Christmas Catch-up 2: Wannabe Ski Bums

This is the follow up to last week’s post. If you’d rather skip it, the short version is that Erin and I got engaged and went to some Christmas parties… Also I got very sick at some point. Now that you’re brought up to speed, let us begin. 

The day after Nikki’s party I drove Erin, Jason, and Shannon to Lake Louise for a ski trip. We met up with two more friends of ours Amber and Ryan. We arrived late in the day and sat in the hot tub before getting some food at the last restaurant in town still open that time of night.

The next day we hit the slopes. It was cold, about -25C in the morning, but luckily we all have good gear. I’m especially glad I had my Icebreaker Merino wool base layers and socks, worth their weight in gold when its cold outside. After a few runs together we decided to split up, simply because we are all at different levels of skill. Jason, Ryan, and Erin disappeared onto the mountain. I hit the green runs because that’s all I can do, and it wasn’t uncommon for me to bump into Amber during the day. Shannon made herself comfortable in the Chalet and read a book. It was nice knowing there was always someone there to relax with if you got tired… or injured. The chalet there is quite beautiful. On my last run of the day my recently purchased helmet paid for itself. I was going down the easiest run on the hill, its labeled as such. I was carving on my board and I went over backwards, I slammed my tailbone onto the hard pack snow then my head whipped and the back of my helmet smucked the ground. I laid there with a sore rear, a sore neck, and a head that felt okay. All I could think was, why was I so stupid as to wait til now to buy a helmet. I should have bought one years ago. I slowly made my way down the mountain to the chalet and waited for everyone else to filter in. The hot tub felt good that night. For the next few days I had to sit down slowly and when lying flat on my back I couldn’t lift my head up without using my hands for help.

Photo courtesy of Erin

Photo courtesy of Erin

Photo courtesy of Erin

Photo courtesy of Erin

We intended to hit the slopes the next day as well, but we woke up and read -30C on the thermometer and decided to head home instead. Good thing as I was still rather sore from my spill the day before.

The next thing on the schedule was New Years. We started the evening at Erin’s parents discussing the wedding and various options… Friendly heads up, fellas: if you ever propose, the next year of your life will be all about weddings. After that we headed to a friend’s cabin to visit more friends, see some New Year’s fireworks, have a chat with some friends around the fire pit, and then head home for sleep. I had a long day ahead of me.

We stayed just long enough for me to get this awesome selfie with Jason

We stayed just long enough for me to get this awesome selfie with Jason

The next day was the drive to Fernie, it was me, Jason, and Ryer. We arrived late in the day and I was amazed at how nice of a town it was at night. The Fernie Alpine Resort, the little community on the mountain side, looked like a miniature village in a department store window… they should consider adding a train. We checked into our room and realized that three guys, will have to share a room with only two beds and no couch, it worked out that each guy got one night with the bed to himself.

It was smal, but at least it was clean and ski-in ski-out

It was small, but at least it was clean and ski-in ski-out

The next day, we hit the slopes. I was amazed to see how big the hill was. I was limited, by my skill, to about one sixth of the available runs, maybe even less, and that was still enough for me to have a great time for two days. The first day was mostly me plowing down the green runs, lucky for me all the staff were super encouraging. I got a few thumbs ups when I made it off the chair lift without finding my way onto my rear. Actually everyone there, staff or patron, seemed to have the same “we were all knew at some point” attitude. It really takes the pressure off. Towards the end of the day I was starting to be able to carve. I still had a bit of spook in me from my spill at Lake Louise though.

At least I look kinda cool in all my gear

At least I look kinda cool in all my gear

I didn't think to take a lot of pictures, I was too busy having fun

I didn’t think to take a lot of pictures, I was too busy having fun

That evening we drove into the town and had dinner at a steak house. I got to try a swordfish steak, it was delicious. We then went to a pub but found that the DJ was somewhat lacking. So we moved on, somehow we found ourselves at a reggae bar. At first it didn’t make sense to me but then I remembered that there is a lot of snowboarders who love reggae, honestly, I kinda like it too. Ryer was laughing, to us, at the old white guys dancing and stated “if I’m ever that guy, kill me” he then had a few more drinks and joined them… I was wondering how serious he was earlier. Jason and I debated weather or not we should put him down. We opted not to, for now…

The next morning Jason and Ryer seemed to be having trouble getting out of bed or moving quickly. Funny how that happens sometimes. We eventually found our way up to the hill, I returned to my green runs, while Jason and Ryer made their way farther up the mountain. Towards the end of the day though, Jason decided to hit some of the easier runs with me. I was able to find a few pockets of deep powder and really go all out, since powder makes falling a much less painful affair. I must say I was really impressed with my progress, a few more days and I might have been willing to hit a blue run, maybe.

There were two notable crashes on the trip, both in quick succession. The first was when Jason tried to stop short when I was sitting down with my board on. He would have stopped in time but he hit a very small sapling barely sticking out of the snow, instead of falling on me he opted to jump over me. He landed on his side and the ground exploded in a cloud of snow, limbs and skis. He didn’t get hurt so it was hilarious. We regrouped, and I explained where the deep powder was a little further down the run, I also warned him of the ruts. He took off ahead of me and in the distance I saw his skis come about a foot off the ground. Maybe he wasn’t listening when I told him about the ruts. He landed like a champ, it was very impressive, I thought he was headed for a second crash. I came into the powder with some speed and carved like a wild man. I was very pleased with myself until I tipped over and punched my fist into the packed snow underneath. I buried my hand wrist deep but my board and body kept moving. It was pretty painful and I’m not sure how I got out of it without a broken wrist. I certainly let out some noises and words that I hope the kids in the nearby ski school didn’t hear. We finished our run and got to the bottom just in time to see the chairlift close. Oh well, we had a good time while it lasted right? We headed to the hotel to find Ryer having a nap, I guess for some strange reason he decided to pack it in early. Maybe he wasn’t feeling well. We made fun of him a bit, and hit the hot tub.

That evening we went out for dinner at a place called “The Brick House” we had tried to get in both nights before. The first they were closed and the second they were far too busy. We were all hungry after a long day on the hill so we may be biased, but we all agreed that that was the best meal any one of us had eaten in a long time. I didn’t realize french fries could be that good, they’re french fries… how many recipes can there be? The service was also very good. We decided to hang around after dinner. Ryer and Jason enjoyed a few pints, we swapped some funny and embarrassing stories as well as recapped our days. Then we headed back to the hotel for some sleep. The next morning we were sad to see we weren’t snowed in and instead we had to go home. Ryer also made a point of informing me that I snore very loudly and that Erin is a saint for putting up with it. We loaded up and hit the road. I was happy to be in my own bed again, but I’m already dreaming about my next snowboarding trip. I would like to go back to Fernie, especially once I’m a better rider, it just looks like there’s a lot of mountain to see there. Maybe Erin and I can find some time to go before summer hits us.

After only two snowboarding trips I can really see why so many people choose to live the “ski bum” lifestyle. Working on the ski hill and snowboarding all day seem very enticing and I can’t say I would ever look down on someone who chose that lifestyle.

Posted in Snowboarding, Travelwith no comments yet.

Christmas Catch-up

As is a common problem with most people, I found myself quite busy over the Christmas holiday. I may as well just bring you up to speed, some of this is interesting, some is just relevant, and some just.. is. If you want the short version, just scroll to the end and read the italicized part. This post turned out really long, so I split it in two, this is obviously going to be part 1, part 2 of course will be out in about a week. Anyhow here we go. 


My work was done and I left location as though my tail was on fire, about a week before Christmas. I was sad to not be at work or making money, but I was also glad that I could be home for all the various Christmas celebrations. On the docket for the holidays were: Erin’s immediate family Christmas, Erin’s mom’s family Christmas, Erin’s dad’s family Christmas, my step-dad’s family Christmas, my mom’s family Christmas, then a get together with our friends a few days after Christmas, a ski trip to Lake Louise just before New Years, a friends party on New Years, and then a ski trip for me and two friends at Fernie right after New Years. Its all kind of a blur so I’ll try and put it in the right order, but no promises.

The family Christmases were all fun and friendly. My step-dad’s family had their celebration on the same day as Erin’s dad’s family. I opted to leave Darrell’s party a little early to make it to Erin’s. It was great catching up with both families, I got to see both of my step brothers which is an unfortunately rare occasion, especially at the same time it seems. Erin’s family was quick to show me just how bad I am at poker, despite her very young cousin “helping” me by pushing in most of my chips on every hand. Her scheme of bet big, win big was working okay until Erin’s dad decided to clean house.

The following day was Erin’s immediate family Christmas dinner. It consisted of her parents, siblings, grandparents, and an aunt. We had a delicious turkey dinner and lovely conversation. Immediately after dinner I began to feel unwell and excused myself to the bathroom for the remainder of the evening. It turns out I had caught a stomach flu. I hid in the washroom on the brink of vomiting while Erin, her parents, and siblings opened their presents. Shortly after the somewhat rushed get together, on account of my condition, we went home. I spend the night in the bathroom, quite literally. I was so ill that by the time I made it back to bed I would have to return to the bathroom. So I grabbed some blankets and a pillow and slept on the cold linoleum floor. That night I was so sick and feverish that I became somewhat delirious. I had recently been reading a family history book my mother gave me that told all about her family and their forging of the prairie west. I had lost track of my place in time and for a portion of the night was worried that I would be too ill to take care of the homestead in the morning…. I live in a duplex in the city. I was also vomiting so aggressively that my dry heaving would make it difficult to breathe, seemingly, for long periods at a time. This coupled with my recent listening to a podcast about the first World War which described in detail what chlorine gas does to a person, which is surprisingly close to dry heaving to the point of suffocation. All this managed to give me weird nightmares about trench warfare, sleeping on a cold hard floor probably didn’t help much either. Three days later when I was able to make it down the stairs and out into the world I was joking with Erin that I had traveled through time, started a homestead, and died in The Great War. I was basically Doctor Who.

Christmas eve I was able to attend Erin’s mom’s family Christmas. I was a little shaky from my recent flu. but I survived the evening. It was another great evening and I was concerned that all the laughter would be hard on my still recovering body.

Erin's mom's family knows how to party it seems

Erin’s family knows how to party

Christmas day came and the plan was to drive from Erin and I’s house to my mother’s, then to my mom’s brother’s for Christmas, then back to my mom’s where we would spend the night. Christmas morning we were informed that my mom had a flu very similar to what I had just recovered from. I hope her homestead did better than mine… Erin and I decided that we would just drive to my Uncles and back that day, two hours each way, instead of staying at my mom’s. No one wants company when they’re sick. Once the plan was made, Erin and I got out of bed to open our presents, she got me a spork and a camouflage Buff. I got her socks, a bottle of Bailey’s, and an engagement ring… Did you see that coming? She sure didn’t, she thought I was kidding.

I proposed with this cheaper ring, then her and I could pick out a ring we both really liked

I proposed with this cheaper ring, then her and I could pick out a ring we both really liked

This is the ring we decided on and are waiting for it to be resized

This is the ring we decided on and are currently waiting for it to be re-sized


Erin was a little mad at me for going over budget on Christmas, but she forgave me pretty quickly. We decided to stop in at Erin’s parents before going to my uncle’s to show her parents the ring and tell her siblings. Her parents weren’t surprised, since I asked their permission previously. We called Erin’s grandparents and aunts etc, and everyone was very excited, there was a lot of joyous yelling on the speakerphone.

We made the long drive to my uncles and called a few close friends to give them the good news. We informed my family when we arrived and naturally everyone was excited. We had some dinner and played some cards, Erin won.

We hit the road before it got too late and made it back in time to visit Erin’s family at her uncles house. He was busy working Christmas eve and missed the big family get together, because Firemen have unfortunate schedules. I was happy to finally get to bed after that long day.

A few days later it was our friend Nikki’s Christmas party. We had asked people not to tell anyone about our engagement, we wanted our friends to hear it from us first. We arrived first with Jason and Shannon (our roommates and friends). Erin had her ring on, but Nikki didn’t say anything. Eventually Nikki handed Erin a napkin for her food and leaned in and whispered “I see that” We all laughed because at the moment Nikki was the only one in the room who hadn’t been told. She was excited for us and we told everyone else as they filtered into the party.

We exchanged funny Christmas stories, played some games, and had some drinks. A friend of ours had brought some homemade apple moonshine which tasted just like apple pie, and went down about as easy. I was driving everyone home that night and couldn’t have more than a taste, luckily I won a bottle of the stuff in the gift exchange. I am currently saving it for a special occasion, for example: the day I decide to drink a bottle of moonshine. At some point someone suggested we play twister, everyone was wearing either denim jeans or a dress. Lucky for us Nikki had a surplus of short shorts, which she handed out to all the guys and gals, and for some reason we all put them on and played twister. It should come as no surprise that I’m not good at twister… also short shorts are not a flattering look for me.

The next day we hit the road to Lake Louise. Which was the start of a whole other series of adventures that include a new years party at a cabin and a trip to Fernie. This post is already getting a little long so I’ll tell you all about the rest later.


So the short version of this story is that I got engaged and went to a lot of Christmas parties . I am now going to be very busy planning a wedding, any suggestions for venues?

Posted in Snowboarding, Travelwith 4 comments.

Big Week

So… let me start by apologizing for not posting on Thursday like I normally do. I have a strange feeling it didn’t exactly ruin your week though. Anyway here is the tale of why I failed to post at my regularly scheduled interval. 

     It all began when I asked for a few days off from work to go see The Edmonton Boat and Sportsman’s Show. I work out of town and to make it worth while a replacement was sent out to relieve me for a little over a week. I made the long drive home on Monday followed by a long drive the next day to my mother and step fathers farm. While there I was able to get in some much needed archery practice… it had, in fact, been a long winter for me… it was reflected in my archery skills. I also did some snowshoeing but that’ll come up in a later post I promise. The most important thing I did was eat good food and catch up on sleep.

Thursday I drove back home and did a whole lot of not much. Friday is when the fun began. I went to the show and was there when the doors opened. One of the first things I saw was the line up to meet Jim Shockey, I looked around and figured it was doubtful the line was going to get any shorter so I stood around wondering what to say… and what I could get him to sign. Lucky for me they were selling some of his DVDs so naturally I purchased one. He was kind enough to sign it for me and we chatted a bit, it was nice to see that he took time with each person to chat a little instead of “Whats your name? Great. Keep hunting. NEXT!” In my excitement unfortunately I failed to get a picture of us together, which is unfortunate because if this blog ever really takes off it would be a neat thing to have (OK either way it would be cool to have).

It is also just a good DVD

After that excitement, I wandered over to meet/re-meet Cody Robbins. I go shake his hand and usually buy a shirt every year just because hes a pretty nice guy and hes probably my favorite hunting show host (I hope I never have to choose between him and Jim Shockey). While there I picked up this beauty of a shirt.

Its super soft and I like the lace up

I aimlessly wandered around the rest of the show seeing what there was to be seen and then I discovered this game changer.

New favorite beer

That’s right folks a beer geared towards hunters. I know not a lot of hunters drink beer (haha) but I really like this idea, and as an added bonus 5% of profits go toward conservation in Alberta and BC. I then exited the show and drove to the nearest liquor store that sold this beer and promptly purchased some for further “sampling.”

Next thing I knew it was Saturday morning, about 5 AM and Erin, Jason, and I were headed to Lake Louise, them for skiing, me for an attempt at snowboarding. The weather on the hill was amazing and I was really starting to dominate that bunny hill.

Spent most of the day like this

I ran a few green runs and before I knew it the day was gone.

I’ve wound up worse places on a Saturday

We then met up with some friends for dinner and drinks at the local hostel. The hostel restaurant was much better than I could have ever expected.

Every part of my body is sore in this photo

The plan was to get up the next day and head home, but we had a lovely surprise. Nearly a foot of heavy wet snow had fallen during the night. We opted to hit the slopes again and drive back later that night.

Guess who had to sweep all that off of the truck
The hills were everything I had dreamed they would be. A tonne of fresh powder meant an amateur like me could really let loose and not worry about falling down. That being said, the heavy sticky snow was rather tiring to plow through.
Lucky for us there was a chalet half way down the hill
        As the day progressed I got a increasingly sore but also increasingly brave which naturally led to a rather interesting crash or two, luckily the hill was kinda busy that weekend so the humor was not wasted. The afternoon came and we decided some of us were too tired and sore to continue, others simply wanted to  be on the road before it was too late. We made it home late that night and I was given two days to recover before I was sent back to work.
I just like this photo. Also my hat got a surprising amount of compliments on the slopes.

Posted in Hunting, Snowboardingwith 2 comments.