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Best Wedding Ever

Best Wedding Ever

Yesterday, Rolf and I returned from Kicking Horse Mountain Resort in Golden, British Columbia. On Saturday, March 29, 2014, our son Ryan married Liz at the top of the mountain.

And what a celebration!

It began on Thursday. Ryan and Liz and their Labradoodle Makita drove from Calgary in their truck. Liz’s parents, Bill & Tina, flew in the previous night from Ontario and they drove from Calgary at the same time. Rolf and I were about ten minutes behind them. The six of us met in Banff for lunch at the Keg and then we continued to Golden.

At Kicking Horse, Ryan and Liz booked a pet-friendly room in the Glacier Lodge at the base of the mountain. Rolf and I were in the room across from them so we could help with walking Makita.

When I wasn’t skiing or talking to relatives, I actually did a bit of writing and Rolf brought me lattes from the Double Black Café in the bottom of our building.

A ten-minute walk from the base, Bill and Tina rented a chalet to house four families. The huge kitchen and family room became Meeting Central. And this is where family members were treated to a pasta dinner on Thursday night.

On Friday

Rolf and I only skied on the Friday but everyone else got in lots of runs. Here’s the thing about Kicking Horse. The mountain is so big you can have three weather systems on it. The top was clear on Friday, but on my way down, I had to pass through cloud.

2014-04-01-P1050106eSFWThen I reached a sunshiny bottom and I had a chicken club on gluten free at the Peaks Grill.

Friday night, we brought in pizza for the rehearsal dinner at Bill and Tina’s chalet, and we met even more relatives.

The Wedding Day

In the morning, Rolf was in charge of taking Makita for a long walk. Since she was not allowed up the gondola, we wanted to make sure she was plenty tired while she stayed alone in her room at the base.

About 2 pm the groomsmen met in Ryan’s room to get spiffy in their tuxedos and read the instructions for tying their fancy bow ties.

I met Tina (Liz’s mom) at the gondola base and helped to carry up the flowers. We rode up with some skiers and snowboarders and talked about the wedding.
One of the boarders held a box of flowers for me so I could get off easier. Then Tina and I brought the flowers to the Eagle’s Eye Restaurant and upstairs to the bridal suite where the bride and her bridesmaids were busy doing hair and makeup.

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Liz’s bouquet

and Ryan’s boutonniere

and Ryan’s boutonniere

As I was returning to our suite, I met one of the groomsmen, James, heading to Ryan’s suite. He was with his wife Chelsea and daughter Catherine. Chelsea and Catherine got ready in my suite. My other son, Kyle, was also a groomsman. His girlfriend Carol joined me and the other girls in our suite.

Rolf and I, and Carol and Chelsea and Catherine went up ahead of the groom and groomsmen. I wore Mukluks while I was outside and carried up my dancing shoes for inside. The bride had white Mukluks.

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Here we are boarding the gondola.

The Golden Eagle Express Gondola carries eight passengers 4000 feet up, for a length of 11,266 feet. It takes just twelve minutes and the wedding guests get blankets.

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  • The top of Kicking Horse is 8,033 feet.
  • The Eagle’s Eye Restaurant is at 7700 feet.

At the top

2014-04-01-P1050132eSFWWhile we were waiting for the others, we watched the staff putting the final touches on the reception room and setting chairs outside in the snow. You can see the chairs behind the restaurant, on the left side of the photo.

The groom and his groomsmen rode up the gondola about 4:30. The guests came up about 5 pm. Once everyone was at the top, the gondola stopped running.
The staff gave everyone hot chocolate or coffee with Baileys to take outside and the groomsmen ushered everyone to their seats.

Claire from Dibble Photography was everywhere. She did a great job of capturing memories.

We were fortunate to have two meteorologists in the group who arranged for a break in the clouds for the ceremony. The sun was out, with a bit of overcast and there were a few snowflakes in the air.

At 5:30 pm, Andy officiated and gave us a beautiful ceremony with some light moments.

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Following the ceremony

While the wedding photos happened on the other side of the Eagle’s Eye, guests were treated to cocktails and canapés, and a slide show of Ryan and Liz from the time they were babies up to the present. It was surprising how many activities they shared before they even met.

From 7 to 8:30, we had dinner and toasts and many funny stories. Tables were named after trails at Kicking Horse. Rolf and I sat at Northern Lights with the bride’s parents.

Instead of a wedding cake, a caterer from town, Pretty Flour, made a tower of these cupcakes.

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Ryan and Liz had their first dance, a choreographed dance, and their song is:

“Truly Madly Deeply” by Savage Garden

Here are the opening lyrics:

I’ll be your dream, I’ll be your wish, I’ll be your fantasy.
I’ll be your hope, I’ll be your love, be everything that you need.
I love you more with every breath, truly madly deeply do.
I will be strong, I will be faithful ’cause I’m counting on a new beginning.
A reason for living. A deeper meaning.

I want to stand with you on a mountain.

And so it goes. Listen to it here.

The DJ completely understood the needs of the crowd, playing some favourites for the older guests early in the evening and moving into a pounding tribal beat as the night progressed.

When she brought up the lights at 12:30, there was a collective ohhhhhhh. So she dimmed the lights again and played one more song.

There were two gondola runs down the mountain, one at 10:30 pm and one at 12:30 am. Rolf went down on the 10:30 ride to walk Makita. I stayed until the end.

Here is one more photo: this one is of my other son, Kyle.

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For the trip down the gondola, the liftie gave us blankets and set a flashing red beacon in the cabin. This alerts the liftie at the bottom that the cabin has passengers. It was snowing, making powder for the morning, and we could barely see the outline of the trees as the gondola glided down the mountain.

Ryan & Liz spent the night at the top of the mountain in the bridal suite. They had their own chef who brought them breakfast in the morning and their own butler who arranged for their wedding clothes to be brought down. After breakfast, Ryan and Liz snowboarded and skied down the mountain in fresh powder.

Sunday morning

Rolf walked with Makita up the slopes of the Catamount Chair again. Then we joined the rest of the family for the after-wedding brunch at Bill and Tina’s chalet. And then finally, on Sunday evening, a few of the family members had a pasta and salad supper. After that, we took Makita for another walk on the ski hill. We made our goodbyes Sunday night.

Monday morning after another Makita walk, we said goodbye to the new Mr. and Mrs. Stengl and headed back to Calgary. The official photos will be ready in a couple of weeks. These are a few of my own photos and we’re all looking forward to sharing our pictures and memories via Dropbox.

Thank you to everyone who made this event so happy and memorable.

Congratulations Ryan and Liz!

Head Mya 6 – My New Skis!

Head Mya 6 – My New Skis!

Last Friday was our first day of skiing for the season. We drove the hour and a half to Sunshine Village, rode up the gondola and stepped out into a perfect winter day: sunny with the temperature hovering right around zero Celsius.

I love January snow. It’s soft and creamy, and often referred to as Hero Snow, because you can do no wrong in this kind of snow.

This year I have new skis. Head Mya 6. Every time I get new skis, they are lighter and shorter and wider than my old ones. At the rate skiing technology is going, skiers will soon be skiing with a snowboard on each foot. 😉

Sunshine VillageWhat I mostly noticed was that I was going very fast. My first two runs were from the top of the Angel to the lift, without stopping—which is unusual for me. In fact, I was faster than Rolf, but he was taking harder runs. I stayed with green all day, except for up on Divide where it’s black but I can do black as long as there are no bumps. And with these new skis, my hubby says I’m carving better than ever.

After those first few runs, I started to get tired and needed to take more breaks on the way down. By lunch time, I was definitely ready for food. We always eat at the Chimney Corner Lounge and I had the gluten free pizza with roasted zucchini and Portobello mushrooms.

gluten free pizza with roasted zucchini and Portobello mushroomsThen I skied another hour and came in for a mocha latte. After all, half the fun of skiing is eating. Rolf stayed out longer but even he was getting tired by four o’clock. Neither of us had the energy for the ski-out so we hopped on a purple gondola and got carried down.

I’m already looking forward to our next trip.

How’s your winter going?

Kicking Horse Slush Cup

Kicking Horse Slush Cup

Ryan Stengl doing a “360”

 

Slush Cup was on Sunday, the last day of skiing at Kicking Horse this season. Four thousand feet higher, the hill enjoyed beautiful snow, but conditions at the bottom were getting slushy. What’s a ski hill to do?

Dig a pit and fill it with water. Invite a bunch of enthusiastic skiers and boarders to try to ride across it. My son entered the competition. That’s him up in the air, doing a “360” before splashing down near the end of the pond.

Eagle’s Eye Restaurant

Eagle’s Eye Restaurant

We had lunch here at the Eagle’s Eye Restaurant on the top of the mountain. Riding up the chairlift, we saw Boo, the orphaned grizzly who lives in a huge enclosure on the mountain.

top of the mountain

top of the mountain

Kicking Horse Mountain

coming through a layer of cloud to the base

Conditions at the top were excellent. On the way down, we had to go through cloud.

Kicking Horse Slush Cup

the pool of water

At the base, you can see the pool of water that contestants will try to jump over. A few made it. Would you like to try this?

Rocky Mountain High

Rocky Mountain High

~ from the top of Goat’s Eye Mountain looking down at the Village ~

A few days ago I was coming home from the mountains in a spring snowstorm. I hate driving on roads like that. Snow belongs on the mountain tops, not on the roads.

 

Sunshine Village

~ Sunshine Village ~

Yesterday the roads were clear. We were skiing at Sunshine Village in the best conditions of the year. Blue sky, perfect light, soft snow. Spring is here and I love spring skiing.
 
Here I am at the top of the Great Divide at Sunshine Village

Here I am at the top of the Great Divide.

Do you live in a snowy climate? Do like winter sports? Or do you move south for the winter?
 
My New Ski Helmet

My New Ski Helmet

 

A long time ago, there was a mother who kept telling her children: Wear your helmet! She was referring to bike helmets at the time.

Now life has come full circle, and they are strongly suggesting that I wear a helmet while skiing. So, after 30 years on the slopes, I bought my first helmet.

It’s made by Smith. This one is called Voyage. I think it will keep my ears toasty warm. It comes with this neat slider that opens and closes vents – so it’s spring skiing friendly.

Do you wear your helmet while skiing? Any suggestions for what I should do with my toque? Do you even know what a toque is? Or is that another weird Canadian word?

Photo from smithoptics.ca