"The real voyage of discovery consists in not seeing a new landscape, but in having new eyes."
- Marcel Proust
She'd done it all. A charter member of Canada's snowboarding team, Sherry Newstead had lived the Whistler dream to its full potential. From competitor to film stunt person, from swinging gogo dancer to "connected" talent agent, the blond dynamo they called Punchy had pushed the envelope of the possible in just about everything she undertook.
"I virtually grew up at Whistler," says the 40 year old with a knowing smile. "I was brought up by my friends." A long giggle. "It's funny you know - I really did grow up here. And I was able to incorporate all sorts of things from the people I encountered here too."
Then she met Rob Boyd. "It's been quite a journey," she admits of her love affair with Whistler's favourite son. And one of their first dates, she says, had to be among the funniest. "It was locals' night at Sushi Village," she says. "One of us had heard that it was supposed to be an '80s theme." A great lover of costume parties, Newstead convinced her new beau to get into the swing of the evening. "So we went through our closets and put together the tackiest '80s wear we could find."
As it turns out there was no '80s theme at the restaurant that night. "I'm sure you can imagine the kind of entrance we made," she says with just the hint of a smirk. "There we were all decked out in our finest retro gear and nobody else in the room was costumed. They must have wondered what the heck was going on..."
But to their credit the new couple kept a straight face and carried it off. "That's what I love so much about Rob," she says. "He's game for anything."
Consider the way he asked Sherry to marry him. "Well," she says. "It's Christmas time and I've got this crazy Swedish snowboarding friend staying with us. He's just broken up with his girlfriend so there's this dark, nasty cloud hanging over our house..."
No matter. The tradition on Christmas Day is for Rob to shed his skis and go snowboarding with Sherry. "It's our own little ritual," she explains. "And on this particular Christmas it's puking!"
Rob has the engagement ring in his pocket. His plan is to take Sherry into the forest and propose.
"But the riding is way too good to stop," she continues. "We finally get home - still cold and soggy from the day's adventures - and we're all stressed out about getting the turkey into the oven in time for dinner." She stops talking. Laughs. "Suddenly Rob gets down on one knee and takes this ring box out of his pocket. And I'm thinking: 'Are you seriously doing this?'"