Ski Grouse Mountain, Dine Out, then skate Robson Square
"If everyone in Vancouver let the winter weather get to them, they would be sulking indoors for seven months straight," my snow buddy insists enthusiastically, eyes lit up and snowboard in hand.
Feeling inspired, I book the Evo car parked outside my house, pack our snowboards on the roof racks, and toss our backpacks and extra clothes into the trunk. We zip up our rain jackets and hit the road for Grouse Mountain.
We roll into the lot and pull into an Evo free parking space — despite the rain, the lot is surprisingly crowded with skiers, snowboarders, skaters, and snowshoers. Apparently, I'm not the only one with a resolution to be more active this year.
At the top of the mountain, we meet Katie Curtis. "If we didn’t come today," she said, as she and her co-workers Courtney Sjorgren and Kelly Gardner lace up their boots for their very first run, "we probably would never end up doing it."
Everyone except Gardner is new to snowboarding, and has come to Grouse to try something different in 2016.
"We're just trying to get some exercise and feel good," Gardner explains. "We all work in film and work 16 hours a day, so this is our weekend. We try to take full advantage of it and get something physical in before we have to go back to work!"
I wish them luck and leave them to it as I strap my own boots into my board. Tightening the hood of my rain jacket, I make my way to the top of the hill.
Rain pelts my face as I race down, careful not to accidentally end up in the terrain park. I'm surprised at how exhilarated I feel battling the elements, and remember how much I love snowboarding.
On the chairlift, I meet Laura Kim and Travis Kang, who are desperately wiping the water off of their goggles. We laugh about the weather, and I learn that they're both at Grouse attending adult snowboarding lessons as part of their New Year's resolutions. This is the second lesson they've had this year, and slowly but surely, they're improving.
“My goal is to exercise four times a week, and I’m counting this as one of them!" says Kim, a Waterloo, Ont. native who came to Vancouver this year for school. "I figure I moved to B.C., I might as well get the full experience!”
Laura Kim and Travis Kang are committed to their snowboarding lessons on a rainy Saturday afternoon on Grouse Mountain.
Snowshoeing the Light Walk
After a few runs down the hill, my ski buddy and I head to the rental Outpost to grab a pair of snowshoes. It's something I've never tried before and am eager to add to my list of go-to weekend winter activities.
Unsure how to put the snowshoes on, I'm lucky to run into seasoned snowshoers Josh Clark and Lola Sim, who come up weekly for a "recreational light work out." They're about to hike the Light Walk, one of the mountain's more scenic trails marked by stunning light installations amongst spruce and fir trees.
"It’s amazing for the legs, it’s amazing for the lungs, it’s amazing for the fresh air, the view and the good times," says Clark, a personal trainer who works at the YWCA in downtown Vancouver. He adds that his New Year's resolution this year is to eat more packed lunches and to buy fewer coffees and muffins in the mornings.
They quickly disappear through the tunnel, and reminded of our own lunches, we take the trail at a leisurely pace, munching our homemade fajita wraps as we go.
Josh Clark and Lola Sim are regular Grouse Mountain snowshoers and sometimes do the Snowshoe Grind more than once a day.