Category Archives: Alberta

Top results at Alberta Whitewater Provincials

pelly hunter whitehorsestar sept 1 2015

 

This weekend was the successful culmination of a busy summer of kayaking. We participated in the Alberta Provincial Whitewater Canoe/Kayak Championships at Canoe Meadows on the Kananaskis River and were one of two Yukon athletes in attendance.

We have spent close to a month training with the kids from the Alberta Slalom Canoe Kayak team this summer, through various camps and races from early July to late August, and it has been an amazing experience. Full thanks go to coaches Mike, Paul, AJ & Kyle for making training and competing achievable and relatively fun. They were great cheerleaders and stepped in when Hunter had no interest in listening to Tim or I.

The weekend was full of various races and Hunter made the most of the opportunity to participate in multiple events. Hunter was also joined by Pelly Vincent-Braun, another Yukon paddler, for the event.

After two and a half days of events, the boys finished as the top competitors in terms of total points in their respective categories. Pelly was the top Junior paddler and Hunter was the top Cadet paddler. Points were awarded based on results in each event that took place and then tallied at the end.
In addition to being the top paddlers in their classes, the boys also had very strong results over the course of the weekend:
Hunter – Gold, beginner C1 slalom (his first time in a C1 boat)
Hunter – Gold, novice cadet C1 slalom
Hunter – Bronze, advanced cadet K1 slalom
Hunter – Bronze, novice cadet K1 freestyle
Hunter – Silver, C1 downriver (no classes)
Pelly – Bronze, junior freestyle (Pelly competed in a C1 boat against other K1 paddlers)
Pelly – Silver, advanced junior C1 slalom
Pelly – Gold, C1 downriver (no classes)
Hunter & Pelly – Gold, novice junior C2
Hunter & Pelly – Silver, advanced C2

We were really proud of the boys – they sat in a C2 together for the first time about 10 minutes before their first race. Pelly’s power and Hunter’s water awareness enabled them to pull of a strong race in the Advanced event (see photo at the top) and a silver medal. Day two was an even stronger result as they got the hang of it together. Hunter has come away passionate about C1 paddling – his novice Gold was his first ever clean slalom race, which was exciting in itself!

There was great recognition of their results in the local papers, which was also nice to see! These are fun articles to read…

http://www.whitehorsestar.com/Sports/whitewater-paddlers-snag-top-awards-in-alberta

http://www.yukon-news.com/sports/yukon-paddlers-excel-at-alberta-whitewater-championships/

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A week in Kananaskis stretching ourselves

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We spent a week in early July camped at Canoe Meadows on the Kananaskis River, located between Calgary and Canmore. We caught a well needed rest in Calgary for a few days ahead of time and caught up with family and friends (plus showers, laundry and internet…).

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Hunter participated in his first weeklong kayak camp through Alberta Whitewater & Waterwerks learning how to paddle a slalom boat and continuing to progress his play boating, while also getting to hang out with a fun group of kids.

Tim and I were left to our own devices for the week (sort of – we were camped about 100 yards from all the kids so could only get so silly) and ended up paddling twice a day for five days… how do you say no when the river is right next to you and the shuttle is only a 2km walk along a nicely wooded path??? We were definitely spoiled!

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The Kananaskis River is damn controlled and you are at the mercy of the hydro company, who posts a weekly river schedule on Sunday or Monday. It truly is “empty” when the damn is closed. This is the big play boating wave called “Santa Claus” without the water flowing…

And this is Santa Claus with the river turned on!!!

In addition to play boating, river running and slalom sessions the kids also spent a half-day on river rescue skills, which ended with them swimming down the top half of the race course in their dry suits.

Overall it was a fabulous week for all of us…

  • Hunter experienced slalom boating and learned he was a natural at it. Got jazzed to participate at Nationals and met a great group of paddling kids!
  • Lee continued to push comfort zones and spent a lot of time play boating and finally got a SPIN down
  • Tim earned the chocolate bar from Coach Paul for being the only one to do 4 spins in a row on Chubbies – although he is still waiting for deliver 🙂
  • We got caught up with old friends from a lifetime ago – lots of serendipity going around…

Big thanks to all the coaches that made it so fun for the kids, while also challenging them to learn and grow. We are all looking forward to heading back to Kananaskis in August for more fun paddling and the Provincials.

Celebrating 100 Years

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Over fifty extended family members gathered in Edmonton over the Mother’s Day weekend to celebrate the  life of my Grandmother, Addie Manning, who turned 100 last October and passed away on February 1st, 2015. It was quite fitting that our events were based out of the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald, which was also celebrating it’s 100th year.

The best part of the weekend was the chaos of immersion with family. It was the first time that Hunter, Robin and Justin (a new addition to the family) got to hang out together and they were quickly dubbed the 3 amigo’s as they were always together – basically a 48 hour sleepover. We had an intimate ceremony at the gravesite and a joyful lunch with 50+ family and a few close friends, most of whom had travelled to be there for the weekend. It was a wonderful reminder of the reach and impact that we can all have in our lives.

No trip to Edmonton is complete without a stop at West Edmonton Mall. We ended up doing 2 visits – one with the greater gang to catch an afternoon at GalaxyLand and a second one to experience the rest of the mall and do a little shopping.

Hunter definitely enjoyed the mall – it was a toss up between all the neat things to do and the fact that he was wearing his Heely’s and had so much smooth surface to glide on. It was a fairly hectic whirlwind of a weekend and not our usual style yet still fun to catch up with everyone and make plans for this summer.

Jasper National Park

athabasca river Jasper

We had originally planned to head south from Prince George through the northern interior of BC to mountain bike and then check out Whistler and Squamish to see what all the noise is about.

That was changed on the fly when our friends that were coming back to the Yukon from Colorado were able to pick up 2 softtop surfboards for us from Costco super cheap. We hauled out the maps shortly before leaving home and estimated that Jasper would not be too far out of our way and would be somewhat along their path. Jasper is always a great fall visit so everyone said YES and we picked Sept 10th to connect.

We had hoped for a relatively quick 4 hour drive from Prince George to Jasper on the 9th but we managed to land smack in the middle of mountain blasting 20 km before the park and sat in various places on the road for 90 minutes. Hunter was fairly enthralled as there were lots of machines and they were placing dynamite directly into the rocks to blow the shale off…

bike paths in Jasper

We stayed at the Whistler Campground run by the National Park Service. It is a large campground but one of the few that is open past September 1st. Full services, very clean and very professional staff.

An afternoon ride to town to check out the bike paths was just what we needed after spending all day in the truck. It was an amazing Indian Summer day – 25c, big blue skies and lots of sunshine! Jasper has a fabulous set of tourist oriented bike paths along the main roads and they made for easy riding, which was exactly what we needed. Boys being boys we found many sets of stairs to ride down and things to jump over just to keep the challenge going. So far so good that I am still keeping up!

Lee Athabasca River Jasper

The morning of the 10th we enjoyed a sleep in and then headed off on our bikes to explore the renowned Valley of the 5 Lakes Trail. Having learned from our Burns Lake Epic mistakes, Tim and I both agreed that it was not likely we would complete the 17km trail and that there were a few logical turn around points noted on the map. The trail starts just on the other side of the Athabasca River – a Canadian Historical River that is magical for its glacier silty blue colour. It is a very family friendly multi-use trail (bikes, hikers & horses) and starts out with a fairly gradual uphill. That gets you about 1.5 km down the trail and then you hit a series of abrupt (i.e. push your bike) uphill slopes that really suck the energy out of 10 year olds that are the same size as their bike! We persevered and made it about 4km down the trail…

Using all of the learnings from Burns Lake, we were in the midst of a rocky/tricky long downhill when it dawned on me that Hunter would have to push his bike back up all of this and that maybe it wouldn’t be smarter to make it to the bottom and then make the decision. Who said we were too old to learn! Hunter worked hard and pushed his bike back up all the downhills because he was determined to ride the downhills back to the trail head. A great lesson about goals and motivation!

There are a series of smaller loop trails on the opposite side of the river just west of Jasper town centre and if I could do our ride over again, I would have chosen one or two of those loops taking the heat into consideration. As much as I am a hot weather person, Tim and Hunter are not and the heat just seems to drain their energy. More learnings for us as we adventure plan.

We headed back into town and hit up the Coldstone Creamery Ice Cream shop and then parked ourselves on the lawn of the Jasper Park Visitors centre to access their free WiFi and for Hunter to complete his Junior Warden book… A fabulous but quick 2 days in Jasper. Well worth the stop!

Hunter Jasper Jr Warden