In Profile: The Radomi Family
Kai and Zayle Radomi peer over the side of the couch, an identical pair of blue eyes and tousled blond heads perked up at the sight of a stranger in the room, their red and yellow shirts the only distinguishing mark between them.
Bananas in Pajamas are forgotten on the DVD player as the two-year-old twin boys spy a potential playmate. “Hi,” they say, before tumbling head first over the arm of the couch and onto the floor.
“They’re a bit rascally,” says Sophie Gadd, the boys’ mother, as she puts on the kettle for a pot of tea. It’s hard not to stare at the boys as they play; they are so adorable.
All thoughts of using the furniture as a jungle gym are forgotten as the boys’ father, Tony Radomi, offers a plate of cookies. “Mmm, ganberries,” says Zayle, gnawing on a homemade cookie with white chocolate chunks and cranberries.
Gadd and her husband, Tony Radomi, are caretakers at Building 85 in the Alpine Village, keeping their eye on the 24 units in the building. They look after snow removal, the garbage room and vacuuming for the owners who own the suites in the building.
Radomi is a lift mechanic at Mount Washington Alpine Resort and takes photos for the Marketing Department, and Gadd teaches four days a week at the Ski and Snowboard School. She also cooks twice a week at Toscano’s, a restaurant in Comox. Gadd and Radomi have been living at Mount Washington Alpine Village for the past three years, but Radomi has been working at Mount Washington off and on for the past eight years.
Toni came to Canada in 1996 while backpacking, and hooked up with a couple of ski instructors he knew. He returned to Victoria, Australia to work for the winter at Mt. Buffalo, a ski resort north of Melbourne.
Radomi never saw snow until he was 18 years old. “I grew up in the desert, on the edge of the Outback,” he says. “I grew up in a vineyard – we would sell our grapes to the wineries.”
When he was 18, a bunch of buddies from trade school all went to Mt. Hawthorne during a holiday, where Radomi learned how to ski. He went back the next year to learn how to snowboard. He was hooked.
Gadd grew up a few hours away from Mt. Buffalo, which is where Radomi met her in 1997. She was busy finishing her apprenticeship as a chef. They saved up to spend a year working at Mount Washington in 1998-99, the big snow year.
Gadd and Radomi returned to Mt. Buffalo 18 months later and worked for a season while waiting for their citizenship applications to go through. They moved to Canada permanently four years ago.
They love the fact that people on Vancouver Island are much like those at home – laid back, friendly – and that they don’t have to travel for too many hours between snowboarding and surfing, like they would in Australia.
“Where else can you teach snowboarding all day and get paid for it?” Gadd says. They’re both looking forward to introducing Kai and Zayle to skiing this year. The boys, despite being just two, are excited, too. “They keep saying, ‘skiing in the afternoon, skiing in the afternoon,’” Gadd says.
The Radomi family has been back to Australia twice since the boys were born, but now they are too old to qualify for free seats and it will cost too much to fly home.
“It will be at least 10 years before we go back now,” Radomi said. Until then, they will enjoy life at Mount Washington. And invite the grandparents to visit them over here.