Welcome to my first ever Bachelor Winter Games blog! Those two weeks were some of the most fun I’ve ever had working on the show, and I can’t wait to give you some inside scoop.
We started it all off with the big arrivals parade in Manchester, Vermont, and it was incredible. We did have to begin a little earlier than we initially planned as there was a big storm rolling in and we couldn’t literally have it raining on our parade. You can see it sprinkling there just as we were wrapping things up. A half hour later it was really coming down.
But the parade was so much fun. It really felt like the entire town came together to help us pull this thing off. I started out that day bright and early, before dawn, grabbing a tea and a scone at the local café/bookstore. If you’re ever in Manchester, give the Northshire Bookstore a visit. It’s delightful.
Having Hannah Storm and Ashley Brewer with me for those two weeks made things so much more fun. Both are big Bachelor fans and can talk Bachelor for days. I didn’t need to get them up to speed on who everyone was; they already knew everything. And they are both just such professionals. Thank you both!
Now, I know there has been some talk about my beard. No, you don’t have to adjust your television set. Yes, that is some facial hair. I just thought, why not sport a little scruff for the Winter Games? And Hannah immediately called me out on it of course. Can’t get away with anything. I also heard that there might be a Twitter handle for my beard. That’s just plain weird. But also kind of funny. Let’s see what my beard has to say over the next couple weeks! Beard, speak now, because I have a feeling you might not be long for this world. I see a shave in your future!
Back to the parade. The Americans came in first and it was like seeing a group of old friends. Ben! Luke! Eric! Ashley! Clare! Josiah! Bibiana! You know them all. And if you don’t remember someone like Lesley, you’re in for a treat. She was on Sean Lowe’s season and she’s smart and strong and has been through so much this past year.
Let’s talk about Yuki. She may not speak much English, but it doesn’t matter. Somehow you can still understand her! And stay tuned, because I did brush up on my basic Japanese so the two of us could have an important conversation. Yes, I speak Japanese on the Bachelor Winter Games!
When the Canadians rolled in, we could immediately tell there was a lot of interest in them. Kevin is the classic man’s man, and Benoit is the sensitive romantic who will sneak up on you. Watch out for both of them. The Canadians are really going to heat things up at the Winter Games.
Seeing Trista and Ryan arrive with the Bachelor lantern really took me back. So many years, so many successful couples. That’s what Bachelor Nation is all about.
Back at the villa at The Hermitage Club, everyone immediately started comparing notes. It was so interesting to hear Zoe and Yuki talking about their experiences on Bachelor China and Bachelor Japan with Courtney. I don’t think we quite anticipated how much cultural differences would play a role on the Winter Games, but the truth is that something as simple as a kiss can mean something very different from one country to another.
The first event, the Biathlon, was a lot of fun. What you don’t know is that we had planned to do downhill skiing first, but we didn’t have quite enough snow to make it work. Of course forty-eight hours later we had more snow than we could handle! Hannah and I really had fun watching everyone stumble around the course. Did you see Yuki come over and just start talking to us? She’s just hilarious in any language.
With the Biathlon over, it was time for the dates. As much fun as the events were, this really was all about romance and love. Poor Kevin was in a bit of a tough spot with the date card. And Ashley. Oh Ashley, here we go again. She came into this saying she was just here to have fun, and promising that she wouldn’t get emotional over a man again. That lasted about 10 seconds. However, it doesn’t end here for Ashley. So keep an eye on her.
The rose ceremony was tough, and not just because I decided to shave my beard. Saying goodbye to someone like Zoe who traveled so far to be there was sad. And saying goodbye to someone like Eric, who is such a big, positive personality, was a bummer. I get the feeling we haven’t seen the last of Eric in the Bachelor world. Bachelor in Paradise, maybe?
The good news is that relationships were already forming. We had hoped that relationships would form across borders, and that is exactly what happened. But so many questions. What will happen with Dean and Lesley? Will Ashley finally find love? Will Clare and Benoit become a thing, or will Christian come between them? And will brokenhearted Ben be able to open himself up to love again? You’ll have to tune in for all those answers. What I will tell you is that there will be plenty of romance, and maybe more than a few tears along the way. Let the games continue!
The Bachelor Winter Games airs Tuesdays and Thursdays (8 p.m. ET) on ABC.