Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Ultimate One-Stop Do Everything Winter Vacation

Skates - check, skis - check, snowshoes - check, sled, helmets, hockey sticks, hiking boots, ski boots, poles, and...swim suits - check! All stuffed into the back of a very small family car.  Thank God for our roof top cargo box because did I mention that we also had to fit a large ski pulk into our car that we'd use to tow our preschooler while skiing? 

The car packed and our family loaded up, we were ready for our first overnight trip to the Delta Lodge at Kananaskis.   And while, we were only staying for one night, we were prepared to try and experience everything from skiing to hiking with skating, sledding and plenty of swimming sandwiched in between.  We even managed to try intro ice climbing - see photo below.

Ice Climbing 101 at the Delta Lodge

The Fireside Room at the Delta Lodge
Kananaskis Village has always been a favourite local destination for our family and we often head to the Village for day trips.  I love spending the day there mid-week when my husband is working and I'm looking for a fun little adventure with my son.  A couple weeks ago we spent the morning snowshoeing around nearby Wedge Pond and then finished the outing with lunch at the Delta in the fireside room.  We topped off the visit with a trip to the Village playground and headed home blissfully tired and happy.  These are the kinds of days we love. 

Fun in the Snow at Wedge Pond - located 10km down the road from Kananaskis Village

Cross country skiing at Ribbon Creek
I always encourage families to check out Kananaskis Village when they are looking for someplace close to Calgary for a day of playing in the mountains.  There is literally nothing you can not do at the Village.  From downhill skiing at the Nakiska Ski Hill to cross country skiing at Ribbon Creek, every member of the family can find something at their speed.  Don't ski?  It doesn't matter.  A winter hike to Troll Falls is an absolute must-do when in the area followed by a thrilling ride down the Village toboggan hill.  Add ice skating on the Village pond and you'll have more than enough to keep you occupied for a weekend.

Troll Falls Hike, Ribbon Creek
The Village Toboggan Hill
In case you're thinking there's even the slightest chance your family could get bored at Kananaskis Village, I didn't mention the Village hockey rink yet and I believe I did say there was an outdoor playground.  Add some fun in the snow climbing on the frozen waterfall beside the skating pond or playing in snow caves found all over the sports field.  The paved Village Rim Trail also makes for a pleasant stroll and we brought our son's balance bike with us on the weekend in case we found a free half hour to take a ride - which sadly, we didn't.


The Village Skating Pond

Fitting in a quick game of hockey at Kananaskis Village
Kananaskis Village is your ultimate one-stop destination.  Within 10km of the Village you will find enough options to keep you playing, exploring, and living the outdoor mountain dream for a good week - or more. We honestly tried to fit everything in to one short weekend but it got to be a tad overwhelming in the end.  I kind of wish we would have taken some time to just sit by the fireplace in the Delta Lodge reading newspapers and enjoying some gourmet coffee and pastries from the resort deli.  Next time!



The Resort Swimming Pool
We were blessed this past weekend to also enjoy some additional Lodge amenities that day-users have to miss.  The swimming pool and outdoor hot tub at the Delta just may have been the highlight of our whole trip!  Our son could have easily spent the whole day in the pool - and judging by the amount of families I saw in the hot tub I'd say our child wasn't alone in his opinion that the Delta's swimming facilities rock!  Resort users get unlimited access to the spa, gym, swimming pool, and hot tub - which is half indoor and half outdoor, connected by plastic flaps that you swim under to access the outside pool. 

The Delta's Outdoor Hot Tub
Other great highlights of actually staying at the Delta Lodge at Kananaskis rather than making a day trip out to the Village:
  • Enjoying the peace and quiet of the Village at night when all the day users have gone home
  • Staying for dinner at the family-friendly Big Horn Lounge (best nachos ever)
  • Morning breakfast or brunch at the Fireweed Grill - followed by swimming to burn off the hundreds of calories you just consumed (and children under 7 eat free off the children's menu at the Grill both day and night)
  • Access to the Children's Creative Centre - an indoor playground complete with climbing wall and slide, games, books, movies, and toys (and it opens at 7am for those children who wake up at 6am!)
  • Nature walks, seasonal-themed crafts, guided hikes, family-friendly activities like Snow Golf and Baseball, and campfires complete with baked apples or  banana boats - just a few of the many activities on the resort calendar available to guests of the Lodge
  • Access to the pool opens at 6am!  - again, perfect for those early bird children
  • Babysitting on site for parents who want to go have a couple quiet drinks in the lounge after the children have gone to bed (note:  additional cost involved) 
  • Fido  gets to come with you!  - yes, you don't have to leave your beloved pets at home.  They even get their own little welcome gift at check-in
  • The Guest Activities Staff will help make your stay memorable in every way from setting you up with day passes for skiing at Nakiska to arranging sleigh rides, horseback riding tours, and personalized guided snowshoe or ski tours. (additional costs involved)

A site that day users of the Delta Lodge at Kananaskis never see

 Overall, I only have one complaint about staying at the Delta Lodge at Kananaskis.  Honestly, there is just too much to do!  You'd have to stay a week to do everything!  It's a little bit like a Kananaskis version of Disney Land.  Fortunately, the staff at the Delta Lodge would be quite happy to help you with an extended stay and our night in one of the family loft suites was almost as comfortable as being in my own home.  In fact, I kind of wanted to move in permanently.  I wonder if the Lodge could help me with that...

For more information on staying at the Delta Lodge at Kananaskis, visit their website by following the previous link.  Located only an hour from Calgary in the heart of Kananaskis, the Delta Lodge is the perfect destination for a one-stop do everything winter vacation.  With Easter coming, the Delta Lodge is also the ideal place to bring the family for a long weekend getaway close to home.  Contact the lodge directly to find out about special activities, packages, and additional family-fun programming for Spring Break.

Where will you spend your Spring Break?


Disclaimer:  The Delta Lodge at Kananaskis graciously sponsored my family's trip this past weekend.  As always, all thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.
Disclaimer:  Holiday on Horseback  graciously sponsored my trip. As always opinions and endorsements are entirely my own. - See more at: http://www.rockiesfamilyadventures.com/2013/02/sundance-lodge-home-in-backcountry.html#sthash.pR0o8qg3.dpuf
Disclaimer:  Holiday on Horseback  graciously sponsored my trip. As always opinions and endorsements are entirely my own. - See more at: http://www.rockiesfamilyadventures.com/2013/02/sundance-lodge-home-in-backcountry.html#sthash.pR0o8qg3.dpuf

Disclaimer:  Holiday on Horseback  graciously sponsored my trip. As always opinions and endorsements are entirely my own. - See more at: http://www.rockiesfamilyadventures.com/2013/02/sundance-lodge-home-in-backcountry.html#sthash.pR0o8qg3.dpuf
Disclaimer:  Holiday on Horseback  graciously sponsored my trip. As always opinions and endorsements are entirely my own. - See more at: http://www.rockiesfamilyadventures.com/2013/02/sundance-lodge-home-in-backcountry.html#sthash.pR0o8qg3.dpuf


Friday, February 22, 2013

The Power of a Girl's Getaway

It was January, 2011 and I had left my son for the first time since his birth. He was safe at home with Grandma while my husband and I skied into a backcountry lodge for the weekend. It was also the first big trip since I’d become a mom. I was scared on every big hill and confess to leaving my climbing skins on for some of the downhill sections of trail.

What I remember most about the weekend though, isn’t the lodge or the challenging ski trip. What I remember are the girls I met while I was at the lodge – 5 amazing moms who had left their kids and husbands for the weekend, who were vibrant and full of life, and who inspired me to one day follow in their footsteps on my own girl’s getaway. All I needed was to find my own group of girlfriends and super-strong mountain mamas. I had to find a group of women who would be brave enough to leave their kids for a weekend and to venture off the beaten path into the wilds of Banff with me. How hard could that be?...

To read the rest of my new story, please follow this link to Women's Adventure Magazine.   I have partnered with this Colorado based magazine once again for what I hope is one of my most inspiring stories to date on the power of women and moms taking time for themselves and getting away to recharge the batteries.

13 Moms, a great backcountry ski lodge, and one awesome weekend! (Photo:  Jen Sollid)

To read more about the lodge we stayed at for our girl's trip this month, follow the link to my story, Sundance Lodge - Home in the Backcountry

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Ice, Ice, Baby - Winter Canyon Hiking

Jura Creek - location of my favourite little canyon in the Canadian Rockies, and 100% family friendly in winter!  I almost just want to leave the story at this intro, attach a zillion photos, and say "GO!"

Jura Creek's Secret Canyon

Along with the photos though, I will give you 5 reasons why you want to hike the Jura Creek trail with your children this winter. 

One - Proximity of the Canyon to the Highway

Unlike other more popular canyons, Jura Creek's canyon is actually close to the highway.  We love Sundance Canyon in Banff but it's 4km from the nearest parking lot and road.  We've taken our son in there a couple of times but he's always had to ride in his Chariot for 8km of the hike.  Meanwhile, the canyon on the Jura Creek trail is maybe half a kilometre from the highway.  This is much more feasible with young children!  We were fortunate this year to have fresh snow for our hike so we got to do the forested section with a sled.  This was a huge bonus!  Otherwise, be prepared to carry kids if they get tired at the end of the day and can't make it back the final half hour to the car.

Hiking the short distance from the highway to the canyon

Two - You get to Hike INSIDE the Canyon in Winter

If you hike Jura Creek in summer, you have to follow the normal hiking trail which goes above and around the canyon.  There's typically too much water inside the canyon itself to hike inside.  Meanwhile, in winter the water is frozen solid and you can skip the boring summer trail.  It's always a gamble as to when the trail is good to go for ice-walking but by January/February it's definitely frozen and do-able.  We've tried the hike as early as November and it's hit or miss. 

The Jura Creek Canyon is also one of the tightest canyons in the area. I've hiked many of the local canyons from Heart Creek and Grotto in Kananaskis to Johnston Canyon and Sundance in Banff, and Jura is definitely the narrowest one you can walk through.  There are sections where you can place one hand on each side of the canyon wall as you walk.  It's absolutely awesome and perfect for kids chasing each other around the tight twists and turns.

Entering the Canyon
Sled ditched - We set off on foot

Three - Adventure!!

Sliding down frozen waterfalls on your bum, walking on ice with special cleats (and marveling that you don't slip or slide), watching your friends disappear into what looks like a tiny crack in front of you (but really isn't - don't worry), scrambling over logs, under trees, and up short pitches of bare ice... - Adventure!!  We took a four year old and he had no problems so if I've scared you - it's not that bad.  It's fun!  Lots and lots of fun.  - Maybe as much fun as skiing.

Note:  For traction on the ice, small Yak trax will fit a size 10 toddler boot - I've tried.  Also, snowshoes are great for walking on snow covered ice.  Our son wore his half of the time and never slipped once while they were on.  For best purchase on the ice you can't beat MICRO spikes (a miniature version of crampons) and while more expensive than normal ice cleats, they are worth the money for serious winter hikers.

The crux of the trip
Snowshoes helped a lot with grip on the ice
Natural Ice Playground - and even Grandma slid down the slide
 
Four - No Crowds

Everybody knows about Johnston Canyon in Banff.  In fact, I'm sure this tourist attraction is plastered across billboards around the world!  There are even official guided tours through this popular canyon.  Jura however is a local's secret.  (You're welcome.)  You may run into a few other groups on your outing but that's likely it.  We did the hike on Family Day Monday, an Alberta holiday, and only came across two other groups the whole time we were out.

Solitude in Jura Creek
Quiet Family Outing in Jura Creek


Five - Proximity to Calgary and Length of Trail
 
We were gone from Calgary on Monday for maybe 4 hours?  It only takes about 45 minutes to reach the trailhead and it's a short hike.  You could hike the Jura Creek trail all day but the most interesting part through the canyon is only a kilometre at most.  In total we probably hiked about 3km round trip.  Jura Creek is the perfect hike for late starts, half day trips, and relaxed days with the family.

Our Half Day Outing in Jura Creek

Make sure you wear good waterproof clothing or ski pants!

 If my 6 reasons for hiking the canyon weren't enough, I hope the photos tell the rest of the story.

Fun, Fun, Fun


Directions:

Follow the Trans-Canada Hwy to the turnoff for Bow Valley Provincial Park and the town of Exshaw. (This will be just after the turnoff for Hwy 40 and is about 70km from the west end of Calgary.) When you get to Hwy 1A head west towards Exshaw.  Just before the tiny hamlet, you'll see the Graymont Plant entrance.  This is where we always park and I've attached a photo so you know where to park.  Note that you might also see cars parked on the highway a few metres back and you could park there as well.   There's just no way I can accurately describe where to pull off the road.  Parking at the Plant is easier.  

Once you have parked, walk across the highway and up a tiny slope into the trees.  Follow a worn path through the trees until you reach the creek bed.  You'll head right at the creek bed, descending to walk on the rocks, and follow it to the mouth of the canyon.  From there, make your way through the canyon as far as you want to go.   

Parking for Jura Creek

 

 

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Hidden Gems in Kananaskis - Wedge Pond

Today I want to share a photo with you of one of my favourite little spots in Kananaskis - Wedge Pond.

Wedge Pond, Kananaskis
This pond has been a favourite little spot in summer for a picnic and quick dip on a hot day but we'd never been here in winter until just the other day.  I was looking for someplace close to home where I could take my son for his first unassisted snowshoe trip.  No sled, no child carrier - just us and our snowshoes on a lovely 1 km path around the pond. 

Hiking around Wedge Pond
While we could have probably just snowshoed right on the pond in the deeper snow, our  friends didn't have snowshoes so we opted to follow the forest path around the pond.  It was a perfect packed down trail for a child's first real snowshoe hike.

Mastering snowshoeing
My son amazed and impressed me by finishing the loop and never taking off his snowshoes.  He even managed to run down a hill or two.   We've been practicing a lot and it hasn't taken long to master the basic stride with the snowshoes on, learning not to step on his other shoe, and figuring out how to pick himself up when he's fallen down - which still happens a lot!

Running down a little hill
Probably the best part of the day for the kids was the snow fort we found on the pond.  I knew as soon as I saw it that we'd be hanging out there for a while and playing.  We had no fixed agenda or schedule to be anywhere so it was nice to take our time, make this day all about the kids, and to just enjoy a day of outdoor fun.

Snow fort on Wedge Pond

Days like this are magic and it's nice to find little hidden gems so close to home.  It only takes an hour to reach Wedge Pond from the west end of Calgary.  It's also located near Kananaskis Village, so we could follow our outdoor adventure with a warm lunch inside the Delta Lodge.  If we'd have had more energy we could have done some skating or sledding afterward but we chose to just have lunch and visit the playground at the Village.

Sky light in the snow fort
To visit Wedge Pond yourself, take Hwy 40 to Kananaskis heading for Kananaskis Village and Nakiska Ski Resort.  Drive past the Village for maybe 10 minutes and you'll see the sign for Wedge Pond.  The pond is on the left hand side of the highway past Boundary Ranch and the Mount Kidd RV Park.

Happiness in Kananaskis



Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Winter Hiking in the Elbow Valley

Last weekend my husband was out of town skiing and I was left with a decision - stay home and mope that he'd abandoned us to go have fun on his own, or continue with Sacred Saturday per norm as a mother-son duo.  For those not familiar with our Saturday ritual, we try to get outside as a family every Saturday for fun  adventures from skiing or snowshoeing in winter to camping and hiking in summer.  We leave cooking, cleaning, shopping and chores to another day (often Sunday afternoons) and we practice a philosophy of doing "nothing that we have to do." 

Practicing Sacred Saturday in the Elbow Valley

 If we were going to head out to the mountains without Dad, I knew we needed to abandon the idea of skiing because there's no way I can pull my 40+ lb child in a sled behind me while I ski.  Kudos to all moms out there strong enough to do this.  I am not one of them.   I also knew we had to find something short, fun, and relatively easy for a preschooler's little feet.  (or bring a toboggan - which I am able to pull on flat sections at least)  The final thing I had to find was another family to come with us since I believe kids will always have more fun with a friend. 

Happy children hiking beside the Elbow River
Always bring a friend

Everything aligned and we found another family that we adore spending the day with.  Our children play well together and would motivate each other nicely on the trail.  We then chose a fun trail for them featuring a playground, bridges, and a river - three guaranteed highlights for any hiking trip with kids.  For trail, we chose the Paddy's Flat Interpretive trail in the Elbow Valley region of Kananaskis.  It takes under an hour from Calgary to drive to the Elbow Valley near the town of Bragg Creek, and the Paddy's Flat Campground is easily found between the Allen Bill Pond Day Use Area and the Elbow Falls Day Use Area on Hwy 66. 

Hiking beside the river on the Paddy's Flat Interpretive Trail below Loop A
Great friends make for a great day

In winter the campground is closed so reaching the interpretive trail requires a short hike through Loops A-C on paved campground roads.  I chose to pull my son on his sled along the roads realizing that this wouldn't be the most exciting part of the hike and that I wanted him to save his energy for the real trail.  Our friends pulled their daughters in a Chariot with ski attachment which worked well through the campground.  (Note that for the actual hiking trail, a sled is better and much easier to pull.) The playground is located in Loop C, across from the trailhead to the hiking trail. It took us about half an hour to reach the playground and it made for a nice lunch spot complete with picnic table. 

The Playground at the  Paddy's Flat Campground

The snow was well packed down so we had no problems walking around the campground or on the hiking trail by the river.  While I had brought snowshoes with me, I soon took them off upon realizing it was actually more work hiking in them.  The most useful addition to our winter boots would actually have been a pair of icers, yak tracks or micro spikes for the ice.  Should you choose to do this trail after it has snowed recently, you may still wish to bring snowshoes and appreciate them greatly.

Hiking along the packed campground roads

To reach the hiking trail from the playground, follow the signed trail down towards the river.  At the first slight junction,  it is best to head left towards Loop A if you have small children.  You will know you've gone right by mistake towards Loop E if you reach a sketchy hill leading down to the river and realize you can't make it without micro spikes and that there's no way you could pull a Chariot or sled down it.  The trail is eroding and the hill is not fun in any season.  If you go left at the first junction, you will reach the river on a gentle trail and cross at least three little bridges.  The trail then follows the river for as long as you want to play and explore.  Should you choose to tackle the short scary hill going back up to the campground at the far end below Loop E, you will be able to make a 2.2 km loop and return to the playground.  If you want to hike further, you can follow the Riverview hiking trail from Loop E and hike parallel the highway for an additional 4km.  It's an easy flat trail and recommended for older children that can do 8km return in addition to the short walk through the campground. 

Hiking on the upper part of the loop connecting campground loops A and E
One of the steep hills we chose to tackle on a direct path back to Loop A

We had a magical time exploring the trail along the river, crossing all the little bridges, and even making snow angels.  I would recommend this trail to anybody with children and we will definitely make this an annual winter hike. Hopefully this spring we'll camp at the Paddy's Flat Campground and get to enjoy some early season hiking in the area.  The Riverview hiking trail would be great for kids on balance bikes and I know my son would be able to do the full return trip.

Playing Hide and Seek in the trees

Snow Angel

Exploring along the river

Do you have a favourite winter hike for the kids in Kananaskis?  I'd love to hear about it. 
For information on other great hikes you can do with the kids this winter check out the recent post I did titled, How to Choose a Winter Hiking Trail.  It talks about a couple of other trails we really like, Troll Falls and Heart Creek.



Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Raising the Next Generation... on Snowshoes

Today I'm excited to tell you about my latest story over at Snowshoe Magazine.  I was asked to become a contributor for this amazing magazine based out of Colorado after sharing my Sunshine Meadows snowshoeing experience with them back in January.  The original story posted here on my blog, Move Over Skis - Hello Snowshoes,was rewritten with a fresh perspective and published for Snowshoe Magazine as A New Year and a New Sport

This week if you visit Snowshoe Magazine online, you will be able to read my newest story for them, Raising the Next Generation...on Snowshoes.  The story was inspired by a YouTube search the other day for child skiing Vs. child snowshoeing.  While there were more than 2000 results for skiing with titles ranging from “amazing three-year old skier” to “extraordinary four-year old skier,” there were only 70 results for snowshoeing - mostly consisting of gear reviews and sponsored videos for outdoor companies. Words like amazing or extraordinary were nowhere to be seen and I found no mention of a little ripper or shredder tearing up the snowshoe trails. I wondered what you would even call a kid on snowshoes. A little stomper?

I'm proud of the story that resulted and I hope you will follow the link above to read it.   Below is a photo of My Little Stomper and I will be insanely proud of him in whichever sport he chooses to pursue as he grows older be it skiing or snowshoeing.

Perfecting the Dinosaur Stomp



Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Sundance Lodge - Home in the Backcountry

Search the internet for backcountry ski lodges in the Canadian Rockies and you'll find a story I wrote last year on a secret backcountry lodge in Banff.  Predominately, a destination for summer visitors on horseback, Holiday on Horseback's Sundance Lodge is also open in winter for ski traffic.  Yet, ask locals about their favourite ski lodge and you will find few people know of Sundance.  Use the name Sundance Lodge in a conversation with Calgarians, and you will usually have to clarify that this is not the family campground  in Kananaskis that bares the same name. My Sundance Lodge is most definitely not a campground though!  It is a posh backcountry lodge complete with indoor plumbing, comfortable beds, and tasty home-made meals.

Holiday on Horseback's Sundance Lodge

I use the word "my" when I talk about Sundance Lodge because after even one visit, you'll know you have found your new home in the backcountry.  In fact, "Make yourself at home," was the most repeated phrase our cook used last weekend on our girl's cross country ski trip to the lodge.  From the minute we arrived, we were told to go upstairs and find any room we wanted, to come and go as we pleased, and to treat the lodge as our home.  Dinner time was not even set in stone and would have been accommodating to late skiers coming back from their day tours.

Skiers arriving at Sundance Lodge

Sundance Lodge sets itself apart from other lodges in just how comfortable staff aim to make you feel while staying there.  You know it's going to be a good weekend from the minute you make your reservation and are asked to put in any wine or beer order you may have for your trip.  Not only do staff bring in your favourite beverage for you, they charge you the exact price of the bottle from the store shelf.  No mark up and no restaurant pricing.  I'd like to see another backcountry lodge make the claim that they are willing to do that for their guests!  I'm sure I paid over $30 per bottle of wine at the last ski lodge I visited and I know the bottle was likely only $15 on the store shelf.

Relaxing in the living room of Sundance Lodge

Other backcountry lodges may be able to boast that they have hosted royalty or that they are the oldest lodge in the Rockies but I would challenge any lodge to a contest in hospitality, competing against Sundance Lodge.  When you stay at Sundance, there is no division between guest and staff.  Everybody eats in the kitchen together and if the lodge isn't full, the staff will likely sit down with you at the big kitchen table and regale you with fascinating stories while you eat together.   We had a group of 14 girls this trip so our cook Linda was kept a bit too busy to join us at meals but last year when my husband and I skied in, it was much quieter with only four guests.  Lodge handyman and trail setter, Greg, even serenaded us on guitar last year after dinner.

Dinner in Sundance Lodge's country kitchen

Despite the big task of cooking and cleaning up after 14 ladies for a night, Linda and Greg were always wiling to take a moment to answer questions about the area, trails, or lodge.  We really appreciated that Greg had also taken the time to pack down the trail going further up valley from the lodge so that we could take a bit of an afternoon ski tour before dinner.  As we were the first guests of the year, we knew he had done this trail ground work just for us and it was definitely enjoyed by us keeners wanting to burn more calories before Linda's hearty dinner. 

Tackling a challenging hill on our afternoon ski tour

Rewarded with good views up valley

I will never have a bad word to say about other backcountry ski lodges I have stayed at in the Canadian Rockies but I do believe that Sundance Lodge raises the bar in the areas of hospitality, staff friendliness, and making you feel at home.  I've been fortunate to experience a quiet romantic weekend at the lodge with my husband and to also share the lodge with a bunch of my best girlfriends for a crazy and wild girl's trip.  I'd go in again next winter in a heartbeat and I can't wait for the day when we can take our son in with us.  I know that taking a family trip to Sundance will provide me with the the final piece towards enjoying the full Sundance Package.

Girl's Trip to Sundance Lodge - over the bridge and off we go!

New friends, Old Friends, Best Friends

Comments by members of my girl's trip last weekend:

  • I thought the lodge was great and the staff were very welcoming.  It also felt very professional.  The rooms and food were ready on time, and I liked that Linda knew how to make enough food but not so much that a lot got wasted.  And the food was really top notch. 
  • I loved the style and comfort of the lodge...cozy private rooms, comfy beds, attractive log buildings, super luxurious with indoor plumbing and hot water, lots of windows and even a balcony off our room.
  • I liked that the location of the trail head was very convenient and that the ski terrain was suitable for various levels of ability. 
  • I would love to come again with a friend who is a beginner, or my 7 and 9 year old daughters because it is an easy “first timer’s” trip with the indoor plumbing and comfy, private rooms.  Also the trail is not too long and hard.
  • It was very fun to play a Mennonite card game with my new Russian friend, while wearing head lamps.
  • My highlight of the weekend was sitting in the semi-darkness around the fire, listening to guitar and getting to know new friends.  I also had a “God moment” when I went outside to see the endless stars and a falling star while I was out there.
  • The best result of this weekend for me was the total relaxation that always comes when you get away to these special spots so hidden away from the business of urban life.  I often refer to it as going to “another planet.”  I sat around either looking at the mountains, or enjoying the roaring wood fire for five hours in a row!  That kind of relaxing is unthinkable when I am at home.  
  • It was the first time I have been away from the whole family ever.  It was nice just to get away by myself and also to be out of cell range.  Sometimes you just need to pull the plug on the technology.  Felt great to do that.  
  • This was one of the longer skis I have done and it was nice to feel capable of doing it.

All set for our ski up the Brewster Creek Trail to the lodge

Happy Moments on the Trail

Interested in skiing into Sundance Lodge?

More information about the lodge can be found on Holiday on Horseback's website as well as in the review I wrote last year when I visited with my husband. 

Access to the lodge is via a 10km cross country ski trail from the Healy Creek trailhead on the road to Sunshine Village.  While there are a few steep hills, the trail is suitable for varying levels of ski ability and is groomed as well as track set.  A few of the girls in our group were challenged by the trail at moments, but we all made it and felt a sense of accomplishment upon reaching the lodge.  Many of the girls felt the trail would be great for school-aged kids and that first backcountry trip as a family.  I heartily agree and know my son will be able to ski the trail by the time he's 8 or 9 years old.

Paradise on the way to Sundance Lodge

The lodge itself has 10 sleeping rooms, a large cozy living room, country kitchen, and sunny deck out front complete with comfortable log furniture for the lunch you brought with you for your first day.  Once you get to the lodge, your dinners and breakfasts are taken care of with lunch material set out for your day ski tour or ski out.  Afternoon snacks are also provided and it's promised that nobody will leave the lodge hungry.

Enjoying some afternoon sunshine on the deck of Sundance Lodge
One of the sleeping rooms at the lodge
While you can bring books and games, the lodge also provides plenty of both, along with three guitars for those with musical talents.  I actually brought a book of folk songs with me and it was a big hit with several of the girls on our weekend trip.  -And something the lodge might want to actually consider adding to their living room to accompany the guitars.  :)

Knit, play guitar, read a book, or just chat with a new friend - lots to do at Sundance Lodge

Sadly, we had to leave and head back to our families and responsibilities but I know I'll be back at Sundance soon and hope to see you there.

Heading Home
Recharged and ready for the week ahead

Disclaimer:  Holiday on Horseback  graciously sponsored my trip. As always opinions and endorsements are entirely my own.



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