Dueling Skies at Sun Peaks Resort

If you are skier you know that weather can make or break your day on the mountain. But the same is also true: any weather is good weather as long as it adds to the powder accumulation. On my recent trip into interior British Columbia to take on Sun Peaks Resorts varied slopes, I experienced the power of weather as it dueled for my love on the mountain.

Driving up Highway 1 from Washington State, the roads were bare – hardly any snow even clung to the road ditches. Worry started to sink in. Back in the Oregon, I couldn’t even fathom that Canada wasn’t getting dumped on. That week in the Cascade Mountains, the local ski resorts received inches of snow. Some of that must be falling in Canada then too? Well with blank roads – that’s right not blanketed roads – we quickly sailed into Kamloops without a flurry falling.

“Did we take a wrong turn somewhere back there?” My mom asked in jest. “It looks like we are in Montana [in summer].” With brown, dry and windblown rolling hills stretching as far as the eyes could see, it was hard to image that we were in fact in Canada, but we refused to give up hope. Finally climbing a little in elevation, whitish brown patches started to spring up between the pine trees and then bend after bend it transformed the brown valley floor into a white carpet of crunchy slush. In the short 30 minute drive from Kamloops north to Sun Peaks Resort my excitement increased like the snow-pack. Two days of awesome downhill skiing glimmering in white piles.

Day 1: The Snow

One the first day of skiing we woke up to snow flurries lightly falling to ground and low clouds hugging the mountainous terrain. As the soft stuff padded the spring slopes, my skies sailed through the runs with delightful ease – making even my spastic turns feel picture perfect.

My family at Sun Peaks Resort

Starting the day off in the snow. Here I am with my parents at the base of the mountain.

Looking up the Sunburst Chairlift

Looking up the Sunburst Chairlift

With 3,678 acres of skiable terrain at Sun Peaks Resort, we skied down the runs in silent solitude. The peaceful slopes and cozy tree-filled runs made the socked-in day about me and the mountain, nothing else. It was a wonderful, rejuvenating experience – breaking away from technology, my iPhone and work – and focusing on nature and simple the ground and snow before me.

Empty slopes at Sun Peaks Resort

Empty slopes at Sun Peaks Resort

Day 2: The Sun

With blue skies bouncing from tree top to tree top, the mountain came alive on day two. Showcasing the terrain’s variety and Canada’s beautiful, vast wilderness, the sunshine warmed up the slopes for soft skiing but in a different way than the day before. The fresh powder melted but the runs still remained fun and fast to carve through – plus the views from the top were spectacular!

Skiing down one of the forested run on Morrisey Mountain.

View from the "Top of the World" - aka the highest chairlift point 2,080m (6,824')

With seven chairlifts, multiple trails and glades and a fantastic variety of runs (10% novice, 58% intermediate, 32% expert), Sun Peaks Resorts’ mountains makes it hard to even repeat a single run in two days.

My mom stopped on the ski run with the blue skies and white topped trees behind her.

Thanks to the kind folks at Outdoors Northwest Magazine for the awesome ski package! I won two nights’ accommodation to Nancy Greene’s Cahility Lodge in Sun Peaks Resort plus 2, two-day lift tickets for this end-of-winter vacation from a twitter contest. A ski in, ski out hotel right at the base of the lifts on British Columbia’s second largest ski mountain, the Cahility Lodge made the ski weekend feel simple, relaxed and 100% about the slopes – as any ski trip should be! Follow @OutdoorsNWMag on twitter for fantastic articles about the outdoor recreation, hiking, running, fun contests and more!

Discover the winter wonders and summer surprises at Sun Peaks Resort.

Read my wine blog post about the delicious Après Ski options at Sun Peaks Resort.

What is your favorite place to ski? Comment below!

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Spring is Here! Well not really…

Happy second day of spring from Eugene, Oregon! This morning I woke up to four inches of snow…and to think it is almost April. With streets closed and slush pending, my roommate and I ventured out in the afternoon to build these two lovely snow-people. The hair on the second one is from the beautiful Cherry Blossom tree that snapped in front of our apartment. Poor flowers!

Snow men in Eugene, Oregon

Tapas at Red Agave

For a small meal that is oh so fine…oh so fine, take a seat at Red Agave in Eugene, Oregon for their tapas. Ranging from $6 – $14 these small meals tingle the taste buds and satisfy your gourmet food fix for the month without killing the pocket book. Swing in right as they open to grab a table or go late in the evening to enjoy with their specialty drinks.

Ahi Ceviche

5 iPhone Apps for Outdoor Photography

As much as I love taking photos with my real camera, my daily photo snapping buddy is my iPhone. With its ease of use and extreme portability, my smart phone is the hidden weapon in my pocket and with today’s advance app technology it is possible to get awesome outdoor photography from this simple little camera.

Do you use your phone as your camera too? What is your favorite photo app?

Here is my top 5 iPhone Apps to use to take and edit my outdoor adventure photos:

Dynamic Light photo of Spencer's ButteDynamic Light

Do you hate it when you take a photo on your phone and the colors seem duller than reality? With this powerful photo tool, turn your dark and colorless photos into vibrant images. Using the same properties of HDR technology yet with only one image, Dynamic Light brightens shadowed sections of the image and increase the color contrast to bring out the complexity of the image.

To use the app you can either take a photo directly in the tool or upload an image. With the sliding scroll adjust the intensity and use special filters to optimize the scene.

Dynamic light is my favorite app to use for landscape photos on cloudy days. The way the app adjusts the light and shadows of the clouds is always breathtaking.

This app cost 99 cents on the App Store.

Luminance iPhone AppLuminance

Enhance, dramatize, and color correct your iPhone photos with this all-in-one photo editing application. Luminance with its simple interface, makes editing your photos effortless yet without skimping on editing capabilities. Offering built-in filter presets like Twilight, X-Process and Cold Tone, Luminance makes it easy to change the look of your photo. But the best part of this app is the detailed sliders its offers to edit with precision. From split toning to adding Vignette and editing contrast, let Luminance be the professional photographer in your pocket.

This app costs 99 cents.

Sweet Creek Falls with Slow Shutter SpeedSlow Shutter Cam

This app works just like the title describes. Use Slow Shutter to take long exposure images right on your iphone. From low light settings to beautiful cascading waterfall photos, the app allows you to choose the shutter length to augment your photos further. The one difficultly with taking slow shutter images though is that you have to hold completely still or your photos will appear blurry from the movement.

To capture this photo of Sweet Creek Falls in Oregon with my Slow Shutter app I had to kneel on the ground and prop my hands and phone on my knees to hold still enough to get the shot. A challenge, but well worth it for the photo affect!

This app costs 99 cents.

Snap Seed

Fine tune your photos with this easy iPhone tool to create natural looking photos with the clarity and definition of an expensive camera and editing software. From image sharpening to grid straightening and ambiance to white balance, Snap Seed sets you up for photo success. However it doesn’t come cheap. I scored this app on a special when they were giving it away for free, yet it regularly costs $4.99.

Instagram

Offering a growing number of unique filters that add texture, ambiance and feeling to your photos, Instagram is the granddaddy of iphone photography apps for me – plus its FREE! With a built in social platform, the app allows you to share, comment and create with your fellow iphonegraphers.

So now that you have all these beautiful outdoor photos that are edited with creativity share them on Instagram and add to the growing community of iPhone togs!

Find me on Instagram @KelseyIvey!

Other iPhone photo apps to check out:

  • Photoshop Express
  • SnapBucket
  • Color Effects
  • Photosynth

Wild Weather Hike on the Ridgeline Trail

Last weekend even though the weather couldn’t make up its mind, my roommate Sarah and I headed out to the Ridgeline Trail System just 10 minutes south of downtown for a quick urban hike. Taking the trail for a 4-mile out & back, we started at the Spring Blvd Trail head and hiked to the Fox Hollow Trail head and back. Along the way we encountered snow, hail, rain and even a little sunshine. Here are some of my best iPhone photos from the afternoon excursion. Continue reading