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Surviving the shoulder season

Seven steps to fighting the doldrums and courting chaos



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For warm-blooded mammals, duration need not be extreme in any one environment — it's more about repetition than it is about extension (to put it in a Hegelese phrase designed to make you sound smart at dinner parties). After a cycle or two of the Russian-style steam bath, you should already be forgetting your next 42 To-Do Tasks. Remember, young Luke: silent you keep. Talking spoils the trip-out. Duck out to the fringes of the hot tub, and let the ears envelope the soothing sounds of water. There is nothing, and I mean nothing, as ultimately relaxing as the acoustic reverberation of ceaseless, flowing, H20.

Sweating in the dry sauna is what follows. Throw some water on the wood-burning stove and collapse on the baked wood benches. Breath deep until dry, and then sweat again. Go outside, shrivel the bits in glacially-cold water, and repeat. Again and again, until you see visions of Xanadu. Hours later, I found myself in a meditation room, body steaming, gazing with wonder at those little birds which flock around each spring, chasing each other with abandon... cute little birds... there they go... indeed, what the heck am I doing here? Am I on assignment? Who am I writing for?

Be prepared.

Hint — become a WORCA member (Whistler's singletrack mountain bike association, which kicks off its first Toonie this May 3rd) and partake of Scandinave Spa with all the grubby riders at the end of the summer in one orgiastic spandex send-off.

Step Four: Get Your Hair Cut and Get Naked

If the headmop has become so unruly that you cannot distinguish between the mirror and the mint edition, life-size poster of Chewbacca kept on the wall for reference purposes, then my wo/man, it is time to get your hair cut (at least if you want to keep that job: more on that below).

There are several places to hit up in this lovely locale, from Pique's Best of Whistler choices, Farfalla, The Loft, and Good Hair Day to a simple barber's shave at Black Comb Barber Shoppe. I play no favourites, save to mention that local stylists often operate out of private studios, such as that run by Amanda Steel, whose British grace includes thorough inspections by her cats of your new cut.

Once chopped, consider posing for some boudoir photography by Kyle Graham. Why not? Kyle organizes Playful Photo Parties, where everyone gets shot solo (or not) while hanging out and comparing lingerie. Kyle is no stranger to posing in the buff, having sat as a life drawing model for classes organized by Whistler Arts Council. Modelling nude, says Kyle, is an "incredibly liberating experience," and one that "boosted confidence."