Let’s be clear. It’s not what’s under the Christmas tree that’s important; it’s who is sitting around it. The holidays are about spending quality time with people you love. And in Whistler, quality time more often than not means time on the ski hill.
Growing up here, I was raised skiing on Christmas Day. Partially because it almost always snows for Christmas and also because my father knew most people would be preoccupied with gift opening thus leaving more turns for us.
Most Christmas mornings I recall hastily digging through my stocking (and begging to open “just one gift”) while mom and dad swished around the house in their ski pants, getting the gear collected and hastily concocting a true eat-and-run Christmas breakfast. It’s been over 20 years but I can still feel the nervous excitement of dropping over the edge of Five-0, a super-steep chute on Blackcomb. Dad and I got fresh tracks (well, fresh jump turns, this was back in the “extreme” days of the mid-1990s) and the glorious feeling of flying out the bottom and floating through perfect powder alongside my old man is something I will never forget — truly a gift that keeps on giving.
Today was another one, hopefully for a new generation. My folks moved away from Whistler when they retired, they haven’t skied in ages. Today I took them up Whistler Mountain and we chased my 5-year-old son around as he discovered the joys of powder snow (except he calls it “plowder”).
To have three generations sharing a chairlift ride feels incredible to me. But watching three generations hit a tiny jump on the side of a run your family has been skiing together for almost 30 years is absolutely phenomenal. The magic of the mountains is that they are home to so many activities we can do together, so many beautiful experiences we can share as a family. And Christmas après is the best one of the year.
Christmas gifts are nice and who doesn’t love new socks? But at the end of the day there is stuff, and there is stuff that really matters. This Christmas, here’s hoping you get a nice mix of both.