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As the ski season has come to an end, it is time to reflect on what has turned out to be a pretty great plan. With the pandemic, we were forced to “pivot” our year-long road trip plans into something different. Enter Plan B: spend the winter as ski bums in the Canadian Rockies.
We have been based in Golden, BC since Christmas and it has turned out to be one pretty great decision, if we do say so ourselves. We have been living right at Kicking Horse mountain for the ultimate ski-in, ski-out ski bum lifestyle. Our days were spent skiing, working and doing school and I managed to clock 75 days on the mountain. Never did I think I would reach 75 ski days in a year in my life! The boys topped that with 100 days on the mountain; in the time that we were here, they only didn’t ski 9 days.
Living in a small town in the Canadian Rockies during the pandemic has been lovely. We haven’t had to deal with lockdowns or worrisome Covid counts and for the most part, haven’t spend that much time thinking about the pandemic.
Our days were spent doing work and school in the mornings and skiing in the afternoons. Life was slow and simple, which I quite liked. I was able to teach remotely and Paul worked remotely. The kids did Ontario remote schooling and while they missed their friends, it gave them the flexibility to ski whenever they liked.
They were in a freestyle program on the weekends, where they progressed so much and met friends their age. Miles’ end of year progress report reads like a completely different language, but offers the best compliments a young skier could ask for, “You are the sendiest kid ‘not of Golden’ and I am so impressed with your dedication to skiing. You’ll huck even bigger cliffs (and land them) if you’re centred on your skis. You’re a champ at hiking and helping out the rest of the group. Stoked you’re trying and landing 180s.” The boys fully embraced the ski bum lifestyle, but not everyone was as enthused with the arrangement. Ella likes skiing, but just “not every day, all the time” (spoken like a true 13 year old!).
In addition to spending lots of time skiing, we picked up x-country skiing and skied at our local club regularly. The boys took lessons which gave them time with other peers and then were able to give tips to us parents. We did some exploring in the surrounding mountains, but it was hard to tear ourselves away from the mountain.
Every day when I looked out the window I felt incredibly grateful to be where I was. It may not have been what we planned for the year, but we have loved mountain life. One of the best parts about this Plan B though was spending so much time with my brother’s family. They live 2 hours from Golden and came out every weekend. We were bubbled up with them and loved our weekends together with their two young girls. The pandemic has really affected all of our social interactions, but we feel so thankful to have had so much time together.
What happens next?
While we had hoped that we might eventually be able to go south of the border for a shorter road trip, we have “pivoted” once again for our spring and summer plan. With the third wave among us, it was apparent that we weren’t leaving Canada. We left our ski condo this week and moved to Plan C.
Plan C is to spend the spring and summer exploring British Columbia in a travel trailer. In February, we found a great little trailer with a bunk room for the kids and a good layout. Only problem was it was located in 100 Mile House, 7 hours from us. We left the kids in Golden and Paul and I took a weekend trip to buy the trailer. We are now proud owners of a travel trailer, which we parked for the winter in Golden.
The trailer is a 25-foot 15-year old travel trailer that we jumped into renovating as soon as the ski season ended. All winter, we collected ideas from Pinterest and made plans for how to spruce up and modernize the trailer with some painting, floor work, and reupholstering. We also drew up an itinerary and booked campsites throughout BC with the plan to spend a week at each destination to give Paul plenty of time to work. I just finished up my last quadmester of the year teaching, so can devote myself full time to helping the kids with school and exploring.
We spent 2 weeks working on the big projects – painting the walls and cabinets, laying a new floor, reupholstering cushions (thanks Mom!), and a new counter and table. We also had fun with the decor – hanging curtains, putting things up on the walls and all those finishing touches. We haven’t redecorated our house in a decade (we tend to funnel any money we have into travel), so this has been a fun project on a smaller and more affordable scale. I will have a full post on our trailer reno coming up and check out our Facebook for more trailer updates and photos.
As the third wave progresses throughout Canada, our blissful days of being mostly unaffected changed this week. BC just announced sweeping new restrictions on movement throughout the province. Ferry reservations with trailers are to be cancelled, you cannot travel outside of your local health region and there will be police checks and fines.
Our May itinerary involved us heading to Whistler and the Sea to Sky corridor, heading up the Sunshine Coast and crossing over to Vancouver Island. Ferries and campsites were booked, but alas, we will be pivoting again. We left Golden and have spent the last few days in Salmon Arms, enjoying the warmer weather, using the big box stores to finish up some trailer tasks and of course, biking. We are now headed to Whistler, where we will base ourselves for the next month while the travel restrictions are in place.