Snap­shot

Grouse Moun­tain in the sum­mer may be syn­ony­mous with the heart-pound­ing Grouse Grind (hello, na­ture’s StairMaster). But in the win­ter the alpine re­sort hosts a much more tran­quil scene. Trail run­ners and sports drinks get swapped for ice skates and hot ch

Vancouver Magazine - - News - Do­minika Lirette as told to Evaan Kheraj pho­tos by

Up atop snow-cov­ered Grouse Moun­tain, it’s a win­ter won­der­land.

1. There’s a steady line of kids wait­ing for Santa’s helpers to bring them into the work­shop. But many are just as happy to log some ice time in the sun­shine while they wait for their au­di­ence with the big man him­self.

2. Aldert White is hav­ing a great time ex­plor­ing Van­cou­ver on his hol­i­day from Eng­land. “The peo­ple are so wel­com­ing and pleased to see you,” he says. But that’s not the only thing that’s left an im­pres­sion. “The scenery com­bined with the weather is just breath­tak­ing.”

3. Wes Gordon and son Matthew are vis­it­ing the Peak of Christ­mas for the sec­ond time, and they plan to re­turn. “I think it’s turned into a tra­di­tion,” says Wes. “He’s hav­ing a blast, so that’s the most im­por­tant thing.”

4. Leonardo and his fam­ily re­cently moved to Van­cou­ver from Brazil, and the twin girls are lov­ing their first white Christ­mas. Fresh from slid­ing down the hill on snow car­pets, the girls say, “It was fun and it was fast!”

5. David Me­gahy has been a pro­fes­sional Santa for about 20 years. He first wore the suit to hand out gifts to chil­dren for the food bank. Back then his beard was fake, but th­ese days Me­gahy’s take on Santa is all nat­u­ral. “As time went on my hair went white, and then I re­al­ized my beard was white, too. So, I just thought I would be­come Santa.”

6. Ying Pian’s first time on the ice came with some trep­i­da­tion: “I’m ex­cited. I’m ner­vous.” Fouryear-old daugh­ter Me­lanie, how­ever, has had a lit­tle more prac­tice—this is her fourth time skat­ing.

7. A gin­ger­bread vil­lage casts Christ­mas cheer atop Grouse. The can­dy­coated houses are all spon­sored in sup­port of SOS Chil­dren’s Vil­lages,

which pro­vides safe homes for or­phaned and aban­doned kids around the world. Vis­i­tors can cast a bal­lot for their favourite house in per­son or on­line.

8. Wildlife ranger Kevin Lang­ford thinks the reindeer have it pretty good. “They’re here re­ally to rest up be­fore the big night. And then they’re go­ing to come back here af­ter­wards as well so they can rest after their work on Christ­mas Eve. They’ll be with us un­til just the be­gin­ning of the new year.”

9. Santa’s reindeer, Dancer and Vixen, usu­ally get along quite well, ex­cept when it comes to feed­ing time. “Dancer is kind of the more dom­i­nant one. She likes to push Vixen off the food,” says ranger Lang­ford. “So there’s a lit­tle bit of com­pe­ti­tion there.”

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