Whistler Trip

We all went for a nice weekend trip away from Vancouver and out to Whistler last weekend.
Nope, the slopes aren’t open for ski/snowboard season yet, which is unfortunate because we’re really looking forward to spending a lot of time on the slopes this season. The season opens up at the end of November, so it’s still over a month away. We are super pumped about it though. The slopes in Calgary are alright and we enjoy them just fine, but they just can’t compete with Whistler/Blackcomb; at least that’s the way it sounds from what we’ve been hearing. We’ll just have to wait and find out I guess. Can’t wait!

Our next trip out to Whistler will definitely be to get onto the mountain and do some skiing/snowboarding. This trip we just decided to go check things out so we’d be all ready to rock the next time we’re in Whistler, and because we needed something to do last weekend.

The ride out to Whistler
We loved the limo ride from the last post when Elliot delivered his wonderful surprise. After that day we were hooked. What better time to get another limo than for our trip to Whistler?

We got Elliott to call up the same limousine company but they were all booked up and don’t normally do trips out to Whistler. So, we did a bit of searching, got some quotes and we ended up going with a company called KJ Limousine. They’ve got a pretty good Vancouver to Whistler deal where they give you $75 off if you book a limo round trip. In total, a round trip is about 5 hours driving time (2.5 hours each way) so depending on the vehicle you take, $75 is between a half hour to an hour for free. Not bad considering it’s 5 hours round trip!

We were originally going to take a full sized stretch limo but Hing, the owner at KJ Limousine, said that most people tend to take the big (non-stretch) SUV up to Whistler instead of a full sized stretch limo. He knows best and we weren’t going to argue with him. Besides, going with the SUV was actually much cheaper than going with the stretch SUV. Maybe a little less cool, but that’s ok. We didn’t mind saving “too cool for school” time for the slopes.

One of Owen’s funny friends Stan (from his stand-up comedy days) came to join us for the trip.

So we took the limo/suv from Vancouver to Whistler—a beautiful scenic drive up the Sea to Sky Highway, which is much more enjoyable and easier to appreciate when you have a chauffeur driving you. It really is like they say in most cheesy limo ads… “just sit back, kick your feet up, relax, and enjoyed the sights and sounds of the ride”.

On the way there, we saw this pretty wicked looking mining museum with one of those gigantic mining trucks outside. Britannia Mine Museum—gotta check that out next time.
britannia-mining-museum-vancouver-whistler

Stan and Owen cracked us up pretty well the whole way there and back. Owen’s usually pretty funny by himself, but when you combine the two of them together, it’s really something else.
I would try to re-enact or describe some funny stuff that they said but I would really not do it justice because I’m really not a funny guy and I would just butcher it—so I’m not even going to try… sorry. =)

At Whistler
Let me just say that Whistler is SWEEEETTT…!
We just loved everything about Whistler. All of us being somewhat country guys at heart, the busyness of Downtown Vancouver can sometimes be a little much at times. Don’t get us wrong, there’s something to be said about the bustling energy of Downtown… But it’s great to have a bit of a toned down break sometimes. Whistler fit the bill just right.

We had our limo driver do a bit of a road tour through the Whistler area to give us a quick impression of the area. It looked gorgeous, especially with some of the new snow that had come in.
After that, he dropped us all off at Whistler Village and we just basically spent the day walking through some of the hotels and stores to see where we want to stay when we come back to do some skiing and snowboarding. We also bought some supplies (clothes, ski/snowboard gear) for next time. Logan bought a nice jacket for himself. Stuff there can be a little pricey, but Logan’s too lazy and doesn’t like to waste time going from store to store to shop when he can be hanging out at home.

Hotel-wise for next time, we’re thinking either the Carleton Lodge or Cascade Lodge. Really not sure which one yet. We’ll ask some of our Vancouver buddies for some recommendations. Other than that, we had some really good food. For lunch, we went to Rim Rock Café & Oyster Bar, which we heard was THE go-to place to eat at in Whistler. I personally don’t usually like fine dining, but this place actually lived up to expectations. Elliot, on the other hand, was not a huge fan of it—neither was Bear. It’s probably because they really like to eat and although the food tasted really good, the portions were smaller than ideal. For dinner went to the buffet at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler. Now THIS place had nobody complaining. Good food, spacious, cozy ambiance, great service, and lots of food. We stuffed ourselves silly.
In between meals, we had some ice cream from the ice cream shop with the big cow in front of it, and also some beaver tails, which are these large, flat sweet pastry things. Bear, being the beast that he his, ate 2 beaver tails and 2 ice cream cones. We also stopped by this “apparently legendary” bakery called Purebread—some of the best cookies and pie, ever. Man, all the food at Whistler was so good.

I just love the atmosphere at Whistler, with the crisp air, sparkling snow and warm lodges. I also really love just sitting inside eating a warm gourmet meal while looking outside at the calm, peaceful site of snow and mountains. And just check out their Peak to Peak gondola!!!!

like… WHAT?!

Anyway, that was pretty much our weekend. We’re really looking forward to going back a little over a month from now finally test out the slopes. Our Calgary friends are going to be super jealous…

I’m out!

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Lavish Limousines and Living Large in Vancouver

Elliot, Elliot, Elliot… boy did you pull one on us…

Seems you’ve been keeping secrets from us, but boy are we glad you did.  Man, what a surprise…

So, 3 months ago, back when we were still in Calgary, Elliot comes up to us and says, “Hey dudes… I got a little something in store for you guys once we get into Vancouver—not gonna tell you what it is, but you’re gonna love it.  That’s all I’m gonna say”.

The time comes for us to fly over, we land, we step out of YVR (Vancouver International Airport), we arrive at our new home, we start unpacking, we finish unpacking, we go to bed, a day goes by, weeks go by, months go by… nothing.

Elliot…!!!  I confronted him the other a little while ago and reminded him about what he said.  First, he told me to RELAX and that there was a change in plans, but that he hasn’t forgotten about it.  Then he told me not to get my panties in a bunch—thanks dude.  He told me to hang tight.  And so I did…

A little more time went by, and yesterday it happened.

Elliot had arranged for an awesome day to hang out all over Vancouver with a fancy shmancy limo and chauffeur to drive us around.  It was awesome!

The one we got looked a lot like the white one in the picture below:

suv-limo-vancouver

The original plan was to have us picked up at the airport and make our arrival into Vancouver super stylish—but some hiccups happened with another company and he had to find another company to book with.  We had such a blast yesterday.  It was probably good that he had to find another company because the last company’s service was apparently atrocious.  The company he ended up with was VanCity Limos who were simply fantastic!  We were all so impressed by their service, and professionalism.  If I remember, I’m going to write a yelp or google review after writing this post.  Yes, they were that good.  I mean, who takes the time to write a good review for a limo company?

They’ve got a pretty sweet video too:

Anyway, we got up early and the second we stepped out, our limousine guy was outside waiting for us.  Greg, our super classy chauffeur was definitely dressed to impress and looked super spiffy next to the limo, which was a stretch SUV.  He opened the door for us and we all hopped in.  First stop?—the seawall.  Elliot had made a lunch reservation at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, but scheduled us for a good start to our day with some exercise—a few rounds around the seawall.

The limo interior was awesome.  It was funny that we were in our exercise gear too.  We popped open some champagne and did a couple toasts on our way to the sea wall.  There was even a big flatscreen TV inside.  When we got down to Georgia, Lucas had to stand up out of the sunroof.  Logan got up right behind him and had a little “Titanic” moment.

Once we arrived at the seawall, our chauffeur Greg hopped out to open the limousine doors for us.  We rented some bikes for all of us (even our driver Greg) and did a couple rounds around the seawall.  Amazing weather and a breath-taking view.  Greg didn’t want to join us at first, but we hit it off pretty well during the limo ride and we were able to convince him to come with us.  Greg totally loved it.

Next stop was the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver for lunch.  I thought it was the Fairmont Hotel right by Vancouver Airport (YVR), but it was actually in downtown.  I guess they have a couple branches.

How was the food you ask?  The food was crazy good.  We had some lobster, soups, pastas and cakes… it not only tasted incredible, it was also really nutritious and healthy—amazing that you can have both in a meal.  We read later on after our meal that all their food is made gluten-free, organic ingredients, super nutritious and delicious.  Every dish they have is perfect for anyone with diabetes, heart disease or high blood pressure.  Glad none of us have to worry about that stuff just yet, but nice to know that we were getting healthy food anyway.

After we had an awesome lunch, we got back in our SUV stretch limo, which we named Charlie, and headed for the Vancouver Art Gallery.  It was packed when we went.  I think they had some special event or some big shot person was visiting.  I love looking at interesting modern sculptures, although I’m not too big on art or follow it too closely.  We saw this huge whale made out of lawn chairs—pretty sweet.  We spent about an hour and a half there.

We met Greg back outside the gallery, got back into the limo and decided to check out Science World—that gigantic glass ball that we see in so many Vancouver photos.

It was neat to actually get a look inside the place.  It was a little more for kids than we had expected, but it was still pretty entertaining.  We checked out a lot of the exhibits (the animal section was my favourite) and then we watched and IMAX show.  Loved the IMAX show.  We got perfect seats at the top middle and the screen covers almost your entire field of vision.  Awesome… loved it.  Highly recommended.

There wasn’t much to see after that so we went… BACK TO THE LIMO!

It really is something else to cruise around town in your own private limo for the day.  I think everyone should try it some day.

By the time we left it was time for dinner.  We went for an early dinner because Elliot got us some tickets to the Canucks game that night as well.  For dinner, we went to Le Crocodile for some tasty french food.  Man, do french people have good taste…

Between Fairmont Hotel (lunch) and Le Crocodile (dinner), I’d say Le Crocodile was one of the best meals of my life, hands down.  Logan the Bear actually preferred his pasta at Fairmont, but c’mon… we’re talking about the Bear here. haha…

After dinner, we arrived at the game in our fancy limousine and caught a bit of attention with a lot of head-turning.  We even had a couple people ask who we were, as if we were some big shot celebrities or something.  We just said we’re 5 super cool dudes from downtown Calgary.  We got some weird reactions from that, but whatever, haha…

The game was awesome—the Canucks won 3 to 2.  A great win to a perfect day.

Gotta hand it to you, Elliot.  That was quite the surprise and one that won’t be forgotten any time soon.  You really know how to plan fun days.  Looking forward to next week…?  Haha… just kidding.  Maybe next month then.  Yes?  Maybe we can do a stretch Rolls Royce limo next month—c’mon it’s Bear’s birthday next month.  He’s going to be crushed if you don’t.

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Krazy Kayaking

Hey guys, it’s hunter here.

We were in Vancouver doing a bit of shopping at MEC awhile ago. (MEC stands for Mountain Equipment Co-op and they are an outdoor gear and clothing store.) We were doing a bit of shopping preparing for a hike that we had coming up and we met these really cool dudes there. They said that they’re into kayaking. They were at MEC picking up some gear for a crazy kayaking trip they had planned out that Lions Bay. Apparently, drainage ditch kayaking has become pretty big lately. It’s when people hike up these long drainage ditches with their kayaks and ride all the way down at incredible speeds.

We had heard about it before and thought it was really interesting but we’ve never seen anybody actually do it or any videos of people doing it. We exchanged emails and they said that they would send us a video later on.

I just saw the video today. They said drainage ditch kayaking was super sick and man, he was not joking. Check out the video below.

Was that not just completely mind blowing?

I love how you can see a couple bushes getting tossed up into the air from the paddles.

It looks super terrifying but also super fun—the perfect ingredients for on awesome sport.

This particular drainage ditch is a 800 meter descent and they reached speeds over 70 kilometres per hour!

The Grouse Grind is a 1000m descent. We hiked up Grouse a while ago and I can tell you that 800m is no short descent.

70km/h may not be that fast, but when you’re in a kayak and are basically sitting a few inches off the ground, 70km/h feels really fast. I’d be scared at the thought of rolling the kayak while careening down that ditch at that speed.

And when they finally hit the water at the bottom, that looks like a case for some potentially serious whiplash, if it’s not hit right.

Respect.

These guys have balls.

I’m going to go talk to the other guys and see if I can convince them to give this a try. Not sure what my chances are, but wish me luck. =)

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Grouse Grind, Golly Gee…!

Last week we all went to hike up the Chief in Squamish
This weekend we hiked up Grouse mountain.

The hike is known locally as the “Grouse Grind”.
The hike up the Chief hike and Grouse Grind are very different.

Let’s just say they call it the Grouse Grind for a reason.

Where the Chief was a nice leisurely hike with a lot of variety, the Grouse Grind is like a solid hard hour of nothing but stone or wooden stairs steps.

Where the Chief was a little over 400m in elevation from the ground, Grouse is more than double that at an increase of 1000m from the ground.

We got to go over the Lionsgate Bridge again on the way there.  I’ll never get tired of that view…  Speaking of bridge views, I really love the view going northbound over Granville St. bridge, heading into downtown.  You see water on either side and a ton of majestic looking highrises in front of you.

The funny thing about starting the Grouse Grind is that you hike about 15 minutes up some rather treacherous terrain and you pass by a sign that says “Grouse Grind starts here”. haha, hilarious… It wasn’t a big deal to us because we do a good amount of hiking, but we saw some other people doing it for the first time and the look on their faces was just pure horror.

I don’t think there’s much else to say about the hike going up.   Its a long monotonous staircase up the mountain.

Unlike the chief, however, there’s a ton of stuff up at the top. grouse is a popular place to ski in the winter time so there are buildings and things up there.  There’s a bird sanctuary, a store, small theater and some restaurants.

We were able to catch a live lumberjack show where a few actors put on an entertaining comedy show. Found a video of the show on youtube:

After that, we took the gondola down back to the parking lot.  There isnt much of a view at the top of grouse until you take the gondola down.  The view was still kinda just meh…

On the way up, we had this hardcore old guy that zoomed past us.  He must’ve been like 70 years old.  Impressive…

That’s all for this post!

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The Chief at Squamish

Hey guys, Hunter here…
Last weekend we went over to squamish, which is on the way to Whistler from Vancouver, to check out the hike up the Chief.

About the Chief

ChiefThe Chief (officially known as the “Stawamus Chief”) is a huge chunk of granite that sticks out of the earth and overlooks the town of Squamish.  It stick up a little more than 400m above the ground surrounding it.  more info on the “Stawamus Chief” from wikipedia here

The Ride Going There

We woke up quite early, around 7 in the morning and took logan’s car there. there was a lot of traffic going over the lionsgate bridge. beautiful bridge, by the way… it was our first time going over it. the view from the bridge is amazing… you can see up the fraser river all the way down to the next city over and you can also see all the properties overlooking the water in north vancouver. breathtaking view… not the kind of thing you would be able to see back in calgary. (sorry calgary)

 

The Hike Going Up

As we were pulling up to the parking area, we could see some brave people climbing up the sheer face of the mountain—wow.

The hike going up was pretty chill, compared to most hikes Ive been on.  It was also quiet enjoyable, being in the shade for most of the hike up.

There was a nice mixture of terrain, from forest paths, stone or wood staircases, to ladders and rock faces. all in all it took about an hour and a half to get up there.
They’ve got three peaks that you can hike up to.  We had some extra time on our hands so we went to all three peaks.  It added another hour or two to our total hiking time, but we had a blast.  Here’s what it looks like from the top.

Chief-PanoThe view from the top was real pretty.  You can see big mountain ranges in the distance and the color of the water in the bay was a rich, light, milky blue color.  Going back down was a little hard on the knees.

I’d definitely recommend the Chief as a nice enjoyable hike.

Next week we’ve got another hiking trip planned…  We’re going to tackle the infamous Grouse Grind.  We hear its killer and really popular among Vancouverites.

Stay tuned!

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We’re Back!

Hey guys, we are BACK and better than ever!

The five of us (Hunter, Elliot, Lucas, Logan, Owen) have spent the past year planning for the big move… leaving our hometown Calgary and heading out west to Vancouver.

heading-west-vancouver

It’s been a lot of packing, job interviewing and having goodbye parties with our families.

We’re going to miss you Calgary, but we’re sure looking forward to all the adventures we’ll be up to here in Vancouver.

Stay tuned for more good stuff from the five guys from Calgary (now in Vancouver).

Sneak peek for next week:  Elliot’s got us set up with a sweet surprise…  hint: has to do with a limo.

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