Headline Mountain Holiday
There are some moments in life from which you leave forever changed. This is the story of one such experience.
In a tourism landscape where “once-in-a-lifetime, world-class, bucket-list, epic adventures” are around every corner, it’s hard to cut through the noise and find the true gems. I packed my bags with high hopes and low expectations for what I would encounter on this journey.
Head-Line Mountain Holidays had been recommended by a close friend, and while I was pretty certain I’d seen Whistler from every angle, I jumped at the chance to join an intimate group visiting the only existing ice cap in North America on Whistler’s doorstep.
Over the course of our trip planning, I felt like the main character in an ice-filled Choose-Your-Own-Adventure tale, with an endless array of fine foods, snow vehicles, ice caves, and other customizations at my disposal. It was clear that there was no such thing as a cookie-cutter experience with Head-Line Mountain Holidays– we were creating moments that wouldn’t be replicated.
Doug Washer and his crew are the perfect mix of genuine and knowledgeable, with palpable passion oozing from their snow-capped pores. Planning with their team was like a dream. No detail was too small, and no request too challenging as we collaborated to create a perfectly tailored experience. By the time we took to the skies, Head-Line had perfected every luxurious detail from professional gear and cold- climate comforts, to cozy shearling seat covers and the loveliest of canapés.
Truthfully, it wasn’t the next-level service or budding bonds that facilitated my transformation (though the finer things certainly didn’t hurt). It all came down to a simple question posed by Doug as we planned the trip: “Do you remember what it’s like to feel small?”.
The weight of this thought hit hard as we stepped onto the ice cap and watched the A-star heli shrink into the distance, leaving just four of us (and our guide) to relish in the vastness and solitude of the alpine landscape alone in the echoing wind.
It was all so unexpected and perfectly juxtaposed. An exhilarating rush of emotion in the serenity.
Luxury amidst the most rugged of natural wonders. Minutes from Whistler, yet worlds away. Pioneering in a place pre-dating the last ice age. Comfy, so far from any comfort zone. Finding warmth deep inside a frozen cave.
Indeed, I felt small – but also, larger than life.
It was a total sensory overload, a state void of time and place. I had braced for a harsh, face-numbing experience, but instead found myself revitalized by the fresh, crisp air. I was entranced by the muffled sounds of glacial water gurgling below my feet and the rhythmic patterns of droplets traveling from ceiling to floor. The cave’s thick walls of ice felt warm and smooth (like plexiglass) to the touch, so dense and clear that it exposed a world of icy textures that morphed before my eyes.
And oh, those stunning deep blue, green, and violet hues. I’ve long known that blue is said to have soothing and mentally calming effects, which had never been truer than finding ourselves enveloped in the serenity of the jewel-toned cave. The varying opacity and crystallization within the walls appeared to dance and shine just for us, as though centuries of compressed glacial ice had artfully created this pallet of blues for this singular instant.
Introspective moments were punctuated by our guide Matt’s ability to pique our sense of wonder. We were humbled to realize we were of the very few humans to be immersed in such rare geographic features. Matt spoke eloquently of life inside the cave, with moulins, ice worms and alge, somehow transforming our navigation of the vast terrain into an intimate journey of self-exploration. We sunk deeper into the insignificance of our presence as we watched the ice cap flow to feed two tributaries and five river systems, creating pathways for alpine wildlife.
In such little time, I was grateful to discover so much about this place and maybe even more about myself – I left awestruck and inspired, challenged and changed.
As we returned to reality, I couldn’t help but wonder if Doug was drawn to the ice cap due to its ever-evolving nature.
A magical place that makes replicating any moment impossible – where no two trips could be the same.
It seems fitting that Head-Line Mountain Holidays also constantly shifts and grows, embracing its clientele to customize and evolve luxury wilderness travel one bespoke experience at a time.