Banff Festivities - Christmas and More!

Trip Start Nov 08, 2012
Trip End Ongoing

Flag of Canada  , Alberta,
Thursday, December 27, 2012

It has been far too long since we last blogged as since starting work we have been running out of time! We are now both working on the mountain - me as Day care Supervisor and Nick as a Lift Operator and helping maintenance out using his engineering knowledge! We have both been working 5 day weeks and getting some evening hours too - me babysitting (and dog sitting!) and Nick helping fix lifts and building the tube park on Mount Norquay. We are hoping to use the extra money to save and put towards our travels and wedding plans! The jobs are going well and whilst Norquay was quite quiet during early December it's getting busier now. Nick has some amazing views from his various positions on the mountain during his working day and gets to snowboard lots; he is in his element :) I also have a great view of the mountain from the day care and have to admit I am already taking the amazing surroundings for granted; it's only when you take time to look up or look at photos that we've taken that you remember what an amazing place this is!

Despite starting work we are also getting time to ski/snowboard on days off. Nick is improving everyday and is taking on some very speedy, scary, steep runs! I have moved off of the baby slope where I was practising starting and stopping (very important I have discovered...) and I am now starting to turn and go faster and have more control. I did bite off a bit more than I could chew the first day that I went to the mountain though and went onto a bigger run that I couldn't handle... to cut a long story short I ended up tangled around Nick and his snowboard (both flat out in the middle of the ski run), shouting expletives at each other as people whizzed past. I then somehow got to the bottom whilst threatening to cry. Needless to say I was on the baby slopes again on our next trip! The last time we were on the snow was Christmas Day and we went with some friends onto the more intermediate slopes which I really enjoyed; despite grazing my chin on the snow!... (yes I managed to hit the floor with my chin).

Other things that we have been doing during our time off have included watching the Christmas parade in Banff which helped us feel a bit festive (although it has to be said that Christmas simply isn't Christmas without friends and family!!) We decorated our room with a Christmas tree and were very fortunate to be sent Christmassy things and cards from friends which we surrounded ourselves with. Banff is really pretty at Christmas with lots of lights and Christmas trees around and of course the snow. It has been so cold here some days with the lowest temperatures we've felt so far being around -20 Celsius. We have also had several more big lots of snow and some mornings I've walked out of the house and found myself up to my ankles... then had to shovel a ton of the stuff when I get to work!

We've also continued to explore the local area and visited the Upper Hot Springs together one evening which were outside; the few metres walk to the 40 degree pool was very chilly! It was the springs that actually resulted in Banff being built as a tourist resort after they were discovered by some railway workers! I also went on a bus tour to Lake Louise (another resort about an hour away) on one of my days off when Nick was working and had a great day seeing various mountains, sites and some wildlife (elk, bighorn sheep and deer) along the way. I was actually able to stand in the middle of the lake which, in the spring/summer, is a bright blue due to the glacier melting into the water. We had our fingers crossed for seeing a lynx, cougar or wolf but had no luck... hopefully we will see something before the end of the season! I also had a nose around the Fairmont hotel at Lake Louise which is like a castle and I enjoyed some (rather expensive) carrot cake and tea there.

In the evenings we have been preparing food at home mainly and have enjoyed cooking lots of things including homemade pizzas, Christmas dinner and lots of chilli and pasta! We also have been able to watch lots of films on the laptop and I've been reading a bit. There have been some parties and nights out too with people that we live and work with which have been fun - Banff certainly lives up to it's party reputation. There's always something going on somewhere including cheap steak nights and happy hours which we have attended a few times (I still haven't been brave enough to try steak though!)

That's it really - it's quite tricky trying to re-visit and condense a whole month into a few paragraphs (yet again I've exceeded my "little bit of writing" that I was going to add to the photos). Check out the pictures from the last month and the video of our Christmas skiing/snowboarding session – if I’m able to upload it properly. We've really enjoyed 'skyping’ and ‘facetiming’ friends and family over the Christmas period and it has reminded us how lucky we are to have such great people back home - we talk and think about everyone everyday! We are on day 50 of being here tomorrow - wow!
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Hi Emily it's Maria from Italy, I really do envy you and Nick enjoy yourslves love Maria

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