Jesse Kinos-Goodin

About

Jesse Kinos-Goodin is a Toronto-based journalist. He writes about music, travel, pop culture and, of course, Toronto.

Cat skiing trip through Fernie, B.C.’s, backcountry delights — despite tree hazards (and lack of felines)

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I’m lying on my back under a tree in the backcountry mountains surrounding Fernie, B.C., my feet strapped to a snowboard and my mind preoccupied with what my guide told me earlier.

“Tree wells,” he said. “They’re our most dangerous hazard up here.” He proceeded to describe the deep holes that form under trees after a heavy snowfall, which can then pose a dangerous, and potentially life-threatening, hazard to skiers and snowboarders who get too close and find themselves in one, upside down, precisely as I am now.

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Canada’s Five Best Road Trips

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The best part of every road trip usually happens the moment you put the map down and let the scenery be your guide. Whether it’s stumbling across a random little village with the best homemade ice cream you’ve ever had, or finding the perfect swimming hole because you took a wrong turn somewhere, these chance encounters tend to be the most memorable. To celebrate the quintessential Canadian road trip, here are five great routes, with some help from the locals who know them best.

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Snowboarding New Mexico

This is a picture of the HALFWAY point of a 1.5-hour hike I did in New Mexico to ride fresh powder. It was more than 12,000 ft above sea level (Toronto is less than 500, for comparison) and the air was so thin I thought about chickening out many times. Not only did I make it, but I wrote one of my favourite travel stories about it here

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B.C.’s Powder Highway

I try to take as many stories as possible that deal with snowboarding trips I otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford. This is the first chance I had to hit B.C.’s famed Powder Highway, but it definitely won’t be the last. Read the story here.

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Riding the Ho Chi Minh Trail

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The 125-cubic-centimetre engine of the scooter was screaming for forgiveness, throwing off so much heat it burned through my jeans, singeing my leg hair.

All morning I’d been mercilessly holding the throttle wide open, climbing hills so steep it seemed like the bike might die any minute under the weight of my wife and me. We manoeuvred around potholes the size of bomb craters at full speed (which was about 80 kilometres an hour, downhill, with no wind), just trying to keep a faint trace of our guide’s rear tire in sight as he pulled ahead effortlessly on his 250-cc Suzuki dirt bike.

Regularly, I wouldn’t be so concerned about staying close to a guide. Regularly, I wouldn’t even have a guide, a map being more than sufficient. But this was Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh Trail, an area not only totally unfamiliar to me but also where, in an instant, a loosely paved road wide enough for one car can change into a complete mash-up of mud and water before you can say, “Where are we?”

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(Source:driving.ca)
Travel

The ultimate last-minute gift guide for Valentine’s Day

I ran down gift options in Toronto for the music connoisseur, the window shopper, the take-out type, the starving artist, the sweet tooth and the high flyer, ranging in price from $25 to $500,000. Read it here.

Travel

Maid to order fantasy

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(image courtesy)

Techno geeks babied and bossed as they master cartoon servants

Originally published in the National Post

TOKYO • I’m not sure what “mushi, mushi” or “moy, moy” mean, but seeing as how everyone else in the cafe is saying it, I give it a try. The waitress, dressed like a sexy anime maid, smiles so hard it looks like her teeth might shatter. She stirs my spaghetti and ketchup faster — which is great but also a little sad. It means the perfectly good happy face she had drawn with my ketchup just moments before is now thoroughly mixed with the noodles. When she has finished stirring she gives me this ta-da look, turns the blue bendy straw (I picked the colour myself ) in my ice coffee toward me, pats me on the head and leaves. I am somewhere between enthralled and embarrassed.

Seems strange, but this is a perfectly normal lunch hour in the Akihabara district of Tokyo. Traditionally the best place to buy electronics, Akihabara has been making a new name for itself as a haven for everything otaku (geek in Japanese). In other words, nerd central, where you can play video games, shop for anime and comic book paraphernalia, meet females (and, oddly, some males) dressed as your favourite anime characters (which basically involves taking any profession and adding a short skirt) and be waited on like a baby at a “maid cafe.”

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