There are 15 of us standing at the top of Vancouver’s Grouse Mountain who look a little out of place. “I’m guessing you guys are not going skiing,” a woman in a fuschia snowsuit calls out as she snowplows by us. We are not. Myriam Laroche, the founder and president of Eco Fashion Week, is wearing a sparkly beaded sweater. Designer Jeff Garner is sporting a silk neckerchief with a pale pink hemp shirt and a leather vest. Garner’s muse, Morgan Bradley, is dressed in a shiny black blazer with cream wide-leg trousers, chunky black pumps—and no socks. (But she does have a parka!)
We’re a well-dressed group on our way to dinner at Altitudes Bistro on the eve of Vancouver’s Eco Fashion Week. But before we taste the Ocean Wise salmon, we’re going to tour the world’s first commercial wind turbine, the Eye of the Wind, which provides up to 25 percent of the power for the Grouse Mountain resort area.
To get there, it’s a bit of a hike—through the snow—plus a ride up a chairlift. “As you can see, there are lots of skiers,” says our guide Maddie, as she leads us up the mountain toward the Peak Chairlift. “Please stay to the left so we avoid them.”
We were warned to wear “warm clothing and comfortable shoes”, and Tourism Vancouver’s Amber Sessions has brought along a bag of scarves and gloves. But it’s not cold. I’m enjoying the fresh air and the walk, but I do wish my flat black boots had a bit more grip in the soft and slushy ankle-deep snow.
“Don’t get clotheslined!” Morgan jokes as we finally reach the chairlift. I can’t remember the last time I rode a chairlift without my skis—and I wish I could ski, or at least toboggan, my way back down the mountain (a toboggan’s gotta be considered zero footprint, right?).
Up in the Eye of the Wind’s glass observation pod, the outside temperature is a balmy 8 degrees and the wind speed is fluctuating around 21km/hour as the turbine blades whoosh by. The view is, of course, spectacular. It’s certainly my most fashionable mountain excursion—so far.