A Travellerspoint blog

Mountains are beautiful...and tricky

or why Janet should start concentrating while skiing and not thinking about whether her helmet goes with her ski jacket

sunny 26 °C

We are currently enjoying toasty temperatures in Phoenix but, not so long ago, we were standing in lift lines and skiing down the great runs at Red Mountain in Rossland, BC. Our adventures to here are as follows...

We enjoyed ten days in North Vancouver following our week in Portugal. My parents were away in Palm Springs so it was a perfect time for Nils' mum Antje Clarke to fly out from Toronto to spend some time with us in the Lee Condo. One evening, we travelled with her to Maple Ridge to have a delicious dinner with Nils' brother Rhys, his wife Julie and children Jessica, Amelie, and Zoe. We managed to fit in two days of skiing at Grouse Mountain and Cypress which got us into the right frame of mind for the next part of our BC trip.

We landed a fun housesitting gig looking after a veritable menagerie in Rossland. I had my doubts that my canine shy boys would enjoy this experience but everybody came through with flying colours as you can see in these pictures. In addition to Frankie and Sadie, we cared for Scheister the cat and two guinea pigs whose names we never did learn. We spent almost two weeks at this house and then moved into the basement of our very hospitable friends, Karen and Bernie, who are both teachers in Rossland.

Apparently, by geologic and altitudenal definition, Rossland is the only Alpine town in Canada. It sits in a beautiful, undulating mountain valley at between 3800 and 4800 feet above sea level. For our early Spring experience, it was in fact totally like being in varied and ever changing mountain weather systems - snow, rain, wind, fog (or was that really just a cloud drifting through ?!), sun, wind...repeat. This made for some fantastic days at Red as well as a few that were challenging. Not to reveal a little-known secret or anything, but Red is a pretty great hill that the Clarke boys and girl heartily recommend! Great terrain, some really challenging, with two mountains that have lots of skiiable tree runs and groomers. You can easily shred your quads, to use the vernacular. On two or three days we had between 10 and 25 cm of ideal, light "pow".

Max and Angus did a great job of challenging themselves and, ultimately, good old dad. Angus particularly was a fan of the off-piste "hot wheel" track where you wind precipitously through the trees on one narrow path with very few options to save yourself. The bigger bodies and skis were sometimes looking for the proverbial truck escape ramp in order to avoid imminent contact with a mighty West Coast Cedar. What good fun! We hope to be back...

Angus with his new best friend, Frankie

Angus with his new best friend, Frankie

Max with his nbd (new best dog), Sadie

Max with his nbd (new best dog), Sadie

Rossland is a great little town with a fantastic bookstore, a good foodstore, and the world famous Colander Restaurant is just down the road in Trail. A big shout out to my Mum's friend Helen MacInnes who recommended the delicious Colander to me twenty-five years ago when I visited Trail with my summer job selling hardware throughout BC....the place hasn't changed since then..not one bit.

Red Mountain Resort is a wonderful ski hill...for those in the family who can ski! On a beautiful, sunny Friday morning, I got separated from the boys and went up the lift with a man named Rino who is on the ski patrol. He is so famous in these parts that he has a run named after him! At the top of the chair, we said good-bye and I headed down Ruby Tuesday. Half way down, I turned one way and my knee went the other. After rolling for several feet, I stopped in a heap. Who should come to my rescue but my new best friend Rino! He called for a stretcher and I had a wild and crazy ride down to the First Aid Station. There is nothing broken but my knee is very sore and my trip to the Boston Marathon in mid-April is in question...bring on the Advil and ice.

Beautiful blue day at Red

Beautiful blue day at Red

Feeling the burn on Red

Feeling the burn on Red

Angus action shot

Angus action shot

We only had one short evening with Karen and Bernie after they returned from their Spring Break trip to Hawaii but we plan to return to Rossland for more skiing. We left on Monday morning to begin our long drive south. On the way we passed through Salt Lake City where we visited Temple Square, the home of the Mormon Church and the most visited site in SLC. We toured the Family History Centre where the lovely Sister Mitchell asked in a surprised voice... "are these your only children??".

Feeling the Mormon love!

Feeling the Mormon love!

Angus researching the Clarkes at the Mormon Family History Centre

Angus researching the Clarkes at the Mormon Family History Centre

Zion National Park was not far out of Salt Lake City so we stopped there for a short walk through the red rocks to admire the amazing peaks.

We have lots of pictures of red peaks in Zion...here's one more!

We have lots of pictures of red peaks in Zion...here's one more!

Look at all the geology here at Zion National Park!

Look at all the geology here at Zion National Park!

Helping Mum on the path

Helping Mum on the path

Our last stop on our geological tour of America was the Grand Canyon...wow! It was a perfect day to explore this natural wonder...warm, sunny with a lovely breeze to keep our Yukon boys from overheating. It is 227 miles from the Glen Canyon Dam to the Hoover Dam, so there is quite an expansive vista, which is to understate the enormity of the area. And...it all eroded in 5 or 6 million years, which is really quick in geologic time.

We made it to the Grand Canyon!

We made it to the Grand Canyon!

Don't jump boys...the extended family holiday is almost over!

Don't jump boys...the extended family holiday is almost over!

This picture doesn't do the amazing view justice

This picture doesn't do the amazing view justice

There is definitely some geology happening here!

There is definitely some geology happening here!

Plans for Phoenix include spring training baseball, Coyotes hockey, and lots of time around the pool. The Coyotes will likely make the playoffs, so it might be possible to take in a home playoff game before we depart. We shall see in the next few days.

Posted by clarkesabroad 20:03 Archived in USA Tagged grand_canyon skiing salt_lake_city red_mountain

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