Low clouds hung over the mountains on the day we planned to ride the Whistler Blackcomb Peak 2 Peak gondola with a baby. From the perch of a cabin suspended 1,430′ above the valley on a cable strung almost two miles between towers on opposite mountains, the modern marvel of engineering offers passengers incredible 360 degree views…on a clear day.
What about a not-so-clear one?
With limited views, our trip through the skies prompted reflections on the parallels to parenting…and surprised me with discoveries along the way.
Ted, Lucie, and I and our friends Lindsay, Jodi, and Andrew walked through the drizzle in Whistler Village to the lift at the base of Whistler Mountain wearing our windbreakers, fleeces, and puffer jackets. (Side note. You want to see the cutest puffer jacket ever? Here you go >> Lucie in baby Patagonia. You’ll see it below, too, turned inside out.)
We boarded the first lift to head up mountainside, enveloped in cage of glass and metal, swinging up, up, up through a damp world of green.
Taking a baby on a gondola ride = on-board entertainment.
Lucie, ten months and all smiles (and all bursting with pre-naptime-energy) loved squirming, looking out the windows, making faces, and cheesing for the cameras.
The fog thickened the higher we went, and when we reached the end of the lift at Roundhouse Lodge and stepped out to “see” the mountain, we could only catch glimpses of snow and ice as it disappeared up behind a bright white haze.
Oh well. We had our bearings from maps…and from memory of what the peak looked like in earlier days’ sunshine.
To get your bearings, you can see where the red gondola line heads up the mountain from Whistler Village to the Roundhouse Lodge. From here, we prepared to take the Peak 2 Peak black line almost two miles across the expanse between Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains.
We paused at the Roundhouse Lodge for a short video on the construction of the Peak 2 Peak system. As a landscape architect, I just kept thinking about weight on the shoulders of the construction managers responsible for stringing that enormous cable through the sky. As a mother, I kept thinking about the squirming, nap-needing kiddo on my lap. I’m not so sure she loved the film clip, but soon enough we were on our way back out into the cold and down to the launch point…
Our group conferred and opted to wait in line a little longer in order to ride on one of the two glass-bottomed cabins. If we couldn’t see out very far, maybe we could see down?
We loaded in, the door shut behind us, and the eleven minute trip commenced.
Lucie: tired as all get-out.
Friends along for the ride: Andrew up from New Zealand and Jodi back in the northwest on break from her work in Argentina; Lindsay just weeks away from her move to Budapest.
For a shared time, our lives came together from across hemispheres to sit in quiet silence as we set out into the fog…
I reflected a bit on the experience of this past year: welcoming a baby into the family and setting out into a grand unknown future.
Living in a very different sort of fog.
Yes, of course, there are mountain top experiences all the time, just as there are many bright and blue skied days on the tops of Whistler and Blackcomb mountains. Moments when Lucie locks eyes with us and then curls up into a giggle fit. When she sees a puppy and nearly hyperventilates with excitement. Those times of firsts: rolls and scoots and crawls. Claps and words and licks of ice cream. The joys that make parenting a complete delight.
But, too, there are those other moments.
Very real days with less than picture perfect weather forecasts.
Gloomy with a chance of what-ride-did-we-sign-up-for?
Enveloped in a sleep-deprived haze, often hanging by a thread, knowing we’re on our way somewhere but not always seeing the end in sight…
Yet in the midst of of it all is an invitation to remain present in the moment, thankful and searching for what matters most. Treasuring the best and sharing the journey with each other.
We reached the center of the valley and stood hanging in the sky, peering straight down past our feet to Fitzsimmons Creek 1,430 feet below.
Life is so much more than mountaintop moments.
It’s about every in-between as well, and how we choose to frame our views.
We completed the rest of the crossing and then opted to return the way we came rather than ride down Blackcomb Mountain in the open air chair lift. (Though I was happy to know that we could have ridden the chair lift with a baby if we wanted to: babies are required to be strapped in, and I had my trusty Ergo carrier with me.)
By the time we again arrived at Roundhouse Lodge and prepared to take the small gondola back down to the village, the fog had lifted a bit more, enough to see the icy blue lakes and make out the Vancouver Olympics Inuksuk standing tall among the mountain hemlocks.
A stone marker, guiding people upon the land and marking sacred and special spaces.
A touchstone, a reminder.
You are here.
There is a way.
Riding the Peak 2 Peak with a baby: an (easy) Olympic feat…
Peak 2 Peak: The longest and highest lift in the world! Watch the video below for a better idea of just how massive this project is.
Remember the Baby Patagonia jacket? I have to laugh and point out that after looking through pictures, I realized our group did a pretty great job of donning a full range of outdoor apparel: Ted’s in Columbia, I’m in REI and Icebreaker, Lindsay’s in North Face, Andrew’s in Marmot, and Jodi’s in Arc’teryx – which kind of takes the cake in this case because the company is from North Vancouver.
Tourism Whistler: Helpful details and ideas about visiting Whistler with a baby.
If by chance you’ll be heading to ride the Peak 2 Peak with a baby and need a carrier to take advantage of the open-air ride down Blackcomb mountain, check out the Ergo Baby performance collection. My friend Heather gifted me our awesome moss green sport carrier, and it makes it possible to head out on all sorts of adventures with babyOregonian in tow!
This post is part of our twoOregonians tour British Columbia series in which we use babyOregonian’s passport on her first international trip, attend the Canadian wedding of dear American and Lebanese friends, enjoy beautiful scenery and rejuvenating retreats in Whistler, and reconnect over delicious home cooking with our very first Airbnb host-turned-friend in Vancouver. Much gratitude to our friends for including us in the special celebrations, and thanks to Tourism Whistler and Scandinave Spa Whistler for sponsoring a portion of our adventures. As always, these stories, photos, and opinions are our own, and we love sharing them with you!