K2inCanada's Blog

February 15, 2013

The 3 Ps trip, first loppet done – Feb 8-11

Filed under: Animals, Canada, Ski, Travel — K2 in Canada @ 7:23 AM

Yeah – long weekend! And thanks to the Government of BC for instituting a new holiday and Fred Kaiser to make that a holiday for Alpha – Family Day on Feb 11!! Jeff and I took Friday off as well since we had our first loppet of the season on Saturday at the Nickel Plate Nordic Centre and wanted to be rested for it – meaning not tired from driving all night. We arrived in the South Okanagan with plenty of time for an easy ski in the afternoon to check out the snow conditions. It was sunny and warmer than we expected. I wanted to test if my grip tape would work while Jeff was going waxable skis for the first time and needed to test his grip wax. The course was already mostly tracked and I did an easy loop – the snow felt slow but I had good grip and the tape didn’t ice up. Felt good – except the climbs seemed steeper than last year. Or maybe it was the over 1800m elevation that made itself felt. Only skied for an hour and then went into Penticton (1st P) to find a place to stay (well we always stay at the Slumber Lodge right on the lake – summer or winter), pick up the race bibs at the “Peach City Runners” store and find some good pre-race food all in walking distance of the Slumber Lodge. We can highly recommend the “Pasta Factory”.

Race day started out overcast but the sun was trying to poke through the low clouds. Temperatures and snow conditions were very similar to the day before so we were comfortable our equipment would work. And it did. As last year I could do a lot of double poling – especially during the first part. Starting way in the back I was able to pass a few people – some of them of course passed me again on the hills. And most of those only did the 15km race…. but I had people around me for most of the race to keep me “chasing”. On lap 2 I was catching up to a couple older fellows (in their 70th I am sure…) again double poling wherever I could. I hadn’t been happy with my double poling this season yet but it sure worked in the race. Despite some hills near the end I managed to stay ahead…huffing and puffing while the older fellow seems to be flying up the hills ahead of me not even breathing hard…good thing the last couple hundred meters were down or flat. Therefore…, I wasn’t last :-).  My time was slightly slower than last year but Jeff said the snow seemed slow to him. He was 30sec slower than his last years time but finished ahead of guys that beat him before. Overall we both were happy with our races.

After the race we drove down into Peachland (2nd P) to spend the evening with Mary and Keith. Those two are always full of the most interesting stories – Mary about her work as a “patient mover” and Keith about his paddling and home renovations and, and , and….. We went for dinner at a great place called “The Blind Angler” – I am always amazed that a small town like this has that many excellent restaurants and finished off the evening with some Blackberry wine from the “Sleeping Giant” winery that I had won as a draw price at the race. Oh and the bed at Keith and Mary’s is so much more comfortable….

One of the stories was about the Peachland Fire this past summer – they actually were evacuated from their home for 3 days but luckily the house did not get destroyed. It did get close though. The next morning we walked into the forest behind their house and it was less than 0.5km were we got into the area of scorched trees. Way too close if you ask me…Thank you Mary and Keith for a great time as always!

We left Peachland around mid day to drive back to Princeton (3rd P) to ski at China Ridge. It was bright sunny up at the ridge and temperatures were in the plus single digit. Only needed a couple lifa shirts to ski in, it was so warm. Well, and pants of course but shorts would have been better had I brought any. The snow was old though and the tracks were either really soft or really icy. I used my crowns that day but they don’t work well on icy stuff. Nevertheless, the sunshine and the surroundings still made for a great ski. Coming back down was a bit hairy on icy, narrow, windy trails and I was close to crashing a few time – somehow though I managed to stay on my feet, at least one of them at all times. Near the end, the sun was just about to set and all the hills glowed in purplish pink. Very pretty!!! As soon as the sun dropped though it also got cold! Back in Princeton we booked into “The Cedar Motel”. Not the most up to date place but tugged away from the highway and definitely good enough for a night for that price. Bed was surprisingly comfortable but the toilet kept running constantly and not all lights were working – just like home… For dinner we went to the only open restaurant in town, “The Bellaire” – wasn’t quite as fancy as the name may imply but the roast beef dinner special was pretty good.

Family Day started out bright and sunny. We saw at least 10 deer driving out of Princeton, the Town of Deer . Mondays ski destination was Manning. Unfortunately it started to cloud over just before the park and it was considerably colder at Manning, even though the thermometer in the car said it was barely below zero. Guess we were spoiled from the sunshine the day before. Or maybe it was the cold wind that was blowing that day and seemed to go right through to the bones. Nevertheless we warmed up enough during the ski. Took my classics again, grip tape today, since my legs were already tired from the last 3 days of skiing and skating is even harder on them. I was worried the trails may be busy since they had a Family Day event going on up top but it wasn’t any worse than other weekends we skied Manning. The snow conditions were considerably better than at China Ridge – freshly groomed tracks allowed for good grip and lots of control on the downhills. And since it was colder, there weren’t any slushy sections, just a few were the dirt was showing through. I managed to go all the way up to the ski lift taking the North Gibson Route again on the way up. Since I made good time – again my double poling was really strong and Jeff didn’t catch up with me until the lift – I even did the North Gibson trail a second time…another almost 3hrs on skis. All in all I skied 90km that weekend.

Before heading home we headed over for lunch to the Bear Den Pub only to find out it was closed. As it were, we had always talked about how the food would be in the restaurant on top – so this was the day to find out. Well, we didn’t. We managed to be seated eventually and had a look at the menu (which is the same as in the pub) but they were horribly understaffed. After about 10min of waiting to be served and watching the server get the orders for 2 tables with 6-8 people on it we left.. Stopped in Hope for lunch. Some roadside restaurant that didn’t look like much but the sandwich/burger were surprisingly good. The deserts looked awesome too but I was too full after the bag of chips we empty on the drive to hope already. And guess what, it started raining when we left Hope… Vancouver was sogged in and wet when we got back around 5pm. Welcome home!


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