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Wanderlust cured’s Travel Diary

Saturday, 28 Mar 2009

Location: Sunshine & Canmore, Canada

MapIt wasnt until a friend at work alerted me to the Calgary road conditions and the so called "Hwy 1" through Calgary that I got worried about my fellow Australian traveller picking up the rental car and driving it along Hwy 1 to find me nestled in a little town called Canmore in the Canadian Rockies. 30 sets of lights on "the Hwy" would be enough to confuse my Australian friend, but as an added obstacle it was her first experience at driving on the right hand side of the road, in the left hand side of the car. Now I have been here for almost three months and I still have to look both ways when I cross the road, because my brain has not yet switched off 25 years of learning which direction traffic comes from! Needless to say she made it here safe and sound, with maybe a couple of stern words to let me know that I made it sound easy and it probably wasnt that easy - i didnt know - I hadnt driven in Calgary myself, let alone been there!! hehe, what are friends for hey. Im sure her character has been tested and she feels like a stronger person, successfully completing what I was too scared to say, may have been a little "tricky".

Night one of her arrival we took off to the local Iron Goat restaurant which is newly built, with its fancy wooden beams, candleabras, high sealings, black iron work, stone walls and rustic charm - with an amazing bathroom, which Belinda advised that I must go to, even if I didnt need to go! We both tasted some local beers and had a shared entree of the Canadian Plate (inclusive of salmon, elk, goats cheese, jelly, bread, another cheese, bruschetta and strawberries) and for main we had a duck and brie pizza. YUM! Totally delux and Belinda loved the location, pity it was dark at the time because the view from the Iron Goat goes across to Chinamans Peak and Rundle Mountain and its the only way to have lunch!! Jetlag took over and she was awake until 2am with an early start for her first day of skiing...

Alarms off at 7:30am and we had yougurt and stawberries for breakfast with a side of Vegemite toast! We were off in our rental car, still talking out loud "stay on the right side of the road", we did the 40 minute drive to Sunshine Ski Resort and it started out as a KAVU day. Belinda kitted up for her first ski lesson and I was off to practice more of what I have been learning, and frequented the park trying to perfect my box jumps as gracefully as possible. I managed about 4 black runs and feel like I must be getting it more and more each visit to Sunshine. Delerium Dive which I have mentioned in previous posts was open for the first time this winter today and there was huge crowds heading to ski this much talked about run - some of my friends made it for first run, envious much? Now THATS a way to carve your tracks in the snow!
Belinda and I met for lunch and her group was to go up and have a buffet lunch, so I tagged along with my orange juice and macadamia nut cookies and sat quietly in the corner chatting away with all the excited first time skiers. Belinda felt like she was mastering her turns and snow ploughing like nobody had snow ploughed before! After lunch was when the real snow started to come down, it had been threatening to snow all day with drifts coming down softly, but it really started and visibility was poor and the famous Sunshine "flat light" was to make skiing for the next few hours a little testing. So, for those who arent snow bunnies, flat light is when the clouds come over and you cannot differentiate the snow moguls from the nice powder or the ice from the nice flat runs, it makes skiing down it kind-of-a luck of the draw as your skis can be carving down and then as you turn the back edge hits a big pile of powder and the resistance (which you werent expecting) off balances you, its more damage to the ego as you wobble about to get your balance, or in my case yesterday ends in a spectacular fall which has my jacket up near my chin, snow all over my bare skin and my skis both on 45degree angles still attached to my boots. I just dusted off and made my way to the park to redeem some cred points :)

I got a sms from Belinda as her lesson ended and she wanted to show me some of her moves, I was on the next mountain over, so I made my way over to her with a sms saying "15 minutes"...I took the wrong lift and ended up back at the top of another mountain and I had a frozen Bel waiting for me as she had cooled down and was sitting in the snow. Apology was accepted and we made our way up the Strawberry Chair lift (sounds cute doesnt it), we got stuck up there for awhile and she wasnt happy with my suggestion of jumping off into the powder below so we didnt have to keep waiting - she told me that there was a sign at the beginning saying it was a beginners run and that you had to be patient! So I stuck it out, and took a few photos to keep me occupied - It still would have been fun to jump into the powder!. Bel hadnt had a fall all day and it was her first run without her instructor, so I skied down the hill a bit for some photo ops and she did very well! Turning from side to side and snow ploughing! Very impressed, and now she has bragging rights because she was told she wouldnt be able to stay up all day and that she did! Good work! She totally loved her first day and says that she will be back, and I agree - its totally addictive, and I will miss winter because of the snow it provides.

Belinda was told on her flight over by a woman from Saskatchewan - another province of Canada - that the food here is terrible, so I set out to prove her wrong, purely because I know otherwise! So off to the Railway Deli for some Dutch cheeses (Belindas pick from her Dutch heritage) and my choices of a Dark Rye Bread which would make its way into the oven to be the right butter melting tempreture and elk salami with smoked ham, olives, strawberries and red pepper dip and Bel's comment was "so you go hard all day so you can eat all this at night" hehe - too true! It was good and the night ended with a visit to a friends house and a big cup of tea and a block of Cadbury's black forest chocolate which Bel had bought over as a little something from Australia! I forgot how much I missed it - so good!

Thank you so much to Mum for sending over a care package with Bel, it was awesome to get gifts from you and totally unexpected that it bought tears to my eyes thinking of you back home putting it all together and sending it in its nice purple gift wrap box. A little embarrasing pulling out the sexy underwear in front of Belinda (by the way, you might have to explain the white pair to me, cause I havent figured them out) :) hehe. I felt extremely lucky to have people that care about me to think of things that I would like, it was a really nice finish to a tough week of being in Canada alone - so thankyou, thankyou and thankyou!

Waking up this morning, the predicted snow fall had arrived and Bel will be soon waking up to her first fresh day of powder - thank you Canada :) I have a yummy breakfast planned at Chez Francois and a job interview for 11am...should be interested to tackle the snow in a rental car and we might have to rethink our plans to K Country (Kananaskis) because of the road conditions. Will keep you posted.

Love, hugs and kisses from the two Aussie Chicks :) May we go out and get covered in fresh snow today!