Though winter hasn’t officially begun, I’ve been feeling major wintery vibes since I landed during a snowstorm in Quebec last week.
My winter season started extra early last month in BC when I took my board and skis to two local mountains on their respective opening day. Since moving to BC, one of my winter goals has been to ride more and get better at snowboarding, especially in powder. Growing up out east, I never got to ski or ride in powder so this has become an important objective of mine.
Having access to world-class skiing and snowboarding resorts and conditions just make me that much more excited about getting out there and doing it as much as possible for the next couple of months. I’m also hoping to do my first ever AVI course later this winter so that I can have the most knowledge and be the safest when riding on this new terrain.
Skiing and riding in BC has lots of advantages compared to the east. Not only is the terrain a lot bigger, the fresh powder is unreal and the weather is always a little warmer. That said, having the right gear for playing in the snow is so key! With the help of Sport Chek, I was able to pick a bunch of accessories that will make my skiing and riding season that much more enjoyable. From a warm Helly Hansen base layer, to new Burton gloves and Spy Optics goggles, they have all of the winter essentials you may need.
Leaving Quebec tomorrow and headed to Europe and the Alps for some epic riding. Can’t wait to bring these accessories along with me for the ride!
This post was written in collaboration with Sport Chek, but all opinions are my own.
Did you know that Sun Peaks was Canada’s second largest ski area? This beautiful resort located just under an hour away from Kamloops, British Columbia offers some of the most beautiful skiable terrain in the country.
Whether you fancy wide open slopes or a steep thrilling ride, fresh powder or beautiful glades to ride through, with its 4,270 acres of skiable terrain, Sun Peaks has something for everyone!
In addition to the pristine riding you can do at the resort, they have a cute European-style ski-through village where you can find shops, cafes, restaurants as well as quality accommodations. I was once again able to book my stay via Hotels.com‘s mobile app, making it a quick and painless reservation process. Having my hotel be right at the bottom of the mountain, made it super convenient.
In addition to riding, Sun Peaks also offers a variety of winter activities you can do while in the area. Their latest and greatest activity is ice fishing, run by a super knowledgeable and friendly young guide called Campbell from Elevated Fishing Adventures. This 3-hour excursion will bring you to Heffley Lake, where you will be able to fish for some wild local species. Not only do you learn a lot about the area, the local fauna and flore but also get to stay warm while you chat and fish thanks to a portable hut and some complimentary hot chocolate.
I took the Samsung Gear 360 camera and Galaxy S7 phone with me again in order to document my adventures at Sun Peaks. I hope you will enjoy my recap below.
As a kid, I always dreamed of going to the Olympic Games. How special must it be to represent your country and compete against the top athletes in the world? Spencer O’Brien made her Olympic debut last year in Sochi, Russia where she represented Canada in the slopestyle discipline and placed 12th overall. Watching her compete at both the Olympics and also the Winter X Games, I’ve always been impressed by her calm and laid back attitude. She always seemed like such a positive and cool competitor. Last weekend, I had the privilege of meeting and working out with Spencer during the Nike Women 15k race weekend in Toronto. I must say, she is just as amazing in person! Spencer will be heading to the Southern Hemisphere to resume training later this summer. Her next goal: learning a 1080, 3 full rotations! Couldn’t be more stoked that she took a few minutes to chat with me last weekend. Hope you’ll enjoy my 5 Questions With Spencer O’Brien:
1) What first got you into snowboarding?
I’m from Vancouver Island originally so we grew up in a town that’s close to Mount Washington, which is the only resort on the island. We just started skiing as a family, so it was something to do with my family on the weekends. I eventually had the choice to continue skiing or start snowboarding, so I followed in my sister’s footsteps and took up snowboarding.
2) How much have you seen the sport evolve and grow since you started snowboarding? How much has the sport changed for women?
It’s been so incredible. There’s been so much evolution in women in sports in general in the last ten or fifteen years but to have been in such a young sport like snowboarding with such different dynamics than a traditional sport, it’s been incredible to see that progression. It’s an entirely different world from when I started and to see the women coming up now who are just pushing it so hard, it’s really incredible. It keeps me so interested in my sport because there’s always something new to try or something new to progress towards. I know wherever I take the sport, it’s going to get taken so much further by the women after me. That’s a really exciting thing.
3) There are so many incredible Canadian female snowboarders and skiers competing in slopestyle and halfpipe, how does that push you as an athlete?
It’s so cool, especially in these action sports where there aren’t as many women participating yet, you really find liaisons in other sports. So I’m really close to a lot of the female skiers and I find so much inspiration in what they’re doing. They’re maybe not doing the exact same sport as me but their goals are the same. They want to progress the sport and want to take it as far as they can. It’s definitely nice being a Canadian athlete and having so many women to look up to.
4) You went to your first Olympics in Sochi last year. You’re currently training to hopefully head back to the Olympics in South Korea in 2018. What do you want to do differently this time around?
The Sochi games were definitely trying for me, it didn’t go my way. It was such a unique experience. You do so much prep for it, trying to prepare for your first games but there’s really nothing like it. I learned so much from that experience and I feel a lot stronger for it. I’m really looking forward to just relaxing a little bit more in Korea and making it my own. I think just not looking to everyone else’s expectations as much and just doing it on my own terms. I’m really excited at a second shot at the games so hopefully I’m going to be representing Canada there.
5) Through snowboarding, you’ve had the chance to travel the world, what are some of the most memorable places you’ve visited thus far?
Japan was incredible, I loved snowboarding in Japan. The people and the culture there are so wonderful. I’m a really big fan of Europe. The Swiss Alps are some of my favorite places to ride. But also at home in Canada, I love Whistler. I’m such a BC girl, it’s always closest to my heart.
Well, we’re definitely in the thick of winter right now. Temperatures are well below freezing point, it’s snowing pretty much all across the north east and unfortunately spring is still a ways away.
Those who know me how much I don’t like the cold and winter. I used to not mind it as a kid because it meant going skiing every weekend with my family, getting snow days, going sliding with friends, making forts, etc. As an adult, living in a big city, I find winter to be more of an annoyance than anything. That said, this winter I decided to make an attitude adjustment (or at least try my best!). Since I’m all about positivity this year and since it seems like I’m unfortunately not moving to a warm far away place just yet, I still have at least one more winter to deal with so why not make the best of it! I know a lot of us suffer from a mild or sever form of “winter blues” or aren’t too excited about this season, I figured I’d share with you some of the things that are making my winter a little more bearable this year and are helping me get through the next couple of months:
1) Travel – Even if it’s just for a weekend, traveling and getting away from the cold is definitely a morale booster for me. Getting some much needed Vitamin D during these grey winter months can have a serious positive impact on how you feel and how you deal with winter. It’s also something to look forward to. Some of my favorite destinations that are still relatively cheap and close enough to travel to for a weekend are: Miami, Las Vegas, California, Arizona, Memphis, etc. If you can’t take any time off, I recommend looking to travel during Family Day and/or Easter. Though it may be more expensive to travel during those weekends, if you book enough in advance, you can definitely find some deals. Also, if you’re desperate to get away and want to make it the cheapest trip possible, try booking red-eye flights, or early morning flights that way you don’t even have to tell your boss you were away or ask for any time off, you’ll be at the office at the same time as everyone but with an extra glow! You can check out my travel section on the blog here to get more travel ideas!
2) Treat yourself – Whether you like massages, manicures, trying out new restaurants, going for brunch on the weekend, playing board games, visiting a museum, cooking, being crafty, making dyi beauty products, etc. it’s the perfect time of year to treat yourself and do things for you. I find that I have a lot more free time in the winter and so I take that opportunity to take care of myself. Sometimes, it’s the littlest thing that will be a moral booster. I definitely feel like when I treat myself or just take care of myself, I automatically feel better. Some of my favorite things to do in the city this winter: Having dinner at Electric Mud BBQ, grabbing the goûter at The Tempered Room – the best French bakery/patisserie in the city hands down, eating brunch at The Drake, enjoying the pools and get a massage at Body Blitz Spa, going for tea at the Shangri-La Hotel, grabbing a snack from Bolt Fresh Bar, etc.
3) Try a new outdoor activity – Yea being outdoors when it’s -20C might suck, but if you’re doing something fun with friends or even by yourself, you might not think it sucks as much. Plus, I realized after all these years, my mother was right – Dress warm and you’ll be fine! I’ve come to terms with the fact that if I’m planning on being outdoors for a while, style or any kind of fashion sense gets thrown out the widow. I’d prefer wearing my big dorky boots and huge jacket than freeze my butt off! As you may have read in one of my previous blog posts here, this year I’ve given winter running a try. To my surprise, it’s a whole lot easier than I thought it would be. Layers are super important and make sure your extremities are covered, but once you’re out the door, you’ll be sweating in no time. Also, if you’re lacking the motivation to run by yourself, there are tons of great clubs out there. Just in Toronto, you can run on Wednesday nights and Saturday mornings with the Nike Queen West Run Club, on Thursday evenings with the Academy Of Lions run crew and also on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays with the Parkdale Roadrunners. These are just some of the many clubs in Toronto and there are run clubs in just about every city! And with all of these clubs, no matter your level and speed, no one gets left behind!
Another thing I recently started doing is snowboarding. I grew up skiing but in Ontario, the “hills” are so small that skiing is quite boring if you’re an avid skiier. Luckily, Offner offered to teach me how to snowboard three years ago and these small “hills” have been the perfect place to learn and progress. I’ve also noticed that a lot of ski stations offer discounted day rates online, which makes riding a little more affordable! Walking is also a great way to spend time outdoors. The streets are almost empty in Toronto in the winter, so it’s actually really nice to explore the city when there’s no one around. Offner and I often walk at night from work or walk around on weekends. Plus, there’s nothing more awesome than going into stores to warm up or stopping by your favorite coffee shop to grab a treat mid-walk.
4) Catch up on all the movies & television series you’ve missed – Two years ago, I made the decision to get an Apple Tv and I must say it’s been a lifesaver during the winter. I love making myself a warm cup of tea (currently obsessed with the rose bud tea that I got in California), lighting my new Dyptique candle and watching a movie wrapped under a blanket on my couch. In the summer, I’m usually so busy traveling and being outdoors that I rarely get to sit down and watch “television”. So I write down all the new series and movies that interest me and catch up on them in the winter. Currently, I follow about 7 series and try to watch at least 1-2 new movies a week, so it gives me something exciting to watch every night if I want to. Some of my favorite movies lately: Virunga, Copenhagen, Boyhood, Chef, Interstellar, Fed Up, etc.
5) Read a book – I’ve said it in one of my previous blogs, I’m making a real effort this year to read a lot more. I’ve also noticed that I tend to read more during the winter, I think the reason being because it’s a nice form of escapism. Don’t get me wrong, I know I’m not escaping winter but it’s nice to get carried away in a story once in a while. It’s the perfect way to also disconnect from your busy day at work and relax.
So those are the top 5 things that are currently keeping me sane this winter. What about you?
Today is the day I leave for my month long adventure with @offner! So grateful to be traveling with him again! Excited to be visiting three different countries during this upcoming trip. We’ll be spending the first two and a half weeks in France, followed by a few days back in Canada then off to the US for some snowboarding!
I will be taking a little blogging break during my trip but will post as many updates as a can while on the road. I will also have a full recap with some of my favorite hot spots when I get back, so stay tuned!
Wishing you all a wonderful start to your holidays!!