A season baked-in with life lessons 

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In keeping with the, how you say, je ne sais quoi, of the whole zietgiest of the moment, a unique moment if for no other reason I get to use both French and German in the same sentence, I have to pose a perennial question I've never before posed in the middle of March...or at the end of March for that matter.

So, what kind of season was it?

The short answer is: Late...and early.

With the announcement Tuesday morning that Whistler Blackcomb (WB) was closed for the rest of the season, it seems timely to ask that question. And while our Vail Resorts overlords offered a faint hope clause—that WB may reopen in late April/early May—I would not suggest holding our collective breath. By late April/early May it seems unlikely there will be anyone left except maybe WB's new COO Geoff Buchheister to operate the lifts.

Interestingly—OK, interesting to me—is the etymology of faint hope. It's a statutory provision in a number of criminal codes adopted by countries that at least pretend to believe in rehabilitation allowing prisoners who have been sentenced to life to apply for parole after they've served, well, most of their life. In popular culture, its use has been expanded to embrace any unlikely outcome, for example that you'd walk into a store today and find toilet paper. Possible, but not likely.

The season began without a trace. Of snow. Halloween gave way to whatever comes in early November with cold temps and hardly a flake of snow. American Thanksgiving and opening day arrived with a handful of runs on artisanal—machine-made—snow and vast numbers of eager people who had never yet heard the words "social distancing."

As bad as it was, it got worse, perhaps foreshadowing things to come. Early December gave way to mid-December and people were beginning to set their hair on fire wondering whether anyone would show up for the holidays. Some did, a lot didn't. Those who did were finally rewarded when the snow came, a belated Christmas present.

There were many outstanding ski days in January and February and even March. Last Friday for example. Unless, of course, you were Vail Resort's management, sitting around your corporate campfire singing, "Where Have All the People Gone?" Uncrowded, except on the occasional powder day on whatever alpine lift managed to get opened, it was the first year in recent history when I hardly knew anybody who suffered an on-mountain collision.

So the ski experience was, say, a 7.5. Snow, 6. Bitching and moaning about Vail Resorts' management, 9.3. Duration, 3. And, as always, hope springs eternal for next season...at least for those of us who may last that long.

As disappointed as I was about Vail Resorts jumping the gun on shutting the mountain and as poorly as it was rolled out, I understand. None of us know what to do right now and as people wiser than me have said, probably better to over-react and wonder what kind of goofs we were than under-react and wish we'd taken bolder steps. It's not like we're sending people to internment camps...yet.

And so, rather than beat a dead horse or bore you with meaningless insights about how to keep from going bonkers while self-isolating, I'd like to spend the rest of this column responding to little Meya Haglof McCallum, a sadly disappointed recent visitor from Seattle. Meya wrote a letter to the editor last week. She was despondent because she didn't get a Chic Pea cinnamon bun she'd longed for as only a 12-year-old can long for something that isn't a puppy or pony.

Meya's parents promised to take her to Chic Pea, for one. But they waited too late in the day, apparently the last or only day they were here, and when they showed up an hour before closing, yup, no more cinny buns.

Meya, honey, I feel your pain. No, really. Been there, done that. But there are important life lessons to be learned here. First—and dear to my heart—is this: Eat dessert first! It makes no sense to me that dessert comes at the end of a meal. You might be too full to eat it. You might choke on a fish bone or wad of tofu or something before you get there. Eat it first. You'll never be sorry. If your parents don't want you to eat it first, throw a tantrum. They'll give in.

In the case of cinnamon buns, or any coveted baked goods, it means don't wait until closing time. Bakeries and places that sell baked goods, almost always run out of their bestest product. After all, a day-old cinny bun is to a fresh one what a stuffed puppy is to a warm, squirmy, licking real one. Your parents should have taken you to Chic Pea as soon as it opened because fresh cinny buns are good, but warm, fresh ones are heaven. Don't be mad at Chic Pea; be mad at them. They're used to it.

I tried to get the recipe from Whistler Blackcomb to send you but they're a little busy right now. So I'll let you in on a little secret: there are lots of recipes for gooey, sticky, cinnamonny buns and every single one of them will fill your little heart with delight. Learn to make your own and you'll be the master of your destiny and the envy of your friends. Heck, you might even discover a shining path for your future: Meya, Cinnamon Bun Queen.

Don't laugh. I know of which I speak, er, write. I've been making cinnamon buns most of my life and while I will eat them sometimes from a really good bakery; mine are as good as almost any, better than most. Why? Because they're made with love and they make the whole house smell like the inside of a cinnamon bun while they're baking and I can eat them as soon as they're cool enough to not blister my upper palate.

Of course, right now it might be a little difficult to find flour in your grocery store. People seem to be hoarding it. I don't know why since most of them haven't baked anything since Obama was president...which seems like a lifetime ago. But maybe you have some at home. You only need a couple of cups.

And here's a hint to make the best cinnamon buns. Ignore the amount of cinnamon most recipes call for. At a minimum, double it. After you've made a few batches you'll know how much cinnamon you like. I like a lot! Oh, and make sure it's fresh.

Good luck, Meya. We all need it—both luck and cinny buns.


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