She has a full supply of tutus. And wings too - if you need them. "And I can bring 'em by your place anytime," says the woman they call The Princess . "You should give it a try," she adds. "You know, there's something very liberating about wearing a tutu. I think everybody should try it at least once in their lives..."
At first I thought it was all an act. I mean, nobody could be this far-out and still survive at Whistler. "Peace and love and pixie dust," she says all the time. "Hey beautiful person," she'll call out to a stranger, "I love your aura." She wears plastic daisies on her coats - the kind that used to be plastered on VW bugs. Provides healing crystals for ailing friends. I wouldn't be surprised if she even stashes candy in her pockets to pass out to kids and wannabe-kids in times of stress.
Her smile is huge. And permanently pasted across her face. Her blue eyes are crinkly with humour. It's like the '60s never ended with her. Like the whole psychedelic decade kept spinning on and on while the rest of us just sighed and knuckled down to real life.
Nobody could be this happy all the time, I figured. It's gotta be an act. Besides, I reminded myself, she hasn't had it all that easy in recent years. Single mom living from paycheque to paycheque in a town where material wealth is becoming increasingly conspicuous. Self-employed ski pro in a resort where instructors are increasingly considered numbers on a list. Surely that perma-grin of hers disappears the moment she closes her door and retreats to her own quarters.
Don't you think?
But the more I've gotten to know her, the more I've come to realize that Stephanie Reesor is the real thing. A true mountain princess. An against-all-odds kind of gal. And the more we talk, the more I'm impressed with her strength and vision.
And her humour of course.
"I'm a poster child for hope with the Canadian Ski Instructor's Alliance," she says with a gravelly chuckle. Meaning? "I've failed more instructor certification courses than just about anybody else in the country," she explains. "It cracks me up. Heck, I've tried for my Level III seven times." Silence for a moment. Then she resumes. "If I believed all the stuff those examiners told me over the years, I would have quit ski teaching years ago."
Yet she remains one of the most popular ski instructors at the Whistler Blackcomb Ski School. Particularly with children. Go figure...