Monday, December 29, 2008

My New Touque

What do you think of the new touque? I love it! It was a Christmas Prezzie from Keith, along with a new Salomon Hydration pack.
I took them out for a test drive this past weekend. On Saturday, I had a great solo long run and enjoyed every minute of it. It's been awhile since I've gone that long and it felt great! You know how you have some days where you feel like you are flying? I was out for 3h 45min and finished the run with a jaunt up Tunnel Mountain. The whole run was in the snow and on trail and I felt like a stud. The trail was perfect compact snow on this day, nice and grippy and F-U-N!!
The next day, was a whole different story. We awoke to a surprise snow fall of about a foot and Keith and I decided we would to the backdoor tour, up Sulphur Mountain. It took us a lot longer than usually, but it was the perfect activity for a snowy day. We walked the uphill and ran the downhill and it was a whole lotta' work!

Keith, nearing the summit!


Out the back door!! Middle Springs and Mount Rundle on a snowy day...

Friday, December 26, 2008

Sunshine at Sunshine

Aaaaaaah. Sunshine at Sunshine. There really is nothing like it. It's on my top 5 list of Leslies' favorite places in Banff National Park, fer sures!

Sunshine Meadows is only one kilometre-ish into the backcountry, from the Sunshine Village ski area. It really is one of the most beautiful places on earth, summer or winter! It's one of my special places.

Yesterday, was one of those blue sky days where you just have to get out there and enjoy! The backcountry skiing right now, is not that nice for making turns. However, it is always nice to just get out and go touring! So that's what we did. A round trip of 4 hours to work off the turkey dinner and booze. I felt sluggish (hello, food hangover) but was certainly invigorated!

Here's some photos of my amazing day. Sunshine is only a 20 min. drive, a 10 min. cable car ride, a 7 minute chairlift and a 10 minute walk away from my house. That's only 47 minutes to access PARADISE!! Oh yeah and then you have to go walking on your skis for a few hours to access the goodies, we were out for 4 hours.

....and to finish, a photo of me, looking like an elf. Or a receptacle tip. Or an alien. Let's go with elf and stick with a family-friendly-holiday theme!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Woohoo, It's Winter Solistice!! Happy Holidays!!

One of my favorite days of the year, is Winter Solistice. This time of year it is the neglected, overlooked, underrated, under appreciated, ugly sister of the holidays. Always overshadowed by those other special days.

For me, Winter Solistice is a monumental day! A reason to celebrate! The sweetest, crisp, cool wintery day of the year! To celebrate all that is cold and dark and long! But more importantly, a sparkle, a jewel in the dark months to remind you that from this day forward, every day is just a little bit longer.....

So Happy Holidays to you all, no matter what day you may be celebrating

Some of my highlights from a very cold winter week included a run with Keith......

A run with Darren to the top of Sulphur Mountain on a beautiful blue sky -30c day....

A very hungry deer....

....a Winter Solistice ski tour with Keith, Anna and Stew!!

...and a Christmas Party!!

Happy Holidays!!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

When Hell Freeezes Over (or stories from the cold...)

On Monday, the day we awoke to the temperature reading -42c, we decided to go to the pub after work. We were seeking comfort from the weather in the form of pizza and beer. After ordering some beers from our server, we were kept waiting and waiting and waiting for our bevvies. When the server finally returned, she said rather sheepishly: "The beer lines have frozen." What?!? Unbelievable. You can tell it is a cold day in Banff when the beer freezes over!

When Hell Freezes Over - The River

Also, did you know when it is this cold you have to be extra careful getting in and out of the hot tub? When you get out of the tub, normally you can just dash across your snow covered deck to get back into the house. When it is this cold, you have to be extra cautious! I was surprised the other day when I emerged from the tub and my feet immediately adhered to the ice I was standing on. Fortunately, before I became solidly attached I uprouted myself in a panic and continued to pick my feet up extra quickly to prevent furter attachment as I made the dash. As I was quite concerned with my feet freezing to the earth, I was further surprised when I reached for the patio door and my fingers stuck to the door handle. Hmmm.

When Hell Freezes Over - The Lake

The cold weather has given me flashbacks of a memorable day 9 years ago, when Keith inadvertantly locked me outside while I was in the hot tub. The problem on that particular day was that I was naked and it was -30c. I spent about an hour marinating in the hot tub before I worked up the courage to do a naked dash across my front lawn, climb over a fence, balance and pry open a window while standing on said fence, followed by a less-than-impressive-slightly-painful-dismount. I had to hold the window open and dive through the window simultaneously. Naked. When I hit the hardwood floor in a heap, my dog came to the rescue with a non-stop licking bath. Evidently, girls marinated in hot tubs taste great!

Until this morning, I thought there would be no more cold weather surprises, especially after the beer freezing over. This morning, I went down to the laundry room to collect the laundry and realized-oops-I forgot to turn on the dryer. My towels had been sitting there all night and were still soaking wet. When I turned on the dryer, I was greeted by an orchestra of thumping and bumping even louder than the sound of running shoes in the dryer! I opened up the door and a towel fell out on my feet. And it hurt. My load of towels were frozen solid into a couple giant ice towel blobs.

So, after surviving a week of cold temperatures and a period of adjustment, I am finally getting used to the cold again. After a few days of hibernation, a lot of eating and almost losing my mind, I have run the past 3 days. The cold weather certainly has some merits. The Alpenglow has been amazing, I am sleeping and eating like a pre-pubescent boy and there is nobody on the trails! Now that I have wrapped my brain around such weather, I'm good with it. I think. Anyone want to go for a run?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

What to Do When It is -30c

**UPDATE!! This post should read "What to do when it is -42c" because that is what the temperature was this morning. UGG! That's -43.6 F. This little bear is going to go hibernate for a few days. I think that has got to be some kind of record for Banff!***
O.K - now back to the post.....What to Do When It is -30c.......
1. Grin and bear it!!

2. Run Really Fast.

3. Go for a hot tub in your back yard.

The answer is of course, "All of the Above" but I am getting ahead of my story:

On Thursday the weather was really lovely and hovering around -2c all day, with a clear sky and a full moon in the forecast. Holly was driving up for the night, so we thought we would go do something special for the full moon! We opted for the full moon snowshoe. Holly, Robin, Anna, Ben and Lindsay joined Keith and I for a couple of hours of howling at the moon. O.K, I was the only one howling, it's very therapeutic! It was so bright, we didn't need our head lamps and could also see our shadows by the moonlight!

Ladies of the Night: Robin, Holly and Leslie

The always lovely, Anna Collins

Go Speed Racer!

The next day, the forecast was for a cold front to move in to our area and the temperatures to drop to -30c. I thought it would be good to get out for one last run before the arrival of the cold! I ran out along the Spray river, where the river was starting to freeze up.

We got some fresh snow on Friday, so we thought we would would bundle up and head out for some resort turns on Saturday morning. The temperature was about -22c, so we thought that it would be O.K. Well. With a little windchill, it was rrrrreally cold and we didn't last long. Keith, froze his toes on the first descent and the rest of us lasted for 3 runs before we had to come in for a warm-up. I managed 6 runs and called it a day. Still, it was a fun day. I got to make some turns with some friends that I hadn't seen in a long time and there was NOBODY at the hill. By the time we got home, the temps had in fact dropped to -30c which is perfect hot tub weather (see photo exhibit #3....). I psyched myself up and headed out the door to the gym, for my first treadmill workout of the year! It was actually enjoyable to hammer on the treadmill and do some speed work.

By Sunday, it was official. The cold temperatures had arrived and it was -32c. We decided the one activity we could safely and enjoyably, was do a walk/run up Sulphur Mountain and take the gondola down. We just wanted to get out of the house for awhile and get some exercise. Keith and I recruited, Anna, Heather and Miles to join us for our little adventure into the cold. It turns out it was too cold for the gondola to operate safely, so we did the up and down return trip. It was a cold but beautiful day! We were all sporting the "frosty frozen face look" and had to keep checking each other for frostbite. Fun!

Slippery When Stooopid

So the answer to the question "What to do when it is -30c?" is to grin and bear it, run really fast and go for a hot tub in your back yard. The answer to the question "What to do when it is -42c?" is hibernate, relax and go for a hot tub in your back yard. Mmmm. I think I feel a nap coming on.....