When our heroes finally make it to Coumarine City, they learn that Nurse Joy is taking care of a lost Vanillite and head off to meet it. They take a shortcut through a ranch where the owner, Ramos, watches over a large number of Grass-type Pokémon.
When they reach the Pokémon Center, Bonnie happily plays with the friendly Vanillite—until Team Rocket shows up to steal it! But it turns out Vanillite has powerful friends, and when Vanillish and Vanilluxe come looking for their lost companion, they bury the entire city under a massive snowstorm!
Ramos directs the huge group of Sunflora under his care to stop the storm, and with his help, our heroes send Team Rocket blasting off again and reunite the three icy Pokémon.
Nurse Joy thanks Ramos for his help, and Clemont finally realizes who he is: this Trainer who can command an entire field of Grass-type Pokémon is Ash’s next opponent, the Gym Leader of Coumarine City!
The group finally arrives in Coumarine City. While there, Bonnie sees an ice cream stand and asks for an ice cream cone. After she remarks about the ice cream being in the shape of a Vanillite, the shop attendant informs the group that he was inspired by a lost Vanillite that is currently being looked after by Nurse Joy at the local Pokémon Center. The group decides to go see the Vanillite, while Team Rocket happen to overhear the conversation and set their sights on stealing Vanillite for themselves. Not knowing about the monorail, the group begins a long trek up the hill that leads to the other side of Coumarine City. Clemont becomes increasingly tired, unlike the others, calls on the help of his Clemontic Gear. He presents his "Easy-Peasy Mountain Climber", but it goes awry and sends Clemont crashing through a gate and into a field that is a pasture for Grass-type Pokémon. He is then attacked by a group of angry Victreebel. Their Trainer, Ramos rides onto the scene with his Gogoat and intervenes. Ramos, after accepting their explanation for being in a reserved area, allows them to take a shortcut through his ranch to get to the Pokémon Center.
At the Pokémon Center, Nurse Joy introduces the group to the Vanillite under her care. While Vanillite is shy at first, it quickly begins to trust them and plays happily with Pikachu and Dedenne. Nurse joy accepts everyone's offer to help her and they all go to another room to prepare food for Vanillite. However, Team Rocket disguise themselves as Nurse Joys and run off with Vanillite, leading everybody to chase after them and pursue them up the same hill they went on to traverse the fields between the two halves of Coumarine City. While in Team Rocket's clutches, Vanillite manages to cry loud enough for its family, a Vanillish and Vanilluxe, to hear it. In response, Vanillish and Vanilluxe use Blizzard, summoning a raging snowstorm that covers Coumarine City in snow.
Ash and his friends finally catch up to the three false Nurse Joys, who reveal themselves as Team Rocket and recite a variation of their motto. As the blizzard worsens, Vanillish and Vanilluxe arrive and attack both Team Rocket and the group. They freeze the Rocket trio in a block of ice and try to do the same to the others, but Ash runs forward and tries to stop them. Before he can be frozen as well, the man from before, Ramos, arrives and has his Gogoat uses Vine Whip to pull Ash out of harm's way. Lecturing Ash on the difference between attacking head-on and taking "the side road," he has his Jumpluff use Sunny Day and then tells his numerous Sunflora to unite and use Solar Beam to melt all of the snow, which appears to calm down Vanillish and Vanilluxe.
However, a newly thawed Team Rocket moves onto their next plan and produces a giant Meowth-shaped robot to continue with their plot to steal Vanillite and the others. Inserting the three Pokémon into the machine's "cold collector" capsules, they begin forcibly taking the cold energy from the three Ice-type Pokémon and using it to attack Ramos and the group. When the trio explains the workings of their machine, Clemont is impressed with their scientific prowess, but Bonnie scolds him and they continue to battle. Clemont's Luxio, Ash's Pikachu, and Serena's Fennekin all start to attack the robot, but to no avail, as the frigid air from Vanillite, Vanillish, and Vanilluxe stops their attacks. In response, Ramos has his Gogoat use Grass Knot and Leech Seed on the robot, effectively immobilizing it. With Frogadier's Cut and Pikachu's Iron Tail, the three Pokémon are freed and Team Rocket are sent blasting off once again with a barrage of punishing blows from the group’s Pokémon, which destroy the mecha.
Back at the Pokémon Center, the group, Ramos, and Nurse Joy all say goodbye to Vanillite and its family as they return to the mountains. Next, Ramos prepares to get going, and Nurse Joy mentions his name—a name which Clemont recognizes, but cannot immediately recall the connection. Ramos advises Ash that he must remember to always take the side road in life sometimes. Then, Clemont remembers that Ramos is the Coumarine Gym Leader and Ramos tells Ash that he will be waiting for his Gym challenge.