Friday, January 14, 2011

Cold Flash

One of our activities over the Christmas holiday was a trip to Sun Peaks, a destination ski resort located just an hour north of our home. We decided that getting nine people and their gear out the door was going to be challenging enough without the added task of trying to get sandwiches made in the morning before we left. Rebekah suggested we plan ahead and make calzones.

It was a great suggestion. They are fairly easy to make, there are countless combinations you can throw together for fillings, and they freeze well. We used my basic pizza dough recipe for the outside. Due to diet preferences- my niece is a vegetarian and my brother won't touch mushrooms no matter how well disguised they are- we made two different fillings. One featured spinach and mushrooms, the other sausage. Roasted red peppers, carrots, onions, leeks and cheese were the cross over ingredients.

Rebekah, Alexandra and I worked together, rolling out dough into small circles, plopping some filling on one half of the dough, then folding it in half and pinching the edges together. When we were finished we had 30 calzones- enough to feed nine hungry skiers and the couch potatoes non-skiers left behind. The hardest part was smelling them baking but knowing they were going straight to the freezer instead of our stomachs.

Our much anticipated ski day dawned clear and cold. Let me just repeat that final word for emphasis. Cold. How cold was it you ask? Well, the white board in the ski lodge had the temp for mid-mountain recorded at a brisk -19.6 C (-3 F). I am sure it was that extra .6 degrees below zero that made all the difference, but it was seriously one of the coldest experiences of my life. At the risk of sounding like a whiner I am going to get this right out in the open: I hate being cold. Here we are before we had actually taken a run, which is why we are smiling. Later pictures are minus smiles.

Another factor that has to be considered when deciding just how severely you are going to be frostbitten is the wind chill. I loaded onto the chairlift thinking to myself it really wasn't that bad. That thought lasted exactly 3 minutes, which was the time it took for the chair to climb up out of the protection of the trees and into the open. The only thing that kept me from crying as my cheeks stung and my nose felt like- well, actually I don't know what it felt like, but whatever it was it hurt- the only thing that kept me from completely dissolving into a blubbering baby was the realization that if I cried the tears were going to freeze my eyelids together. Dismounting the chair with my eyes frozen shut did not strike me as something that was going to improve the situation.

After that first run we decided the smart thing to do was use the other chairlift. It has plastic bubbles that can be lowered during the ride up the mountain, and they made a big difference. The rest of our day was spent skiing the runs from the bubble chair.

Here is where it got crazy. It was so cold, but it was also so beautiful. The kind of beauty that only happens on a cold, clear winter's day when the sky is that special shade of deep winter blue and the new snow is hanging off the branches of the trees. It is a beauty that can be heard as well as seen, as your skis make that special squeaking sound that only happens on cold, fresh snow.

We kept looking up at the summit, knowing that the view from the top would be spectacular. But we also knew that to get to the summit we had to take a second chairlift- one that went over a great treeless stretch and had no bubbles to protect us from the elements. To give you an idea of the length of the two chair rides to get to the top, the run we planned to take down once we got there is called "Five Mile." In the end we did gather our courage and go clear to the top. It was every bit as cold as we thought it would be. But it was also every bit as beautiful.

Kristie and Corinne

It was possibly the most amazing winter's scene I have ever encountered, one that made it worth the pain and the cold. And who knows- if I thaw out before the ski season ends I might just go back for another look!


  1. Wow, those are stunning photos. I'm impressed that they were taken, the few I took while skiing in -10 and wind the other day just about did my fingers in completely!

    You may have inspired me to make calzones - you may it look and sounds relatively easy.

  2. Those trees covered in snow are spectacular! I felt cold just reading your post!

  3. Wow--to the scenery and the calzones!

    I love being outside to enjoy the cold and a clear winter sky--day or night. BUT I've never experienced that level of cold. I hope you warmed up with something hot in the ski lodge afterwards.

    Thanks for sharing the experience.

  4. @kate- it was a painful experience taking those pictures! And the calzones were fairly easy, just a bit time consuming, but that was mostly because we were making so many.

    @ProgressiveLens- I felt cold all over again writing the post1

    @Ric- If you are interested in experiencing that level of cold you and your family are welcome to come visit us here in BC!

  5. are those frozen snowladen trees or are they some kind of amazing sculptures? i guess they're trees, but they look very very unusual!
    well done on skiing in that cold, and the Calzones look great, my kids love calzone....

  6. @liz- they are frozen snowladen trees. They were an incredible sight!