Ski Grouse Mountain, Dine Out, then skate Robson Square
After the beautiful walk around Blue Grouse Lake, exhausted, we catch the Skyride back to the parking lot. The cable car, swaying slightly as it zooms down the mountain, is full of satisfied (albeit soaking) skiers, snowboarders, skaters, and hikers.
We make a quick detour to the wolf refuge near the parking lot (the bears are hibernating this time of the year) and are thrilled to catch a glimpse of Alpha, the safe haven's magnificent grey wolf. He was too far away to snap a picture of, but upon looking him up online afterwards, I learn that he is a former movie actor who enjoys quiet retirement at the base of the mountain.
At this point, I feel grateful for three things; first, that I was able to get off of the couch this morning, second, that I didn't have to haul my wet gear onto a bus, and third, that Evo has free parking at Grouse Mountain.
After a quick change of clothes, we jump back into our Evo car and head to the city to finish the evening in style.
Dine Out Vancouver
By the time we hit Vancouver, we are famished from our day of mountain activities.
I couldn't think of a better way to wind down than a luxury dinner made affordable through the 2016 Dine Out Vancouver Festival. The annual event boasts meal deals at nearly 300 local restaurants that specialize in food from all over the world in addition to having vegetarian and gluten-free options.
We roll into the the Oakwood Canadian Bistro in Kits around 6 p.m. and decide on the Dine Out three-course meal for $30.
Choosing a seat on the bistro's heated outdoor patio is easy, but choosing from its Dine Out menu is rather hard.
In the end, I stick with my resolution to be healthier and pick potato and leek soup as an appetizer, olive oil poached ling cod with wild rice, coconut curry and pickled fennel for dinner, and (cheating slightly) salted caramel and apple cheesecake for dessert.
Everything is delicious, the service is excellent, and of course, the price is right. As an added bonus, I learn that Oakwood sources its ingredients locally at family farms from Richmond to Saltspring Island.
Olive oil poached ling cod is one of several healthy menu options at the Oakwood Canadian Bistro in Kitsilano, a participant of Dine Out Vancouver Festival. Good for your body, good for your taste buds, and not too bad for your wallet either.
Skating at Robson Square
We wrap up our day of outdoor activities with an evening skate at the Robson Square Ice Rink and Plaza. We leave the car at one of the CF Pacific Centre's free Evo parking spots, and head down the cement steps into what feels like a kind of disco club on ice. Music echoes gently through the rink's speakers while outdoor lights flash on rotation between red, green, purple, and blue.
Rental skates are only $4 each with helmet included, and after lacing up on the bench, I glide somewhat awkwardly into the centre of the rink (skating has never been one of my strong suits).
"It's a great way to get in shape," says Alia Woodfine-Bast, who zooms around the arena easily with her partner Aleks Stanković. "And the rink is better here than most places."
They are one of many couples visiting the rink that night, joined by friends and young people looking for an alternative to bars and clubs on a Saturday night. It's still raining, but a glass ceiling keeps everyone dry. All seem to be having a good time, and those who have opted to watch instead of skate enjoy a hot chocolate at the rink's concession stand.
It's 2016 — a new year with new opportunities. As long as I continue to resist the call of my couch and computer, and the temptation to stay at home when it's raining, I'll continue to find myself in beautiful, local places like this and enjoying a healthier, active lifestyle.
Alia Woodfine-Bast and Aleks Stanković enjoy an active night at the Robson Square Ice Rink and Plaza in the heart of downtown Vancouver. Try Evo free and get 30 mins free driving.