Sunshine Tour Report, Apr 6 – 9, 2014

The best skiing was on our final day, Wednesday, with two inches of fresh snow and this saw a concerted group effort to take advantage and make “first tracks”.  The temperature was colder than on sticky Tuesday and ski conditions were ideal-recreational-wintery with soft footing.
It was a treat to watch a good dozen Level 4 Ski Instructor candidates being put through their paces on Goat’s Eye under the critical eye of their judges – never did I see so many elegantly carved turns done with ballet like precision and rhythm.  It was inspiring and if the season were not just about over, there might be a chance for some mere mortals to follow suit.

This tour had the smallest number of participants of any tour of the 2013 – 2014 season, if not in the history of the RMSSC, however, there were no complaints from the participants, on the contrary, a small group size was judged to be rather attractive and an interesting change in group dynamics.  The Calgary Seniors Ski Club was also staying at the Hotel at the top of the Gondola and their Tour Host told us that the numbers for their Sunshine in April tour were also low this year at 16 (we had 10 participants).  The Hotel and the shops at Sunshine called us summarily the “white button” people, made no difference between Edmonton and Calgary Cubs and showed their appreciation of our visit by giving discounts.

Our intrepid 10 included one non-skier and three new members while the remainder were seasoned members. We skied, took refreshments, hung out together and have this to report from our Tuesday evening “meeting” in the Chimney Corner:

  • Staying at the resort was comfortable and enjoyable.
  • The skiing was incredible until the snow got sticky and then it was not so incredible (Tuesday’s snow).
  • I really enjoyed the Coffee Shop breakfast croissant and offer of coffee and lattes.
  • What happens in the hot tub stays in the hot tub.
  • The lifties and gondola attendants were friendly and alert.
  • Note from one of our new members:  As a young boy I always thought seniors were serious, sensible and knew everything – now I really know different and it is good and fun.
  • It was wonderful to be part of a family of great people.  I would like to take this family along on all trips.
  • The Internet comes and goes, but they let me use one of the Hotel computers to do my project.
  • Bring a light sweater or jacket for indoors.
  • We would like to see a red/yellow/green rating system to rank Tours.

Thank you all for making this Tour a reality and a very pleasant one at that!

Sunshine AprilPicture
Bryan, Maggie, Gordon, Catherine, Anke, Mika, Dan and Norm in the Sunshine Day Lodge.  (Esther and Bonnie escaped before the photoshoot)  April 9, 2014

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Rocky Mountain Seniors Ski Club Annual General Meeting 2014

April 30, 2014 Snow Valley Upper Chalet 1:00 pm
1.  Call to Order
2.  Introduction of the Executive
3.  Approval of Agenda
4.  Approval of the Minutes of the Annual General Meeting of May 8, 2013
5.  President’s report
6. Treasurer’s report and presentation of audited Financial Statement – Jim Vine
7.  Director’s Reports
7.1  Membership – Anke Seifried
7.2  Ski Tour Coordinator – Donna Vine and JoAnn Grand
7.3  Special Activities Coordinator – Shirley Powell/Doug Knight
8.  Budget and Membership Fee for November 1, 2014 to October 31, 2015 Jim Vine
9.  Election of executive – Mike Tansey
Nominees:
9.1 Treasurer…Jim Vine   Incumbent
9.2 Special activities Terry Demkiw/Richard Barham
9.3 Webmaster Tony Holtner
9.4 Membership Art Robinson
9.5 Newsletter NA
(Additional nominations, if any, will be accepted from the floor.)
10. Appointment of 2014/2015 Auditors – Mike Tansey
11. Questions from Membership and Other Business
12. Adjournment

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Marmot in March, Mar 16 – 20, 2014 Tour Report

Members drove or carpooled on a clear, dry highway for the Jasper in March tour, arriving at the Best Western Jasper Inn and Suites in time for a 4 pm check-in on Sunday. The  Welcome Reception that night was the usual noisy, cheerful event where members met up with old friends and new, and made ski plans for the  next few days.  Many members celebrated St. Paddy’s Day a day early by “the wearing of the green” and six new members were introduced, along with the five ski club executive members who were along on the trip. Dave Gibson led a short singsong accompanied by his banjo – a long standing tradition for this tour.

Marmot Basin Ski Resort has the highest base elevation of the ski resorts in Canada, at 5570 vertical feet. Seven lifts deliver skiers to  86 different runs. Ski conditions were excellent for the tour. Eleven centimetres of fresh snow fell on Monday and another eleven on Wednesday night, adding to the base of 121 centimetres. Groomed runs, temperatures ranging from minus ten to zero, and mainly sunny skies made for peak skiing for every level of skier.

Although 80 members registered for the tour, several other club members who weren’t able to attend the full trip joined us on the slopes for part of the time, resulting in more than 90 members on the hill over the week. With a bus full of Calgary senior ski club members arriving on Monday, seniors skiers were well-represented! An ongoing point of pride for our club is the number of members who ski free (and very well!) because they have reached the magic age of 80, many of whom were along on the trip.

Club members enjoyed another excellent celebration on Wednesday night with a delicious three course dinner, served efficiently and pleasantly by hardworking restaurant staff.  The restaurant was able to seat all of us in the same room, with masterful planning by the restaurant manager, Rob Cooke.

Tour Hosts Brian Craig and Susan Robblee  wish to thank many people for helping to make this another memorable trip, including:
All the club members for skiing safely and avoiding any significant injuries (sore muscles don’t count);
Lindsey Gunson, Group Sales Manager, Rob Cooke, Restaurant Manager and staff of the  Best Western Jasper Inn for ensuring we were well cared for;
Byron Jonah, badge man, Mike Tansey, past president and ongoing soundman;
Linda Porter, supplier of the St Paddy’s day stickers;
All the photographers who contributed photos of the trip;
RMSSC Executive members JoAnn Grand,  and Donna and Jim Vine for their on-going hard work and support.

Submitted by Brian Craig and Susan Robblee

Click here for photos

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Rocky Mountain Seniors Ski Club Spring Dinner

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Click here for Details

Posted in cycling, seniors golf, seniors ski club, seniors skiing, skiing

Whitefish Mountain Resort Tour Report, March 2 – 7

March 2, 2014

The temperature at the Millwoods Golf Course was -34 an hour before departure, but that didn’t stop our Australian Member, David Burrows, from greeting every vehicle, directing Members to the appropriate bus and presenting them with their parking permit.

 

Many Members pitched in to quickly load the buses, with bus 1 departing almost exactly on time at 6:45 AM followed by bus 2 promptly departing at 7:00 AM. Both buses stopped at Red Deer Donut Mill, Nanton Flying J Truck Stop, Fernie Tims, the Border, and Super 1 Foods in Whitefish MT, before arriving at Whitefish Mountain Resort at 6:15 pm. (bus 1) and 6:45 pm. (bus 2). Separating the buses by 15 minutes helped immensely with rest stops.

 

Arrival at Big Mountain Resort.

 

Jason Forrest, their Group Sales Manager, was there to meet the bus and to direct our tour participants to the check-in area. Then he assisted Members in getting to their building including arranging for a small shuttle to get our Members to Edleweiss, the condo farthest from the bus – about 300 metres. Unloading the bus went quickly despite heavy snow. Temperatures were much warmer than Edmonton. It was about -6 when we were unloading.

 

First bus Members arrived at the Welcome Reception shortly after 7 pm and by 8 everyone was there having a great time. Special thanks for Donna and Jim Vine who sorted out the various options for lift tickets and then spent more than an hour disbursing them to our Members. The reception featured very good pulled pork sliders, quesadillas, nachos and two free drinks all provided by the resort at no cost. While we were munching and drinking, Jason Forrest welcomed the group and introduced a hill ambassador (Mike from Kentucky), who outlined the procedure for joining the hill ambassadors in the morning. The vast majority of members indicated that they would join a tour. Then Link, a level 3 ski instructor and senior skier, (level 3 is the top level in the USA,) talked to the group about the value of lessons for older skiers. The ski school offered group discount lessons and many of our Members formed groups and accepted their offer.

 

Monday, March 3 – Ski Day 1

 

A huge snowfall overnight met us as we left our condos and headed toward the hill. Most Members headed up Lift 3 for a quick warmup and then headed for Lift 2 which is a high speed quad that goes further up the hill but not to the summit. Members did a few runs there until the Number 1 high-speed quad lift opened to carry us to the summit and the back-side runs. Many Members did take advantage of the hill ambassadors. They were shown the entire hill, at least from a distance, over at least an hour and a half.

 

If Members loved powder, they were in their element today. At the top there was a foot of fresh snow and even the lower areas had plenty of loose fluffy stuff. Apparently all the locals heard about it too because lift lineups were long all morning. By 1:00 pm. the fluffy white stuff was all piled up and the locals had left. Mid afternoon saw many members beginning to socialize in the hot tubs and bars or heading down to Whitefish Townsite for shopping and apres skiing activities. . . . and it was still snowing.

 

Tuesday, March 4 – Ski Day 2

 

It did indeed continue to snow all night and the morning greeted us with 8 inches of snow at the top and copious amounts at the bottom. All the Members were out in full force this morning and enjoyed the day immensely. Several Members took advantage of the free shuttle to Whitefish for apres ski festivities on Tuesday evening, which happened to be Shrove Tuesday. In Whitefish, this happens to be in conjunction with Mardi Gras weekend. Many ended up at the Bulldog Bar, one of Montana’s most favoured drinking and pub food establishments. The food and beverages were great and the decor was . . . well, just ask one of the Members who went there.

 

Wednesday, March 5 – Ski Day 3

 

What do you get when you combine 0 degrees Celsius with heavy precipitation? You get wet, and we all did. There was lots of powder but it was the wet and sticky kind, described by many Members as wet cement. That didn’t seem to stop our Members from getting out there and having a great time, at least for part of the day. We needed some big fans to blow away the fog however. By the afternoon, it had really socked in. That just gave us an excuse to retire early and prepare for the banquet.

 

And what a banquet it was. The buffalo meatloaf was amazing, as was the rainbow trout and then the banquet was topped off with apple pie and ice-cream for dessert. Simply delicious. In an informal poll taken at the banquet about 25 members indicated that they had taken the lessons offered at the Welcome Reception. A show of hands indicated that about 90% of the group went with a Snow Ambassador for the tour of the hill. Everyone agreed that this was a worthwhile endeavour as Big Mountain is just that and there are many places to explore.

 

Thursday, March 6 – Ski Day 4

 

More snow overnight, 23 cm to be precise, greeted us in the morning. There were predictions of rain that did not come to fruition thankfully. There was a bit of ice pellet precipitation in the morning, but not enough to dampen our enthusiasm. With mild temperatures, skiers had to be careful as the snow transitioned from powdery at the top to sticky near the bottom. The runs held up much better today and all ability levels had a great day. In the afternoon, the sun poked through the mist allowing us to view the valley below and to see what we skied in whiteout conditions previously. Skiing to exhaustion seemed to be the theme of day 4. Many of the Members went down to Whitefish for dinner before packing up for the trip home.

Members of the tour greatly appreciated the free Snow Bus which ferried us to and from town on a regular schedule.

 

Friday, March 7 – The Trip Home

 

All Members of the tour arrived early at their pick-up points to wait for the buses for the trip home. Both buses left approximately on-time with bus 2 leading the way by about 15 minutes. The border proved to be just as easy to cross going into Canada as it was going down to Montana. Each bus required about 15 minutes to clear customs. Our first coffee break was about an hour later in Fernie and both buses left on time for our lunch break in High River. An hour after arrival at High River, our appetites were satisfied at a wide variety of eateries and we were off to Edmonton. After a leg stretch at Red Deer, both buses arrived about 20 minutes early at Millwoods Golf Course where the buses were quickly unloaded and goodbyes exchanged. Another successful RMSSC tour was complete.

Tour Hosts: Lorne Woynarowich, Mike Tansey, Bob Larson, Stan Rust

Please check out the photo section for pictures of this Tour.

 

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Lake Louise Tour Feb 9 -13

Lake Louise Ski Tour 2014

by Janet Stoby

 

On a frosty -24C February 9, forty intrepid skiers (including six new members) left early – 9:17 AM to be precise – for Lake Louise. Our bus driver introduced himself as “Mike, from Canmore” and so we set out. Of note were spectacular sun dogs with double rings around the sun, seen between Red Deer and Calgary. We took our one hour lunch break at Crowfoot Crossing, Calgary.

After checking in at Lake Louise Inn, everyone attended a noisy and entertaining pre-party party hosted by Tony Holtner and Danyele Bloom-Holtner. Here we picked up our lift tickets which had been collected for us. Onward to the actual Welcoming Party – an excellent roast beef buffet in the Legends Restaurant which effectively became our private party room.

The temperature on Monday morning was recorded at -21C in the village. The snow on the hill was not quite as icy as the temperature, but many areas definitely qualified as hard packed. Many skiers found reasons to stop for hot chocolate. However, it started to snow Monday afternoon and continued intermittently for the rest of our stay. Tuesday dawned somewhat warmer with 5+ cm of fresh powder. There were smiles all around. Although the more dedicated powder-hounds barely stopped for lunch, some skiers visited the newly re-opened Whitehorn Lodge which now features fine dining.

Wednesday saw another 10 to 12 cm of fresh powder with the temperature rising to minus single digits by the afternoon. Wednesday evening, gathering again at Legends Restaurant, we had a very tasty pasta buffet for the Club Dinner. Knowing we had to get packed up tonight for the 8AM bus kept the festivities from getting too rowdy.

Our last day, starting early to get the luggage on the bus, featured mild temperatures and a bit more new snow. Once again, Coral and Periwinkle (a.k.a. Ursula Maydell and Shirley Powell) and many others were raring to go. After all it is not often when you get fresh powder. A photo record was kept of the “first ones” on the early bus. Others felt their ski legs were just about powdered out. The bus left the hill promptly at 3PM with “Mike, from Canmore” once again at the helm. We dropped our Australian friend, David Burrows, off in Banff then proceeded to Cross Iron Mills, Calgary for our dinner break.

Another smooth bus trip had us arriving back in Edmonton at 9:30PM after a convivial, successful ski trip.

The tour hosts would like to thank everyone who helped in any way with this trip.

 

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Marmot Ski Improvement – Fun Costume Race January 26-30, 2014

Can you guess who this Beauty Queen is?

IMG_4046

It’s our fearless leader, Brian McClelland, President of RMSSC. This is just an example of the crazy costumes 28 of our members sported for the Wednesday afternoon fun costume race. Marmot Basin set up a race course for us on Tranquilizer and it was hilarious to watch the wild and wacky antics of a trio of witches, bees and a bear chasing the honey pot, a hockey player (Canadian, of course), butler, escaped convict, gorilla, sheriff, drag queen, and many other creative characters. With costumes, hats and masks blowing in the wind, it’s amazing we made the gates and no one wiped out! Jasper the Bear made an appearance and ran the course with us. See more pictures in our Photo Section, and check out our Tour Hosts’ report in the Tours section for more details.

A big thank you to Robbie Steen for organizing this annual event and to our Jasper friend (and club member) Milt Gilmore for soliciting so many wonderful prizes for categories such as best costumes, best group costumes, men’s race and women’s race (based on time). We wish to acknowledge and thank the following donors in Jasper and Edmonton for their very generous contributions:

Best Western Jasper Inn (door prize)

Marmot Basin Ski Area

Curries Guiding & George Andrew

Sun Dog Tours & Paul Hardy

Papa Georges Restaurant & Patrice Fortin

The Jasper Source for Sports

The D’ed Dog Bar – George Andrew

Totem Ski Shop – Victor Vassalo

Sundance Ski Shop – Edmonton

United Cycle – Edmonton

Pacesetter – Edmonton

Start thinking of how you can outdo yourselves next year!!

Click here for photos of the trip

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