Friday, March 20, 2015


Something about a Lodge makes people drink a bit. One of the other guys told me his bar bill for the five nights was $5,000. Apparently he had bought at least three bottles of $400 wine. They'd offered us a glass, but we'd turned them down not knowing. Apparently its impossible for even vintners to gauge wine over $30.
Few snaps of time at CMH Gothics Lodge in British Colombia, Middle of Nowhere. 

John Egan of Sugarbush, Vermont. He did some legendary ski vids 25 years ago  - or "back when you were alive" as Cy, 11, says.

You eat like you're never going to see food again.

There was that quaint tradition of drinking shots from the ski.

And the staff won the drinking race. They are undefeated. The lovely young women on the left is their secret weapon.

The Lodge is totally plain from the outside but inside has been newly decorated and has little touches of luxury like the huge gym with a climbing wall, the games room and bar and hot tub. 

The rooms are comfy. There are no clocks: one of the staff run up and down the hall in the morning ringing a wee bell to tell you when it's yoga at 7am ( never made it once) and brekkie at 8.

I loved the espresso machine which gave you a facial along with your latte.  

There are no locks on the room (!) and its so casual that one guest attended all meals in his bathrobe. 

This place cannot be faulted. As a journalist in real life I'm not allowed to promote stuff, so this is real life opinion. The staff are endlessly patient and work like demons. The guides turn into waiters at night. You can loan jackets and snow boots if you dont want to bring gear.

There was Byron, a 30 year old Kiwi from Auckland who used to manage The Copper Room bar. He outfits you with  skis. He's a real Magiver with all his unguents and flames and noisy bits and he bought my leather gloves back to life with a goopy cream and his flame. May as well give Byron two photos because he's Kiwi and has a great name.

Tania, also a Kiwi from Auckland was  the bartender and had the great outfits and updos. Way to Represent, Tania.

Then there's Doug, the pilot; he has 12,000 hours of flying. He flies back to the Lodge at 150 miles an hour. And even though i found the whole landing and taking off terrifying, i could still appreciate how good he was to land three ft from our crouching group. 

There was our guide Big Norm. I kept humming that old Kiwi song Our Big Norm when i was around him - do you remember that song? Tania and Byron were too young to remember it. 

The first arvo Norm taught us the terrifying skills of what to do in an avalanche. We were each equipped with radio, human body beeper- finder thing, long prongy thing for searching the snow iin a "burial" and a shovel, which we carried in the red backpack. Apparently you have half an hour to find someone. Please note: even if it's two hours, keep searching for me please!

Avalanche-preparedness with Big Norm.

Here's all of us Alta Women's group off snow shoein' and whisky sippin' and generally feelin' free to drop our G's. 

Our Alta instructors Jen and Connie came too and we gave them Chan Luu scarves for being all round awesome people. They always fit, those scarves dont they?
Jen and Connie, wild women from the Wasatch.

Lizann (left below with Jen) picked the scarves. Loved lizAnne's style. She's wearing a Madewell shirt snd she had a heirloom black pearl necklace made into this more casual one with leather. Good idea. 

Finished up with learning to ski trees in fresh but heavy snow - or "sierra snot" as one of the guides called it.

There was also extensive technical tutelage about how to pee on the side of a mountain with your skis on. That was easy peasy: there's some tricks you cant teach a 52 and 3/4 old Kiwl wahine. 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Heli skiing in Gothics, Canada

Its the third day of heli-skiing in Gothics, Canada. Awesome people, food, skiing.  I've been surprised: the sking is doable. I was wondering why noone else was feeling delicate about the helicopter climbs but as someone else said: "Why would you sign up for this if you were afraid of heights?" Bloody hell, should have thought about that. 

Friends, I have to be truthful - the second day I was tearful with each heli ride which includes crouching three ft from the rotating bird waiting for it to land or take off. A visual: 

It comes so so close.

But I just boohooed in my googles without letting anyone know and pulled up the Big Girls Pants. Reason was: we were lucky enough to ski with Roy and Steve of High Five. They are two adaptive skiers. Both pros who broke their backs and have limited use of their legs. Whereever you were on the mountain you could hear them laugh. No whining whiile they are around.  

Here is Roy in the bar with some of our women's group from Alta Lodge. Amongst our number are four women in their late 60's. Good sorts all, and we've been having some jolly good chortles. 

One of our number has warned us to stay on our guard against Heli Belly, the pooch that arrives when the food's as good as this. There is also constant snacks and candy and baked goods galore.

Lunch on a snow day  was roasted vege soup snd chick wraps ..,

Before that was the panoramic brekkie

Even the  porridge is prettied up.buggerit because i cannot do early morning ambidextrous stuff like eating and talking to people you're not related to, so have not really made much of an appearance.

Moussey choccy morselettes at dinner

St Patty's Day lamb chops and lamb snozzies was delish.

Cute Moose mousse tonight. 

Geat lunches in the snow - miso soup and salmon baguettes. Smoked oysters which I scarfed summarily. 

Too blim late for the Heli Belly....And the trousers go squeek a squeek...
Ps, you can't fault this Company we're staying with: CMH Gothics. I'll tell you all about them tomorrow. 

In the meantime have you had occasion to pull on the Big Pants this week?

Friday, March 13, 2015

Cheerio Alta!

I'm heading out today to Gothics, Canada ( middle of nowhere)  to go Heli-skiing. At this point you might think i'm an extreme skier. No. Also i'm afraid of heights and helicopters. Gulp.

I will miss Alta. The food:

The characters who've been here forever. Like Mikey who has been serving afternoon tea for 20 years.

He uses an old gold tea pot. He used to use these high falutin' glass ones but then switched to the gold one because his mother uses one for the after church teas.

Ye olde golde potte
My nemesis: Pumpkin and cranberry bread and coconut and choc macaroons:

Dave who tends the gift, wine and everything else shoppe downstairs, sort of in the dungeon, was a guest who never left. He worked in finance in New York, quit his job ten years ago to come and ski and tend the store. He wears a different nifty cravat everyday. His friends wear them too and they are hard to find, so last time he spotted them in NY he bought 12.

I'm not sure of this young lads story, but he always had good hair. He waits at the entry of the Sitzmark Club and carries your drinks to the dining room. Because of the laws here, you're not allowed to carry drinks from room to room.

I won't miss the hot tub, even though its got a great view. Not much of a one for hot tubs -are you?

Here was the Alta fashion - short skirts in a parka material and sassy leggings.  Very Sitzmark.
Angelique and Cameron present the Alta-style girl. 

Then there's the big straddle bag look

I'll miss seeing the rest of the staff who are always heading out to ski in shenanigany. I saw a guy carrying a pineapple on the lift today.

I'll miss the latte gal on the mountain. She always remembered my latte order. Double non fat if you're shouting. (Kiwi fir treating)

My pants were challenging ( a perfect storm of wedgie and button popping nonsense) . But the old Bognor top has been jolly good to me.

So tata Alta Lodge, off to Canada we trot.

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