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Surviving the shoulder season

Seven steps to fighting the doldrums and courting chaos

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A few adults appeared tied up in knots of anxiety — from what I could tell, thanks to the facial recognition software on my iPhone that scans for signs of nervous tics, these aging boomers were entertaining nightmares of the entire assemblage breaking loose, sending bodies splashing down into the waters below. To this end, may I suggest going on a tour with small children; at least on mine, our token Little Smiling Girl claimed first on every single zip, much to the confused look of concern/admiration from her parents.

If no children are available, a small guinea pig or sack of potatoes is useful as a test subject, for just as the comfort sets in, the ziplines become longer and steeper, dropping more sharply, until the guides have you hanging upside-down, arms open, legs splayed, embracing the full blood-rushing experience of letting it all hang out.

*Or at least I think his name was Dan. This journalist apologizes for failing to take notes whilst dangling from ziplines.

Step Three: Bathe in Public

If you haven't bathed all winter, you are a bear and/or a hipster who cannot peel too-tight pants off your scrawny leg limbs. Read no further: you be fit only for squatter camps and tundra wookies. But if you scrub and shave with some regularity, there is no finer escape than the exquisitely manicured Scandinave Spa, which offers a Local's May Pass for 99 clams. Besides the age-old tradition of late-season hot tub poaching, the Vida Wellness Spa at the Fairmont has private cabana rentals while the Four Seasons has a eucalyptus steam room, and there be local membership deals at Hidden Lodge day spa in Glacier Lodge. The offseason be a good time to soak in some peace and quiet.

The entire point of a hot/cold spa is to push the contradiction between the temperature inside your body and outside to the point where you enter into a blissed-out, dazed state of consciousness, otherwise obtainable only through psychedelic means or studious devotion to Hegelian transcendental dialectics (the latter not recommended for the bookworm weak). As I experienced hot flashes and cold sweats, I saw strange, geometric patterns dance across the treetops while the New Age music that cascades alongside the mesmerizing, cold waterfalls began to sound really, really deep.