On Saturday Taylor and I took Sym and Gwen up Grouse Mountain for their “Peak of Christmas” (Grouse’s usual tagline is “Peak of Vancouver”). None of us had ever been up their before, which seems absurd now that I know how close it is- by car from our house to the bottom the Skyride (gondola)is 20 minutes, and then the Skyride is like… 4 and a half minutes? Less than half an hour from the heart of downtown to the top of a mountain! Amazing. Of course if you take the bus it is longer- 45 minutes to an hour, and if you drive you still have to factor in time to find parking. Parking at Grouse is limited, so if you are driving you want to go earlier rather than later. PRO TIP if you stay on the main road just before Lot A there are a few dedicated spaces for carsharing vehicles like zipcar, which we unfortunately didn’t know until we’d parked at the far end of one of the lower lots.
The Skyride itself is a little pricy- $40 for adults, $24 for teens and $14 for kids (4 & unders are free), but for Peak of Christmas there is a $80 family pass so Sym was basically free. The Skyride is also kind of a nightmare? I’m sure it’s okay if you go when it’s less busy but the Saturday before Christmas it is PACKED. There are only seats at the ends so everyone else has to stand in the middle with only a few straps to hang on, that I could barely reach and I’m 5’9″. It wouldn’t be that big of a deal but as the gondola passes the two towers it sways a little ie A LOT. It’s hard to tell just how much when you are in it, espcially when you are packed like a sardine and can’t see out the windows, but one of the towers is right near the top and when you watch it come up from the platform you can see how much it swings up, I swear it is like 45 degrees.
My only real complaint about the Skyride though is about the other passengers, and by other passengers I mean SKIERS. RUDE SKIERS. On WHAT PLANET is it appropriate to hold your ski poles PARALLEL to the ground when you are in a crowded, enclosed space that swings around???? HOLD THOSE SUCKERS UPRIGHT YOU MORONS. I also wish I had been able to see better; on the way down it was less crowded and a woman forced her grandkids to shove over so I could sit down (I was wearing Gwen) but by then it was much more cloudy than on the way up- it actually looked like we were descending into nothingness!
Once we were up on the mountain we actually didn’t partake in a lot of the activities. Santa’s workshop didn’t open until noon as he is at a “Breakfast with Santa” in one of the restaurants (which is expensive and anyway it’s sold out for the year). There was already a pretty long line at around 11:30 and Gwen was about to start melting down so that was actually when we left. Sym was not interested in seeing Santa either, and she doesn’t like ice skating. Taylor and myself couldn’t really skate because of the baby. We did spend some time tromping around in the snow, visited the reindeer (I petted him on his fuzzy nose so like… CHRISTMAS DREAMS COME TRUE), and had hot chocolate which I think is a pretty classic ski mountain activity. We also checked out the gingerbread house village and Sym decorated a snowman.
Gwen did better than I expected. She’s not a huge fan of the Ergo, but after I saw a couple trying to shove their Stokke Xplory through the day-old snow I was very glad to have it! Taylor wore her for the first half of our visit and I wore her for the second, and she actually feel asleep in it when we were walking back to the car. We took her out so she could check out the snow but she still hated it. She’s also convinced she can’t walk in her Stonz boots so when we but her down she just immediately sat on her bottom and cried. I think she’ll have more fun if (when) we go next year and she’s a bit bigger, and if Taylor and I don’t have to wear/carry her the whole time we’ll have more fun as well.
All in all I think everybody enjoyed themselves (and Sym is only slightly traumatized by the Skyride). Taylor especially liked getting back to his snowy mountain roots- he skied/snowboarded a lot when he was younger, but hasn’t gone since we’ve been together. I think now that he knows how close & easy to get to Grouse is he might start going again. I’m just happy that we made it through a family activity with no serious meltdowns from either baby, tween or myself!