There were a mountain of things I wanted to do when my mother came to visit from her flatland hometown to my vertically blessed backyard – from an eagle watching float to a day at the thermal baths to a black bear ecology tour, a walk up to view the glaciers and a tour of the local organic distillery to sample hand-crafted gin.
On her last visit she was game to come ziplining, but this trip her health combined with the logistics of wrangling a 5 month old baby, meant we had to take things a bit slower. Just getting to the end of the driveway was hard enough, so the added challenge of hiking up 8000 feet was out of the question.
Still, the longing to stand on top of the world is deeply primal and transcends dodgy hearts and achy bones. Whistler Blackcomb’s PEAK 2 PEAK Alpine Experience was just the ticket. It was a super accessible way to boost directly into the alpine and we were rewarded with a blast of vigor. Looking down across a sea of peaks, enjoying a double helping of gelato, letting the baby break three world records before he’d even mastered rolling over, and bear-spotting on the way down were easy to tick.
(With two other grandmas headed out to visit soon, we have vowed to return to tackle the abundance of hiking trails that fan out from the summit. (#takeyourmominlawtoo)
Two winters ago, on an all-girl ski trip to Revelstoke, I connected (thanks to photographer Robin O’Neill, who has an eye for an amazing shot and a yen for good people) with a crew of some of the most awesome mountain women around.
It was on that trip that I met Leah Evans, founder of Girls Do Ski, from whom I first heard the phrase, Culture is what your mother teaches you.
Evans and her fellow coaches, Izzy Lynch and Tessa Treadway, have taken to the heart the idea of spreading a love for skiing amongst other girls and women. Curious to know what planted that seed of radness in these dynamic twenty-somethings, I asked them to dish on where they adventure with their moms.
Leah Evans is a whirlwind of big ideas and deep thoughts, with a commitment to community building, or what she calls “transformational lift”.
“I’m fascinated by the idea of holding space, and that means making space for other girls in the sport. That creates a transformational lift. As an athlete, your competitors aren’t your enemy – they’re your allies because they help you reach your potential. There are so few opportunities for girls in freeskiing and that can cause you to see other girls as your enemies, but if you raise the bar for everyone, and get more girls involved, we all lift up.
Her top 4 adventures when hanging out with her mom in Revelstoke are to:
- Bike the Green Belt Trail, then eat La Baguette gelato
- Walk down on the Illecillewaet River and pick river rocks
- Explore into the river bed of Blanket Creek then picnic at Begbie Bluffs
- Bike Keystone Basin Trail for the most amazing wildflowers.
Out of town, they’ll head to Rossland to bike the Seven Summits trail together, or relax and chat on New Denver’s smooth pebble beach.
Leah’s fellow coach, Tessa Treadway founded the Rad Boob Club, a fundraising calendar that features female freeskiiers and supports the Live It! Love It! Foundation. The Golden, BC, girl is now based in Pemberton with her husband and brand new baby son Kasper, but when she visits her mom in Golden, these are her favourite new bubba-friendly adventures. (#takeyourmomandbaby)
“Alpine hiking from the top of Kicking Horse is fun. We take the gondola up, go for lunch at Eagle’s Eye and enjoy a ridge walk/hike. Another fun thing is to drive up Mount 7 around dinnertime and pack a picnic and stay to watch the sun set over town. My mom is in amazing shape, she hikes and explores in the mountains all the time, but as I’m a new mom myself these two options are a little easier to bring the baby along.”
Izzy Lynch’s mom is also in incredible shape. “Apparently raising four unruly kids is all the training a woman needs,” jokes Izzy. Her mom, a ski racer and avid backcountry ski tourer, planted a passion for the mountains in her brood, and though shredding the back bowls at Revy isn’t for every mom, Ma Lynch is always the first in the car ready to rip on a powder day. “She even drives to the ski hill with one ski boot on so she is quicker to get ready,” says Izzy. “Actually.”
Izzy is currently working as an event coordinator for the Live It! Love It! Foundation, which she founded to set up adventure immersion camps for people recovering from spinal cord injuries and rediscovering outdoor recreation. Her passion for adventure is truly contagious… and it’s easy to guess where that came from.
“Adventuring with my mom is just another day in the mountains with a good friend. Except she packs the best snacks and is always game for après.”
Her late summer recommendation is to follow their trail from this time last year, when they biked Flow Down, a new super flowy fun bike trail near Revelstoke, and packed their backpacks with chanterelle mushrooms along the way.
So, if your mom planted the love of the mountains in you, pay it forward and pay it back, by taking her to the mountains one day soon, too.
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