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How To Spend A day At Marmot Basin As A New Snowboarder

How To Spend A day At Marmot Basin As A New Snowboarder

I remember the first time I ever tried snowboarding. I was 16 years old and indestructible. Well more or less. It took me probably an hour just to stand up. The next day I was so sore I could hardly move. Regardless, I loved it. I went a handful of times over the next couple of years, and only once to Marmot Basin. Then, when B and I got together, the babies came and I had little to no free time. Still, do to be completely honest. So I wasn’t able to hit the hill for years. Probably 7 or 8.

When L and Big H were gifted snowboarding lessons from their aunt and uncle last Christmas I was so excited. I was finally going to get back to the hill. But this time, I was going to take lessons myself.

B and I booked lessons at Jaspers Marmot Basin at the same time the boys took theirs. We booked the two-hour group lesson for beginners. Even though I had snowboarded before, it had been so long since I had gone, and B had never even tried it.

Included with the lesson was a Full Day Rental, Lower Mountain Lift Ticket, and of course the 2-hour lesson on the bunny hill. You can upgrade to include the full lift ticket if you want, but realistically it probably isn’t necessary for a beginner.  – The kid’s lessons included their rentals, lift tickets, lessons, lunch, and time in childcare as well. –

The website suggests arriving an hour beforehand to get your rentals. I suggest longer. We were there an hour and a half before and were a few minutes late for our lessons. Weekdays are, most likely, less busy than the weekends.

When the lessons started, we had about 8 more people in our group and our instructor, Christian. Dispute the large group he was able to devote time to each student and help them as needed.

He went through the basic steps of standing up. Toe edge and heel edge, and switching between the two. Practising each thing a few times between adding in the next step. When you reached the bottom of the little hill you took the magic carpet back up to the top and started all over again

By the end of the two hours, my husband was done. Exhausted. Not at all surprising. So, we headed up to have a bite to eat where we met up with my brother and sister-in-law (who had injured herself on the hill). Her and B stayed there for the rest of the day.

Now, I have an irrational fear of chair lifts, which makes for a great time on the chairlift. So my brother fed me some liquid courage before dragging me to Eagle Express Quad Chairlift.

After the panicking inducing departure from the lift, we followed the Sleepy Hollow run down to Old Road back to the chalet. It took me about 2 hours and ALL of my energy.

At that point, we grabbed the kids and headed back to our hotel in Jasper for the night.

I have been to a couple of different ski hills over the years, but Marmot Basin my favourite to date. Next time I return I plan on doing lessons again, to increase my skills and maybe learn something new before heading up that dreaded lift up the mountain.

Do you have a favourite ski hill in your area?

How To Spend A day At Marmot Basin As A New Snowboarder
How To Spend A day At Marmot Basin As A New Snowboarder
H & L Marmot Basin
Posted by Jenn in Fitness, 11 comments
Travel Insurance. 8 Reasons Why You Need It

Travel Insurance. 8 Reasons Why You Need It

Travel insurance is something that is so often taken for granted. You don’t think about it until you need it. You’ll never need it. What could possibly go wrong? It is also one of the simplest things to get that could save you thousands or even millions of dollars.

Who needs travel insurance?

Simply put? Everyone.

If you’re travelling outside of your own country you almost definitely should have travel insurance.

What if I’m travelling in my Own Country?

Did you know your provincial plan may not transfer outside of your own province? Even if travelling within your own country, having travel insurance is a good idea. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Best to check with your own medical insurance providers and we what is covered. Not in Canada? Check into your own countries healthcare policies.

What Does Travel Insurance Cover?

Travel insurance is not just for injury and/or illness. They offer also cover trip cancellation and trip disturbance.

Meaning if for some reason your trip is cancelled, possibly due to a death or illness before even leaving, your trip is now covered. Those pesky “no transfer/cancellation” clauses on your trip purchase may be sidestepped by having travel insurance in place.

What If Your Credit Card Offers Coverage?

Great! But keep I mind they are often extremely limited. Designated travel insurance is more extensive. If you can take advantage of your credit card insurance great, but I still suggest having actual travel insurance.

Lost Luggage

Losing your luggage is one of the worst ways to begin a vacation. Lucky for you, your travel insurance will likely reimburse you for essential items when their bags are delayed, damaged or stolen. Then you can enjoy the start of your vacation, even if your luggage isn’t. – Keep an eye out for a future post with more on this –

Stolen Items

Theft is a risk anywhere you go, some places more than others. If you’re like me, or you live in the same century as I do, you probably travel with a cell phone, and a multitude of other electronics.  Many policies cover the replacement cost of stolen items.

Missed Connections

Unless you’re lucky enough to be getting a direct flight, near impossible when travelling outside your continent, missing connections is certainly a risk.  Many travel insurance policies will cover you for these missed connections. They can find you accommodations through their helpline if you are stranded or cover alternative transportation arrangements.

Losing Your Documents

This is probably one of the biggest disasters you could encounter while travelling. They can help replace your documents and help you get home should anything happen to those documents.

It’s obvious there are plenty of reasons why you should buy travel insurance before your trip. But if cost is the biggest reason for not wanting to get it, think of the cost associated if only one of these worst-case scenarios happens.

Pro Tip: Skip buying it at the travel agent, and go straight to your insurance provider, usually a fraction of the cost and better coverage.

Let travel insurance be the thing you have and never need, instead of the thing you need and don’t have.

Travel Insurance. 8 Reasons Why You Need It
Travel Insurance. 8 Reasons Why You Need It

 

Posted by Jenn in Travel, 9 comments
5 Places in Lethbridge You’ll Love Exploring

5 Places in Lethbridge You’ll Love Exploring

My husband was born and raised in the Lethbridge area, so we try to make it down there once or twice a year to see his grandparents and the rest of his family. Each time we are there he takes me to another place to explore. Being located in Southern Alberta it is treated to warmer and somewhat milder weather compared to much of the province. It makes for ideal farming conditions, which is what most of the surrounding area seems to be fueled by.  Lethbridge is a wonderful city and as such it has so much to offer that I haven’t even begun to experience, these are just a few of my favourites that I have found so far. 

Best Western Lethbridge

Having been to Lethbridge a number of times we have stayed at a few different hotels. We have stayed in some good ones, and some bad. The Best Western is one we have settled on. Their breakfast options are vast, it even includes pancakes, there is something there for everyone. They have a pool, which if you have read my post about road trip tips, you know how I feel that is an important amenity.

Indian Battle Park

This park is at the bottom of a coolie, and it has tons to offer. Hiking, picnic areas, playgrounds, and so much scenery. I could spend hours exploring here, and I hope sometime in the near future.

The Neighbourhood Bakehouse

I make it a habit of trying out local bakeries where ever I visit. They always offer the most incredible delights, and I am very rarely disappointed. This one is one of my favourites, and I only discovered it on our most recent visit. Some of the best pastries I have eaten came from there and it’s hard to pick a favourite.

Henderson Park

Henderson Park is 117 acres of park. Its largest, and perhaps most alluring component is the near 60-acre man-made lake. It offers a little bit of everything for everyone. 

The lake itself is perfect for fishing, kayaking, canoeing, and other non-motor sports. With a 2.5 km trail around the lake and another 4.3 km trail around the perimeter of the park providing you with the opportunity to take a stroll or view the commemorative and historical markers and displays located throughout the park. Not to mention the abundance of open space picnics. There are three playgrounds, as well an outdoor pool.  

Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden

Inside Henderson park is the Japanese Garden, where you are transported out of the city, into a cultural experience. They combine the beauty of nature in a serene setting that I haven’t found anywhere else. The garden is meticulously kept, with bunnies and birds scampering about. Nikka Yuko was rated amongst the top Gardens in Canada by HGTV Canada and Chateline 2017. It is one of the most beautiful Gardens in Canada. Take a tour, or stroll around all by yourself.

Franks Slide

While Franks slide isn’t actually located in Lethbridge, its about 1 1/2 hours drive away, it is worth making the journey. Frank was a town located in the Rocky Mountains in the 1900s. On April 29, 1903 part of Turtle Moutain gave way and buried the town under 82 million tonnes of limestone. I highly recommend making the drive and visiting the interpretive centre, and even just observing the rock, that still lies where it fell over 100 years ago. 

It doesn’t matter what your personality might be, or what your reason for visiting, Lethbridge has something to offer you. My husband and I have often discussed it and we think if we were to ever move away from Edson, we would probably move to the area. What has been your favourite thing to do in Lethbridge?

5 Places in Lethbridge You'll Love Exploring
5 Places in Lethbridge You'll Love Exploring

Posted by Jenn in Travel, Travel Alberta, 5 comments
Banff, Alberta The Top 7 Things You Don’t Want To Miss Out On

Banff, Alberta The Top 7 Things You Don’t Want To Miss Out On

My favourite place in the world is the mountains. I am not even picky about which Mountain Range, although I am partial to Rocky Mountain in my home province of Alberta. I can see them from where I live, and Jasper is just shy of 2 hours away from my doorstep. But, as much as I love Jasper, I have a particular fondness for Banff National Park

Banff offers so many things to do and explore but these are some of my favourites. 

Canoe 

One of my favourite memories in Banff is canoeing. I rented a canoe for an hour from the Banff Canoe Club and spent a fantastic hour leisurely paddling the Bow River. 

Banff Gondola

This was the first gondola I had ever ridden and the views are incredible. Ride it to the top of Sulphur mountain and take in the 360 views. Enjoy a meal at the top, then either ride the gondola down or better yet take the extra time, and energy, and hike down.

Take A Hike

While we’re talking about hiking; Banff National Park and the surrounding area is full of amazing hikes. All skill levels and distances can be found with just a short drive. Tunnel mountain is right in the town and it’s a perfect “beginners” hike.

Bow Falls

If hiking isn’t your thing, but you still want to check out some awesome views than Bow Falls might be more up your alley. They can be seen with just a short walk from the parking lot. 

Banff Hot Springs

Banff Hot Springs is open year round and the only place I have swum outside in the winter. To top it off it was snowing, that is such a cool experience. 

Lake Louise

Just a short drive, through the gorgeous mountain country, is Lake Louise. The picturesque lake offers canoeing in the summer, and ice skating in the winter. Explore it in both seasons, the little town offers restaurants and some shops as well. 

Rocky Mountain Bagel Company

As much as I love Banff the surrounding area has so much to offer as well. This is in the neighbouring town of Canmore. This is the one place that o stop every single time I am in the area. The bagels are good but the bagel sandwiches are even better. I have never gotten anything from there that I haven’t loved. I am particularly fond of their gluten-free apricot cookies

Every time I visit Banff I find another thing to fall in love with. Is there anything I missed that you love?

Banff Alberta Top 7 Things You Don't Want To Miss
Banff Alberta The Top 7 Things You Don't Want To Miss Out On

Posted by Jenn in Travel, Travel Alberta, 17 comments
Why Tunnel Mountain is the Best First Summit

Why Tunnel Mountain is the Best First Summit

I’ve always wanted to summit a mountain. To get the unapparelled views of the surrounding for the very top. When we planned a trip to Kananaskis last summer I immediately set out to find a good hike for us to do.  When looking at neighbouring Banff, I stumbled on the Tunnel Mountain Hike, and it was a no-brainer. Hike in the beautiful Rockies, and summit my first mountain.

Tunnel Mountain is Banff’s smallest summit, located right in town. After doing some research I was promised a relatively easy hike. 4.3 km (up and down) with a gain of 300m of elevation. My hiking experience at the time was pretty limited, and my summit experience was absolutely zilch, so this sounded like something right up my alley. The promise of 360° views of the townsite, and surrounding peaks sounded like just the motivation I would need to get the top.

There are two parking areas. One offers quite a number of stalls and there is a short walk up to the second. This parking area, where we parked, only has about 6 stalls and in early August they are in high demand. The earlier you go the better off you’ll be. not just for parking, but for heat and business of the trail as well.

The Hike

The trail is wide and well-maintained with switchbacks the lead you up the mountainside, leaving the vertical gain very manageable. You walk easily through the trees and towards the top of the mountain, with plenty of gorgeous area with photo ops of the surrounding landscapes. While there is switchback there are points on the trail where the grade is still substantial, you are still climbing a mountain.

At one point we reached an area and I was sure that we were at the top, also we were not, and a kind lady told me we had just a little further so we ventured on.

When we got to the top there was no doubt, the signage made it clear. there is a wide open area perfect for picnics, although I hear there is a grassy meadow a little further down the trail I didn’t know about at the time. The views of the townsite below and surrounding mountains and river are spectacular. Exactly what I needed after the hike up the mountain. After a quick water and snack break, we headed back down the way we came. Providing the same useful information to people, “you’re almost there!”

The trail is very popular, so if you’re looking to be alone you may want to find another. It is a great first summit and easy hike for both children and dogs. For my first summit, it inspired me to add more to the list, both for us to do solo, as well as family friendly.

Tunnel Mountain Trail Information

  • Elevation Gain: 300 meters (948 feet)
  • Time: 2 to 3 hours round trip
  • Distance: 4.3 km (2.7 miles) round-trip
  • This trail is very popular and can get crowded in the summer and early fall months. Beat the crowds by hiking early in the morning or in the late afternoon.

Tunnel Mountain Trailhead

Lower Trailhead: In downtown Banff, from the southern end of Banff Ave., turn east on Buffalo St. (turns into Wolverine) to St. Julien Rd. Continue until parking lot on your left where a sign marks the trailhead.

Upper Trailhead: Continue past the Banff Centre. The trailhead is on the opposite side of the road from the Tunnel Mountain viewpoint parking area. This parking area is small as mentioned but shortens the hike to 3.6km.

 

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Why Banffs Tunnel Mountain is Your Perfect First Summit
Why Banffs Tunnel Mountain is Your Perfect First Summit
Posted by Jenn in Travel, Travel Alberta, 13 comments
3 Restaurants In Lahaina You Need To Eat At

3 Restaurants In Lahaina You Need To Eat At

Are you planning a trip to the beautiful island of Maui? If you aren’t already then you probably should be. If you are, you will probably spend a little bit of time, if not most of it, in the town of Lahaina.  Lahaina is where we stayed during our week on the island. We where we treated with spectacular weather welcoming locals, and delicious food. While you’re in Lahaina you will have a nearly endless supply of restaurants to try. Out of all the restaurants that we tried, the three below were by far my favourite.

Down the Hatch

This was the first restaurant we ate at on the very first morning after arriving on the island. We happened on this restaurant by chance when we were searching for a good breakfast joint while walking around the street. Once featured on Diners Drive-ins and Dives, the restaurant is tucked in the courtyard of a multistory shopping-centre on Front Street and offers counter service. Their menu is smaller but amazing.  Four different items ordered and not a disappointing one in the bunch.

We enjoyed this restaurant so much we visited it TWO more times during our week-long trip. The second, for dinner, I tried the Lobster grilled cheese that was featured on their episode of DDD. This sandwich brings all my favourite things together, cheese and lobster. When we snuck in for one more breakfast before on the day that we left, we again, all ordered new items with zero disappointment. Of all the places we ate at during our trip this was the only one that we ate at more than once.

They also have a sister restaurant, The Breakwall Shave Ice Company, in the same spot. We, however, did not try it personally.

TRY: The Lobster Grilled Cheese Sandwich and the DTH Breakfast Sandwich

BONUS: During our stay in January 2018 we were able to get a 2 for 1 coupon from our hotel.

Prison Street Pizza

Like Down the Hatch we came across this pizza place while we were exploring the town of Lahaina. We found it while in search of breakfast, so we didn’t try it immediately but returned later that night and had it for dinner. We ordered the S-turns the Old World and the Garlic Bread for takeout. While we waited we sat down and enjoyed a beer from Maui Brewing Company. – Make sure you give their beer a try. –

The dining area is quite small, and family style so we shared a table with a man who owns a surf shop in town. – I am always happy to hear that the locals also enjoy a restaurant, it gives me a lot of confidence in the food. – We grabbed our food and headed back to our room to eat. The pizzas we large, the crust was perfect and the toppings were fresh and flavourful. The 4 of us ate the garlic bread quickly and the pizza didn’t last long; although there were a few pieces left for the next day. We tired another pizza place later in our stay and this one was our favourite.

TRY: The garlic bread! Large pieces, with strong while not overpowering, garlic flavour.

BONUS: By the crowd, it is obvious the locals frequent here.

Ululani Hawaiian Shave Ice

If you’re going to Hawaii, you’re probably going to try shave ice. If you’re going to Maui, you’re going to want to go to Ulalani. There is no doubt why this place has been rated the #1 restaurant on the entire island. We shamelessly enjoyed a shave ice nearly every day during our trip. The ice is soft and creamy(?) and the flavours are incredible. They seem to have endless combinations. The staff here is friendly and will not hesitate to strike up a conversation while they’re making your delicious treat, giving great suggestions from a local point of view.

TRY: The Lahaina, named after the town their original location, perfectly combines Pineapple, Coconut and Banana. Adding a scoop of Macadamia ice-cream to the bottom and a snowcap on top makes this delicious dessert even more incredible (if that’s even possible).

BONUS: The Lahainaluna Café next door to their Lahaina location proves to be just as good as their Garlic Fries are incredible, so take the extra steps and give them a try while you’re there.

 

Have you visited Lahaina, Maui? If you have what is your favourite restaurant that you tried while there.

3 RESTAURANTS IN LAHAINA YOU NEED TO EAT AT
THREE RESTAURANTS IN LAHAINA YOU NEED TO TRY
Posted by Jenn in Travel, Travel Maui, 11 comments