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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
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
Drumheller Alberta, 2 Exciting Days In The Dinosaur Capital Of The World

Drumheller Alberta, 2 Exciting Days In The Dinosaur Capital Of The World

What little boy doesn’t have, at least a mild one, an obsession with Dinosaurs? When exploring options for our family holiday Drumheller, the Dinosaur Capital of the world became an easy option for us for a long weekend vacation.

Surprisingly, with only a few short weeks until the long weekend, and knowing we wanted to camp our options were not as limited as we thought. We ended up making a reservation at Dinos Nest, which is located within Drumheller City limits. We stayed at the sister site Dino’s RV Nest. The location is awesome as it seems fairly central when you’re looking at tourist destinations. The lady who we dealt with was incredible and was full of tips and suggestions when we were planning our day. We had a good size green space at our campsite and my kids quickly made friends with the other campers. The playground was a definite hit. We did have to pay for firewood but that is the case in nearly all campgrounds these days and we found the price to be fair. The portable fire pits are ingenious and incredibly handy.

After getting a good nights sleep we started out for a full day of adventuring and exploring Drumheller.

Day One

  • The Worlds Largest Dinosaur! You can not visit Drumheller and no give this a visit. My family loved this. The little ones were thrilled to be “eaten by a dinosaur” and take some awesome pictures.  With over 100 steps to the top is a treck, but the journey is worth it.  There is a gift shop there, however, do yourself a favour and skip it. The Royal Tyrrell has a more reasonably priced one.
  • Follow the North Dinosaur Trail.
    • The Little Church. It is beautiful, and the history is wonderful. It is Little, as the name implied, so little in fact that we nearly drove past it.  It seats only six people at a time, but it seats them comfortably.
    • Horsethief Canyon, another area rich with history and the view is incredible. I wish we had brought a picnic as it would have been a perfect spot. The boys made friends with some gophers and sat there watching them for a good amount of time.
    • Bleriot Ferry which crosses the Red Deer River. It takes about 5 minutes or so to cross the river and then you’re on your way.
    • Orkney Viewpoint, just off the beaten path for another incredible lookout. It is gorgeous and I would love to catch is during a sunrise/sunset. The river snakes through beautifully.
  • Royal Tyrrell Museum. Drumheller’s Claim to fame. There are a lot of interactive displays to keep the kid busy while we read the information panels. Certainly informative. The staff throughout the museum were full of interesting fact and were happy to answer any questions Big H & L had to ask. They have an amazing fossil of a Nosodor, in near perfect condition. This is was my absolute favourite exhibit and I highly recommend you take some time here. The gift shop was reasonably priced which both shocked and pleased me. I expected otherwise. This is the gift shop I recommend you buy your souvenirs at.

After a day full of activities we were all ready to head back to the camper. We made a batch of Tacos in a Bag for dinner while the boys made friends with the other kids at the campsite. After dinner (and marshmallows of course) they headed off to bed and Blayne and I enjoyed the rest of our evening – with an amazing show of the Northern Lights – and planned what we would do the next day of our dinosaur filled weekend.

I think my favourite time of any trip is after the kids go to bed, and Blayne and I get to relax on our own, in the quiet. Doing it outdoors around the campfire is something special all on its own.

Day Two

  •  The Hoodoos. My kids absolutely loved this place. Climbing and running around. Beautiful scenery too. It is much smaller than I had expected, but years of people and weather have led to that. They are still unique and wonderful though. None the less, you can spend hours exploring and climbing. We spend about an hour there and we didn’t even make it a fraction of the way to the top.
  • Atlas Coal Mine. While there are only certain things you can do if you’re under the age of 6, there is still a ton to do here with the younger ones. The pony cart ride and the train ride were by far the most popular for us.  B and I enjoyed it from a more adult perspective and the boys loved seeing everything. The staff, especially the train conductor, were friendly and super informative. We were there for about 3 hours. Bring a picnic as this is also a perfect place to eat.
  • Rosedale Suspension Bridge. Not only is it free it gives you another glimpse into the past. Big H and L could have easily spent all day going back and forth if we were to let them. At the other side, there is plenty of trails that you can hike if that is something you have time to do. I hear there are smoulder piles that have been smoking for years, so keep an eye out for that!
  • The Fossil Shop. Drumheller has no shortage of souvenir stores but this one is special. The items in the store are BEAUTIFUL, which grossly undersells it even. While there some incredibly large and expensive pieces there are plenty of small, gorgeous, unique pieces available as well for a very fair price. I’m confident that there is something there for everyone. The staff is helpful and encourages you to “touch the past.”

One Final Stop

  • WHIFS Flapjack House. We had breakfast here after being told by numerous Drumheller locals that it was the place to be. The food was awesome. The buffet had all the offerings and their famous Flapjacks were all they were made out to be.

From there we ventured onward. Still talking about the memories we made and the wonderful vacation we had.

Drumheller Alberta, 2 Exciting Days In The Dinosaur Capital Of The World
Posted by Jenn in Travel, Travel Alberta, 28 comments
Top 5 Family Friendly Places in Big Beautiful Jasper

Top 5 Family Friendly Places in Big Beautiful Jasper

Jasper is one of the most uniquely beautiful places I have seen in my life.  I’ve seen mountains all over North America, Maui’s most recently, but the views of the Rockies are unparalleled. So, living only two short hours away from Jasper we try to get there as often as we can. Hunter LOVES the mountains. Like me, they give him a sense of home, and he is much more grounded when we visit them. We still don’t get there nearly as often as we would like, but in the trips, we do manage we have been able to pick some of our favourite places to visit as a family.

Maligne Canyon

Maligne Canyon is easily considered one of the most interesting canyons in the Rockies. They have a walking path set up so you can walk from the top of the canyon and falls, all the way to the bottom. Or vice-versa. There is a total of 6 bridges the crisscross over and each offers a uniquely magnificent view. The walk does consist of thousands of stairs – I’m estimating – so it can be quite physical but you can park at the top or bottom and do as much or as little as you want. There is also a picnic area available at either end. Maligne Canyon is a place we have visited many times over the years.

Annette Lake

This is one of our most recent discoveries, we were initially out to find a short hike to do with the boys that was also stroller friendly-ish, and as you can imagine the stroller part is difficult. Then, by complete accident, we stumbled upon this beauty. Not only is the 2.5km path around the lake fully paved so that is both friendly for strollers and wheelchairs, there are also benches all along the way so people of any fitness level can do it and have plenty of places to rest as well as enjoy all 360° of beautiful views. There is also a gorgeous sandy beach perfect for playing in the water and laying in the sun. We will be visiting this lake many times in the future.

Sunwapita Falls

This is a unique set of falls. There is a viewing area which offers a spectacular view of the main falls. There is also a 1km trail that leads to a viewing point of the lower falls. We have only made this trip once, but I highly recommend doing this short hike to see the second falls. The grade is pretty gradual, but it is there. One of the smother trails we have hiked.

Athabasca Falls

This is one of the only places I remember visiting as a child and one I continue to visit nearly every time we visit the park. Athabasca falls are the most powerful falls in the Rockies. The water roars and thunders as it falls and if you stand in the right place (or wrong) you’ll be soaked with the spray from the falls. It is truly an experience. The rocks are wet and therefore slippery, so do not venture outside of the designated areas.

Whistlers Campground

The one and only time we actually camped in Jasper this is where we stayed. It is an extremely large campground but is laid out wonderfully and you would never know its size without driving through it. The bathrooms are clean and well kept and just a short walk from wherever your campsite is. There is plenty of wildlife in the area and if you’re lucky you will be able to spot some from your campsite.

The sites and activities to do in Jasper National Park are limitless. I honestly don’t think we will ever have time to see and do it all. These are just the tip of the iceberg and the ones that we have all enjoyed as a family, some on more than one occasion.

What is your favourite thing to do in Jasper?

Top 5 Family Friendly Places in Big Beautiful Jasper
Top 5 Family Friendly Places in Big Beautiful Jasper
Posted by Jenn in Travel, Travel Alberta, 17 comments