It will be a very “Happy Random Day” for Phil Loosley and Ali Meredith later this month when they say “I do” before pointing their boards down Granite Mountain.
The Rossland couple admitted they’ve never celebrated Valentine’s Day, when the Times caught up with them in between preparation for their wedding day set for Feb. 22.
“Rather than on Valentine’s Day when somebody tells you ‘this is the day you should confess your love to someone,’ we do it any random day,” said Loosley, a 39 year-old originally from Bagshot, UK.
Random gestures as simple as a handful of truffles to as big as a concert overnight in Spokane stepped up this past summer when Loosley presented the most extravagant gift yet, a proposal.
Meredith, a 34 year-old Bellingen, Australia, native was surprised after a hike up the Seven Summits Trail and a camp overnight on Grey Mountain ended with her boyfriend of nine years getting down on one knee.
“We didn’t really have any plans to get married but then when he asked me I was like, ‘yes of course.’”
But it wasn’t a ring in hand, instead Loosley presented his future wife with a Salomon Sickstick engagement snowboard, perfect to ride down from the ski hill’s Powderfields Traverse run post ceremony.
Sporting a white ski suit with a bouquet in hand, Meredith will greet her man at “wedding point” dressed in the same but black with a boutonniere.
The no fuss couple are pleased that some family and friends from Australia can make the occasion and understand that their support from England will be watching via webcam.
“We’ll say ‘I do’ and exchange the rings and then do a run down Powderfields with all of our guests,” she said. “Then we’ll go to Rafters (the bar at the main lodge) to sign the paperwork and have a beer and nachos.”
But she will get into the white dress, after all, for the reception held at the Redroom Lounge at the Prestige Mountain Resort.
The couple decided to choose a ceremony and reception location they frequent regularly, but not before considering their original homes or even the French Alps, where they first met. The two snowboarders became friends quickly when their mutual friends were all skiers back in 2004 in Morzine, a French Alpine resort. After quick introductions Christmas Eve, the boarders exchanged phone numbers and hit the slopes the next day.
They connected immediately and when the season came to an end and Meredith was due back to work, Loosley decided to follow suit but not before the new couple travelled to Paris, Normandy, Iceland and New York first.
Their relationship was spent apart in short stints as they navigated through work in two different countries and meeting for travel in between. That was until they both upped and left their jobs and sold their homes in 2006.
“We left Australia homeless and jobless with a backpack and snowboard baggage,” smiled Loosley.
The travel bug brought them to South America, for some snowboarding in Chile, before landing them in Rossland, where they had intended to stay for a short while to learn the ropes of running Mountain Shadow Hostel before moving to the French Alps to open their own business.
At the end of the season and two days before they were set to leave, Meredith got a job offer as an engineer for FortisBC in Trail. The company sponsored her and the common law couple was given permanent residency.
“We were lucky, actually, given that we’re from two different countries and it’s often difficult to try and figure out how you can stay in the same country together without getting married,” said Meredith. “We didn’t want to get married for immigration reasons.”
The timing felt right this time, said Loosley, who works at the rental shop at Red Mountain Resort and runs Altitude Entertainment with business partners Rupert Keiller and Nadine Tremblay. He’s often known as “Phillus Dillus” when he’s hosting the popular local game show “The Price is Jeopardy or No Deal of Fortune.”
Loosley loves Meredith’s sense of adventure -– her fearlessness, her enjoyment of the simple things in life, her love of travel and of course that “she rocks on a snowboard and a mountain bike.”
He makes Meredith laugh, “from a small giggle to totally cracking up,” she said. “I know he’s the one because when he hugs me I feel safe, happy, totally loved, and absolutely where I belong.”
Such will be the case on their wedding day and their heli-boarding honeymoon when her engagement board will again come in handy.