My Airbnb host, Ash, made me breakfast while we talked about relationships. He’s been married three times, each time for less than a year. They were all party girls, and one had an expensive cocaine habit. He lived with his last wife for three years before they were married, but it still ended shortly after getting married. He reflected, “Maybe I didn’t put in the effort.” Ash wasn’t really interested in dating and didn’t know how to use Tinder. He said maybe he’d meet someone in a bar.
Ash told me about the housing problems in Whistler and how the big companies take advantage of young people working and pay them the minimum wage of $12 an hour. There isn’t enough housing, so people are living six to seven people per apartment. For a few months a year, Ash goes to Mexico and rents out his place so workers coming up for the season have somewhere to live. The town is full of people from the UK, Australia, and New Zealand because they can easily get two-year working permits if they’re under 31. After two years, they can leave for a day, come back, and get another two years. Once they get older, they no longer want to live in shared bedrooms, but there just isn’t affordable housing. There are mansions sitting empty most of the year.
Ash vented to me about Vail Resorts taking over Whistler and how they don’t understand the locals, and they’re trying to run it like they do in the US. For example, the Peak to Peak gondola only runs on weekends in the fall even though it has gotten very busy. He also vented about Airbnb and how he liked that it started as people in homes renting out space. Unfortunately, there is now a lot of investors buying property just to put on Airbnb. In his opinion, it ruins the whole purpose of doing an Airbnb – shared space with a local.
After talking with Ash for a while, I packed up and loaded my car. I had only booked his place for three nights. My first day in Whistler was spent relaxing and going to the spa because of my back pain and I loved the town. The weather was improving and I wanted to stay longer. However, I wanted some more privacy so I booked a little one-bedroom apartment in the village. I couldn’t check in yet so I drove to the Peak to Peak gondola.
I parked in a parking lot and had to walk about 15 minutes to the village. There was a beautiful paved path through trees and suddenly a skate park appeared with a competition going on.
Once I arrived at the gondola, I saw hundreds of mountain bikers in line to go up the mountain, and others coming down the bumpy bike paths. They were all covered in mud.
The gondola going up Whistler Mountain fits about six people, but it wasn’t crowded, so it was just one other woman and me. She was 30 years old, from Malta, and had been living in the US for the last eight years. She was in Vancouver for a chemical biology conference and decided to do a day trip to Whistler over the weekend. It took about 20 minutes to reach the top, so the woman and I talked about things to do in Whistler.
When I arrived at the top, I lucked out, and the sun came shining through. There were amazing views in all directions for miles. There were a lot of people at the top taking pictures of the Olympic Rings.
To get to Blackholm Mountain, you need to board the Peak to Peak gondola that connects the mountains. I boarded that gondola, which fits about 20 people.
The gondola dipped in the valley between the mountains and then climbed up Blackmon Mountain. A sign boasted:
- World’s longest unsupported (free) span for a lift of this kind in the world.
- World’s highest lift of its kind.
- World’s longest continuous lift system.
It took eleven minutes to cross to Blackholm mountain. It was incredible to float above the trees with the valley below, surrounded by mountains that seemed to go on for days.
When I got to Blackholm mountain, there was a small hiking path at the top. I climbed up and walked around the path, seeing marmots and birds along the way. Once the short hike was finished, I went inside the building and watched a movie about the gondola.
On the way back to Whistler mountain, the fog was setting in, making it look like the cable disappeared into nothingness. I was grateful I made it before the fog set in.
I walked around Whistler mountain for a while, checking out the building inside and the famous rock statue that sits on the top.
Once I got back to my car, I drove to my next Airbnb. I was happy when my car with the rooftop storage unit fit inside the underground parking. I liked the place. I had a little apartment right in the village, near a grocery store.
That evening, I went to see Adam’s band play again at a local bar. I felt more nervous for some reason. I was also very tired after a day of exploring.
When I walked in, his band was on a break, and he was talking to a table of people. I stood in line to get a drink, and he waved at me. I felt like a groupie, and I could tell my body language was closed off. Adam came over to say hello but didn’t give me a hug. He asked how my day was, and I told him about the gondola. He also asked if I switched Airbnb’s, and I said I did. Adam had to use the restroom before his break was over, so he said he’d see me later.
I sat at the bar and the band was to my left, sort of behind me. I didn’t want to just stare at him, so sometimes I played on my phone while his band played. They were really enjoyable to listen to and Adam is really good at getting the crowd pumped up. There were several people dancing at the stage.
When Adam was done playing, he came over and talked for a bit and said he’d be back after he loaded up his van. He mentioned he had a 7:00 am doctor appointment the next morning. I figured it was his way of giving me a heads up that he wasn’t going to hang out afterward and I felt disappointed.
Once Adam was done loading the van, he came over and told me he’s been waiting for the appointment with a foot doctor for eight months. He was having some pain in his foot, and it would take him almost two hours to get to the appointment in Vancouver. Since he wasn’t going to get much sleep, he said he was going home. He hugged me and said, “See you later?” I responded, “Sure.”
I felt rejected. I know he had an early appointment, but I also know that people prioritize what’s important to them. I don’t blame him because it was an early appointment. I just wish he had told me the day prior or even that day. The day before, he said he wanted me to come to his show and was still messaging, so it seemed like he was still interested. I couldn’t tell if he was blowing me off and was suddenly not interested or if he legitimately just wanted to make sure he didn’t miss his appointment.
I finished my drink and walked back to my Airbnb. The village has a lot of bars and clubs, and people were out and about having fun. I was bummed because I thought I would be hanging out with Adam after his show. I would still be in Whistler for a few days, and I hoped I’d see him again.
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