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Travelling to remote and not so remote places

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January 2016

The Force Awakens…


…in Revelstoke. So you can have it all: a ski hill within 10 minutes drive-time, a great community and all the urbanity you ever need. Some might say: hey, the movie started at the box office over a month ago. Yeah – but we were busy skiing anyway, and now it fitted in perfectly. So, the Breadbaskets are up-to-date again with the latest mainstream cinematographic achievements.

The Force awakens in Revelstoke
The Force Awakens in Revelstoke. Albeit a month later than in the more urban parts of the world. But the Roxy is a great cinema.

The Roxy Theatre, right in Revelstoke downtown opposite my favourite ski store Skookum, is a proper, old-style cinema with a large screen, a decent sound system and nice, reclining seats.

The Roxy Cinema
The Roxy Cinema in Revelstoke – large screen, slightly reclining seats, popcorn. Almost everything you need in a cinema – no beer, though.

Uh, and did I like the movie? Yes, I did. While I never really cared for Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia (unlike Natalie Portman as Padme Amidala) I was happy to see an aged Han Solo, a Chewbacca, who grunted much less than in Episode 4-6, R2D2 mostly out of order and therefore not beeping and BB-8, the latest in Robotics. Admittedly, I am too simple minded to fully enjoy the complexities of the misguided Darth Vader copy Kylo Ren; so I found him rather half-baked. But then, I think Daniel Craig should work in porn – he’d be a much better James Hump than James Bond. But that’s just my opinion, man.

Hail Caesar


Nope, this is not a reference to an upcoming movie. What it refers to is Canada’s best selling cocktail: the Caesar. Dubbed as the spicy cousin of the Bloody Mary, its key non-alcoholic ingredient is Clamato juice – suspicious as it my sound, the Caesar is actually delicious. Should I have to choose between a Bloody Mary and, say, Big Eddy’s Caesar – I’ll take the Caesar anytime!

Big Eddy's delicious Caesar - the slice across the glass is a pickled gherkin, the glass is rimmed with celery salt. Yummy!
Big Eddy’s delicious Caesar – the slice across the glass is a pickled gherkin, the glass is rimmed with celery salt. Yummy!

The picture above has been taken on the regular Wing Night at Big Eddy’s – our 10 year old son Max has fallen in love with the BBQ Chicken Wings served every Wednesday at our local. Hail Caesar!

Fresh snow addiction at Revelstoke


Revelstoke is a very laid back place. People are relaxed and friendly. An important member of the Revelstoke community is Gnorm, the power gnome. Gnorm stands on a little board at a weather station on top of the Ripper chairlift and is constantly visible via a webcam. The board he stands on gets cleared of snow every day at 3pm. Typically, a day here starts with a look at Gnorm when you wake up.

Gnorm, the powder gnome, can be seen on a webcam. The board he stands on is cleared of snow every day at 3pm. If you wake up in the morning and Gnorm cannot be seen - it's a huge powder day!
Gnorm, the powder gnome, can be seen on a webcam. The board he stands on is cleared of snow every day at 3pm. If you wake up in the morning and Gnorm cannot be seen – it’s a huge powder day!

If Gnorm looks like on the picture above – everything stays nice and easy. However, if Gnorm is covered in snow, everything changes: Revelstokians forget about work, jump into their cars and race up to the resort (the road, unfortunately, runs past a school where the speed limit is 30 km/h – some racers seem to forget that). And if you arrive too late, the lift queue looks like that:

The lift queue on a huge snow day at Revelstoke Mountain Resort at 8.30am. Not even the hat of Gnorm showed.
The lift queue on a huge snow day -Jan 22, 2016 – at Revelstoke Mountain Resort at 8.30am. Not even the hat of Gnorm showed.

A square meal


I hate the Austrian ski resort self service restaurants with a vengeance…. Nasty food, nasty staff and very nasty prices indeed. If I wasn’t so hungry at lunchtime I wouldn’t touch them. Lucky for me (unlucky for my New Year’s Resolution to lose weight) the Revelstoke Mountain Lodge has excellent food! You can choose between Fresh Pesto Salad with Sundried Tomatoes, Spicy Thai Chicken Soup, Pulled Pork Sandwich, Lemongrass Chicken Noodle Salad or – Poutine!

Foodboard
“I’ll have the Vegetarian Blacken Burger with caramelized onions and jalapeños, please….”

Poutine – Canada’s answer to Currywurst or, where I’m from; “en tjock grillad med mos” – is a dish of french fries soaked in gravy with cheese curds on top. According to Jamie Oliver, in 2007 the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation ran a national poll asking viewers what they thought was the greatest Canadian invention of all time. Poutine scored higher than the electric oven, coming just behind the pacemaker and the Wonderbra. Is it a culinary highlight or just plain disgusting? Well, Daniel’s Butter Chicken Poutine was like an indian curry with fries and surprisingly good. But I’ll stick with my Lemongrass Chicken Noodle Salad. I can have that any day and twice on a Sunday….!

Chicken noodle salad
Fresh coriander in a ski resort canteen – wow!

Ski Race in Sun Peaks


With quite a few training days under Max’ belt it was time for the first race weekend in Canada: the Breadbasket family hopped into their truck and drove the three hours to Sun Peaks. Skis were well prepared, edges sharpened. The wax application was done later on Friday evening in a Dad’s waxing session, which involved discussing snow temperature and a comparison of Mount Begbie’s Tall Timber Ale with its High Country Kölsch. Tie, I would say.

Turned out that Max’ training is working out: as one of the youngest starters in the U12 (that’s kids born in 2004 and 2005) he ended up 6th and 11th (with a little crash) in the giant slalom and 11th and 7th in the slalom out of 31 starters in both disciplines.

Max proudly shows his award after reaching 6th place in the giant slalom.
Max proudly shows his award after reaching 6th place in the giant slalom.

The racers were very keen to finish among the Top 10, since the fastest 10 kids were asked on stage, where Nancy Greene, 1968 Gold Medalist in Giant Slalom in Grenoble, handed out the awards – clearly a highlight for the youngsters.

Nancy Greene, who won Olympic Gold in 1968 in Grenoble, congratulates Max to his 7th place in Slalom.
Nancy Greene, who won Olympic Gold in 1968 in Grenoble, congratulates Max to his 7th place in Slalom.

One word about Sun Peaks: Canada’s second largest resort (Whistler is the biggest) offers nice, wide, blue runs – paradise for some, but Anna and I were missing Revelstoke’s more challenging terrain (one skier called it big mountain heaven – I would agree). That said, the race organisation was fantastic: almost 150 kids in U12 and U14 raced in great conditions, despite the heavily falling snow – the local club has done a great job there!

Sun Peaks tries hard to resemble a charming European mountain village.
Sun Peaks tries hard to resemble a charming European mountain village.

Revelstoke Ski Club – Kids Training


Being a little spoilt by our ski club in Munich, Skiclub Nymphenburg, with a great bunch of people and some ripping skiers, we were very curious about meeting the local Revelstoke Ski Club, Canada’s longest running ski club. And it has been no disappointment: warmly welcomed by Rob, who gave us a quick tour of the training ground, we keep meeting dedicated, addicted, obsessed skiers – which makes our stay in Revy extremely exciting. Everybody – no exception – is super nice, open, welcoming and helpful. Did I mention polite? (more to polite in a later post). Just like our SCN, Revelstoke is run by great guys: thanks Rob, Darrell, Julia, Gary, Lisa and our coaches Gill, Ben, Filip, Mike/Michi, Kees, Will and all the others, who run this fantastic show!

Training on a sunny day - thanks, Rob, for this great picture.
Training on a sunny day – thanks, Rob, for this great picture.

Our kids love it: Max is well integrated in the U12 racing team and Molly drives with the Revy Carvers – we’ve already seen her and her group’s approach to tree skiing.

Molly in the gates. Note her upright pink ears pushed back by the wind - they usually lean forward.
Molly in the gates. Note her upright pink ears pushed back by the wind – they usually lean forward.

Tree Skiing – Molly Style


Skiing between trees, particularly in glades, where the trees have been thinned out a bit to allow easier turns, is a lot of fun. Wikipedia says “Glade riders need to be agile to negotiate trees”, but one family member found a completely different strategy:

Trees beware - little Molly knows no mercy.
Trees beware – little Molly knows no mercy.

Why ski around trees when you might just ski through them and collect branches as evidence?

Molly is not alone with her approach. And who needs skis, when boots do?
Molly is not alone with her approach. And who needs skis, when boots do?

It goes to show, though, that free riding cannot start too early – certainly an approach the Canadians are taking with their young offspring.

No country for hairless men


Meticulously groomed 3-day beards, goatees, full chinstraps or rock-and-roll Frank Zappa beards – you name it, we’ve got it! This is not the place where a respectable pow addict would show himself without a good helping of facial hair. Unless, of course, your dreadlocks go way beyond the edge of your helmet…

Some stop shaving when they retire, some stop shaving when the arrive in Canada…

20 Days of Skiing


Enough? No way! Need a break? Nope. Want more? Absolutely! This have been fantastic three weeks with fresh powder, beautiful groomers, some white outs, more sun than expected, tree skiing (with some hugging), undisturbed by bears but beautifully guided by a bunch of crazy local skiers, who’ve been living the life that we live now for the last 20 years. I start to understand how it feels to be among the slower skiers in a group: uh – you’re there, let’s go! Let…me…catch…my…breath. OK, while you catch your breath we’ll have a little recreational smoke harvested in our backyard and watch you panting. Adding insult to injury? Absolutely not – this is so much fun- Revelstoke rocks.

And the rest of the family: let me pick out one member – Max. Instead of heading for school on a Friday morning he had ski training. Happy Max? Happy Max:

Happy fifth grader having finished his ski training on a Friday morning. Class mates were sweating at school, Max in the slopes. What a life!
Happy fifth grader having finished his ski training on a Friday morning. Class mates were sweating at school, Max in the slopes. What a life!

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