Friday, 27 December 2013

Activities to check out in Victoria and Vancouver over the holidays

by Keith and Heather Nicol
     We decided to spend the Christmas holidays in the Vancouver-Victoria area of British Columbia and have been enjoying a variety of activities in between visiting friends and family. In Victoria we saw the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibit at the Royal B.C. Museum. We saw the 2012 presentation last year in Victoria and were pleased to see it back again with a whole new crop of exceptional images from some of the world’s best wildlife photographers. Of the over 40,000 images reviewed only about 100 make the final cut so you know you are seeing the cream of the crop. This exhibit runs until early April, 2014 so you have lots of time check it out. For more information see:
                                                       Photo by Douglas Seifert, USA
Swimming in front of a dugong in the Red Sea are golden trevallies, riding the pressure waves created by its nose.
The Aquabus heading to Granville Market
      In Vancouver we had a great time riding the Aquabus ferry ( to Granville Market which was full of Christmas gift ideas as well as lots of good things to eat. The Aquabus ferry system plies the waters of False Creek and we hope to get back to see more of this area by ferry. We also had a chance to check out the new FlyOver Canada experience which is located at conveniently located Canada Place. FlyOver Canada is a simulated helicopter flight over some of Canada’s most scenic areas and we were impressed to see many images of Newfoundland starting off the show. The full show is 30 minutes long and showcases many varied aspects of Canada. The simulated flight itself is 8 minutes and is complete with wind, scents and mist. It is geared for all ages and see: for more information.

The helicopter used for filming FlyOver Canada flies over a herd of horses in Alberta

     Our next visit was to VanDusen Gardens ( and their amazing Festival of Lights show. For many people in the Vancouver area this is a must see event and runs from December 11 to January 4. There are almost 1.5 million twinkling lights on display as well as various shows throughout the gardens.  The Festival of Lights starts at 4:30 pm and runs until 9:00 pm and we recommend that you allow 1.5 hours to fully appreciate the lit up gardens. We saw the Festival of Lights on Christmas Eve and it was a real highlight.
The Festival of Lights is well worth seeing


Thursday, 12 December 2013

Try a Supercamp at Sovereign Lake-Silver Star to improve your cross country skiing

By Keith and Heather Nicol
There was lots of top quality Rossignol gear to try
      We just returned from a great Supercamp experience at Canada’s largest cross country ski trail network at the Sovereign Lake-Silver Star Nordic facility located near Vernon, B.C. The main Supercamps ran from November 22 to December 8, 2013 and they included 3 weekend camps and two 5 day mid week camps. These camps are worth looking at for many reasons including: amazing early season snow, well qualified CANSI instructors and coaches and a 105 km long trail system that is well groomed for classic and skate technique. Add to this presentations by waxing experts, access to a well -equipped weight room and high quality Rossignol ski equipment and what more could you ask for? And did I mention that many cross country ski teams use this area for their early season training camps so you are sharing the trails with some of the continent’s best cross country skiers. These camps are geared to everyone from first timers to advanced skiers looking for some new tips . If you want a mid season tune up on your skiing you can still take in 2 more weekend camps which are scheduled for January 17-19, 2014 and February 14-16, 2014. For more information see:
The Supercamps use 105 km of trails at Silver Star and Sovereign Lake
Instruction included lessons in classic and skating technique

Learn waxing tips from industry experts
Be sure to check out the stretching classes

Great early season skiing at Sovereign Lake and Silver Star near Vernon, B.C.

The trees were caked in snow
by Keith and Heather Nicol
      One of the best places in Canada for early season skiing is the Sovereign Lake– Silver Star Nordic trail system. Together they boast 105 km of trails and this year they have been cross country skiing since early November.  We recently spent 10 days at Silver Star Resort skiing both trail systems in late November and early December, 2013 and can’t say enough good things about these trails. This combined trail system is the largest in Canada and are well groomed for classic and skating ski techniques. It was a winter wonderland with the trees caked in snow. Both trail systems have warm up cabins along the way and they make a good place to stop, rest and warm up. Another bonus is that many cross country teams come to this area to train and it is great to be skiing on these trails with some of the fastest skiers in the country. Add to this the stunning scenery of the distant Monashee Range and you have a hard to beat location for cross country skiing. For more information see: and
The wide trail systems are groomed for classic and skate technque

Where else can you x-country ski past restaurants and shops ? 
There are several cabins along the extensive trail system

Racing teams love to use this area as an early season training venue