K2inCanada's Blog

March 3, 2019

Loppets far and near

Filed under: Canada, Racing, Ski, Travel — K2 in Canada @ 2:10 PM

After missing out on the Edmonton Loppet this year due to extreme cold we were twice looking forward to the Gatineau Loppet, Feb 16. Although I wasn’t quite sure if I could even ski. We flew into Ottawa on the Thursday. Takes all day to get there. My back was still sore and I wasn’t looking forward to a 5hr flight being stuck in a middle seat. But the nice woman next to me offered me her aisle seat so I could get up when I needed too. But once I was in my seat I felt like nothing would get me out of it again. It wasn’t the most comfortable flight but I survived. Somehow I even managed to get up and out of the plane upon arrival. We had rented a car this time so at least that was easy. The Hyundai Elantra even fit our big ski box. With the help of our antiquated GPS we found the motel Jeff had booked without problem. To my surprise, the roads were in good shape all the way. Ottawa had just gotten 40cm of fresh snow the day before but all highways and major roads were clear. The motel was a bit run down but clean and quiet and had a grocery store and a pizza/pasta place, in easy walking distance. Gabriel’s Pizza even served beer even though it looked more like a family restaurant. Pasta was okay, beer and artichoke dip were very tasty.

We spent most of Friday in the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa. There was more snow/rain in the forecast for the day. We spent time with the butterflies and the live sloth first thing in the morning before doing the rest of the exhibitions. It was a nice way to spent an overcast winter day. By the time we finished, the sun had come out. In the afternoon we picked up our race bibs in Gatineau. My back felt a bit better and I figured I may as well try to ski. I used my phone to find a place to have an early dinner on the Gatineau side. We picked Pacino, a great Italian restaurant. Not the cheapest ever but the food was exceptional. We spent the evening with our former kayak coach and good friend Lynn. We hadn’t seen her in 5 years or so and back in the days she always was a wild one :-). Now she is a mother of a 2 year old, owns a house in Ottawa and teaches Kindergarten. Well, she still coaches but dragon boating now and no longer sprint kayaking. She seems to have good success with it though and is planning to take her team to world in 2020.

Sat Feb 16 – Gatineau Loppet. We got up at 6AM since Jeff’s shuttle would leave the school area/finish line at 7:30AM to be shuttled to the 51km start area. He had signed up for the A wave this time. His race start was at 9AM. My race, 27km, started at 9:02 (B wave) but was leaving from the finish line area. Back felt okay even though bending was still tricky. It would be a lot of striding for me rather than double poling, whereas Jeff was going to double pole the whole race. It was a sunny morning, air temp around -7C but windy which made it feel colder but not too bad. I was fine in my red race coat and my favourite Craft shirt + grey T-shirt. The racing was okay. Snow was slower than last year which also meant more control. I was using my skins and they worked well. Striding was fine, double poling for very short burst okay and only herring boning was bad on the back. The course is fairly flat with only a few short hills and I felt reasonable good at a steady pace. As last year I had people all around me. Unlike last year, they double-poled/glided away from me but I was actually catching them again striding. I had a really good kick and glide that day! It almost made me feel like a skier :-). And without crashing I made it to the finish line in good spirit, 15min slower than last year, finish mid pack! 108 out of 200+ skiers. Nothing hurt too bad, the sun was shining, no 51km skier passed me and like last year they were sampling beer at the finish line :-).

Sunday was another sunny but much colder day. We bundled up for our stroll through downtown Ottawa taking in the usual sights. We parked right at the edge of Byward Market Hall for $7 all day. That seemed quite cheap compared to Vancouver and there was a host that could (probably wouldn’t) keep an eye on our car since all our gear was already in it. We had breakfast near the Byward Market and looked at the ice carvings on York Street – Winter Festival in Ottawa. We walked over to the locks, than down to onto Rideau Canal – again no skating. It was really busy and I wasn’t sure I wanted to do that to my back, which by the way felt fine. But my legs were very sore from all the striding the day before – I guess I used muscles I hadn’t used in a while. Sometimes a sore back forces you to use proper technique more than strength :-). We walked through downtown to do some ring toss and back via Parliament Building to have lunch at Byward Market Hall again. Jeff had been looking forward for a year to eat at this small Mexican place inside the market :-). It was still a bit early to head to the airport for our 5:30PM flight but we were cold enough after walking around Byward Market for another 45min or so. Ottawa Airport is not the worst place to hang out to wait for your flight home :-).

The Monday (Family Day Feb 18) was supposed to be a paddle day but it was too cold in town. So we went to WOP for another ski instead. My legs were still quite sore, I think I seriously pulled a muscle on the inside of my left leg, but it was a nice sunny day and would have been a shame to waste it away at home.

P1240614 (Medium)

The following weekend, Feb 23, was our local loppet at WOP. The P’ayakentsut was sponsored by our good friend Bob’s store, Coast Outdoors, this year for the first time. Jeff the crazy guy signed up for the 50km classic, while I smartly choose the 30km classic. Most people skate this loppet but since I haven’t done any skating this year yet I didn’t want to kill me. It was a great day for it. They just had 25cm of fresh snow the day before which made for a bit slower race but also better control on the downhills. Except for one corner where the snow had piled up and I took out a 50km skater who tried to pass me on the 2nd lap, the course was in great shape. They had put in 2 classic tracks this time so the most right one did not get shewed up by skaters as a much as usual. My leg muscle was still in pain and I had a pretty slow race but was not last πŸ™‚ All in all a good ski and we well deserved the food and beer afterwards at the Shady Tree!

Jeff is now thinking about a Loppet in the Yukon in March…..


February 12, 2019

Should have been in Edmonton

Filed under: Canada, Home, Hummer, Ski — K2 in Canada @ 8:26 PM

Well, I was not supposed to have all this time last weekend to blog. We were supposed to be in Edmonton. Saturday would have been the Canadian Birkebiner Loppet, 50km for Jeff, 31 for me. We had planned to go to Edmonton this Friday, race Saturday, check out the mall Sunday/Monday and then continue on to Ottawa for the Gatineau Loppet. But even in Vancouver we hardly saw positive temperatures all of last week. It was sunny but pretty cold, as low as -10C. Edmonton obviously was even colder and race day long term forecast was just on the edge of being raceable, above -25C, or not. Jeff and I stocked up on cold protective gear at MEC the previous weekend. Finally, the forecast for race settled on -31C and and the organizers sent out the cancellation last Wednesday. Now we had to cancel/change all our flights, rental cars and hotels. A bit of a mess and we lost a whole whack of money! Oh well, better that than suffering frostbite.

Hence we had an unexpected weekend in town. Saturday we went skiing at Callaghan. There was a strong arctic outflow going on, some areas of southern BC saw as much as 90km/hr winds. Howe Sound was white capping as far as you could see. It wasn’t that windy at WOP, maybe 40km/hr but that wind was freezing cold! The forecast for temperature with windchill was -19C but I don’t think it was quite as bad. Our car thermometer showed -9.5C when we started skiing in the morning and it was sunny. The wind was only gusting to ~40km/hr so for the most part it was bearable. Actually I was overdressed quite a bit and was too hot most of the time. What the wind did cause though was a whole lot of debris being blown onto the trails, such as pine cones, moss, needles and whatever else can blow of a tree and fill in the tracks. It was awesome for grip but really sucked for glide, especially in the tracks. So I had to ski a lot outside the tracks which is quite a bit more tiring for me. I did make it up to Madeley Lake but it wasn’t fun. And the wind was coldest up there as well. I skied for over 3hrs but hardly covered much more than 2okm. It was more walking and slipping than skiing. But hey, I got to try out my new face mask, which was too hot, the foot warmers and neoprene overboots which worked like a charm, and a double layer of gloves which also worked well to keep my hands warm but resulted in my hands slipping out of the ski pole grips. Oh well. I am ready for the cold!!! The best part of the day was sitting in the pub in Squamish while the wind howled around us drinking beer and eating Lasagne :-).

Talk about a change in weather. Sunday started out sunny and cold (-3 with windchill of -9). Again, this wasn’t a temperature that allowed us to paddle. We went for a walk instead. My back was a bit sore from Saturdays ski – hope this doesn’t get worse. Half way through the walk it started snowing and it didn’t stop all day and was still snowing when we went to bed. Snow accumulated quickly and we must have some 5-10cm on the ground. Looks pretty :-). Chatter was hiding underneath the roof out of the wind and snow. I even had to turn the feeder lamps on during the day as the sugar solution started to freeze.


Filed under: Canada, Racing, Ski — K2 in Canada @ 8:26 PM

Feb 2nd was another loppet day at Manning – the Cascade Cup. I know the course so well that I was actually looking forward to it. It wasn’t cold at all and the sun was out. The only problem, it had rained the day before and the tracks were pretty slick in some areas and had fresh snow in them in others. I used my trusted skins and for the first time EVER I had issues with grip going up North Gibsons. Now Peter was the one laughing since his skies worked great and he had an awesome race. Payback for the Bash :-). On the 2nd lap I went outside the tracks and that helped a lot. Although John said, also using skins, that the grip was better the 2nd time around but he also was at least 30-45min ahead of me. Anyhow, the downhills were pretty nice and overall I had a good ski. Didn’t finish last either :-). Jeff had an awesome race finishing 2nd overall. He double-poled the whole race – not sure how he does it. The person that beat him though also double-poled it. But he had Norwegian blood in him, that must count for something :-). There were quite a few more people this year than the last 2 and organizer Jo was very happy. She deserves this loppet to take off given all the work she has put into making Manning a cross country ski destination again!


The day after it got cold – for us at least. The eastern part of Canada had been under the influence of the polar vortex for a some time while in BC the first flowers started to show. But that changed on Feb 3. There was no way I could have gotten Jeff out in a boat and all we did was go for a long walk along the river. Our hummingbird Chatter also started hanging out close to the feeder again that day. All of Jan we hardly saw him but on Feb 3, he was in our tree on the closets branch all day. He knew the weather was taking a turn for the worst. I tried to get a good picture of him but my camera lens kept fogging up in the cold wet.




February 10, 2019

Summing up January

Filed under: Canada, Hike, Kayak, Racing, Ski — K2 in Canada @ 6:29 PM

Too busy at work and too tired in the evenings once I finally get home at night to spent time blogging in January.Β  With the company I work for, Alpha Technologies, being bought by a big American publicly traded cooperation, EnerSys, in December the day’s workload changed quite a bit. Not knowing who your future boss will be added to the fun. Well I now know that my new boss sits in Reading, Pennsylvania. I have met him once – he seems nice enough. Like my best friend he is a Cross Fit nut case :-). But going from privately owned, midsize company where you know everyone and everything to corporate, where all that counts is the stock price, will be interesting to say the least. There isn’t a comprehensive plan on what is going to happen and how everything will fit together in the future. It’s a bit frustrating currently since it feels like I am working 2 jobs – one for Alpha and one for EnerSys. And that seems to be true for most people I work with and it is getting harder and harder to get things done every day. But we are all in the same boat and I am intend to see where we hit land eventually. At least for now. On top of all that I volunteered to do another Alpha Talk at work – not sure why I did this since I hate public speaking but my buddy Carlos was desperate to have a speaker for January. At least one can pick any topic you want and I decided to just talk about my passion of taking pictures of animals. But even though I have tons of content, to fit the content into a 30min presentation was still a lot of work!

Back to more fun stuff – weekend adventures. We were having quite a mild winter in January compared to last year. And it seemed to rain less too, at least during the week. Most weekends were taken up with skiing but we also got some paddling in.

Jan 5/6. We skied Manning on the Saturday. My right knee was just starting to get better and even though it felt a bit unstable, I was able to finish my usual loop of 26km (Strawberry Flats – South Gibson – Campground Loop – North Gibsons and return). But it felt slow and awkward and my kilometers are down compared to where I was last year at this time. Soaking it in the hot tub after the ski and grease it with some beer in the pub did wonders though :-). The Sunday, we meant to drive up Seymour Mountain for some snow showing. But we didn’t get going till after 10AM in the morning – I am a sucker for sleeping in one day a week. We only made it a kilometer up the road until traffic stopped – no way we would sit here and wait! So I had to come up with a back up plan and quickly since it was my fault that we got going so late! Cypress would be no better. On weekends the parking lot there usually fills up by 10AM. Most other areas are too low and had no snow. Only choice was to drive to Squamish and take the Sea to Sky Gondola up to snowshoe up there. And that’s what we did. It was a bit soggy down below but as we took the gondola up we could see some glimpses of blue sky. We decided to do Al Habrich’s trail. It was a well used trail for the first bit but a good workout. We had to cross a creek at the beginning which was a bit tricky since it was still flowing strong. Damn this warm weather – well not really. Then the trail winds it’s way up a slope in the trees before you hit a ridge with nice views over the valley below – if not for the clouds below. But by then we entered the sunshine above us and it was really nice. We crossed over onto another ridge and to the lookout. Here the clouds broke a bit and we actually got some views. Most people turned around here but we continued on. It wasn’t an obvious trail and we worked our way up through deep powder. It was awesome. Climbed even higher and found the trail markers again but nobody had gone there yet. Undisturbed snow and sunshine and more awesome views with a rainbow. Can’t get any better than that. But unfortunately days are pretty short in early January and we soon had to head back down. The well used trail down after the lookout was quite steep in sections. I slipped twice and jammed my right knee yet again. It still bother me today (Feb 9) and I can’t fully bent it without pain. RATS! Anyways, the trip was worth it. Jeff wasn’t quite so enthusiastic about it mind you :-).


Jan 12/13. Manning weekend! It was a beautiful sunny weekend, not too cold either. Saturday we did a “warm up” ski around the upper trails (same as the previous weekend). We spent the night at the Lodge since Sunday was the Blackwall Bash – the 16km uphill race. Few too many beers at the pub on Saturday night and a restless night with John snoring quite a bit may not have been the best prep for it. It was another sunny day and despite it being cold in the morning, the sun warmed everything up in no time. I used my skin skis of course and they worked well. I dressed quite light (red racing coat and craft shirt) which was good because I still got to hot. I knew after the first 500m that this is going to be a tough race. I felt tired and hot. And I thought that Peter who I race in this race every year and I beat every year was ahead of me this time … out of sight! Well, he definitely is a much better skier than I and the only reason I can stay ahead in this particular one is because it is all up hill. He is quite a bit older than I. So I was pretty deflated early on and it took forever to get to Cascade lookout which is the half way point but also the steeper portion of the race. I could have quit as the other person did I traded places with on the way up (he was faster striding but had to stop to rest more often) but I figured it is too nice of a day to not ski! A couple minutes later, I got passed by a 2nd wave classic skier who had started 30min after me. Last year it wasn’t till kilometer 13 that I was passed by the 2nd wave :-(. This should have really piped me up but it didn’t. Another couple kilometers later, I think at km 13, Jeff passed me who also started in wave 2. Last year I managed to finish just before him. Another blow to my ego but I trotted on. Someone had to be last. I made it to the finish line enjoying the sunshine! My knees held up reasonably well and I am not sure they were the reason for me being much slower than the previous year. I am just in even worse shape this year. Turned out I wasn’t last either. Peter had been behind me the whole time. He had no grip which is the worst thing that can happen on a 16km uphill race and I was amazed he even finished. The ski down was harder on my knees and I stopped frequently to take pictures.

Jan 19/20. Another loppet, Reino Keski Salmi at Larch Hills near Salmon Arm. Every year I battle with the decision of doing the 34km race course vs the 30km recreational race. My skill level definitely fits the recreational category much better but my ego just wants to do the longer distance. And every year I start regretting the decision at the start line. This year was no different and I had an extremely slow start being passed by all the 60+ year olds on the first slight downhill. My skis definitely had less glide than most others around me. Worst of all, those people double-poled away from me. That should not have happened. Jeff had the same happen to him. Anyhow, with everyone being out of sight pretty early I settled in into my own pace and once my heart rate came down to a sustainable level I actually felt quite good. On the big uphill I caught sight of the gang ahead again but they disappeared on the downhill. I am also convinced most of them did the 17km only. When I started lap 2 I had caught up to one of the older guys (+70 I am sure) and finally made my way past him only to be caught again on the flats/slight downhills. I gave it all on the climb up the big hill toward the halfway point and managed to get ahead quite a bit when the unthinkable happened. My always awesome trusted skins iced up! And I could not kick the ice off it. I was hoping I could ski it off on the downhill but all I did was crash which of course irritated my right knee again. Rats. Off course I got caught lying in the snow. I was just about to take my ski off to clean the skins when the guy I was racing stopped and did it for me while I was on the ground. That was so very nice of him and help me to cheer up again! It took me a while to catch up with him again but I managed to finish just ahead of the guy. I know I should have let him beat me for his kind act but…. He didn’t mind :-). By the time the two of us finished most of the food was gone. Jeff, who had waited for me for a good hour also went without. Larch Hills had just build a new cabin this summer which was awesome and big enough to sit inside. They still had some soup for us which did the trick. It was a pretty nice day and I felt better this year than the previous two year. John said this was the first time he saw me smile finishing this race – I think it was because of the sunshine :-).

We drove home that very same day rather than staying a night in Kamloops as we usually do. But because of the warm weather, Overlander at Stake Lake, did not have enough snow to make it worthwhile for us to stop in. And that’s why we went for a paddle in our double surfski on Sunday on a mostly sunny and +5C day. I got more sore and tired at the end of our 2hr paddle than I should have! But it was nice to be in a boat again and Indian Arm never disappoints. The big even of the day though was the lunar eclipse that evening. I waited till almost full coverage before I went outside but it was a nice one. Next time though I should really bring my tripod.

Jan 26/27. A loppet free weekend. We skied Manning on Saturday and paddled Indian Arm on Sunday. Just a normal winter weekend for us :-). I believe is was sunny both days too!

P1240568_rot (Medium)


February 9, 2019

Drive – ski – eat – sleep – repeat = Christmas break

Filed under: Animals, BC Ski Trip 2018, Canada, Ski — K2 in Canada @ 9:14 PM

I realized I never did the 2017 trip report (yet). Anyhow, no reason not to do a quick one on the 2018 trip. Overall it was a shorter trip than usual since we spent Christmas in town rather than taking off on day one of being off work. So this years trip only saw us doing the half circuit. We only made it as far as Kimberly along the southern route and back. But we added a new twist stopping in at Nelson for a day to go skiing with Jeff’s brother for a day or maybe two. He just started skiing … but here is the day by day report.

Trip Map

MapMarked (Medium)

Day 1 (Dec 26): The first day was a driving only day. We didn’t rush it in the morning and hence there wasn’t much time left to ski Manning on the way to Keremeos. Instead we arrived with some daylight left and went for an evening stroll in Keremeos along the river which was quite nice actually. We stopped in at the Branding Iron for dinner on the way back to the motel. Good hearty meal! We stayed at the Alpine Motel this time because nobody was at the reception at the Elk Motel and it turned out it was a nice choice. I think we will stay there again.

Day 2 (Dec 27): We woke up to a mix of sun and clouds and not too terribly cold temperatures. Drove up to Nickel Plate seeing the wild horses at the turnoff to Green Mountain Rd. It was overcast at Nickel Plate when we started. I decided to skate first that day and even though it was hard, I made it around the old loppet course once. Switched to my skins for a 2nd loop but cut out meadows and Vindicator. So all in all just about 22km which wasn’t much but I had enough and time was up. We had a relatively long drive ahead of us all the way to Grand Forks. I think the drive was uneventful but long. More rainy wet than snowy and no deer, for the very first time, in Midway. When we arrived in Grand Forks we found out that our trusted $50 Motel on the River was gone – we learnt later that it fell victim to a bad flood in the area. Which was really too bad since the next best thing was expensive and awful even though we were told it was just renovated – don’t ever stay at the Imperial Motel at the east end of town! But food and beer at Clyde’s Pub was good and saved the evening!

Day 3 (Dec 28): What really made the stay in Grand Fork worthwhile though this time was the “Wooden Spoon” – a local bistro/cafe serving an incredible selection of breakfast choices made from fresh local food. Absolutely worth it. The spicy pulled pork bennys and pancakes with rhubarb sauce were to die for. Jeff and I each had half. They also make a really good London Fog!

Loaded up with way too much food in our tummies we headed to Paulson near Nancy Green Park – one of our favourite places to ski. This time we met up with Jeff’s brother Brent who had just started cross country skiing a couple weeks ago. Mind you he has done a lot of downhill and back country skiing. His longest skinny ski outing was 7km. We took him on our usual route totaling 26km. His technique was already pretty good for the short amount of time he had been skiing and he set a comfortable tempo for me. Of course Jeff was yoyo-ing back a forth :-). I figured we may actually turn around at Glenmerry cabin but with the best part still to come, single track on Norwegian, Brent did not want to miss out. Obviously he was tiring fast but never complained till the bitter end, 3hr and 50min of skiing with only one short 10min rest! All in all a great ski despite the mostly overcast skies and some flurries this time.


The drive down into Castlegar was a bit hairy though. Both Brent’s and out car did a little slide out but both recovered without incident. This was definitely the worst stretch of road. We made it in one piece though. His girl friend Sheila was waiting for us and we had a wonderful Lasagna for dinner and plenty of beer. Brent was getting more and more sore by the minute :-). We stayed in their newly done up guest room and managed to destroy the bed. The frame broke underneath us – no we did not have wild sex! I hardly moved when it happened. Ooops. Anyhow, we didn’t want o wake anyone upstairs so we just took the mattress into the next room and slept there. Sheila told us the next morning that they heard the noise but thought it would have been the shower curtain. We had a good laugh together looking at the collapsed frame. Brent thinks he can repair it.

Day 4 (Dec 29): After a good hearty breakfast we took off for a ski at the Nelson Ski Club, on our own. Brent decided to take a rest day and I can’t blame him. He told us about a short cut to get to the highway but we missed it and ended up climbing high into the mountains until we got stuck! It was quite snowy in Nelson. Luckily we were on a hill and just needed to roll back to turn around. We made it to the ski area without further hiccups. The club is right in the valley with beautiful trails along it. Not much climbing and what little climbing I did felt hard! I never felt this tired on our ski trips before. The weather was also a bit on the cold side with light snow blowing across the open areas. While I stayed on the west side of the highway in the valley, Jeff went across and did some of the eastern trails which he said were very nice but busy. We have to come back though to explore this area more and hopefully get some sun too. Not sure though Brent and Sheila will have us again after destroying their place … I think we also managed to almost kill the bathroom fan…

Another long afternoon of driving and we made it to Cranbrook well past dark. At least here, our usual Flamingo Motel was still there and they had room for us. We decided to drive into town for dinner rather than walk. We had dinner at Deweys Pub & Grill but I can’t remember what we had. It was good though. We did a bit of a walk through town. It was a bit drizzly. This was the first trip I remember were we saw actual rain!

Day 5 (Dec 30): We woke up to sunshine and after quick brekky in the room headed over to Kimberley. Jeff had a 50km double poling training ski planned for the day. I started out with skating again for 3 laps of the 6.5km loop and then switch to my skins to climb up Cardiac Arrest to the top of the hill with a beautiful view over the Columbia Valley below. It was slow and hard work but fun. Even the downhill. As always, the grooming was excellent. I tried some of the single track trails this time. They were much quieter than the main trails. It was a Sunday after all.

We had an even longer drive that day – all the way back to Grand Forks. Road conditions were okay but it was probably 5hrs in the car non-stop. And we sure did not wanted to stay in the Imperial again. So we found a motel further west along HW 3, The Western Traveler. Not that it was cheaper but the room was nicer and they had deer hanging out in the parking lot. We did get a scare though when we arrived. One of the tires on the car made a horrible screeching sound. Well it was close to 8PM and not much we could do but park it for the night. We would find a tire place in the morning. Luckily there was another pub not to far away we could walk to. The downtown area would have been quite a walk. All was good for the night.

Day 6 (Dec 31): The deer were still there in the morning when we got up. Unfortunately, the Wooden Spoon was closed and we only had a quick breakfast in the room. When we started driving the noise was gone but we still drove by a tire place to have it looked at. They guy right away said probably a rock in the breaks. He didn’t even take the tire off but showed us the scratch. Oh well, we were good to go. The noise did come back at some point but it also went away again.

P1240398 (Medium)

Today, Jeff had something special planned for us. Downhill skiing at Phoenix Mountain to give our cross country ski muscles a rest. I have NEVER downhill skied in my life. I tried snowboarding in 2002 but it never stuck. How hard can it be though!? Well, first off we had a long drive up a logging road to get to the mountain – it was well plowed though (apparently that was not the case every day). Secondly, the hill was still closed when we arrived at 10AM. It was New Years Eve and the hill operation started later that day. Lucky for us the staff had already arrived and let us sit inside the small lodge complex for an hour. Lastly they only had a T-Bar. But first we had to rent downhill skis – everything was half price for the day so it was really cheap. Phoenix Mountain is a community run mountain and not for profit. Ski boots are tough to get on though! I figure I will never get my food in there or once I did actually tighten the straps but with a lot off pushing and shuffling and Jeff’s help I made it. I wore all the clothes I had. It was a sunny day but it also was the coldest day we had, maybe -10C. And downhill skis are damn heavy. It was horrible to walk in those boots with the heavy skis in my hands, poles in the other, helmet on and bundled up like marshmallow man. Putting the skis onto my feet did not improve the situation by much. And Jeff did not want to go onto the bunny hill so that I could try those heavy, stubby things on my feet in a controlled environment first. By the way, the skis felt like they had NO glide whatsoever. So we headed up the hill, it’s only a small hill with a single green run, right away. Hence we had to get on the T-bar. Getting on was okay, I even made it up the hill without falling off but getting off the T-bar was not so graceful and yes, I took out the lift! The T-bar snatched the power cord after I fell off it way to late. Ooops. Apparently that isn’t too unusual and lucky for me I only did it once. Now I was on top of a mountain with beautiful views over the surrounding white landscape, beautiful sunshine, no wind and a tiny lodge way down below. How on earth am I going to get down? Jeff gave me instructions – snow plow, turn, ski across the mountain, repeat. The first part was nice and gentle and I though, now this isn’t too bad. But the the actual downhill started and it looked awfully steep. I was terrified and stiffened right up. I was ready to take my skis off and walk down when Jeff said I should stop whining and just go. “Stop looking down!” That actually helped. I made it down, not very graceful but I stayed on my feet for the most part. And we did it again and again. My legs were shaking by the end. Who knew downhill can be this hard :-). On the last trip down, I fell and twisted my good knee awkwardly. I managed to get down but the knee was pretty sore for the next few days. But I was glad we had come – I may even try this again :-). Turned out they even have a cross country ski area up there but there was no information about their grooming.

The drive to Princeton wasn’t quite as long after we made it down the mountain onto the highway. Back in Princeton we stayed at the usual Cedars Motel and ate at the Irish Pub. It was New Years Eve after all and the pub was getting ready for a big party. We got there early, before 6 but it was pretty much empty…and it was still nearly empty when we left. I hope they did get some partiers. As For Jeff and I, we fell asleep around 10pm πŸ™‚

Day 7 (Jan 1): The first day of 2019 started out sunny and nice. After a good breakfast at The Ranch, we headed up to China Ridge for the last ski of the trip. It wasn’t too cold either – still single digits. They did not have a ton of snow. Early on there was some on the trail, we even had to get around a fallen tree and some, especially the steep downhill sections on Harkers were extremely icy (I walked those) but overall the trail system was in good shape. Animal tracks everywhere from deer to rabbit to coyote although we didn’t see any other than the deer in town on the drive up. Jeff and I skied together to the cabin at the end and back. A great day to end the trip. The drive home was uneventful.

December 26, 2018


Filed under: Bike, Canada, Home, Ski — K2 in Canada @ 9:31 PM

Christmas Eve morning had us drive out to Manning Park for our first ski there. They finally had enough snow and had all the trails groomed with the big machine. Condition were pretty good but at -11C a bit on the colds side. Even with the sun and hardly a clouds in the sky, the surrounding mountains kept most of the trails in the shade all day. Took my feet and hands an hour to warm up because when you start at Strawberry Flats you go down a lot first. But the climb up North Gibsons took care of it and as my feet and legs started to warm up my grip got better using my skins.

Christmas Eve itself we spent at home eating Raclette. We still had cheese in the freezer from a couple years ago and to my surprise it actually was still good. No tree this year either but we still had some real candles burning. Can’t do without those :-). It looked like it should be easier than the last but nope. The rest of the evening was spend puzzling again – an early Christmas gift to ourselves :-).

Christmas Day morning, well after sleeping in and having a slow start, we headed to Mount Seymour to try out my new electric assisted mountain bike I bought a couple of weeks ago (on a rainy Sunday). Jeff had finally convinced we to get one so that he doesn’t have to wait for me any more going uphill. Well, he sure does not have to worry about waiting for me anymore, at least not as long as I have battery power. I only used the lowest setting and still flew up Old Buck and barely started breathing on the steepest sections on Powerline. But Jeff the trooper made it up all those hills on his own power. I would have walked many of them on my regular bike. At least we can stay together this way since I can easily stop and start again. Well, downhill was just as hard as before, other that the thicker tires provide more suspension which was nice. Too bad you can power backwards :-). My hands and arms were aching from the long way down on Powerline till the turn off to connect with Bridle Path. The first part, Hyannis Trail, was nice and easy but I didn’t expect Bridle Path to be that technical. It sure got bumpy and I was trying my best to not crash, walked quite a bit of it even though with the electric assist it would have been easier to get over roots and bumps and rocks but my survival instincts = fear prevailed. It was hard work, not so much cardio but balancing and pushing the much heavier bike. Nevertheless, this bike will come in handy this spring and summer! Looking forward to some longer rides.

The afternoon and evening were spent with Jeff’s parents and some relatives. Maynetta’s turkey and all the many side dishes were wonderful. The baked ham Jeff and I did in the slow cooker was barely marginal in comparison. In either case, I did not work hard enough on the electric bike to deserve all that food :-). Merry Christmas!

December 22, 2018

Snow Day

Filed under: Canada, Ski — K2 in Canada @ 8:28 PM

Done with work for the year. We are closed till Jan 2nd and with that lots of fresh air in our future i hope. Started today with a trip to WOP, Callaghan. A rain day in town meant a snowy day at Callaghan. The snow started just south of Squamish and it snowed all day. About 5cm accumulated on the car during our 3hr ski. Obviously there was fresh snow in the track but WOP had the groomer out all day and I got to ski in fresh tracks for about 2 min :-). Made my way up to Madeley Lake, having all forgotten about the many hills going up Norwegian Woods. It was a tiring ski but I enjoyed being outside nonetheless.

On the way back, we stopped in at the Shady tree for food and a beer. It was actually snowing harder in Squamish than it had been at WOP. The flakes that were coming down were huge – half the size of my hand. It was’t sticking quite as well as it did at WOP with temperatures at just above 0C in Squamish while WOP is sitting at -1.5C. It looked very Christmas-y πŸ™‚

P1240283 (Medium)


1000 pieces

Filed under: Canada, Home, Kayak, Ski, Travel — K2 in Canada @ 8:10 PM

The beginning of December was unusually sunny in Vancouver – even though I never saw the sun. It was dark when I ride into work in the morning and dark when I ride home. Saw the moon and stars and felt the below 0C temps. Off course all the nice weather disappeared in time for the weekend. Originally we had planned to go back to Okanagan for skiing but both Jeff and I had a bit of a cold, Sovereign Lake was hosting a NorAm cross-country sprint event and prone to be busy with skiers and neither Sun Peaks nor Nickel Plate posted good conditions yet. And so we stayed home. Went for a nice Indian Arm paddle on Dec 8. A typical windy, raining day on the coast. It was hard work going up to the power station but we got a pretty nice run back to Strathcona. Sunday Dec 9 though was even rainier and warmer and my plan to go snowshoeing in the local mountains got washed away. Plus I had to do some presentation for work. I know I usually do not ever do work on the weekend but this was a bit of an exception. Our company got sold to a big American Corporation and we expected some visitors that week. But I did not start on that till the early evening. Jeff suggested to finally start the puzzle I got for Christmas last year. I haven’t done a puzzle in a LONG time but this one was only 1000pcs so how hard could it be? It was hard, the hardest I remember I ever did. Too much colour and not give away shapes. It took Jeff and I almost 2 weeks to complete it even though we worked at it every evening during the week, 8 to midnight. Finally last night we finished it!!! Now I need another one. I am hooked! πŸ™‚

Last weekend we finally made it back to the Okanagan for skiing. And we did not have to go all the way to Vernon either but only to Kamloops since Jeff had insider information that Sun Peaks’ trails were in good shape. Cuts at least 1 hour off the drive! Saturday was a beautiful day. Blue skies, sunshine and perfectly groomed trails! I tried some new trails, Stellar Jay and En Garde,Β on my skin skies climbing higher up for some nice views. Temperatures were around -5C but it seemed to get much colder quick once the sun dipped below the surrounding hills. We had to get a hot drink in the village after the ski to warm up a bit.

Sunday though was a different story. It had snowed over night which could have been a good thing but they did not re-groomed the tracks. Hence there was close to 10cm of fresh snow on the tracks. And I decided to skate that day which made it even worse. It was very hard work! But I managed one loop around the loppet course on my skates before I switched to my classic skis after 1.5hrs for another loop up to Whiskey Jack. Jeff complained that if they provide back-country condition they should charge us for those, means nothing. He was supposed to do his double poling workout which in these conditions was just a hurt fest rather than a good workout.Β  Oh well, we did get another 3hrs of skiing under our belts.

November 23, 2018

Not much snow yet in BC

Filed under: Canada, Ski, Travel — K2 in Canada @ 10:26 PM

We had hoped that either Nickeplate or Sun Peaks would open their ski trails last weekend (Nov 17-18) which would have cut the driving time down by 1-2hrs each way but neither place had enough snow. Hence Jeff and I went back to Sovereign to repeat the last weekend. It was sunnier though and a few more trails were open. Saturday we skied till sunset around Carl Wiley. Started out skating until my foot was too sore and then switched to my skins. Got almost 3hrs of relaxed skiing in and it felt really good. Doing some skating seems to help the balance on the classic skis. The coolest thing was seeing a ermine twice on the trail. Both times the people behind me spotted it. And both times I was too slow to get a picture but I did get a good look at it. So cute! We had dinner at the Irish Pub across from the Econolodge. They had a “Silverstar Weekend Stay” raffle going on if you ordered certain beers. Needless to say, we had a lot of beer that evening.

Sunday was a beautiful sunny day. Only a few wispy clouds were in the sky but they only dimmed the sun a bit and didn’t hide it. Made for some awesome into the sun glare pictures I thought. Since doing the same trails over and over again does get boring over time, I dared skiing the lower black trails that I usual avoid because I remember them as deadly steep downhills and awful uphills at the end of the loppet course. Well, they are hilly but not as bad as I remembered :-). Well it must have been a few years since I had done the loppet at Sovereign. Never saw the ermine that day but found some tracks on Montezuma that could belong to a bobcat. Would love to see one of those skiing one day.

Well, it was worth the long drive – again.

November 12, 2018

‘Bout time if you ask Jeff

Filed under: Canada, Ski, Travel — K2 in Canada @ 10:48 AM

Yep, skiing season has started. At least at Sovereign Lake Nordic Centre, which opened their trails on Nov 5. There is no snow in any of the local mountains other than Manning but not enough to groom trails yet. Nov 23 is their expected opening date.

Anyhow, a 5hrs drive one way never stopped us. So we headed to Vernon Saturday morning and back yesterday afternoon for 2 days of skiing. It’s a long weekend here but we figured we’ll be too sore after 2 days anyhow. We had a full car, as John and Peggy came with us.

The conditions were very good for early season skiing even though they only had about 18kms of trails open. Just meant a lot of loops back and forth to Black Prince Cabin. It was quite busy with Sovereign being the only Nordic Centre open and all the Okanagan ski teams wanting to get on snow. Apparently Larch Hills had brought out 200 kids from Salmon Arm! I saw jackets from NWT and Newfoundland& Labrador! But it never felt too crowded on the trail (at my speed :-)). I classic skied both days on my skin skis. The skis, as always, outperformed the skier but I felt better than expected. Temperatures were fantastic with just below 0C. Sun tried to poke through the clouds here and there both days. Skied for 2 hrs on Saturday. Soaked in the hot tub for 1hr. Ate and drank beer for 3hrs at the Naked Pig meeting up with Peggy and her husband Gerry. Slept for 9hrs. Had breakfast at Denny’s for 1hr. Skied again for 3hrs on Sunday. Drove back for 5hrs. Sounds like a great weekend, does it not?

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