David and I arrived at the bus station just in time to wait in line for an hour. We’d brought a sandwich to share for lunch, during the bus ride to Mont Tremblant. As soon as we sat on the bus, we unwrapped and devoured the thing. We wouldn’t stop for three hours, and we were both hungry by the time we hit the highway, so we just had to deal.
Not the best pic, but you get the idea.
We arrived in Tremblant around 5pm, just as the sun was setting behind the snow-covered mountains. It was one of the most naturally beautiful scenes I’ve ever laid eyes on, but I was super hungry, so I cared very little. The bus dropped us off in the Village of Mont Tremblant, a quaint town at the bottom of the ski resort, that looks like a fairy-tale land. Again, cute but…feed me.
We made our way to the town’s only grocery store (a tiny place filled with English-speakers buying $6 cans of soup). After about 30 minutes rummaging, we had some dinner fixin’s: spaghetti, sausage, spinach, tomato paste, and a mini marble pound cake for dessert (it was the holidays!). We checked out (the total was $300) and waited outside for the shuttle to our condo (it had a kitchen, hence the food buying). We waited for about 35 minutes, before we became very, very suspicious. I asked a driver of a bus parked on the side about the bus to Cap Tremblant, and he kindly let me know that it stopped running at 5:15. It was now about 6:30.
“You can take the city bus and walk to the top of the hill,” he suggested.
That sounded doable. We’re walkers! So we hopped the city bus, asking the driver about Cap Tremblant.
“They have a shuttle, you know,” he said. Oh, we knew. He let us know about where he could drop us to walk up. We rode for about five minutes, when David, all of the bags on his lap, asked me to check in with the driver. I thought this a weird suggestion, as I assumed he knew where to let us off. We’d both spoken to him. But alas, the stop was “back there” according the driver. WTF, dude? He let us off on the side of the street. It was no degrees, and all signs seemed to lead to nowhere. I walked into a small B&B to ask for help. The receptionist phoned a cab for us, and the fellow was there before we knew it. Super. He proceeded to drive us up a “hill” that I’m pretty sure was a mountain. We’d never have made it on our own. We’d be eaten by dogs or something, for sure. It was about a six minute drive to the top, and would have taken no less than 30 minutes to walk, taking falling and crying into consideration.
Finally, FINALLY, we made it to the reception desk. They were kind enough to switch us to a closer condo when they realized we didn’t have a car. There was some typing and key swapping, and boom, we were ready. They gave us a map of the resort and suggested we take a special shortcut to get to there. It was nearly pitch black outside (as happens in nature places) and very snowy, as you know. David read the map and found the secret path. We began to walk across, but then something happened. On about my fifth step I fell through the snow. I didn’t fall to my death, obviously (or am I writing this post from the grave…?), but I fell through about three feet of powder, only my right leg. So I was kind of laying in a bed of snow.
“Ahhhhhhhh! Waaaaaahhhhh!” I screamed, as you do.
David began to laugh hysterically, until he did the same thing (carrying three of our four bags), at which point we both erupted. It was nonsense. The path was about 20 feet long, but it took us a good three minutes to get across, falling through the fresh snow every few feet. We were cackling like a couple of old hens. When we finally arrived at our condo, we were soaked from the waist down and completely out of breath.
At my command, we pulled ourselves together enough to start dinner. Things were looking and smelling delicious. And then David spilled all of the pasta into the kitchen sink. You don’t know what that feels like.
“Oh no,” he said quietly. I turned, thinking he’d knocked over a glass of water or something. What I saw shocked me.
“Noooooooooo!” I screamed.
“Start picking it up!” he shouted, now with the appropriate level of alarm. “Help me!”
We stood over the sink, pulling out steaming hot, slippery strands of pasta. I was skeptical of this tactic.
“Don’t worry, I’ve done this before,” said David, rinsing off what we had salvaged. This was disconcerting news. But for some reason, I was okay with it all. My stomach had gotten the best of me.
Dinner was actually pretty good, and we slept like babies who’d fallen through the snow and eaten sink pasta.
The next day, I skied. It wasn’t like I woke up and said, “let’s hit the slopes!” It was like I woke up, took an early morning beginner ski class, fell backwards while standing still and listening to the instructor, slid into passersby, tripped over my own skis, straddle-fell on a Chinese-Canadian girl in my class, tried not to cry, fell on strangers on the bunny hill, fell out of my skis, and then class was over.
David, an avid snowboarder, saw me come down my last slope in class. He said I’d done a good job (a lie he had to tell), and he did another bunny hill with me. I didn’t fall! And so he made a really bold suggestion:
“Wanna try the green circle with me?”
Whoa, whoa, whoa! I had put on ski boots for the first time just three hours prior. I wasn’t ready for colored shapes. But David insisted that I seemed capable, and he’d do it with me. I knew there was very little danger involved, since the green is for beginners, but I was still on the fence. Somehow he convinced me, and I found myself floating above the mountain in a lift, wondering where I’d gone wrong.
“Turn around and look,” David suggested. “The view is incredible.”
I didn’t say words, just shook my head and kept looking forward. There was barely anything holding us in that thing, and I thought I’d definitely fall if I moved or spoke loudly. But he continued to prod, and when I finally turned around, I saw one of the most beautiful landscapes I’d ever seen. I turned around and nodded speedily. Nice view, nice view.
Eventually, I found myself at the top of the slope. There was a slight incline, and I began to go down it, when I lost all control and fell onto my back. It took a good 10 minutes for me to get back up. When I did I saw the sign “Welcome Beginners.” It was going to be a long way down.
Things were going alright for the first few minutes of my journey. Suddenly, though, we reached a slope that was steeper than I’d anticipated, probably about the equivalent of the steps at city hall). I was going fast. Too fast. My skis were in “pizza” form, but my legs were weebly-wobbly, like a cartoon character. I had barely gotten my meek scream out when I plowed into a middle aged man. He’s okay. He let me know with a wave. Or was that the finger?
I was startled, to say the least. I had been going at least 100 mph, and who knew what kind of death slopes lay ahead? David assured me that this had been the steepest and slickest, and so after some encouragement, I kept going (it was also the only way to get out of the middle of the mountains, so I didn’t really have a choice). Miraculously, I made it the rest of the way without falling. I was flying so high that I went for round two and didn’t fall at all. I then enrolled in the Olympics. Yes, you can just “enroll” in them.
The rest of the day was me realizing how tired I was and drinking coffee while David his some “sweet slopes” or whatever adventurous people do. It was nice to sit back and watch all of the happy skiers go by. Much to my surprise, there were many people of Asian decent at the resort. Probably about 1/3 of the skiers there. I know! Much to my expectations, there were three black people there, including myself and the woman who worked at the lift ticket counter. (Black people, if you hate family reunions, you should offer to plan next year’s. Arrange for the reunion to take place at a ski resort. Everyone will suddenly be busy and unable to make it. Best family reunion ever.)*
Luckily, there was a hot tub back at our complex, in addition to a sauna, wine, tons of food at our place, and Shameless on the TV, which made for a lovely and relaxing evening. It was a lovely end to our trip. The next day, we took an early morning bus to the airport, where we saw the Miz (yes, from Real World) and waited 100 hours, because all the flights going into New York had been held up. Eventually, we made it home, where everyone spoke English, and used normal money, and some of them were black. It was so nice to get away from the city, but the trip made me really happy that I live in Brooklyn, NY, USA.
And there you have it. The story of me in Canada. There was less maple syrup than any of us expected, but what can you do?
*Annnnnnnd now I’m going to have to write a script for a movie about a black family having a reunion at a ski resort (starring Gabrielle Union, obvs-face)