Archive for the ‘Canada’ Category

When it comes to Christmas, I’ve always been a traditional girl, and the idea of spending the holidays anywhere but at home had never really appealed to me. And yet I was excited when, after a particularly trying year, my family decided to head west for Christmas. My brother lives in Calgary and had suggested renting a ski chalet in the resort town of Fernie, British Columbia.

Spending a week in December in the mountains required some preparation, and I headed to Mountain Equipment Co-op to outfit myself with some warm socks, long underwear, and the first pair of snow pants I’ve bought since I was nine (all of which has come in handy in the years since as supreme snow-shovelling gear).

The drive to Fernie from Calgary is a scenic one, along the Crowsnest Pass through the Rockies, and passing by the tragic curiosity that is the Frank Slide. The area is seriously windy and it was a bitingly cold day: I had barely left Calgary, and my long underwear had become my best friend.

The Fernie Alpine Resort, where our chalet was located, was a picture-perfect scene with the trees and the snow and cute little chalets dotting the roads, all surrounded by mountains. The view out our front window was like something out of a postcard. At home,  we’ve had more green Christmases in recent years than white ones; here, we were in the midst of a real winter wonderland. One of the first things we did was decorate the chalet with the Christmas decorations we had brought with us from my brother’s place and soon our (artificial) Christmas tree shone prettily with multi-coloured lights. We strung more lights along the snow-covered balcony where my brothers barbecued dinner one night. Later, we clomped out to the back deck in our winter boots, getting as close to the edge of the hot tub as we could before we absolutely had to peel down to our bathing suits and quickly pop into the hot water. We lounged in the tub, peering at each other through the steam rising from the water, sipping our drink of choice, and feeling the snow fall on our faces (it snowed every night).

Most days, we headed to the ski mountain and spent the better part skiing or snowshoeing, until we headed back in the afternoon, cheeks flushed and hungry for dinner (but not before soaking in the hot tub for our alpine version of Happy Hour).

Despite being away from home, we were able to indulge in our best-loved traditions in this homey chalet in B.C., including turkey dinner with all the trimmings and our annual post-dinner viewing of SCTV’s Christmas specials. It was noisy and cheery, filled with good food and drink, and pretty much all we could have hoped for. Not to mention, we all slept like babies after days of breathing in cold, fresh air while skiing and hiking through the snow.

I was amazed that a family of 10 was able to live there for five days without getting completely on each other’s nerves, but it was a success. So much so, we hope to do it again sometime soon. I will say, I’ll never worry about where we spend Christmas, as long as we do it together as a family.


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