Winter magic in the rockies

Well, New Year’s was quite some time ago – but it’s never the wrong time of year to share the glory that is winter in the Rocky mountains.

We spent three lovely nights in a Canmore condo with our friends, enjoying some incredible snowshoeing in the Sunshine Valley, watching a snowstorm blow across Lake Louise, spending frosty evenings in the outdoor hot tub, sharing wine and games into the night warmed by the cozy fireplace, and having delicious dinners of both homemade and restaurant variety to top it all off.

Our snowshoeing trip stole the show. It was a perfectly crisp, clear day, with the bright sun glinting off the fresh snow. The light and air were magical, the trees perfectly framed by clumps of pure white.

We journeyed along the Sunshine Valley floor for hours, taking photos and getting lost in the glory. And that night, we rang in the new year with good food and laughter. It was a perfect New Year’s Eve.

The next day, we drove up to Lake Louise so A could teach J how to ski, while B and I photographed everything in sight, went tubing, drank beer and hot chocolate, and drove around the Lake. So, basically the perfect New Year’s Day.

It was all over too soon! But we’ll always have these gorgeous memories. You’ll want to look at them babies in full screen:

And if those glorious views were not enough for you, here’s a message we recorded for the kids from the valley lookout:

Plus – bonus video of B and I tubing at Lake Louise, with a surprise ending (for me, at least!):

Happy (belated) New Year!

Wintertime in Calgary

In the middle of our winter holidays in Canada, B and I took a week out for ourselves to visit family and friends in the Calgary area. It was our first real non-kid vacation ever!

Our plan was to rent a car at the airport, spend a few days in the city to see the aunts, uncles and cousins that we hadn’t seen in several years, pick up our friends at the airport and head into Banff for a few days of frigid fun over New Year’s Eve.

We arrived at the airport on a snowy, blustery morning. I was nervous about renting a car because we only have Indonesian drivers’ licenses, and, well, those aren’t exactly recognized internationally. I had done a lot of digging on the rental company’s website and brought along some printed pages from their rules & regulations. Clutching them, I handed over my driver’s license to the clerk… “Oohh, no, Indonesia?” Me: (oh crap) “Yeah… we live there, we’re just here visiting family…” And then he proceeds to talk about the recent airplane crash in Indonesia, all the while ringing up our car order like nothing is amiss! I am sorry to say that I was relieved to talk about an airplane crash rather than my questionable driving status. He even managed to talk us into an upgrade from a mid-size SUV to a full-size truck, because, well, Alberta.

That morning we caught up with my cousin and her husband for brunch at a hipster beer-house-slash-breakfast place. Mimosas were on sale. I approved. The next few days were a blur of family visits. We managed to fit in both sides of my family and B’s family too, as well as some wandering around downtown and a drive out to the country.

My mom’s side has some land just outside Calgary along the Elbow river, and I used to spend summers there as a kid. I always like to go back and see how much smaller things look as an adult. This time, they were covered in snow and wintry beauty. We stopped in to see my aunt and then took a little drive around the neighborhood.

Later that day, we had to stop in at Peter’s drive-in for some burgers and milkshakes, which turned out to be kind of a bad choice on a -25C day, but they were still delicious.

The next day, we met our friends at the airport to begin our trip into Banff!