Axewood at the Sea to Sky Gondola

Into the woods.

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The lumberjack look is forever in style: the big boots; the flannel; the unkempt beards; the nonchalance. But how chill can you be when you’re hurling an axe at a block of wood? Here’s hoping your jeans are stretchy.

Axewood, a portable axe-throwing station founded by former Montreal Alouettes middle linebacker Shea Emry, asks people to embody the lumberjack in a different way. The Whistler-based company, which travels all over the Sea to Sky corridor and the Lower Mainland for events, has set up semi-permanent shop at the top of Squamish’s Sea to Sky Gondola until the end of October 2017. After a breathtaking ride up, participants will easily find the Axewood station—just follow the sound of metal clanking into wood. Following a brief demonstration and a single practise throw, challengers are given 10 counting throws, pitted against each other in the ultimate woodsman (or woman) match.

“It’s usually the guys throwing while the girls stand and watch, but we want everyone to do this,” Emry says as three women take their turn at the targets. “The whole idea is to make people try something new, and in doing so realize they can do more than they think they are capable of.”

Which is true, even if a certain someone (hello!) never gets points on the board. It’s more about the experience than the results—although to the guy in a bucket hat who got a bullseye on his ninth throw: really, that was impressive.

Once all the chucking is done, there is plenty else to do at the top of the gondola, including many beautiful trails that weave off into the mountains. Or perhaps all that the afternoon calls for is a can of Squamish’s Backcountry Brewing IPA, sold at the gondola’s cafe and best enjoyed on its massive patio overlooking the Sound.

Whether lumberjack by trade or by fashion (or by nothing at all), Axewood offers something different, and especially with this setting, something uniquely British Columbian. Perhaps that’s the real bullseye.


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August 2, 2017