Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘British Columbia’ Category

Lori Knowles

Lori Knowles

I guess a Tuesday at the start of November is as good a time as any to start planning our 2014/15 ski season–yours and mine. In truth, as someone in the ski biz, it’s been on my mind since July… or earlier. But I’ve waited ’til now to get you revved up, otherwise your engine might burn out.

I hope to tell you the few tidbits I get now and then on new stuff in the European and North American ski markets: new ski lifts, new runs, glades you can’t miss, or an apres-ski experience neither of us can pass up. Let’s see how it evolves. Hopefully the info will help you plan our next ski trips.

I’ll start with some news from a sunny ski area in British Columbia (BC) called Sun Peaks. Here it is, in a photo courtesy of Sun Peaks Resort, taken by Adam Stein:

The Village at Sun Peaks, BC. Photo by Adam Stein, courtesy of Sun Peaks.

The Village at Sun Peaks, BC. Photo by Adam Stein, courtesy of Sun Peaks.

Sun Peaks is in idyllic ski spot in near the Canadian city of Kamloops. Its village is auto-free, its runs flow along a consistent and excellent fallline, and its trees are spacious and not too steep, which gives any ski area an A in my playbook.

Tree skiing at Sun Peaks. Photo by Adam Stein, courtesy of Sun Peaks Resort.

Tree skiing at Sun Peaks. Photo by Adam Stein, courtesy of Sun Peaks Resort.

All this you can learn by visiting its website. My news is this: For 2015, Sun Peaks has expanded to a point at which it’s now Canada’s second largest ski area. That’s pretty big — Canada’s largest is Whistler. This season Sun Peaks has grown to more than 4,200 acres of in-bound ski terrain with the addition of two new areas: West Morrisey and Gil’s.

“New runs in the West Morrisey area will be expert ability level and utilize the same aspect as the popular Static Cling and Agitator ski runs,” says a recent press release. “The second section, Gil’s—a popular backcountry ski area at the top of Tod Mountain—will see the area’s vertical double with the creation of a lower ski out back the main ski runs.”

A panoramic shot of Sun Peaks taken from Mt Morrisey. Photo by Adam Stein courtesy of Sun Peaks Resort.

A panoramic shot of Sun Peaks taken from Mt Morrisey. Photo by Adam Stein courtesy of Sun Peaks Resort.

In short, this expansion just might move Sun Peaks onto your short list of top spots in Canada to visit. I hope so. As I said, the resort is idyllic.

That’s it for today. More tidbits soon — news to help you explore your ski travel options. Let me know how your planning is progressing. I’m @LoriExploring

Lori Knowles is a ski and travel writer and editor based in Toronto, Canada. She is the editor of SNOW Magazine. See past work at LoriKnowles.com or follow Lori on Twitter @LoriExploring.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

The Olympic Rings in Whistler Village.

The Olympic Rings in Whistler Village.

“If you’ve ever dreamed about blasting off to Whistler, B.C., for a three-day blow-out winter visit complete with hard skiing, sumptuous lodging, arts, culture, tasty food and a spa experience that will soothe your screaming muscles, here’s how to do it…”

And so began my 2012 Toronto Sun travel story on Whistler–the one that gives you the goods on skiing hard and playing softly in the soothing arms of the Four Seasons Whistler.

With Whistler’s recent bountiful snowfall and my pending “big family trip” to BC’s most gigantico ski resort commencing in just one week, I thought it might be fun to replay this Sun article. Consider it an enticement to join us in Whistler this season…

LINK: Toronto Sun: High On Luxury in Whistler

 

Lori Knowles is editor of SNOW Magazine and a ski travel columnist for the Toronto Sun. You can read more of her work at www.loriknowles.com

Read Full Post »

show swapI spent Thursday afternoon and evening touring the new Toronto Snow Show. It’s in a new location, with a new name, and a re-energized vibe.

I met more than one person who’d headed toward Exhibition Place before realizing The Toronto Snow Show is now at the International Centre, close to Pearson International Airport. For a downtowner, the show is far… but the location’s not bad for skiers in the GTA. Plus parking is free.  The show is on now through Sunday, October 20. Download the handy iPhone app for directions and hours.

Now for scenes from this year’s show:

1) Toronto graffiti artist SKAM is creating art on site; stop by and watch. Also enter to win one of his pieces.

Graffiti artist SKAM at the Toronto Snow Show

Graffiti artist SKAM at the Toronto Snow Show

2) Vail Resorts’ new Epic Mix app is very cool. Track your runs, earn icons, calculate your vertical. Stop by the Vail booth for a demonstration. And don’t forget to ask about the new Epic pass… $729 US for skiing all season at Vail resorts in Colorado, Utah, California… even Europe!

Vail's new Epix Mix App

Vail’s new Epix Mix App

3) The women of SNOW Magazine stopped by Quebec’s booth to snap a Quebec Original postcard. You can too… with or without the boas and Elton John sunglasses!

Bonjour Quebec!

Bonjour Quebec!

4) Only in Aspen! The Colorado ski destination gets creative with funky art on its lift passes. Here’s a sample… so much fun. Check them out at Aspen’s booth, and find out more about skiing Aspen Mountain, Snowmass, Buttermilk and The Highlands.

Ski Pass Art

Ski Pass Art

5) Blue Mountain’s gone high tech with iPads in its booth. Stop by to browse.

Blue Mountain booth

Blue Mountain booth

6) A parting shot from the Pro Am Rail Jam:

Pro Am Rail Jam, photo courtesy of Toronto Snow Show

Pro Am Rail Jam, photo courtesy of Toronto Snow Show

For more on the Toronto Snow Show, follow my tweets @LoriExploring.

Lori Knowles is the editor of SNOW Magazine. View her work at www.LoriKnowles.comFollow Lori on Twitter @LoriExploring

All photos copyright Lori Knowles.

Read Full Post »

SKAM, a Toronto graffiti artist, will be demonstrating snow art at the Toronto Snow Show

SKAM, a Toronto graffiti artist, will be demonstrating snow art at the Toronto Snow Show

Toronto skiers, it’s time for the Toronto Snow Show.

Here are five reasons why you should go:

1. The Toronto Snow Show (October 17-20) has a new name, a new location, and a new vibe. Once known as the Toronto Ski Show, it’s joined this latest century with a name that encompasses all you can do at a ski resort besides simply skiing–namely, snowboarding, tubing, skating, XC skiing, spa-ing, shopping, eating. All stuff you can do in an environment of snow. The show has moved from Exhibition Place to the International Centre–free parking, and closer to those of you living and skiing outside metro Toronto. And organizers have promised a new vibe–graffiti artists, a rail jam, a snow park. I’m hoping they’ll rev us up for the coming of snow.

Graffiti2. Art and snow are two of my favourite things and this season the Toronto Snow Show promises them both. SKAM, a Toronto graffiti artist, will be onsite with six demonstrations throughout the weekend. This guy’s work is pretty cool. I’m keen to see what he creates in the theme of snow. For a schedule of live demonstration times, visit http://tssts.sportshows.ca/skam_grafitti_demonstrations/.

3. There are $10,000 in cash giveaways to pro and amateur skiers and riders competing in the Pro-AM Rail Jam during the show. Admission is free… at least, it’s included in the cost of Snow Show Admission. Plus, new this year is an area in which you can try your own tricks. The Burton Riglet Park is a mini terrain park with features that will help you get the sensation of snowboarding.
4. Two-for-One lift passes are on sale at the Snow Show with the price of admission. Participating Ontario resorts include Blue Mountain, Horseshoe, Mount St. Louis, Brimacomb and Snow Valley.
Exploring the floor for new ski fashion.

Exploring the floor for new ski fashion.

5. My favourite: browsing. That’s right, browsing. At the Toronto Snow Show you can shop for jackets, pants, equipment, goggles and helmets. You can swap or purchase inexpensive equipment at Canada’s largest ski and snowboard Swap, organized by the Canadian Ski Patrol. And best yet, you can visit ski areas booths from all over Canada, the US and Europe… all to plan your next ski vacation.

For more info on the Toronto Snow Show, see www.TorontoSnowShow.com
Follow my #SnowShow tweets @LoriExploring
Lori Knowles is the editor of SNOW Magazine. View her work at www.LoriKnowles.comFollow Lori on Twitter @LoriExploring
Photos supplied by the Toronto Snow Show.

Read Full Post »

Today I discovered two things:

1) I love to surf.

2) I’m terrible at surfing.

I’m a 40-plus woman on a girlfriend-getaway in Tofino, British Columbia… capital of Canada’s cold-water surfing culture. Capital, I should say, of Canada’s female cold-water surfing culture–I’m told there are more women than men surfing Tofino waves.

Why?

Tofino is home of Surf Sister, an all-female surfing school that offers all-women (and co-ed) surfing camps. You can learn in an hour, a day, a week… whatever. Surf Sister’s founder, Krissy Montgomery, has a band of pros under her wing who break down “the break,” making learning to surf Tofino waves really, really simple.

20121022-064459.jpg

Simple, that is, in theory… not necessarily in practice. Today I learned ‘popping up’ and ‘paddling out’ and ‘reading’ the waves are all more exhausting than simple.

Exhausting! After my 14th wave, just as I figured out where to place my feet and hold my hands and bend my knees… my body turned to jello. Simply walking out into the surf became a trial.

But surfing is thrilling, nonetheless. Very, very thrilling, especially when experienced alongside a group of like-minded women. Like I said, I learned to love it. Now, if only I wasn’t so terrible…

Stay tuned… humiliating surf photos to come!

In the meantime, some added suggestions for a girlfriend getatway in Tofino:

1) Consider a helicopter ride along this wild wet coast courtesy of Atleo Air. Jason Bertin’s new Tofino service offers sightseeing trips to glaciers, private islands, remote coastal locations…. head’s up, guys: it’s a good way to propose! Astounding and terrific.

20121022-070643.jpg

2) Tofino’s Wildside Grill cooks the best BC salmon and spotted prawn I’ve ever tasted. Wildside’s Jeff Mikus is a commercial fisherman bringing BC’s sea delicacies straight to your picnic table. Chef Jesse Blake certainly knows how to BBQ them.

20121022-070718.jpg

3) Order take-out (or hire a personal chef) from Tofino’s RedCan Gourmet. Chef Tim May makes a mean granola bar, brownie… and braises lamb to absolute perfection.

20121022-071559.jpg

4) Stay at Tofino’s Pacific Sands hotel. Rent a beach house. Mine is No.35… and it’s glorious, especially in the chair from which I’m writing this:

20121022-070905.jpg

Adios (rested) from Tofino.
Lori. www.loriknowles.com
Twitter: @LoriExploring

Read Full Post »

The Hot Springs

20121021-065055.jpg

“Hot Springs Cove lies 26 nautical miles up the coast from Taquinna Provincial Park. For thousands of years, natural thermal hot springs have poured out of the rocks and spilled out on the edge of the Pacific Ocean in Northern Clayoquat Sound.”

So read my Saturday morning itinerary. Uh Oh. My first Girlfriend Getaway to Tofino, British Columbia, was starting with a boat ride in the Pacific Ocean. Should I mention I’m prone to sea sickness? Nah… I’ll be fine. And this will be a wild, warming experience.

We boarded our Beachcomber-esque boat in the the Tofino harbour and immediately met one of the friendliest guides I’ve ever come across: Marla. She guides for Tofino’s Jamie’s Whaling Station & Adventure Centre. Chipper, informed, intelligent, helpful: Marla is my new hero. I forgot to take her photo, but here’s her vessel:

20121021-070459.jpg

Marla drove that boat in the Pacific Ocean like Danica Patrick drives her race car: with verve. Never mind that within moments my face was as sallow as the sea kelp. Never mind through the entire two-hour coastal tour I was willing myself — forcing myself — to keep my breakfast where it belonged: in my tummy. The journey to the hot springs was still incroyable.

We saw a whale! A great big tubular grey whale rolling in the waves, feeding on the shell fish delicacies hidden in the mud and sand near the Pacific’s cold shore. We saw sea lions basking in the spray of the waves; they lay lazily on the rocks of the mini islands that dot the coast of Vancouver Island.

We saw thousands and thousands of trees, and massive rocks, and swells bigger than buildings in Toronto. Marla kept up a steady pace of info: friendly, fascinating. And she kept on driving that boat…

Until we came to the hot springs.

Oh, the hot springs. What a sea treasure these springs are, hidden deep in Northern Clayoquot Sound. From a remote dock in Maquinna Provinical Park, the hot springs are a 30-minute walk along a wooden boardwalk (see top photo). The walk (loads of stairs included) delivers you to a narrow, rock-infested canyon full of steaming water… Off come the clothes. You stumble your way down into that warm, warm, soothing spring. Position yourself just so and you can see the sea’s waves below you rolling and crashing. More heaven.

Sorry folks, I don’t have a photo of this natural Canadian wonder: the steam and the rocks were too risky for my camera. You’ll just have to go yourself and witness what my fuss is about.

20121021-072912.jpg

Next came my flight out. Tofino Air came to fly us back to Tofino. Holy Mackerel… see photo above. The west coast of Vancouver Island from the air is, is… I can’t find the word. Holy Mackerel.

Our day ended with the Spotted Bear.

The Spotted Bear?

It’s a cozy, candle-lit bistro in Tofino. A few tables. An open kitchen. Two chefs and a server. And the food is sumptuous. Organic, Vancouver Island produce. Fish caught fresh from the Pacific. Upscale yet casual. I highly recommend it. Here’s a photo of our braised ribs and the chefs in action:

20121021-073818.jpg

20121021-073908.jpg

That’s it for now. For info:
Spotted Bear: http://www.spottedbearbistro.com
Jamie’s Whaling Station: http://www.jamies.com

Read Full Post »

20121020-062956.jpg

Good morning from Tofino, where the sun hasn’t yet risen, but I’m waiting… waiting for this view to appear.

What a peaceful night it was here at the Pacific Sands. Our beach villas are perched at the very edge of Vancouver Island, where the waves thunder to the shore. On and on. Relentless.

I left my balcony door open just a little last night so I could stay in touch with the roar. At 2 am a cayote’s call woke me up. At 3 am, a crash of thunder. I’m told that happens a lot here on the edge of this voluminous country.

Why am I here? In Tofino, British Columbia?

A girl’s-only weekend. Girlfriend Getaway, I think they call it. It’s my first one. Ever. I’ve left the kids with their capable dad back in Toronto and have come here to surf, hike, eat, sleep. And write.

Our group of five met happily yesterday at the Vancouver Airport… many of us meeting for the first time. Our little posse boarded an eight-seat Cessna at YVR’s South Terminal. Orca Air. Our female captain and male co-pilot told us it was the first time in Orca’s history their passenger list was filled entirely with women.

Our view from the 50-minute flight looked something like this:

20121020-065321.jpg

Next, we were introduced to Tofino’s Pacific Sands by our host, gracious PS GM, Stephen. What a spot! The view from my room is show-stopping, as you’ve seen (first pic). Hell… the room itself is show-stopping:

20121020-064826.jpg

Then came a walk on the wet beach… in my rubber boots and hotel-issue yellow slicker.

And then came dinner. Mmmmm… a spicy, warm-your-bones, I’m-so-starving dinner at a Tofino hangout appropriately called: The Shelter. Its vibe: Cedar. Wood fire. Candle light. Surfers by the bar. Surfing flicks on the massive flatscreens by the bar. Surfing flicks on tiny flatscreens by each toilet (I’m serious). And perfectly spiced, belly-warming food brewed with mussels, oysters, lingcod, salmon and halibut.

20121020-070540.jpg

And finally…. finally… came sleep. In a big, white, feathery bed, with the door cracked open and the waves…. Heaven.

Info: Pacific Sands

The Shelter

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »