By Vanessa Brazeau

The riding season may have ended, but the reasons to pack up and head North on the Sea to Sky have not. With old friends scoring new jobs in far away lands, it makes it even easier to jump into the first white van falling victim to my roadside thumb and whisk me into the wild. 

This week’s visit was to Alix, a friend from UBC putting her degree to good use in the Whistler/Pemberton Art and tourism industry. Her two story apartment conveniently located above baked goods and delicious coffee at Blackbird Bakery served as home base to 24 hours of my reconnection with small town life.

While our stop to a farmers market proved premature (we were a week early for the start of the season) the farm animals gave Alix and her friend Christina good reason to cut Bacon from their diets and P.E.T.A a new campaign idea.

After a nice stroll around the salmon-filled lake and into the organic potato fields, we stumbled across the Schramm Vodka Distillery, maker of a rare organic potato based Sipping Vodka. Pemberton is home to the only valley in North America to not be affected by the world’s potato plague. The town has taken advantage of this blessing by incorporating it into more than just a damn good french fry, creatively inspiring an award winning spirit. As small town generosity made its way into our samples, the distillery tour left us informed and buzzed. Already 1/4 in the bag, motivation to hit up the local dive ensued. 

Small town pubs are perhaps my favorite thing about getting out of the city, the men out number the women 5-1 and it’s like having front row seats to a UFC match. It was everything I could have hoped for as the nostalgic aroma of bar varnish marinated in Old Vienna brought back memories of my hometown. The Pem-Hoe (Pemberton Hotel) proved its authenticity with a fight breaking out over a stolen chair. With vices filled, we stumble back to Alix’s apartment. Taking in the countless number of stars that city lights have made foreign to me, I can only begin to imagine what other great things are in store for our summer adventures beyond the city!