Dec 062012
 

The Whistler Sliding Centre is one of the legacies left behind by the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. Here is where you will find the 1,450 metre long ice track with a 152-metre vertical drop over 16 corners where the World Cup Skeleton, Luge and Bobsleigh athletes compete and train regularly. Want to feel just like one of the athletes racing here? You’re in luck as the center offers visitors a chance to try their skill at these sports. I wasn’t too sure how I felt about that since speeds range around 140 KM (almost 90 miles per hour!) but more importantly the disclaimer from the Sliding Center handout read:  “Participants should use the washroom before the start of the run (due to gravitational pressure on bladder during runs)”  which definitely reinforced my decision.

I think I’ll stick to the sport of skiing (for now, at least).

Today at the Sliding Center, it was the second day of the 2012 IBSF (International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation) World Cup. We heard from locals and friends alike that this was an event that we absolutely had to see.

“Monica, you can be right there and practically feel the wind that comes off the racers as they swoosh by you at amazing speeds,” my friend Todd tells me with great enthusiasm.

Paying the $10.00 entrance fee we walked into the center and immediately felt the excitement in the air ring straight down to our bones. People were everywhere, cowbells were ringing in the anticipation of the upcoming races and in general the feeling here was one of complete, pure excitement.

Before we knew it the announcer comes across on the loud speaker and alerts us to the start of the Skeleton races and everyone gathers close to the track.

The races were breathtaking with the Canadians earning four medals in all between the Friday and Saturday races. Luckily for the spectators there were outdoor heating posts, hot chocolate, chili and the can’t-be-missed beer garden to keep everyone warm and comfortable while enjoying the races.

Soon enough it was time to head back down to the village. We downloaded from the Blackcomb gondola and began our walk through the village making our way back to our Airstream which was waiting for us at the Riverside RV Resort.

“Mommy, that was so awesome!” B tells me as we are strolling through the village.

I had to agree with him 100%.

Whistler is such a fun place to come and visit be it with your travel trailer, RV or opting to stay in the lodging within the village. There is so much to do here and explore that you will want to come back again and again. This was our first time coming here with our Airstream and to be honest, I wouldn’t travel any other way. Our home away from home is my favorite place on earth.

Dec 032012
 

Photo Credit Randy Lincks

{Written By Hubby}

Having visited Whistler and Blackcomb for decades,  traditions amongst friends and family at this ultimate recreation resort have become firmly rooted. From the Peak to Valley and Sudan Coular Extreme Races, summer backpacking in Whistler’s back country and of course celebrating the American Thanksgiving holiday at North Americas top rated ski resort have been nothing short of amazing.

Whistler is always the first ski operation to open and has the most and best quality snow in the early season.   On Thanksgiving morning we knew we were going to have a lot to be thankful for.   Awoken by the thunder of avalanche control explosive detonations alerted us to an over night accumulation of 22 cm of new fluff and it was opening day for Blackcomb Mountain.   Had I died and gone to heaven?  Nope — I just woke up at Whistler Resort.

I met up with a couple visitors from Silver Star and Revelstoke (or “Revy” as some like to call it).   We skied the seemingly bottomless powder until our legs turned to jello. Throughout the weekend, other families and friends from the Seattle area joined us and the kids had a blast!   They loved the Jersey Cream chair the best.  Last Chair ride was Crystal lift.   The four of them raced down Zig Zag Run to the bottom of Excalibur.

The kids downloaded on the Blackcomb Gondola to the village where nachos and hot chocolate awaited them.   After that they enjoyed a playful swim in the Pan Pacific pool.

What more could you ask for (except to do it again tomorrow)?

Photo Credit Randy Lincks
Photo Credit Justa JeskovaPhoto Credit Bruce Rowles

Nov 232012
 

Here we are at the Riverside RV Resort in Whistler, British Columbia.  This post is coming to you via the Whistler Public Library (a fateful glass of water ended the life of my laptop) and for that I am forever grateful as I have been eager to share with you where we are, what we have been doing and what we will be up to.

We left Seattle around 2 pm and arrived in Whistler around 8 pm a couple days ago.  We made our way straight to Riverside RV Resort where we had reservations waiting for us.  It was completely, absolutely pitch black outside and we could hardly see a thing but luckily the resort is well marked and the sites are easy to find.  Other than that, we had no idea what was around us until the next morning.

When we awoke we opened the curtains and we were welcomed with a beautiful setting.  Our site is directly across from the Riverside Green Putting Course and our view was nothing short of peaceful and very beautiful.  On our first day the resort and village were snowless; however, fast forward to day two and it literally dumped.  It was soooooo beautiful with all of the snow and everyone was out hitting the slopes of Whistler and Blackcomb.

Riverside RV resort is honestly such a wonderful place to stay be it with your RV or in one of their cozy cabins  Not only does Riverside offer up free wifi, free showers, dvd rentals and dining, they also have a shuttle service to and from Whistler village.  Don’t feel like shuttling it?  No worries, I was happy to hear that the village was a pleasant 20 minute walk away.  And I did I mention that everyone here is incredibly helpful and sooooo nice??

On our second day, Hubby and friend Todd (who is an amazing ski photographer), took B skiing on Blackcomb Mountain and they were all very excited to get going.  For me I decided to head into Whistler Village and get a sense of how things are here in Whistler.  Twenty minutes later and here I was . . .

The village was alive with people everywhere.  Shops and art galleries GALORE.  Restaurants beyond your imagination.  I was overwhelmed yet so excited to be here . . .

I was also excited to be here because this afternoon is when we are going to watch the World Cup Bobsleigh and Skeleton races at the Sliding Center here in Whistler.  I spied a few of the particpants from Russia taking a walk through the village.  I was tempted to ask them for a photograph but I was too shy (need to work on that).

Fall colors are everywhere here in Whistler Village and it was a beautiful sight.  It was the long Thanksgiving weekend holiday afterall and I was thankful to be here with hubby and B.  We celebrated Thanksgiving in the Airstream, just the three of us.  I went grocery shopping at the local market and it was obvious we were not the only Americans celebrating the holiday here in Whistler.  I was perplexed however as so many skiers people were buying huge turkeys and it was already 6 pm.  As for me I picked up two turkey breasts and cooked them up in the cast iron skillet with some stuffing in the Airstream.  It was cozy and peaceful and a tradition we are getting used to.

 

Stay tuned for more Whistler stories coming soon!

Mar 222012
 

MacKenzie Beach, Tofino, BC

I spent a quiet afternoon over the weekend in the Airstream enjoying a simple lunch, watching a movie (for the millionth time, can you guess which one?) and clicking through many, many pictures on my laptop enjoying them all.

. . . and reminiscing.

Oh the trips we have been on, I still can not believe it sometimes . . .

This is Tofino, B.C. located on Vancouver Island.

We camped almost right on the beach with our Airstream and the storms during this time of year are intense.

I bring up this trip to you because we almost decided to go back again next month.  Almost.

But then we thought, yes it was beautiful and peaceful.

. . . and so relaxing, but we still have so much more exploring of places that we have not yet been to.

So we will wait until another time to go again.

Heirloom Tomatoes

One of the many activities we enjoyed while on holiday in Tofino was wildlife watching via a chartered boat.

It was beautiful.  We were hoping to see some bears, but they were still in hibernation.

But that was just fine as we enjoyed other types of wildlife.  Sea Lions, Eagles and birds of all types . . .

Sea Lions, Tofino, BC

Sea Lions, Tofino, BC

Cute, isn’t he?  Or she?  Nonetheless, we were pretty far back and I took these with my zoom lens.  He still wasn’t crazy about us but he relaxed as we slowly motored away . . .

Deep Sea Fishing and Exploring Tide Pools in Tofino, BC

Tofino is a paradise for children, I definitely must mention that.  Tide pools, beautiful sandy beaches to explore, fishing and so much more.  B was very happy here.  Everyday there was always something new for him to explore, especially after the storms since the beaches were full of new discoveries washed ashore.

Here is is a snapshot of the route we took to get to Tofino:

click for large map

As we enjoyed our lunch finishing up watching the movie, hubby B and I could not help but feel so lucky that we have been able to see as much as we have in just a little over one year.

What fun it has been and what fun we have ahead of us!

Oh and if you think you know what my most favorite movie is that I keep watching over and over — go ahead and leave a comment.  You may just win something (Hint:  I’ve been going through my craft room and have decided, I just don’t need all of these things anymore.)

So if your a crafty person, you may get lucky :)

Simply preheat a medium skillet and coat thickly cut bread with olive oil and cook until golden brown.  Top with some beautiful tomatoes that have been tossed in a bowl with some olive oil, torn basil leaves and crunchy flaky sea salt and pepper.

This is simplistic and absolutely delicious!

Beautiful and Peaceful Tofino, BC

Bon Appetit! *hint*  *hint*

 

Mar 122012
 

On the road home to the U.S.A. from British Columbia

Driving home from Rossland, B.C. back into the U.S.A. and onward to Seattle was quite an adventure for us.

We experienced:

icy roads,

slush covered roads,

dry and sunny roads, and

stage 1 snow emergency roads declared in Spokane, WA.

Here is a shot of that experience:

Stage 1 Snow Emergency, Spokane, WA February 2012

. . . and then we had beautiful dry and sunny roads again . . .

Wind Turbines near Vantage, WA -- they are HUGE compared to the semi truck down there

It was all enough for me.  I was ready to be home.

But guess what?  To really get home, we had to drive over Snoqualmie Pass.  According to the road report, traction tires were required as well as chains for trucks.

We decided to keep that adventure for the next day.

Luckily Whispering Pines RV Resort was on our way and we pulled in — into a pull through!

We were happy.  Sometimes we really love those pull through sites.  Really.  No un-hitching.  Just pull on through and pull right out and continue on . . .

Let’s camp and eat!!

And think about tomorrow, well, tomorrow.

Camp at Whispering Pines Campground, Cle Elum, WA and Oprah's favorite Grilled Cheese Sandwich

This is by far, one of my most favorite grilled cheese recipes.  Okay, well maybe for except this one.

But really, it is SO good.  Sweet and savory, both at once.

A couple of years ago (or maybe more?) I was watching Oprah and she and Gayle King featured this grilled cheese recipe on their show.  I was starving when I watched it and of course, had to make it straight away after watching the show.

Needless to say, I make it often.

Very, often.

Beautiful Organic Tomatoes from Full Circle Farms

Camp at Whispering Pines, Cle Elum, WA

Here is the link to the recipe.

Bon appetit!

Mar 072012
 

Celeriac Soup

Seven days at Red Mountain in Rossland, British Columbia and it was time to head back home.  One more day of skiing and one more night in the Airstream.

Then back to reality.

I wasn’t ready to leave.  But then again, I am really not ever ready to leave on our vacations.  I sometimes have it in my head that I would love to stay forever.  Then hubby brings me back down to reality.

Not possible.

But first before I start thinking about leaving, I enjoy reflecting on our most wonderful trip.  Paula and Kieran who run Big Red Cats were so nice and so accommodating.  Thank you both so much.  We all truly had an incredible time and thank you especially to Ian at the Red Shutter Inn who helped us all with accommodations.

Dining at Gypsy’s and Gabriella’s was incredible.  If you ever come to Red Mountain, these two restaurants are sure to please.  Cozy and inviting and the food?  Well, you can judge for yourself here and here.  Incredible and gourmet.

**Read about why J5MM chose to visit Big Red Cats at Red Mountain here and see for yourself why this is a skier’s paradise**

Also a big thank you to Matt Small and Kenny Blum, our ESPN Photographers who joined us on our trip.

The following ski shots (and Big Red Kitty shot) are from Matt Small, thank you Matt!

Big Red Cats and Big Red Kitty in Rossland, B.C.

The boys went skiing everyday and came back hungry.  It was up to me to figure out what to prepare for them.  I knew I wanted to make soup and also a nice sweet treat for B.  This was the day to do it.  It was our last day and I had some beautiful veggies in my box from Full Circle Farms that needed to be used.

Celeriac.  Have you ever heard of this?  It is also called celery root and when it is sliced open the most crisp and bright smell awakens your senses.  I peeled and sliced up (into very small pieces so they would all cook quickly and evenly)  my celery root along with a few carrots and an onion.  Oh, and also red potatoes.  All from Full Circle Farms.

Into my cast iron dutch oven went the veggies, covered them almost to the top with stock (I used veggie stock), covered with a lid and simmered for about 30 minutes on the stove top until I could easily pierce through the pieces easily with the tines of my fork.

You can easily eat this soup as it is or you can take your immersion blender and blend until smooth.  Either way, the flavors are fresh and bright.  If you do blend the soup, I suggest adding some watercress for garnish and a sprinkling of basil seeds.  You can find basil seeds at your local Asian market.  I love basil seeds.  Did you know when they are submerged in a liquid they form a jelly coating on the outside?  The end result is a chewy little seed that pops in your mouth when you bite into them.  The taste you are greeted with is that of an ever so slight basil flavor.  It’s really interesting how these little seeds change their texture.

Kenny Blum Skiing - Photos Courtesy of Matt Small :) !!

You can also top with this beautiful golden colored soup with a dollop of Greek yogurt and chopped sun-dried tomatoes.  Carrot tops are a beautiful garnish as well.

This soup was the perfect ending to a great day of powder skiing for the boys.   Nothing like a warm bowl of soup to warm yourself up!

Skiing with Big Red Cats -- Photos Courtesy of Matt Small!

When we awoke the next morning we looked out of the window and discovered that Red Mountain had received a lot of snow over night.  Our Airstream was covered in snow and icicles.  B pulled an icicle off and couldn’t wait to show me how big it was!  He wanted to keep it so we put it (very carefully) into the Airstream’s freezer.

We now have this icicle in our freezer at home – B wants to save it for summertime to show his friends when it is hot outside.

Family Airstream Ski Trip to Red Mountain Resort, B.C.

The day before, I saw in my Full Circle box that I had three zucchini’s left and they needed to be used.

I knew exactly what I would make with them.  B has been wanting something sweet now for a while so this would be perfect.

Chocolate zucchini muffins for the road!  It would be a long drive and I knew he would be hungry so I wanted to be prepared.

These turned out so delicious.

So fudgey.  So rich.

Did I mention they are healthy too?  But you wouldn’t guess it . . .

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins with Honey and Pistachio's

So now the truck is packed and everything is secure in the Airstream.  It is time to leave.

And say goodbye.

Until next time beautiful Red Mountain.  We will miss you!

Beautiful Red Mountain, Rossland, British Columbia

Click for Recipe

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

Mar 022012
 

Caramelized Onion and Feta Cheese Buckwheat Tarts

We were on vacation. A nice, long vacation.  We were preparing for this trip for a very long time and finally we were here at Red Mountain in Rossland, British Columbia. It is just a few hours north of Spokane, Washington. The drive coming up was beautiful. The drive going back home? Not so much. I will be posting about our trip home soon, it was very interesting.

The routine was the same, everyday. It was nice. Wake up early, feed the boys and set them off for a day of skiing. Hubby on his way for cat skiing with Big Red Cats and our photographers Matt Small and Kenny Blum and B off to his ski class with his favorite instructor, Maude from France.

“Mommy, is Maude going to teach me skiing today again?” he would ask as I helped him get dressed in all of his layers.

Layer.  After.  Layer.

“Yes she is,” I would tell him and then would come the smiles. Big smiles. He really enjoyed his days skiing, thank you so much Maude. You’ve created wonderful memories for him.

While everyone was off enjoying their days of skiing, I would walk around the resort and take photographs and seek out inspiration for our next meal.  The fact that I had my box of goodies from Full Circle Farms was an added bonus.  A box full of fresh, organic veggies — the possibilities were endless. If you live in Washington State, Alaska and Idaho I am sure you have heard of Full Circle Farms.  They are an “organic food delivery service,” and it feels like Christmas morning every time my box is delivered to my door.  Community Supported Agriculture — I am very proud to be a supporting member.  Here is more about Full Circle Farms

Red Mountain Resort, British Columbia

Out of my box I pulled some beautiful organic red potatoes, an onion and got to work slicing, sauteing and assembling.  I have only made sweet tarts before, never a savory one.  I was excited for this one.

Potatoes, buckwheat flour (I have been on a buckwheat kick lately — I am in love with the taste), caramelized onions and parmesan cheese — once baked together we experienced deep, earthy savory flavors.  It was incredible.

Buckwheat Tarts with Caramelized Onions & Feta Cheese

After I picked up B from class we came back to the Airstream for some hot cocoa (our apres-skiing ritual).

He saw the tarts on the counter, cooling.

“What are those mommy?” his eyes wide with curiosity.

“A potato tart.  Would you like one?”

He ate two.

Caramelized Onion and Feta Cheese Buckwheat Tart

Recipe for Caramelized Onion & Parmesan Cheese Potato Tarts with Buckwheat Flour

 

Feb 292012
 

Base of Red Mountain at Red Mountain Resort, Rossland, British Columbia

Spending 10 days in the Airstream on a cat skiing vacation in the the middle of old man winter is an incredible experience.  You are warm, cozy and it feels great to be so off the grid knowing you are totally self contained and comfortable.  Conserving and enjoying life — the way it should be.  Here is our spot at the base of Red Mountain in Red Mountain Resort.  We are in British Columbia – specifically Rossland.

It is truly absolutely beautiful here.

Red Mountain Resort has been delivering incredible skiing longer than any other area in Western Canada, with the first recorded powder turns in 1896. With accolades ranging from “Best Authentic and Funky Resort Experience” to “Best Powder, Best Trees, Best Steeps”, to “Best Fall Line Steeps” and one of the “Top 5 Free ride Spots”, Red Mountain Resort is the hidden jewel of BC’s Kootenay Rockies region.

On this beautiful morning, we awoke to blue sunny skies.  To help the boys get on with their big morning of skiing I prepared buckwheat cakes for breakfast.  These were delicious!  Have you ever baked/cooked with buckwheat flour?  It really is delicious and did you know that aside from it’s name, it does not contain any wheat?  It’s perfect for a gluten-free diet.  Of course this recipe also contains flour that does have gluten, but you could use pure buckwheat flour if you are gluten-free.

Skiing Red Mountain with Erik Kalacis from Red Mountain Resort, Rossland, BC

Again I would like to thank Matt Small for his amazing ski photography!  He is one of our ESPN photographers that have graciously accompanied us on our trip!  Thank you Matt!!

Today Matt was photographing Erik Kalacis! Erik created and built an international sports and TV production company with clients including Swatch, Kokanee, General Motors and Salomon.  Erik was the pioneer behind the popularization of Boardercross (now Snowboardcross) and Ski Cross, which are now Olympic sports events.  He now enjoys being the Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Red Mountain Resort.  It was the biggest honor for me to meet Erik.

What a very kind, nice guy he was to me and everyone in our group  — and did I mention what an awesome skier he is?

Skiing Red Mountain in Beautiful Rossland, British Columbia with Erik Kalacis

Sweeping views of the Kootenay Rockies . . .

Buckwheat Cakes to Fuel a Morning of Skiing Red Mountain, British Columbia

Click to print Buckwheat Cakes Recipe :)

 

Feb 272012
 

If Italian fare is on your mind while on holiday at Red Mountain then this is the place for you!  After a huge day of powder sking with Big Red Cats, our photographers Kenny Blum and Matt Small were hungry!  We could hardly wait to bring them to Gabriella’s!

On this particular evening we had the “Trip around Italy,” five course meal enjoying flavors from the savory fava bean soup and incredible seafood linguine to the decadent tiramisu all while warming up by the fireplace.

Thank you Gabriella and Roxy and everyone at Gabriellas, it was a night we will never forget!!

Gourmet Dining at Gabriella's at Red Mountain Resort

10 reasons to choose Big Red Cats for your cat skiing adventure:

  1. Safety – qualified guides, and exceeding industry operating standards, as one of only a few operations to have a full time snow safety team, as well as two or three guides in the cat

  2. Huge and varied terrain – how many cat skiing/boarding operations ski/ride 360 degrees off of 8 peaks?
  3. Separate trips for experts, advanced, and intermediate skiers and riders – this means that you generally ski with people going at the same speed: experts get the super steeps, pillows and cliffs they enjoy, while intermediates can cruise along in bowls and spaced trees, without performance anxiety
  4. Small-group option for 3:1 guest to guide ratio
  5. Big Red Cats is one of the largest cat ski operations in the world, with the terrain, safety program, and maintenance to back that up.  Where else do they regularly run three cats, sometimes four, plus a 5th backup?
  6. Super fast cats – PB300′s are the best in the business.  More skiing, no waiting around, and they go all the way to the top!
  7. Unmatched accommodation choice – choose from super quality five star condos to cheap hostels, or our social lodge options with other cat skiers.
  8. Access – easy to get to from Spokane (two hours). Fly into Castlegar (30 minutes) or Kelowna (3.5 hours) – just minutes from Red Mountain to the snowcats on Big Red Cats’ shuttle bus, or self-drive.
  9. Flexibility – book one day, six days, or alternate with resort skiing.  Because you’re staying right at a world-class ski resort, you can mix your cat skiing with resort days, have some group members cat ski while others are at the resort
  10. Great value – Big Red Cats has the best price and quality mix, and they DO provide rain checks and resort options, so you’re guaranteed to ski or ride.

 

Call Big Red Cats and book your skiing adventure today!!

Gourmet Dining at Gabriella's at Red Mountain Resort

Special thanks to Matt Small for the action ski shots :)

Stay tuned . . . more posts to come!!

Feb 242012
 

Check out these amazing shots by our photographers Kenny Blum and Matt Small who have graciously accompanied us on our winter ski trip to Big Red Cats!

 

Thank you Matt for the following beautiful photographs! They really tell the story . . .

Matt Small Photography

Matt Small Photography

Matt Small Photography - Big Red Cats, Rossland, BC

Matt Small Photography - Big Red Cats, Rossland, BC

Matt Small Photography - Big Red Cats, Rossland, BC

Matt Small Photography - Big Red Cats, Rossland, BC

Matt Small Photography - Big Red Cats, Rossland, BC

Matt Small Photography - Big Red Cats, Rossland, BC

Matt Small Photography - Big Red Cats, Rossland, BC

Big Red Cats!  Your #1 Cat Skiing Destination in beautiful Rossland, British Columbia!  Let’s go skiing!