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Travelling to remote and not so remote places



Three and a half months in Revelstoke

It’s been almost a year ago that we’ve chosen Revelstoke as our first destination of our round the world trip. We’ve been sitting on a balcony in Italy late in May 2015, looked at the various candidates and thought: let’s go to Revelstoke. Our criteria? Decent skiing (well, Revelstoke boasts the highest vertical drop in all or North America – check. Four lifts? Hmmmm.), a proper village (the population is a bit less than 8000 people – check.), good schooling for Molly and Max (three elementary schools in Revelstoke – check.)  and affordable accommodation (we found a place to stay on Airbnb for an acceptable rate – check). We got in touch with schools and skiclub with very encouraging exchanges – it started to feel good. Nevertheless, we tried to manage our expectations, particularly with regards to the ski resort (thinking if it’s not that great we can still hop around to other places) and had hopes that we and the kids would meet a few nice people.

Boy, were we up for a surprise! We arrived on Friday, the 18th of December 2015. Saturday was a training day at the ski club, so Max was quite keen to meet the boys and girls he was going to ski with for the next few months. I drove him to the hill and met his coaches: Gill, Filip, Ben and the two Mikes from Ontario and Austria. The following day was Molly’s first training day and we met a whole bunch of people from the ski club and other parents. Pleasantries were exchanged with a few “uh, we have to meet up for dinner/beer/skiing” – I took that for the usual make-you-feel good, but unfortunately rather superficial approach of your typical US American. Little did I know that Canadians are different! Much different! Phone numbers were exchanged and when we came to the ski hill on Monday it took just a few minutes until the first SMS arrived: “You at the hill? Wanna meet up?” – ‘course we did! That was when Darrell gave us a first rated tour around Revelstoke Mountain Resort and we got a first impression of the incredible possibilities on this ski hill. Anna and I were so delighted – we couldn’t believe our luck. Everything was there: enormous amounts of snow and great skiing all around with everything from wide pleasant meadowy lines to steep, narrow couloirs. But – above all: an incredible friendly, enthusiastic, ski crazed community, with all people open, fun and – my impression – happy with their choice to live the ski life in Revelstoke. Thus, my little review starts with the aspect, that I loved most here – the people! Shendra and Chris arranged a fantastic farewell BBQ for us at their incredible place right at the Columbia river – and all our friends, who we had the pleasure to meet in this quarter of a year in BC were there!

Farewell BBQ I
Farewell BBQ, hosted by Shendra and Chris. Beautiful location, spring evening – couldn’t be nicer to say “See you soon”.
Farewell BBQ II
Saying Good-Bye to our friends from Revelstoke with BBQ and fire.

It was quite hard to leave Revelstoke after this intense period – our little family had grown to a very relaxed and happy team with a fun driven life powered by new friends and an incredible ski hill. Continue reading “Three and a half months in Revelstoke”

Three flying boys

When I was 10 years old I thought a 6-seater gondola was the most luxurious way to access a ski hill. Max, on the other hand, being used to 8-seater chairlifts with a bubble and bottom heating, has discovered a much more interesting way of getting onto the mountain:

3 boys in a heli
Three excited boys (from left to right: Reed, Max and Parker – all in in their red Revelstoke Ski Club jackets) getting a lift in a helicopter to access fresh powder.

Parker’s Dad managed to get them onto a CMH helicopter – the opportunity of a life time for the three lads Continue reading “Three flying boys”

Nancy Greene Festival in Sun Peaks

Yup, folks – yet another race weekend for the Breadbaskets. This time we had been hyped up by our local friends: the Nancy Greene Festival in Sun Peaks was supposed to be a lot of fun for racers and parents.

Sun Peaks Ski Resort
Sun Peaks makes a good attempt at looking like an Alpine village. Quite successful, actually, on this bluebird Saturday morning.

And a lot of fun it was: over 500 kids came together, starting on a bluebird Saturday to compete in four skills events: skier cross, speed trap, jump and moguls and a glalom (that’s a mix between giant slalom and slalom with slightly tighter gates than a GS – two runs with combined time). Organisation was perfect, the event rolled along very smoothly: the bigger kids competed in the skills events on the Saturday and had their two run combined time glalom on Sunday, whereas the younger kids fought it out in the glalom on Saturday and the skills on Sunday. And that’s what it looked like: Continue reading “Nancy Greene Festival in Sun Peaks”

50 Days of Skiing…

…in a row. To make it short: do I have enough now? Nope. It’s fun, a lot of fun, actually. Revelstoke Mountain Resort is a superb ski area.

The guys who run the show here say the mountain has three weather zones – and they are right. Continue reading “50 Days of Skiing…”

A Day in the Helicopter

February 4th, 2016 – Anna and I were sitting in our monster truck on the way to meet the Tangier Selkirks guys for a day of heli skiing. In the car we were having mixed thoughts: snow was falling hard, we were looking at 15-20cm of fresh snow and the valley was covered in clouds. This would have been fun in the resort, too, we thought.

Continue reading “A Day in the Helicopter”

My little Duckling

Molly, who has never showed much of an interest in any type of after-school sport activity, has insisted in joining the Revelstoke “AquaDucks” swim club. It might have something to do with her new best friend Eula attending but I’m just happy that she finally wants to do something else than just watch YouTube clips of “My little Pony”.

The only snag is that Molly can’t swim. While the others are warming up with four lengths of freestyle, Molly does ten meters of doggy style. But what the heck – she shows great commitment and determination! Surprisingly, the swim coaches let her stay in the group: “Aww, she has her friends here so let her stay…”. Here in Revelstoke sport is all about fun – and the kids are having lots of it!

Speedo body-hugging performance suits are so last year – this year we’re going for pink ruffled skirts with sequins…


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.

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