So guess what we did this weekend? We took part in a skating tour organized on Sylvan Lake, Alberta! Maarten, my sister and I drove up Friday night, skated on Saturday and drove back down on Sunday. Sylvan Lake is a small town about half way between Calgary and Edmonton, about a 7 1/2 hour drive from Kalispell. From what I could make out, 3/4 (maybe more) of the people there were Dutch and had either emigrated from the Netherlands and had Dairy farms in the area or worked as expats for Shell in Calgary. It was somewhat surreal to step out of the car (parked on the ice), and enter a world of Dutch (both spoken and accents), Frisian hats and sweaters, kroketten, erwtensoep and fanatical ice skating. All just a day’s drive from home!
We had a beautiful day with sunshine and bright blue skies, the ice was great, although a recent hard freeze had created quite a few cracks, and the wind only started to pick up in the afternoon. My sister was a champion with her new nordic touring skates and went 60 km! I skated 50, and Maarten went the full 100 km. The skaters doing the official racing were skating at the same time as us, so it was fun to be lapped by them (again and again) and watch their beautiful form. While the racers’ level was very high and they were very competitive, the tour skaters had a wide range of skills, putting my sister and I comfortably somewhere in the middle. We left happy after about 5 1/2 hours of skating, and soaked for an hour in the hotel hot tub to ease our aching muscles before venturing out for dinner. It was a perfect day.
Other highlights of the trip were: the dramatic ground blizzard on the East side of Glacier Park, Indian food for dinner in Calgary on Friday, Gorgeous views of the Eastern Rocky Mountain Front (my favorite ever, I think), stopping at Ikea and H&M for a few things, forgetting my purse at the hotel and only remembering two hours down the road (Maarten graciously offered to drive back while my sister and I hung out at the Calgary Ikea … quality time), NOT hitting one of the million deer we saw at dusk on our drive home, the hugs from the kids when we got home.
Thanks, mom, dad and Jonathan, for watching the kids and making this possible for us!
blowing and drifting snowall the important flags…Kara skating under the model of the famous Eleven City Tour bridge at BartlehiemMaarten finishing 100km!Frisian pridemore Frisian pride…the winners got to ride in the sleigh, N was sad none of us got toproud, happy and tiredeasy on the eyes