5 Things to do in Winnipeg in the Winter : Part Three

Living in the city can be very exhausting, both mentally and physically. It always feels like everyone is in a rush to get somewhere. I am very much a small town girl so my next suggestion for the winter is to leave the city and enjoy the great outdoors. I did this by learning how to ski and going on a ski trip.When you think Winnipeg and Manitoba, you picture the boring, flat prairies. And although Manitoba is flat for the most part, there is some valleys and hills that make for a change of scenery and a great start if you’re a beginner at skiing like me.

skis at springhill

Learning the Basics at Springhill:

I had been skiing twice before this year and the most recent time was 6 years ago. From my memory of skiing, it didn’t go too well. I remember having 1 instructor trying to teach 20 plus of us the basic. I lasted about 2 or 3 tries down the bunny hill both times and then ditched skiing to go hang out with my friends inside for the rest of the day. This time though, I was determined and motivated to learn. I booked a one on one lesson at Springhill which is in Oakbank, right outside the perimeter. It really isn’t much of a ski hill, with just one ski lift and 3 slopes but it was perfect for me to learn how to go down the hill and not die (which was my ultimate goal). I went on a Sunday and it wasn’t too busy. My instructor was very friendly and patient with me, even when it took me a couple of minutes to grab onto the tug rope because I argued that it was moving way too fast (it really wasn’t). For the whole day at Springhill I paid $59 which included the 1 hour ski lesson, lift pass and ski rentals. It was extremely cold on the day that we went, so we didn’t stay too much longer after my lesson. I made it through the lesson without falling down so I was feeling pretty confident and ready to take on Asessippi the next weekend. If only I had known how many times I was about to fall down on day 1 of Asessippi.

ski lift

Asessippi ; Day One :

We stayed in a hotel in Russell, which is about 15 minutes outside of Asessippi. We arrived on Sunday evening and just spent the evening relaxing, preparing ourselves for our first day at the slopes. On Monday we headed there around 9:30am which is when the lifts open. It took us about an hour of waiting in line ups until we finally had all our equipment on and ready to go. There is one line up to pay, another line up for rentals and then another line up to get fitted for boots and skis. We all started off together doing the 2 of the easy trails. One of the easy trails however, was not so easy at the bottom. It got much steeper and I fell down every time I tried to do it. I tried doing the “pizza” technique to slow myself down but even that didn’t work and I ended up on my behind once again. I was getting more frustrated than I’d like to admit and was close to giving up within my first hour there. I was wearing my prescription glasses under my goggles, and my glasses were fogging up. I made the decision to ski with just my goggles on because I couldn’t see anything with my glasses fogging up. As long as I aimed for the white and avoided any other blobs of colors, I was fine. After that, I started to feel a lot better about skiing and enjoyed myself. Me and Julianne stayed together on the easy trails and let Pascal and Cole some of the harder ones, including some black diamonds. We stayed on the slopes until sometime around 3pm when we decided to head back to hotel and get some rest for the next day.

Asessippi ; Day Two

On Tuesday we avoided the line ups by paying for our ski rentals and lift passes the day before and just taking all our equipment back to the hotel with us Monday night. Highly recommend this if you are going to be renting for more than one day as it’ll save you a ton of time. We hit the slopes around 10am and Julianne and I stayed on the easy trails again but this time feeling a lot more confident than the day before. I did a couple different trails including one called “the plunge”. “The plunge” starts off really steep but you only go fast for about 5-10 seconds before slowing down on the flat part of the trail. It was really fun to experience and get used to the feeling of going faster. I downloaded a ski trekking app for Tuesday just for fun to see how fast I could go and how far we skied. My max speed was 31 km/hr and we skied a total of 10 km (2 1/2 hours). The best skier in our group went 69km/hr so I still have a long ways to go.

I don’t think I’ll ever be a black diamond skier but I’m willing to keep going back and learning. Who knows, maybe next winter I’ll end up in Banff. One thing that they don’t supply with the ski rentals is goggles so I recommend purchasing some before going or burrowing some from a friend like I did. They not only help with snow glare but help keep your face warm as well. You can also purchase anti-fogging ones, like these, which I would highly recommend as I found out skiing with fogged up glasses is not a fun time! Let me know in the comment section your skiing stories, your favorite ski hill and if you prefer skiing or snowboarding!

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Newfoundland Adventures (August 2017)

 

Why Newfoundland?

Before getting started on the details on our adventure, I wanted to give you guys a bit of background about myself. I was born and raised in Newfoundland. I moved away when I was 18 and am currently 22. Newfoundland will forever be home to me, no matter where I am. I moved to Winnipeg 3 years ago and started dating Pascal a year and a half ago. He had never been to Newfoundland before OR met my parents so it was without question that we needed to go. And so the journey began…

The Journey There

The trip there in itself was an adventure. We showed up at the airport for 4am, ready to board our early flight and make it to Newfoundland in time to spend the Saturday evening on George Street getting Pascal screeched in. When we arrived at the airport we discovered that our flight had been cancelled. The next earliest flight they could get us wouldn’t leave Winnipeg until the afternoon AND was going to take us to British Columbia first (the OTHER side of the country) before flying us to Newfoundland. We decided to go with this option as the Canada games were going on and all the other flights were full. We arrived in British Columbia later that day and had a 5 hour lay-over between flights. Instead of spending that 5 hours just sitting in the airport we decided to let our vacation start there. We called a taxi and headed towards the harbour. We walked the boardwalk and tried hard to decide which seafood restaurant to try (we wanted to compare the seafood on both the west coast and the east coast). We finally decided on a place and ordered their seafood platter, just to get a sampling of everything. It was amazing but personally east coast seafood wins for me (I may be a bit biased). We called our taxi and headed back to the airport to continue on with our journey to Newfoundland, featuring a very long plane ride.

The First Two Days in Newfoundland

We arrived in St.John’s,Newfoundland early Sunday morning. We considered the amount of time we slept on the planes to be enough sleep as we were already behind in our adventure. We picked up our rental car and headed to my friend’s apartment. A couple of hours later my brother came and picked the 3 of us up. I hadn’t seen my brother in 4 years! My brother took us around the city and showed us a couple of cool hiking spots. My brother loves hiking and being outdoors so it was a great way to start our vacation. We explored all over the city for about 5 hours before my brother dropped us back off at my friend’s place. Although it was a Sunday, me, Pascal and a couple of my high school friends headed to George Street that night to find a place that would screech Pascal in. For any of you who don’t know what it means to get “screeched in”, it is a Newfoundland tradition that anyone from outside of Newfoundland and partake in. It varies slightly depending on who conducts the ceremony for you but for the full ceremony you eat newfie steak (bologna), eat seal penis (vienna sausages), drink screech (a newfie rum), repeat some newfie sayings and kiss a cod (yes, the fish). After checking a couple of bars we finally found someone who was willing to do it and that night Pascal became an honorary Newfoundlander.

Hiking Gros Morne and Ziplining

The next day we left St.John’s and headed to Terra Nova National Park with the intentions of doing some camping. Sadly our plans got rained on, so we continued on to Gander for the night. While in Gander I got to visit my cousin who I  hadn’t seen in a couple of years which was nice. The next day we continued on to Gros Morne National Park. Gros Morne mountain is the second highest peak in Newfoundland, at 806m. I had hiked it the year before with a couple of friends and I knew that I had to bring Pascal to experience this breathtaking hike. After a long 4-5 hours of hiking up a rocky mountain side, we finally made it to the top and we were not disappointed. It was everything I remembered it being, maybe even windier. We decided to camp on the side on the mountain on our way down and spend the night. When we woke up the next morning, we were greeted by a moose outside our tent. He was very peaceful and watched us before walking up the mountain (and making it look like hiking that mountain was a joke). I wish I was able to get a picture before he left but it took me by such surprise. We woke up nice and early so that we could finish the rest of the hike in time to make it to our scheduled ziplining. I had also done the ziplining the year before but the views were so beautiful I could zipline the same lines every year and never get bored. It is a series of 9 lines that take you back and forth over a waterfall. Anyone who knows me knows that waterfalls are one of my favorite things about nature. It has the highest zip-line in Canada which I think is pretty cool in itself.  I really wish I had a go-pro or a smaller camera that I felt comfortable taking ziplining with me so that I could have gotten pictures. My goal in the new year is to purchase more of an adventure camera. I will definitely be doing these ziplines again in the future and getting some pictures.

Sandbanks Provincial Park

After our ziplining adventure, we drove on to Sandbanks Provincial Park. They are known for their long, sandy beaches. Although I lived in Newfoundland for 18 years, I never got the chance to check it out until this trip. Being by the ocean always has a way of making me instantly happy. We spent the evening running along the beach and chasing the waves. The simplicity in it was what made it one of my favorite moments. We spent the night camping there before heading to Baie Verte so that Pascal could meet my family and see where it was exactly that I grew up.

The Last Destination: Home

Finally, we made it to my hometown, Baie Verte. We picked up my mom from work and I got to show Pascal where my parents work. We spent that weekend in Coachman’s Cove which is where my Pop lives and also where our family cabin is. I don’t think I really appreciated the cabin and Coachman’s Cove when I was growing up. There is no cell phone service or internet there so I used to dread going. Now it is a blessing. My dad took us out in boat and me, Pascal and my parents spent the morning cod jigging. It was Pascal’s first time fishing this way and he was blown away by the size of the fish. Once we got to shore, my dad taught Pascal how to gut and fillet the fish. That evening for supper we had a variety of seafood, all delicious. My favorite was definitely the stuffed squid that my aunt made, a Newfoundland tradition. For my last night in Baie Verte, I went to a dance with my friends and drank and danced until they shut the place down (I won’t share a picture of that because I really don’t think we got one sensible photo).

I loved growing up here because of how safe I felt. Everybody knew everybody. Sure, it can be a pain sometimes when everyone knows your personal business as well, but for the most part it was good. I had pretty much the same friends from kindergarten to grade 12. I got to play a lot of sports and had a lot of opportunities to travel the province because of it. Sea cadets was also a big part of my life there. I also go to spend a lot of time outdoors, whether with friends or alone. It was peaceful and my heart will forever be in Newfoundland. Hoping the next time I visit will be in the winter so stay tuned for that!