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Listen To The Eyes

Stay Wild

A road trip from Washington to Whistler

Story by Vans global snow team rider Mary Rand // @bigairmare

Photos by Suzie Gotiz // @suziegotis

We were going to the final showing of our Vans’ Listen To The Eyes movie. It is a 16 mm film by Jake Price about backcountry snowboarding featuring Hana Beaman, Leanne Pelosi, and myself.  

My fur child Otis greeted photographer Suzie Gotis with hackles up, in full guard mode. Suzie walked up the muddy driveway with a friendly smile on. Thankfully she loves dogs and isn’t afraid of getting her shoes dirty. After Derrek Lever, my fiancé, and I introduced ourselves, we asked Otis to stop jumping on her. It wasn’t long before the three of us started philosophizing about the current state of the world. Realizing that these fireside chats may never end, we loaded up my truck, said goodbye to the boys, and hit the road.  


Our first stop was Bellingham to meet up with Hana. On the way out of town, we stopped to grab breakfast at Mount Bakery, home to arguably the best benedict in Washington. This kicked off our tour the right way as we indulged on benedicts, chocolate crepes, and coffee while talking about the Olympics, women in sports, and traveling. From there it was time to head to Vancouver. 

With an easy border crossing at Peace Arch, we made it to the city in no time. Our only agenda in Vancouver was to get a shop tee from Antisocial Skateboard Shop for my friend Cierra at Vans. Across from Antisocial is a hip, New York-style corner coffee shop called Gene. There were music show posters covering the walls. The ceiling-to-floor windows were drenched in sweaty condensation from the wet day outside. From there, we hopped to Whistler for the night. 

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The next morning, we leisurely left the hotel around 8:45 a.m. to get coffees and breakfast from Mount Currie Coffee in the village. There we ran into Jon Martin—Whistler’s snowboarding and skateboarding mascot, long time employee at The Circle snowboard shop, and one of the nicest guys around. After bullshitting with Jon and buying a few Christmas presents at the shop, we headed 30 minutes north to Pemberton for a little hike.  

The sun hadn’t yet hit the valley floor, so we could see fresh, snow-covered mountaintops while driving in and out of fog. We stopped at One Mile Lake and walked around a bit. It was looking very moody socked in with fog. Next, we parked in front of the Pemberton General Store to go on our hike and figured we ought to have a look inside for some local color. The store is a labyrinth with countless amounts of Canadian-made moccasins, leather pieces, Carhartt, Dickies, howling wolf T-shirts, wool socks, vintage Levi jeans, work boots, and pretty much anything else quintessentially Canadian packed in amongst opened boxes full of more stuff. A grumpy older man working there answered, “What do you think?” when I asked him how he was doing. I think he warmed up to us gals a little bit after we made a purchase and said our goodbyes.  


The sun started to break and we headed up onto the unmarked Pemberton Creek waterfall hike. I had done this hike once before with Leanne and her fiancé on one of our down days while filming Listen to the Eyes. We ran into the same black-and-white border collie I had seen before lying outside of a house by the trailhead. This time he ended up joining us for the whole hike. 

About 45 minutes in, Hana, who has the best sense of direction of the three of us, stated blankly that we were hiking away from the waterfall. We backtracked, got on the right trail, and eventually made it to the falls, which are absolutely stunning. Mike, our dog for the day, waited above patiently as we peered over the edge and felt the cold misty wind of the falls hit our faces. After trekking back down to the trailhead, we said goodbye to Mike, made sure he took the correct turn back to his house, parted ways, and reflected on how that was the best dog experience ever. He was such a good boy!

We went back to the hotel for a siesta before the movie premiere. At Sushi Village, we sat down with Bridget (the Vans Canada Head Bitch In Charge) and friends. It was a feeding frenzy with sake served every which way—hot, cold, and in a blended margarita. The premiere was held right below Sushi Village at Showcase, another Whistler skate and snowboard shop. They had a mini ramp, a silent auction with work from photographer Oli Gagnon with proceeds going to the Dillon Ojo Lifeline Foundation, and bottomless Coors Light cans, aka cold Colorado piss. The film screening was a success with a great turnout and tons of good vibes. A few whiskey sours later at Earl’s, and next thing you know it’s 1:30 a.m. and time to hit the sheets. Phew! 

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This story was made with help from our friends at VANS @vanssnow // vans.com