When the idea crossed my mind to take school and work with us and head to the mountains for some recharge and turns at Marmot Basin, I immediately grabbed my pen and paper and began the list for preparing the four of us to be walking out the door in less than 36 hours.
I work from home and my children have been learning online, we rely on our devices for our days to function, however we can really do this from anywhere that has a wifi connection. I booked a midweek stay knowing that both the hotel and mountain were normally quieter than on a weekend trip.
When I am making plans to take the kids along on a ski trip I always have to think about food. They are hungry growing humans and so having more than I think I will need will always be appreciated later. I decided I’m going to make homemade instant oats for our breakfast. I combine 2 cups of quick oats, 2 TB brown sugar, ¼ cup of hemp hearts, ¼ tsp salt and 1 tsp of cinnamon into a large jar with a tight sealing lid. I gently shake to combine and gather our to go spoons and bowls.
We love rice cakes and peanut butter. Not only is it an economical meal but it’s also a great energy booster meal, especially after a few hours on the mountain. I begin adding everything I’m prepping into a tote that I will be able to pack in the vehicle. I throw in a container of trail mix, some fruit leather and some mandarin oranges. I know pocket bacon is a real thing, but as a vegetarian I’m saving the pig meat for at-home treats for our resident carnivores. My son’s school cooking class had him conveniently making pizza the morning of our departure, so after it was done cooling we put it in our cooler bag to store in the hotel fridge for a pizza dinner in our room!
We have no issues with our smooth check in and are grateful for the cleanliness and precautions the hotel has taken to keep us safe during this pandemic. We do not actually see any other guests during our stay, but keep our masks on when in public areas as per hotel policy. After our delicious homemade pizza we take to the sidewalk to stroll up town enjoying the beautiful Christmas lights that still decorate the Jasper homes. Despite the dark starry night, we find our way to Centennial Park (520 Turret St, Jasper) .
There is no one else there. When we arrive, the laughter of my kids playing tag with each rings in the air. It is an uncommon sound these days due to the decreased visits to our own local playground. They soon discover the sledding hill and although we were not prepared with sleds or snow pants, they make do! What a wonderful way to have family time in the beautiful outdoors with the moon reflecting off the snow kissed mountaintops.
We make our way back to the hotel. It’s early to bed so that we are well rested for our first ski day that is planned for tomorrow. It’s always strange sleeping in the same room as your kids after years of them being in their own rooms. I always travel with my own pillow. I find it helps me fall asleep quickly as I am so comfortable. This night, I am having a hard time falling asleep because I am listening to the different sounds my kids make as they settle. I turn down the heat, grab some water and soon drift off.
The morning is quiet and calm, the kettle boiling the water for our oats and the swish of the coffee maker spitting out my morning brew is the only sound. I spend some time responding to work emails and completing my daily tasks in time for my kids to check in on their assignments. We love the flexibility of completing what is needed around our schedule; When the work is done, the play will be fun. We make our way to Marmot Basin parking lot and I am thrilled to find that my favourite parking spot is available.
I talk mountain safety, shoulder checking and being mindful with my kids as we hike through the lot to where we will strap on our skis and boards. My kids spend an average of four nights a week at the local Edmonton hill, Sunridge, but trips to the mountains are not nearly as frequent. They are as excited as I am and I am so proud watching them safely make their way down to the chair lift. They recognize the newly fallen snow and express how different it feels from the man made city snow! We spend the next hour and a half taking in the breathtaking sunrise, bluebird skies and quietness of each run.
I watch on as my kids make their way towards where I am stopped mid mountain only to witness my oldest catch an edge and go down on her snowboard. I can see she is taking longer to get up than she should and as she slowly makes her way towards me, I can see that she is in pain by the way she is gripping her ankle.
Ski patrol arrives and very professionally ensure her safety and comfort as they load her into the toboggan to bring her towards our car. As they assess her, get her snowboard boot off and offer suggestions based on what they are seeing, I load the car knowing that our ski day has been cut short. We are told x-rays are highly recommended and as we prepare to depart I call the hospital giving them a heads up of our arrival and to gather information on current hospital protocol. A few hours later my daughter is discharged after amazing care and sent home in an air boot and crutches….I guess that’s one way to call it a day!
Sometimes things do not always go as planned. On the ride home, we chat about accidents, disappointment and not blaming anyone for the change in plans. It seems an appropriate topic as we made our way East, away from the mountain beauty.
After the teachable moment has passed and everyone is settled, we go back to our audiobook and car snacks, with the kids taking naps after the eventful day. The first thing on my to-do list after unloading is to browse the calendar to check when our schedule will allow for a return to Marmot Basin.
Preparing for a mountain adventure also requires thinking about the what-ifs. By not walking away disappointed and instead excited for the next time, we allow ourselves to appreciate the moment, no matter how long or short it is!
I can’t thank the Jasper Ski Patrol enough, they are the true heroes of the day, be sure to thank them on your next visit!