Jay DeMerit and Ashleigh (McIvor) DeMerit Talk Romance, Olympics and Vancouver

We get intimate with Vancouver's own Posh and Becks (y'know, if Posh was famous for ski cross instead of scowls)

Credit: Paul Joseph

Vancouver’s winningest newlyweds know how to make the most of city life, whether they’re ripping down the slopes, cosying up in their favourite eatery or inspiring others to pursue their dreams

Jay and Ashleigh (formerly McIvor) DeMerit are quintessential Vancouverites: athletic, fashionable, nature junkies who love their urban space as much as their mountain getaways.The captain of the Vancouver Whitecaps, originally from Green Bay, Wisconsin, and Whistler’s own 2010 Winter Olympics ski cross gold medallist met at a Canucks game on the one-year anniversary of the 2010 Winter Games. Their courtship culminated in an idyllic forest fairy tale wedding last summer near Whistler. Now living in Gastown, they alternate training routines, soccer games and speaking engagements with mountain sports and lots of local culture.

BCLiving caught up with the golden couple to talk winter in the city, Olympic memories and all things romance.

Love for Vancouver

Jay: I always knew I would like it here. There are nice restaurants, and lots of cool places to hang out. The fashion is great. It’s the most picturesque place in the world. Even soccer culture is very strong here. It’s a doer culture. People enjoy getting out, even if it’s raining.

Favourite urban spots

Ashleigh: We love Granville Island Market, although we don’t go there enough. We go out for dinner almost every night and usually stick to our neighbourhood: The Flying Pig, Cork and Fin and Pourhouse. Gotham is as far as we’ll go.

Embracing winter

Ashleigh: Whistler is the place to be during the winter and we do all sorts of outdoor activities, including skiing, snowmobiling, hiking or snowshoeing up to the ancient cedars or backcountry cabins, trips to the hot springs, cross-country skiing near Lost Lake and up the Callaghan Valley, as well as good old-fashioned snowball fights. We also like trips to Tofino to surf, and the waves are world-class all winter. 

Olympic memories of the gold medal run

Ashleigh: My biggest memory was standing at the start gate for the final run. I was calm and at ease. I kept thinking, ‘I was made for this event, and this course was built for me.’ I had butterflies all the way down to my extremities and was channelling them into positive energy. Afterward, everything was a blur.

The 2014 Winter Olympics

Ashleigh: I’ll be commentating for CBC, for sponsors and for the Canadian Olympic Committee at the Sochi Olympics and it will be nice to not bring nerves with me. I’m going to enjoy being involved without pressure.

On inspiring others

Jay: Our Rise and Shine Foundation, based on my story and movie, will be about dream-big scenarios.

Ashleigh: Speaking extends my sense of purpose and gives longevity to my training. It allows me to have an impact on kids and to talk about determination, perseverance and focusing on the positive. It’s nice to put my accomplishments to good use.

Credit: Blake Jorgenson 

Romance DeMerit-Style

The proposal

Ashleigh: I had a great-aunt in Minnesota who lived in a nursing home that was on the way to Jay’s family cabin. She had a very big impact on our lives. My mom inherited her jewelry when she was gone and Jay remembered that her ring fit my finger. Jay and I were in Pemberton for Thanksgiving and we hiked up to the waterfall. There was no one else around and Jay got on one knee. I said yes before he even got the question out.

Winter romance

Jay: It’s important to make time for romantic outings… to enjoy facilities like Whistler’s Scandinave Spa. Canadian Snowmobile Adventures offers an amazing fondue dinner trip to the top of Blackcomb Mountain in the evenings, or if operating your own snowmobile is a bit extreme, you can hop in a snow cat or skip the fondue and go on a horse-drawn sleigh ride.

Favourite romantic getaway

Jay: I think our most romantic trip was to Jamaica two years ago. We rented a car and spent two weeks driving around the whole coast, stopping by Boston Bay Cove for a surf. We stayed at Great Huts, a boutique hotel with individual tree houses and unique cabins tucked into the rainforest. It was the first trip that was just the two of us and we had a blast.

Favourite takeout for a romantic night in

Jay: With our schedules, it’s hard to find a night in, but we love to put on our sweats, order takeout, and watch a movie when we can. Our takeout food usually comes from across the street in Gastown, with Italian food from Incendio or backyard barbecue from Peckinpah.

Valentine’s Day

Jay: We try not to play up Valentine’s Day too much, but last year we bought an acre in the woods of Whistler to build our future home, and we just happened to close the deal on February 14th, so from now on I’m sure Valentine’s Day will be extra special.