Christmas was very special this year because we spent it at a beautiful place called Jasper Park Lodge (JPL). The brochure says that Jasper Park Lodge is “Nestled in between captivating and majestic mountains and enchanting lakes” and it’s true, it’s tucked away and fully self contained resort living at its best. There is iceskating on the frozen lakes, the heated outdoor pool, indoor games, horse and cart rides around the lake or… quiet corners to curl up and read a book.
While at JPL we skied at Marmot basin (a 10 minute drive away) on Christmas day and again two days later. Although the locals think it’s “not a great season”, we Aussies think that a metre of natural snow is pretty OK!
While at JPL Christmas arrived. It was truly a magical, white Christmas just like Bing or Frank might sing about. There were no hot north winds, no “six white boomers”, just snow and quiet. We went to a lovely Lutheran service to remember the true meaning of the season.
We opened presents before leaving Edmonton and then some smaller ones at JPL. Of course it was a bit of an electronic Christmas (typical us!) as we all received a cell phone, the kids got a Wii (OT approved of course) and Anita got a digital photo frame so that she can avoid work and stare at photos of family and friends (new photos needed… send today!!!).
A real digital highlight was linking up with family on Skype as they came together on Boxing Day. If you don’t have Skype get it NOW! We were able to open presents together and the most wonderful thing is that the kids (Scott, Charlotte and Daisy) just accepted that we were “in the computer”. It was so real Sam felt suddenly homesick.
After 6 days at Jasper it was time to move on and the destination was Banff! Well, what a drive through the Rocky Mountains and the Icefields. Every corner outdid the last as we “OOOOh-ed and AAAAAAAAH-ed” for about 4 hours. With four photographers in the car (yep, all the cell phones have very good cameras) there was a constant noise of shutter-bugging.
On the way through to Banff we stopped at various locations, Lake Louise being one of the most spectacular. We really knew we were in Canada when we were there. The lake is frozen and there was an ice castle and horse and sled rides around the lake. It was most picturesque but a bit too busy with tourists for our liking.
In Banff we did a few touristy things… we went on the Banff Gondola up Sulphur Mountain, we played 5-pin bowling with a great family we met in Jasper (John, Mary and Georgia Benjamin) and of course we went skiing. This time at Sunshine Village. Oh yes.. and New Year came around and we had a lovely room service meal with a special bottle of bubbly! Yum!
So, if you ever want to drive through the Rockies take your time, be prepared to be amazed and tell us… coz we’ll come too