Tuesday, 28 February 2012

"The Red Neck Ball" (Wild Game Night)

Deer, Elk and Bear!!! On my plate, and what a fine meal that was.  Last evening the Lake Windermere district Rod and Gun Club held their annual Wild Game Night (The Red Neck Ball) Their motto: "Do not destroy what you have not the power to replace"  The hunting season was not the best and many of thehunters need the meat for their own families.  We were all thankful for those who were able to donate some of their meat to make this annual (93 years) a truly wild game dinner.
Hunter's antler competition
The term Redneck was made popular by comedian Jeff Foxworthy in the USA.  My personal interpetation from a Canadian point of view is: A Redneck is a person, either hunter, fisherman, fisherwoman, drive a full size pick up truck, wears plaid flannel overshirt and rubber work boots.  They hunt their food, are eco friendly and live off the land and particulary live in rural areas.  They have big hearts, happy and stress free.  Unlike the American version where a Redneck is a derogatory term and can be insulting to some.  We Canadians can joke about ourselves and laugh.  We are kind, thoughful and sincere.  The Invermere District Rod and Gun Club is overflowing with members whom I have just described.  Bob and I are very fortunate to be a part of this wonderful evening!   Thanks Everyone!

Meat, and more Meat, delicious!
Some items on the menu were (appetizers): Moose meatballs.  Sliced deer prime rib and Smoked Trout.  The main course, of course: Elk Lasagna, Bear Ham, which was absolutely delicious!, Goat stew, Moose Stroganoff, Roast Beef, roast Venison, chili and of course vegetables.  I have never gobbled up so much meat at one sitting in my lifetime, but  this was a tastefull decision and well worth the full belly.  Then there was dessert.  No wild game here!  Chocolate and butter tart cake.
A silent auction and live auction to follow as well as a dance and midnight lunch. 
And a Live Auction
After a full day skiing in fresh powder; 10 cms worth and very tired legs, nevermind, a full belly, Bob and I made a sly exit and home to bed.  A great fundraiser in all.  Monies raised are allocated to community items such as a bursary, other service clubs, youth archery and air rifle programs as well as improving the various events within the community.
Dessert, Black Forest Cake

This week has been busy with our daughter, Tammy visiting us.  She has never been west and was humbled with the vastness and beauty the mountains have to offer.  We both skied and toured the mountain during the week.  We did manage to snow shoe one afternoon and it was wonderful for Bob to be able to experience the afternoon with us. Julie, her best friend since grade 4 drove from Calgary to visit. It was great to see her again.  Tammy and Julie (Juice) had lots of catching up to do, and some great skiing, since we had a dump of fresh snow.  Good timing!  They both left with big smiles and very tired.

As for Bob....  Yes, Bob has clearance to begin more strenuous activity as he is recovering very quickly since he had the fluid drained from his right lung.  Bob is expected to ski this Thursday after a quick x-ray and exam early that morning.  Yes, the medical system here work according to snow conditions.  You can't spoil a good ski day by seeing patients throughout the workday when you can see them before the hill opens.  We love Valley Time!!!!  Thursday 1 March will be a good day.  We will celebrate as ski bums should:  At the Mile One Hut in front of the fire with a toast of Hot Chocolate and Amaretto under the mid afternoon sun......

And since WE ARE CANADIAN...check out this video    Hockey Game   or   http://youtu.be/y0qZYqdsYAg

Monday, 27 February 2012

A Visitor from Home

This week has been busy with our daughter, Tammy visiting us. She has never been west and was humbled with the vastness and beauty the mountains have to offer. We both skied and toured the mountain during the week.
Tammy on Top of the World
Snow shoe Sunny Day at Toby Creek
Thanks Shonna (our tour guide)
We did manage to snow shoe one afternoon and it was wonderful for Bob to be able to experience the afternoon with us. Julie, her best friend since grade 4 drove from Calgary to visit. It was great to see her again.
5 km snowshoe trail
Toby Creek
Tammy and Julie (Juice) had lots of catching up to do, and some great skiing, since we had a dump of fresh snow. Good timing! They both left  yesterday with big smiles and very tired.

As for Bob.... Yes, Bob has clearance to begin more strenuous activity as he is recovering very quickly since he had the fluid drained from his right lung. Bob is expected to ski this Thursday after a quick x-ray and exam scheduled early that morning.
Yes, the medical system here work according to snow conditions. You can't spoil a good ski day by seeing patients throughout the workday when you can see them before the hill opens. We love Valley Time!!!!

Dogwood in winter
A good afternoon
Thursday 1 March will be a good day. We will celebrate as ski bums should: At the Mile One Hut in front of the fire with a toast of Hot Chocolate and Amaretto under the mid afternoon sun.......and of course, Bob and I will be Skiing.

Friday, 24 February 2012

So, You Think you are a Ski Bum?

Myself, Tim(son of Sam) and Peter(Peter Pan)
Tammy at the summit
I've turned into a "Tayton Junkie!!!"  Once in the bowl and I'm hooked.  How can you ski groomed runs on man made snow when you have the fresh powder, challenging terrain and the  astounding beauty given to us by Mother Nature herself? I skied with Peter (a.k.a Peter Pan), Sam from the UK a.k.a. (Sam I Am), his father, Tim, a.k.a. (Son of Sam) who are visiting here. Tim, an Ophthalmologist, who is practising retirement. I think he has adjusted just fine.

Yes, Our daughter Tammy is visiting with us this week. And, we tired her out,...she had a great time.
                                                                                                                                                               So, when do you know you are becoming a ski bum?  Well:  Let's just go down the list.

Courtesy of The Globe and Mail article 8 Jan 2011:
Things could be worse, I assured my nervous friend. Much worse. Delicately, I explained the signs – which, for the record, are witnessed routinely in small ski towns – which might mean that you or a loved one are at risk of becoming a ski bum.
Top 10 early indicators:
  1. The only tan line on your entire body comes from goggles.
  2. There are more skis on the sofa than art hanging on the wall; you wax and scrape these skis on the living-room floor.
  3. There's another pile of skis between the front seats of the car. They never come out, because tomorrow is always a ski day.
  4. Those skis are worth more than the car.
  5. Your résumé has several unexplained gaps.
  6. You choose your job solely based on its proximity to ski hills.
  7. You check the snow forecast more often than your e-mail.
  8. There are fences, gates and benches built from old skis outside your house.
  9. You expedite marriage plans expressly to sneak under the deadline for a family pass.
  10. You wrap Christmas presents with maps of the ski area.

Top 5 signs you are definitely over the edge:
  • Seven strangers share your apartment from November till April.
  • To save money for lift tickets, you stop buying lunch at the ski hill. Instead, you surreptitiously help yourself to free hot water, ketchup and crackers in the cafeteria and make tomato soup. When this grows old, you pretend to bus tables, snarfing down leftover fries and half-eaten burgers.
  • On road trips, you sleep in the car to save on lodging costs. When the weather gets cold, you move into a snow cave, dug in the distant reaches of the resort parking lot.
  • You yank broken skis from a dumpster and think: “With a touch of epoxy, these could last an entire season.”
  • You wear ski pants to a wedding. They are the only black trousers you own.

I didn't tell my friend that all these could be in her husband's future. (I know. I have eaten a few discarded burgers myself.) Of course, he'd still be a loving partner. And a very, very happy one at that.
Tayton Bowl

And....it's snowing at least 20 cms coming!!!!!!!  Mardi Gras weekend, beads, beer, and PARTY..... PARTY..... PARTY......

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Ribfest and a road trip

Sawmill @Canal Flats
Ribs, Ribs, and more Ribs...Last week I drove Bob back to Invermere Hospital for a follow up x-ray to see how he was progressing.  More fluid build up in his right lung.  So, a decision was made in conjunction with the Thoracic surgeon in Kelowna to insert a pigtail tube to drain the fluid. And we were off to Cranbrook Hospital for the procedure.  I'm not complaining, but a 2 hour drive one way to Cranbrook.  You don't realize how big this country is until you begin to drive from one community to another and not much in between (except beautiful country)
Canal Flats
This little Piggy (pigtail chest tube) went to Cranbrook!  The doctors there are just a wonderful as Invermere Docs.  They were instructed by the surgeon in Kelowna and the procedure went without a hitch.  Within 45 minutes, they had drained the equivalent of 1 1/2 litres of fluid and blood from his right lung.  What a relief they didn't need to insert the usual large tube (which is very uncomfortable)  So, this little piggy did go to market.  So, yes it was a good day.  They discharged Bob in my care and to deliver him back to Invermere District Hospital where he would spend the night for observation.  Yes, a tube attached to his chest (back), and carrying a suitcase type container for the fluid to collect.  I have now driven this stretch of the highway enough times, I could put the Jeep in remote control.  He left the hospital the next morning with an entourage of beautiful young nurses escorting him out, thanking him for being a wonderful patient.  We returned this past Friday for another x ray and assessment.
Bob: "Fellin' Groovy"
The results are in, and the winner is:   Yes, March 1st he can return to skiing!!!!  (if recovery continues)  Bob can now begin to be more aggressive with his recovery. Hot pools, more aggressive walking and snowshoeing.  This Ski Bum is one tough cookie. 

 And, it's Friday nite...happy hour at the Jack Pine Pub.  Here, we meet Walter and Margaret for a toast of good health.  And, of course...good Canadian Beer.  Sleeman Cream Ale.  An ode to our dog, his name: Sleeman! (a great Dalmation, we miss him)

A road trip is in order to celebrate, and thank goodness it is not another hospital trip.  Off to White Swan Provincial Park and Lussier Hot Springs for the afternoon. Where the fun resumes.
(Dolls with Balls!!!)...thanks Wayne for the comments.
our friend Wayne
 Wayne, a fellow ski bum is homeless for the weekend and has moved in for the next few days, joined us on our trip to the hot pools.  What can I say to describe this natural phenomena?  Beautiful surroundings, true nature and a drive 17 kms up a logging road that beats any thrill ride in the country.  "Bob, stay to the left!"  There's no guard rails, and it is a single lane and they are actively logging this area, so watch out for the logging trucks!
The video and photos say it all.   HOT spring water directly from the rocks and an ice cocktail in the river.  The sign says, no nudity and no alcohol.  Well, I didn't read the signs....

I am Canadian

I'm not a lumber jack
Or a fur trader
And I dont live in an igloo
Or eat blubber
Or own a dog sled
And I don't know
Jimmy, Sally or Suzie from Canada
Although I'm sure they're really really nice
I have a Prime Minister not a President
I speak English and French not American
And I pronounce it about not "a-boot"
I can proudly sew my country's flag on my backpack I believe in peackeeping not policing
Diversity not assimilation
And that the beaver is a truley proud and noble animal
A toque is a hat a chesterfield is a couch
And it is prnouced "zed" not "zee" "zed"!
Canada is the 2nd largest landmass!
The 1st nation in hockey!
And the best part of North America!
My name is Joe and I am Canadian!

Monday, 13 February 2012

Sixty and a bit Wiffy, Plus my favorite Liftie

Yes, Sixty plus ski days to date and the IceBreaker undies surprisingly are still funk free. Bob's sniff test results are in:  "I think it's time for a wash"  No Funk, but a bit whiffy.  One pair of long undies and a long sleeve under shirt and sixty two days later....I'm impressed!  This stuff wears like iron and comfy, warm and very soft.  No, they don't stand up on their own yet.  New Zealand Merino wool , and it still smells not baaaad.  I think?!!
Para skiing at Outrider run

My new friend Sue in Last Chance Glades
Since I do not wish to loose my new friends, I will be doing some laundry tonite.
And the hair!  Bob's curly white locks are almost pony tail material.  And so are my armpits! Shall I comb my legs tonite?  Who's going to give in first?  That razor is waiting.  A Buzz cut or a shave, what will come first.  Or, can we wait until our return to Ontario?  Time will tell.
Back to skiing:
Tayton Bowl
My ski tally is now 62 days and counting. My skiing has improved ten fold and now I am being adventurous and skiing the double blacks (expert terrain) in the trees, bumps and steep bowls in Tayton.  Yes, I'm hooked on this stuff.  Skiing this type of terrain not only works every muscle in my skeleton, but it works your head.  You need to ski with your brain as well as your body.  You feel alive (since you do realize your mortality...don't make a mistake) Every breath you take is exhilarating!  And the air is 10% less at this elevation to begin with... every breath counts.  Nature is pure at this level.  It's difficult to understand, but every tree, dead and alive has meaning. Every cloud in that deep vibrant sky is special.  Words cannot express the sensation and contrast of heaven and earth.
View from 1,000 Peaks at Sunrise

Igloo building @  the Summit Chair
Our mountain lifties are keeping busy as well as keeping us safe travelling up the mountain.  They are also very creative.  We have snow sculptures, igloos and snow cats and men being built at the lift stations. Each one is different and work will not cease until they have completed their masterpiece.  Mornings  are greeted with a big smile as they shoot us with their guns (checking tickets) Bob and I have gotten to know these wonderful people since we have arrived. 
Yes, I do have a favorite.
His name is Christian, and he is from Barrie Ontario.  A great big "Good Morning" along with  a great big a smile.  The son we never had! 
Christian greets us daily with a smile that warms the soul.  Remember, these fine young men and women have left their homes and families from around the world to join the many, living in a cold, sunny and sometime harsh climate to live their dreams as Bob and I have this year.  They come west, not knowing each other and very quickly they adopt new family members amongst themselves.  It takes a very special person to leave the comfort of their surroundings and explore and experience a very different lifestyle that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.  Congratulations!!

And.....Back to skiing:
We have not has fresh snow in two and a half weeks.  But, if you look hard enough, you can still find some fresh powder lurking in the trees.  Us snow pigs are  hungry!
A big greasy platter of Poutine for lunch and I'm ready to go again. The Panorama doughnut is around us.  Maybe some new snow tonite.  As for now, I will be skiing in the trees and leave the groomed runs for the newcomers. 

I now have the advantage of knowing the mountain and the hidden secrets of  fluffy snow and I'm not sharing!!!!
P.S.:  There's no friends on a Powder Day!!!

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Magical Mystery Tour & Treasures of Tayton...

Hiking across OutBack Ridge
Two days of off piste skiing!  This is Day Two:  A tour with Frank, a good friend and the biggest KID on the mountain!  "Do ya wanna play outside?" 
A good climb to the top
"Of course" I replied.  So off we went.  A practise run to wake up our ski legs on Show Off run.  How appropriate.  The sun was shining amongst a perfect deep blue sky.  The temperature sitting at -1 degree Celsius at 10:00 am.  It will be a warm day on the mountain.
To the summit....
And as we ride the Mile One Quad the sky deepens its hue.  Next, the Champagne Chair and the sun is cresting over the ridge.  We ski across Canadian Way to the Summit Chair.  You can feel the warmth of the radiant heat approach as we rise to the top.  It will be an almost perfect day.  Bob is recovering and will be joining us in a couple of weeks, otherwise it Would have been a perfect day.
Frank @ OutBack Ridge, patiently waiting for me
Tamarak & Pine inTayton Bowl
 Frank, a natural born explorer, wants to check out "The White Room"  A bowl on the Tayton side.  So, we drop into Heli High.  A good introduction into the "Dark Side" A paradise for snowboarders and adventure skiers alike.
 I feel like I am part of a fairy tale where magical rabbits and snowy owls play within the white ice crystals on the snow kissed Tamarak Trees.  We see The White Room above us.  A bowl with a cliff ridge.  The trick is to enter from below the cliff.  But, not today.

Back to Heli High....All I could say, was "OH MY"  Beautiful and magical as it is mysterious.
A Great Day for a Hike
So, down we go.  Yes, it's steep and intimidating.  I Respect Mother Nature and have faith as we traverse, down and through the trees and deep powder.  Oops! I lost my balance and a 50 foot slide on my back.  Where was I going to stop?  Thankfully a tree was there to save me from tumbling further down.  Once, composed and empty the snow from my jacket, a quick shake and a chuckle from Frank, we continue our decent.  Next, we enter "The Cauldron"  Yes, it is as it sounds.  I manage my way down, but not with much grace or finesse.  I was more interested in the beauty surrounding me and keeping a close eye on Frank who is guiding me through this magical forest.  At the base is the landing pad.  This was used for landing aircraft and helicopters when Tayton Bowl was accessible by helicopter only.

Hiking up the trail
A quick lunch and back to the top.  It's "Never Never Land" and an attempt at "Jacob's Bowl"  We enter the gates of Tayton Bowl. We traverse by foot and by ski along the OutBack Ridge past B1, B2, Devil's Drop, Ktunaxa, "Frank, Are we there Yet?"..... C-Spine (I will never go down this one), Kinbasket, Whitetail and 40 minutes later as we are gasping at the thin air, we arrive. We are literally at the top of the world.   The view was absolutely spectacular!!!! 
Finally, we have arrived

     Frank explains the mountains in the distance, Mount Assiniboine, 3619 meters, Mount Nelson 3294 meters, Jumbo Glacier, and the Columbia River in the Rocky Mountain Trench down below that stretches from the Yukon all the way to Astoria, Oregon, 1,600 Km.
It is hard to believe that we are the 3rd highest skiable elevation 4,000 vertical feet in North America.

Mount Nelson
We are in infinite silence and sunshine as we soak up the beauty left behind by the glaciers thousands of years ago.  Never Never Land is just that.  You are on the edge of the world.  As we traverse downward you realize your mortality and how small our human skeleton is against the snow and sky above.  Beads of sweat are forming on my head, back and neck.  The radiant heat from the sun, a combination of hard work and fear have created a sauna under my ski gear. 
Mount Goldie Glacier
We arrive at the base just before the chair closes.  It is almost Beer O'clock. 

Frank and I will be joining Bob for a cold one and very humbly share our experiences with Bob, as he will be joining us in the next adventure on The Magical Mystery Tour to Never Never Land and beyond.

Magical Mystery Tour (Lennon/McCartney)

Roll up, roll up for the mystery tour.
Roll up, roll up for the mystery tour.

Roll up AND THAT'S AN INVITATION, roll up for the mystery tour.

Roll up TO MAKE A RESERVATION, roll up for the mystery tour.

The magical mystery tour is waiting to take you away,

Waiting to take you away.
Roll up, roll up for the mystery tour.
Roll up, roll up for the mystery tour.

Roll up WE'VE GOT EVERYTHING YOU NEED, roll up for the mystery tour.

Roll up SATISFACTION GUARANTEED, roll up for the mystery tour.

The magical mystery tour is hoping to take you away,

Hoping to take you away.
Roll up, roll up for the mystery tour.
Roll up, roll up for the mystery tour.

Roll up AND THAT'S AN INVITATION, roll up for the mystery tour.

Roll up TO MAKE A RESERVATION, roll up for the mystery tour.

The magical mystery tour is coming to take you away,

Coming to take you away.

The magical mystery tour is dying to take you away,

Dying to take you away, take you away.
A View of Tayton Bowl

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Powder Pigs at Large

Powder Pigs sighting in Founder's Ridge.         (look closely at the moon)
Two Powder Pigs were seen today on their search to find some fresh tracks were seen approximately 10 am leaving the base in a quest for some new white fluffy stuff.  They were seen rooting through the runs, in the trees and off the edge throughout the morning. 

Fresh Powder from Mother Nature
Alas, by mid morning, they had found their treasure!!!  Three Chair lifts up the mountain to the summit.  And there it was.....rooting around in the trees,  double black powder.  These two powder pigs are, of course, myself and Ron (a good friend who Bob and I have been skiing with at Panorama for quite a few years) have spent the day skiing the upper mountain of Panorama while Bob is recovering from his injury. (He will be ready to clip on his ski's by 20 February)

Since we have experienced a warm week, the snow on the lower mountain has become slick and hard packed.  Ron (a true powder pig) knows all the secret hidden spots outside of Tayton bowl for powder. In the morning we dipped into Trigger, Stumboch's glades, Tree time, Upper and Lower Hideaway.
Ron at the Entrance of Gunbarrel
This afternoon brought us many treasures at 7,800 feet.  We bounced and bumped our way through Gunbarrel, Trigger, Stumboch glades, the Secret Meadow and then the highlight of the afternoon:  Sidewinder. 
This run is an avalanche shoot with trees and deep powder, some untouched waiting for a couple of powder pigs to roll in.  Yes, this was a challenge with the tight trees and steeps.  Some times you need to step out of your comfort zone. 
Then: Silence....We stopped and listened. Pure, simplistic silence...  Silence is golden...Just think about it.  How many places presently remain on this planet that you can experience pure silence?  It sounds like a piece of Heaven.  It feels like you are on top of the world.  (literally, we are)  It is a small part of Paradise.   I can't wait to ski these runs with Bob, my injured powder pig a waiting.
Amidst all the beauty, Ron pointed out a breed of Pine Tree, called a Larch.  This type of tree will shed its soft needles in the fall.  During winter, the tree is very much alive with tiny buds on a very dead looking Pine tree.  In spring, these tiny (pussy willow like) buds burst and transform into lime green velvet like needles in strong contrast to the dark green pine needles of the surrounding trees. 

Today, was filled with mother nature, serenity and beauty of our vast country. 

What will tomorrow bring?   Maybe, Bacon and Eggs for breakfast?  (And a Cafe Latte?)