Sunday, 17 February 2013

Ice Magic Festival ...

A few weeks ago, I headed up to Lake Louise for the day to check out the Ice Magic Festival, specifically the international ice carving festival that was being held.  I'd never seen ice carvings in real life and was eager to watch the international competitors in action.  Each team had 34 hours to create huge ice carvings related to the theme 'Carve a Song'.  I happened to be there at the tail end of the competition when there were just two hours of competition left, so the carvings were nearly complete.  And they were absolutely magical ... huge, glistening towers of ice so delicately carved into beautiful statues.  I spent a couple of hours wandering around checking out each carving team in action and watching a carving demonstration before heading to the lake to watch families skating on the lake and playing 'shinny', ice hockey without the equipment and with modified rules.

Chateau Lake Louise in ice

Beautiful day for ice carving at Lake Louise

Lovely Lake Louise in the background

Chainsawing the ice ...

... then ironing it!

Ice carving demonstration

Warming up next to the Stump Stove

The ultimate Canadian Rockies winter experience ... skating on Lake Louise

... or playing 'shinny'

After hanging out near the lake, admiring the carvings, skating and shinny, I took a free historical walking tour of the Lake Louise area where we visited the Chateau and Deer Lodge, the other accommodation option at the lake.

I'm fascinated by these big snow globs that seem to 'melt' over a post and then re-freeze

Snow and ice at Deer Lodge

Icicles on the Chateau

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Tobogganing ...

Getting a work out walking up the hill

Since I've been trying to embrace the winter by getting outside and enjoying all the winter activities that Canada has to offer.  Last weekend, tobogganing was on the cards.  We travelled to Red Deer (about 1.5 hours north of Calgary) to visit friends who have children, so it was the perfect time to try a favourite Canadian children's winter activity.  At first, I was slightly nervous but learned to let go of my fear and soon I was racing down the hill with confidence.  Abbey also loved the tobogganing (but not when I actually put her on the toboggan!), chasing us down the hill at top speed.  There are still two more winter activities that I haven't tried but plan to - skating and snowshoeing - and can't wait to try them soon.

Racing C down the hill with Abbey following (note that he is too big for the toboggan!)