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Phoebe Phoenix: Falling in love with winter

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Is it really that simple? Is that really how an Aussie non-skier from the tropical northlands ended up spending the last 14 years of her life in Whistler?

Pretty much, she admits, only with a few unforeseen twists and turns along the way….

“It’s a funny story actually,” she says. “I was on my way to Europe and stopped off in Toronto to see my Godfather.” The smile broadens into a wall-to-wall grin. “When I left Brisbane, it was 25 o C. When I stepped off the plane in Toronto it was –25 o C. I didn’t know what hit me. And I realized: I love the cold!” She laughs. “I’d never seen snow before landing in Toronto. It blew my cotton socks right off. And it fell from the sky…”

Dazzled by her first Canadian experience, she vowed to return. Three years later, the 22 year old got her opportunity. But this time she landed in Vancouver. “I was planning to spend a week there,” she explains. “But that week turned into five months.”

Down to her last $400 and with no plan for the future, she decided to go shopping — “As you do,” she chuckles — and was offered a job in the first store she visited. “That was my first and only retail job,” she admits. Little did she know it would change everything.

“One of the guys I worked with invited me to go camping with him and his friends at the hot springs at Meager Creek,” she recounts, and giggles. “So there I am, in a car with five gay guys going up Highway 99 for a weekend camping trip. Suddenly we drive through Whistler. I was in awe. Where am I? What is this place? It looks like Austria but they all speak English!”

Phoebe knew, somehow, that this Whistler place was going to play a role in her life story. “I went straight back to Australia to make some more money so I could come back to Whistler for the ski season. I was hanging out with a friend and we were talking about life. I told her: ‘Ask and you shall receive — that’s how the universe works.’ And to press my point, I also told her what I was asking for in a partner; someone who was gentle, strong, kind, hard-working and loved me to death.”

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