My Reflection on our winter in paradise!
One of our winter staff, Lauren, put some of her thoughts down about spending a winter up at Lake O’Hara. Here they are.
When I started putting my thoughts down on paper halfway through the season I was still getting used to the surreal beauty of the O’Hara Winter. The dimensions are still, the wind vibrant, the snow like feathers. It is the best kind of mountain rain.
Getting back into downhill skiing has been like relearning to ride a bike – clumsy, wild and exciting. My inner monologue during these snowy luge runs tends to fall upon the likeness of “This is amazing, this is incredible, this is – Whoa!! – Watch out TREE”. I am still learning the instinct of trust and commitment in the slopes. It is like surrendering to some supplementary purpose in the mountains, beyond reserve than I have ever done in my accustomed cross-country running existence.
The ski touring here in the Yoho Backcountry has been amazing. It feeds my hunger for trekking the familiar summer trails that have been dusted in powder. Getting to the top of these runs is beyond breathtaking; I tend to expect the novelty will wear off — indeed, just the opposite; a few more centimeteres of snow has a mesmerizing metamorphosis on the mountains. The whiteouts emphasize the dynamism of the lodge. The stark blue days’ settle the restless tree breeze. Nightfall litters the lake with starry incandescence.
One of my favourite parts about working up here (especially in the Winter when numbers are even more intimate) is meeting and getting to know our guests. It is a special thing to become energized by the eagerness we see in our guests eyes after they’ve come in from a ski. The world becomes smaller with the O’Hara commonality.
And nothing compliments an afternoon ski as well as walking back into a lodge with a warm bowl of broth and treats ready to be eaten. Jess rattles her hands away non-stop in the kitchen, prepping, cooking and traying freshly sewn breads. I don’t know how she does it; She keeps our belly’s full all the while gracefully managing to look like some Patagonia magazine model, fresh-faced and luminous.
Our Winter 2017 Crew
My handsome comrades Nate and Tristan (and most recently Geoff!) have been tirelessly working away as well. We are like long-lost siblings coaxing, teasing and enjoying the solitude of silliness up here. Everyday is a mix of serving guests, helping Jess prep food in the kitchen or housekeeping — I have a new respect for hospital-bed corners! This trust in the team emanates in our recognition of the whole sum of one’s parts. We understand the balance of work and play. The mountains have become a sanctuary we eagerly share with one another and our visitors.
I don’t think I could have asked for a better team. It is funny how close the four of us have worked together over the last few weeks, and yet — the cabin fever has yet to really manifest.
A day out in the “Other” world
We did however take advantage of some vehicle-use last week for an excursion into civilization. The day off was spent at the Fairmont Chateau, where we galloped into the spa. Perhaps we looked a little haggard beforehand ski packs, boots, beards, wild hat-hair and all lugged over our shoulders, but the hour-long massages didn’t discriminate to that of any regular customers’ enjoyment. I have never felt so renewed. Okay, okay —That is dishonest. Most ski-runs give me that same feeling of rejuvenation, however relaxing for a couple hours, taking a dip in the hotel steam room and pool did make us all a bit giddier. I can’t pretend we weren’t all smiling obnoxiously as we returned to our comfortable O’Hara reality at the end of the day. Short and sweet does the trick.
An end to a magical winter season
It is difficult to comprehend leaving this place again. Why does the ski season have to end so soon It is a bittersweet thing to look forward to the summer season but adjacently have to set aside the magical Narnia that has lately played home. We still have a bit of time. Before then I am determined to tread some fresh tracks in the snow and get in as many runs as one clumsy novice can possibly fit!