A Planet of Playthings
pop quiz: don’t ‘rush’ to get yourself 80s curls; certainly not under duress
So whilst the rest of us were sat around the Christmas tree, stuffing ourselves with chocolates and brussel sprouts, four of my mates decide to pack their warm clothing and head off to Canada for a bit of skiing.
Leaving the UK on Christmas Eve they got a direct flight from Gatwick to Calgary with lo-cost airline Westjet. On (a bit late) arrival at Budget car rental they were introduced to their mode of transport for the trip; a Toyota Sequoia; big enough for four adults and all their ski gear, even if it was a bit of a guzzler of fuel.
Being introduced to hot, spiced apple cider as the temperature dropped to -20oC was the highlight of the day. There were lots of Santas and Elves around, if you dressed up you got a free lift pass, as the sun shone and our intrepid ski team got their ski-legs back.
Ski Day Two – Nakiska
The sun shone again and it was a good day on the slopes; the skiing was somewhat limited; but then the ski-team was still in warm up mode.
Ski Days Three and Four - Sunshine Village
Not living up to its name; it was -5oC, windy, cloudy and even the odd flutter of snow. Making ski tracks between the trees meant our ski-team lost the wind and cloud and had a lovely two days.
Top tip: get up early if you want to get into the car park
No Ski Day – Johnston Canyon and Lake Louise
You can’t travel as far as Canada and ski everyday (OK, we could!) or not take an opportunity to see a few of the other sights.
A trip to Johnston Canyon to see ice climbers scaling the frozen waterfalls and then onto Lake Louise to check out the ice sculptures, the ice rink on frozen lake and the ice bar (no comment!) made for a good day on what would have been a bad ski-day (low cloud, snowing, cold).
The highlight of the day was the cake in the Cafe; really nice. It was a good ski day too!
Top tip: Don’t ski all the way back to the gondola station; the ski resort is very busy and you could be waiting for over an hour to get back up the mountain.
Compensation for it being -12oC was that it was a lovely sunny day and more ski runs were open than on the ski-teams previous visit.
No Ski Day – Calgary
Yes another no-ski day! Whilst our no-ski team spent most of the day eating brunch in the Blue Star Diner; well worth the wait for a table, 10cm of fresh snow was falling outside.
It was cold, very, very cold; started out at -32oC and warmed up to a positively balmy -25oC.
Ski Day Eight - Sunshine Village
Without the sun, the morning temperature was -31oC and the gondola opening was delayed due to it being too cold! As the sun rose and sunrise warmed the resort, the lifts were able to open.
Down at the bottom it was -32oC, but interestingly there was a weather inversion and it was warmer the higher up the ski-team went. The blue skies of the morning did give way to clouds in the afternoon though.
A final day of skiing for our intrepid ski-team. Not put off by the -12oC nor the overcast conditions, they were determined to have a good last day and their good mood lifted the weather as it too brightened up during the day.
No Ski Day – Calgary
With the car all packed up the no-ski team took the opportunity to cram one last trip into their stay and visited the Calgary Olympic Park before flying back to the UK via Toronto.
pop trivia: Canadian rock band ‘Rush’ released the album ‘Permanent Waves’ in 1980; from it the track ‘Freewill’ was the second single.
Thanks to Clare Peckitt, Ian Peckitt, Sam Drake and Paul Wilman for the photos and the notes.