First Ski of February

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A quick afternoon ski in Barrett Park (Red Deer, Alberta, Canada) made for a nice afternoon break. The sun helped to warm up the cold temperature Environment Canada was reporting, but the wind chill reared it’s ugly head as I skied in the south-west direction.

The trails have hardly been used since I was last on them. I think many people are thinking they are too icy, but in truth they are only really proving to be a problem on the uphills.

It is such a treat to have urban parks with ski trails set. It makes going for a ski no more difficult than going for a neighbourhood walk. The only downside is my snowshoes are feeling pretty lonely this year, having been pushed aside for skiing and the great workout it brings.

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Ski Afternoon

blog-ski-sunset This afternoon our weather finally improved. When I say “improved”, I mean it was -15C with windchill rather than -30C (with windchill), and the sun was out. The weather seemed nice enough to go for an afternoon ski.

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We’ve had snow and wind over the past several days causing the set ski tracks to practically disappear. On occasion you could see roughly the direction they traveled, but for the most part it was breaking a brand new trail.

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The first 5 minutes of skiing brought lovely weather, and then the wind whipped up, and with it came the blowing snow.

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The few pictures I took were on my phone, and they were fast pictures as my fingers, outside of my mitts, were freezing fast.

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Even in the cold there was a lot to look at. The Waskasoo Creek, frozen and covered with snow, was quite picturesque.

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There were also a lot of interesting tracks in the snow……..

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…..not just the ones I made.

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(Skiing “selfie” before I had to put on my hat.)

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*** Skiing area at Barrett Park, Red Deer, Alberta, Canada.

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Taking the Plunge

blog kayak 1We’ve finally taken the plunge. We’ve talked about picking up another kayak for quite a while. We’ve flipped through paddling magazines, watched for used boats on the coast, and drooled over the boats in the shops all winter long. We’ve debated getting a cheap kayak for the kids, or getting a better boat for “us” (the grown-ups!) and letting them have our little boat. Today we just did it. We walked into the store for another wistful look at the boats and there was a 13.5 foot boat on sale…quite on sale.

blog kayak 2The pretty green one is ours. We pick it up tomorrow. We’ll get to put it in the water in about a month. Kayaking isn’t on the minds of most in February, but we were actually paddling a week and a half ago out on the coast. Winter kayaking….best thing ever (beats shoveling snow!)blog kayak mapOf course when we saw this map, we just had to have it too!

Basketball!

Basketball season is starting to wind down in the schools. Before uniforms need to be handed in it is a great time for a quick studio portrait of the player in their team jersey. Black and white adds a cool twist to a sports pic, however a color version (that can be viewed here) also remains a classic favorite.

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Photography by Debra Hunter
Hunter Photographics
www.thehuntergroup.ca

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Sometimes Good Things Happen – Red Deer, Alberta, Canada

A long time ago I wrote a blog post regarding the skating rink, or lack there of, in our neighborhood. Long time readers of the blog may remember how I wrote of how our little historic neighborhood, in the heart of Red Deer, had been stripped of our little outdoor rink, the resulting fuss that the community raised, the newspaper interviews, the television coverage, and in the end, the return of a snow bank rink.

Well today a wonderful thing happened. I drove past the park where the rink was last winter and believe it or not the rink was up WITH BOARDS! Now this is huge. We get our rink again and we get END BOARDS.

Woodlea skating rink on October 20, 2013. All ready for winter to come.

Woodlea skating rink on October 20, 2013. All ready for winter to come.

Now anyone reading this in a country that doesn’t succumb to snow and ice for at least six months of the year may not understand how momentous this is, but for our neighborhood this is a great thing. Our kids get to skate within blocks of home any time they wish. The boys can now play hockey and when they shoot at the goal and miss (which happens 99.999999% of the time!) the puck will hit the backboard and bounce back instead of burying itself in a snow bank never to be found. Hide and seek is a fun game but not when it involves looking for a puck in snow that is three feet deep, especially when all the direction you get from your little hockey players is “I think it went somewhere over there Mom! Or was it over there.” And trust me, an orange puck doesn’t make it any easier……..we tried that too.

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A local school group skating one afternoon at the Woodlea skating rink in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada.

Our little skating rink is great for our neighborhood, but it is also great for the schools in our area that draw students from throughout the city. Last year on several occasions I encountered different schools using this park area. They skated and tobogganed. It was great to see.

The City of Red Deer has done a great thing re-installing our rink. I was happy with the snow bank rink last year, but having actual boards is going to make for a great winter for those who love to shoot a puck.

A big “THANK YOU” to those who made the decision to return the rink to our neighborhood. We really appreciate it. It is going to be a great winter.