Asian tour group who wouldn’t set foot on it. Several of them gasped when I stepped foot on in with Sloan.
The views were worth the intimidating ravine below and I swear it was completely safe.
We perused the gift shop for a bit, took in the view, and then made our way back down.We finished up the last leg of our drive to Vancouver and checked into our hotel. By the time we got all settled in it was late and we decided to get food from the hotel restaurant sent up to our room. The house-made pasta did not disappoint.
Our first day in Vancouver we spent walking around the city and shopping. Sloan was a trooper the entire trip – constantly being nursed in the car and other strange places, eating her sweet potatoes in the back seat – never complained or fussed once.
I made Zach walk into several stores with me and rewarded him afterwards with a stop at Pinkberry. Sloan wasn’t impressed, but appreciated the cool-off.
We made our way back to the hotel so Sloan could get an afternoon nap in before we went back out for dinner. We made it just in time, too. We had no idea the Women’s World Cup tournament was taking place in Vancouver and we made it up to our room just as the flood of spectators exited the stadium. Canada lost to England and the crowd was not pleased. Sloan was elated to watch the people and we obliged. Afterwards we made our way to an area of the city called Gastown. There were all these awesome shops and it’s where we had dinner reservations for the night. We ate a the Flying Pig. It was the best meal of our entire trip. Sloan made friends with the restaurant manager [who happened to have a daughter named Sloane] and spoiled her the whole night. The weather was so gorgeous that we walked around for a bit until it was time to head back to our hotel.
The next morning we had to be at the airport early for our departure back home. Sloan slept half of the flight and barely made a peep – as long as she had her new light-up toy we got her for the way home. When we landed we made our way through customs – which was SO much easier with a baby. People treat you like royalty when you have a babe strapped to you. They let us through the hoards of people and Sloan passed her inspection with flying colors. Canada is not where I would have picked to celebrate Zach’s upcoming birthday, but I’m so glad he did. That’s one of a thousand reasons I adore him. He is always down for a new adventure and loves trying new things. Besides, he got to do one of the things he loves the very most.Whistler and the surrounding area was breathtaking. He planned such a fun trip for Sloan and I. Vancouver is an amazing city with so much to offer (besides maple syrup). Sanka – thank you for stereotyping my trip to Canada. It made our trip that much more amazing.