Saturday, March 27, 2021

Elbow Trail to Snagmore Loop


Between skiing, bad weather, and some foolish promises to the kids, we have not hiked much lately. For this trip we had the constraints of needing to be relatively close to home and some cell service. We left the kids at home and hit Bragg Creek.

Ice cleats were 100% necessary, as the melting/freezing cycle was in full swing and the half of the path that wasn't a muddy mess was sheets of ice.  I started the hike wearing: T shirt, long sleeved T shirt, merino wool sweater, fleece, waterproof shell, hat and mittens.  I ended the hike wearing: Tshirt and shell. definitely tested the boundaries of my new backpack as I stuffed layer after layer in as we, and the world, warmed up.

It was a lovely little walk in the woods. There are some great mountain views along the ridge (which we encountered first, having gone the counterclockwise route) and the rest of the trail is foresty. We watched a couple of squirrels have their lunch - I'd never actually seen them eat before. The trail is very, very well marked, which is always a huge gold star in my book.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Being Jewish in Calgary

 There is not a large, thriving Jewish population in Calgary. That became abundantly clear last year during the frustrating Hunt for Hanukkah Candles, where when I finally found some (thank you Michaels) I went ahead about bought enough for all three years. Last year I also made my own matzah, having given up on even searching for it.

This year i decided to do better research. After all, there are three different synagogues in the city, AND a JCC - although they are all within about three miles of each other in a part of the city far, far from mine.  The research turned up solid gold: there is one Safeway grocery store, down in the neighborhood of other Jewishy things, that not only carries Matzah but actually has a Kosher food section!  

caveat: Terry did not take this picture and does not sanction its presence on the blog

Our pilgrimage took place this weekend. Upon entering the store we were met with this Wall O' Matzah,  and it only got better, with matzah meal for the matzah ball soup, or soup kits, or pre-made balls in broth in glass jars. Three kinds of horseradish.  Gefilte fish. They even had a full range of Passover candy.

Monday, March 8, 2021

The Buy Nothing Group

 One major silver lining of COVID is the development of local Buy Nothing groups. Through ours, I have rid our house of outgrown kids' clothes, snowshoes, cookware, toys and games. We have acquired other cookware, food items, a white board just when ours died, and - most importantly - school supplies the night they became necessary.

When Alex mentioned in the late afternoon that she needed two balloons for science class the next day, I took a deep breath. We're trying to limit our trips to stores, and we don't have any balloons. In comes the Buy Nothing group. I asked if anyone had balloons. A few people did. One of whom said she was running out to the wine store and would drop off the balloons while she was out. Jokingly, I asked her to drop off some wine as well. 

Later in the evening she writes back that she had dropped them off in a bag at our doorstep. I go out to pick it up. In the bag, in addition to the balloons, is a bottle of wine. My heart is so overfull.

Friday, March 5, 2021


To finish the trifecta of "SkiBig3" we headed to Sunshine Village on Sunday.  The weather was nearly the exact same as the day before, so perfectly cold, although the sun never came out and the wind howled (although the wind may have only seemed stronger due to nothing blocking it).

We'd noted the warnings about getting there early for parking, and pulled into a spot at right about the middle of the lot at 8:00am. Upon the sage guidance of the gentleman directing traffic, the first folks ready with their gear (Terry and Zoltan) went to (1) buy the kids' tickets as the adults had ours from Costco and (2) get into line for the gondola up to the lifts. 

I'll just say it took 1.5 hours from getting into line to getting off the gondola at the top and leave it there.  Although, needless to say, we were pretty grumpy.  Later in the day we rationalized that waiting for 1.5 hours, then basically not at all, is actually a better deal than waiting between 10-30 minutes for every run. 

In the wake of Norquay's surprises we had done quite a bit of research on Sunshine and had a solid game plan. We started with a recommended green run that was this big bowl and the snow was beautiful powder and it was so much fun!  The lift was short and the runs shorter but the longest we waited in line was 5 minutes.  And the trails are barely trails - there is so much open expanse it's pretty close to "well, everything over that way will be green, everything over that way is blue. Just get down to the bottom however you feel." The guides Sunshine puts out are spot on - we read one that tracked what it called "light blues" and for the runs we did it ran perfectly true.  We got up and down each run so quickly that our legs were on fire by 2pm and we decided to call it a day.

Monday, March 1, 2021

Mt. Norquay

We have a mission to try the main ski mountains in the area this year, to choose the contenders for next year's season pass (only one will win this contest!) To that end, we booked an airbnb in Canmore and had plans/reservations at Norquay and Sunshine.

Saturday was Norquay. From the trail maps things looked beautifully simply laid out - one lift appeared to have trails that were mostly black; one had mostly blue, one mostly green, etc.  We generally start off on green. The lift had five different lines that converge right at the end. We waiting in line 15-30 minutes for each run. After a few runs we decided to try the blue. We followed the route marked "easiest run" - so presumably the easiest blue route down. It was pretty challenging.  It was even more of a surprise because we had tried all the green runs on the "green" lift and none of them were what I'd call a "dark green" - so it was a significant jump.

One thing I found fascinating is the dedication to moguls that seemed to dominate the majority of runs - there was even a green run of moguls - something I had never seen before.  Zoltan enjoyed trying them out and getting a feel for what it's like, and I am sure he'll enjoy moguls even more as he progresses.

All in all, the skiing wasn't very fun and we cut the day short.