Hazy Shade of Winter

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I know you have done it.

You have all been googling exotic holidays, scouring Expedia for a cheap flight, grab a quick break to somewhere where the temperature isn’t frost bite and extreme cold weather warnings. I yearn for the heat of the sun on my skin. That cold snap was the death of me at the end of December. Every year I make a commitment that after almost 34 years on this planet I’m going to learn how to enjoy our not so warm climate. I’m going to embrace winter activities and make the best of the 4-6 months of less than desirable weather.

First step to that is preparing for the cold. Invest in the gear. Sometimes I wear my fall or spring jackets and essentially dress like a complete jackass all in the name of fashion. Poor clothing decisions from head to toe. It’s silly and I know I’m going to freeze to death.  Dressing for the climate is one thing that can make those cold days more bearable. Dress like we live in the arctic – because we do. The Canadian Goose jackets are an example of the proper equipment (costly but a life time warranty) because you will not feel the pain of winter. I have a knock off version to save bucks but the down fill, length to cover my ass at the rink and the massive hood works just the same. Then find the proper boots, a toque, and mitts. The key is preparation. I was gifted a car starter and if you don’t have the luxury of parking indoors – this is like winning the lottery. Another way to make your winter less bitter is to make sure you know where your car plug in is and having a proper length extension cord and snow brush/scraper on hand – it will make those dark mornings a little brighter.

Over the holidays I had elaborate plans to head up north to our family cabin at Delaronde Lake to really engage in the prairie winter pastimes of ice fishing, snowmobiling, outdoor fires, and frosty walks with the dog. Well at -47 degrees Celsius it didn’t quite work out the way I had imagined. The pipes for the water froze up, the quads and snowmobiles started momentarily but then died. The ice shack was pulled out of storage but the epic windshield and lack of snowmobile to pull it left it sitting on the cabin driveway. Maybe this was a blessing in disguise because what we did do was spend 4 days together making memories and catching up. Board games, cozy fireplace hangs, amazing meals, and laughter was on the to-do list and it didn’t disappoint. We were even able to bring my darling mother in law whom got her first snowmobile ride (driven by 10 year old Beckett). The lake has been a summer pastime and due to our hectic hockey and work schedules we never make it out during the snow months so this was very special for us all. I highly suggest going up to Elk Ridge or finding a lakeside spot to enjoy a weekend during the winter.  The air is crisp and creating a new adventure will have a lasting effect on the family.

If staying in the city is more your cup of tea then you are in a city with great things to entertain you and your families. My suggestion would be to grab a Flow or Planet S magazine (check them out online) for what’s happening in Saskatoon. This city has concerts, art galleries, theatre, comedy….the list is endless. There are winter carnivals and activities throughout the colder months that definitely break up this sometimes horrendous season. If you’re a foodie then the talented chefs in this city can have you on a weekend food crawl for all 16 weeks we might consider winter. My favourites are starting off at 9mile brewery for some sampling of local made brewskies, I would then suggest one of the many delicious locally ran restaurants in the Riversdale area including The Hollows, Leydas, Picaro, Drift’s Vista Lounge, or Odd Couple. If Broadway is more your flavor then Una Pizza, Calories, Nosh Eatery, And Sushiro are all on my top ten. We are so lucky to live in a city with so many great places to wet your whistle and fill your belly.

Now sometimes you just have to get away. The cold has got you making an escape plan…..as does mine right now. No amount of wine and cozy movie nights are fulfilling the urge for me to fly the coop to a warm sunny place. Now where would I go…well to be honest the best vacations I have ever had have been to a beautiful boutique resort in Panama called Sansara. If you’re a lover of food, enjoy yoga and want to surf (beginner or elite) then it has everything you could possible want. I call it a 5 star resort in the jungle. A best kept secret that I want to share with everyone. Sansara, owned and operated by born and raised Saskatchewanians Janel & Mike Phillips was a labour of love. Moving their lives to Panama when they found the perfect spot on the beach to make their dream come true of making a quaint retreat resort. It’s breathtaking. A little jaunt to get there but once settled in one of their bungalows you won’t want to leave. I learned what going on a vacation really was. Coming home I was more in shape and rested then I had ever been. Sometimes a Panamanian vacation isn’t in the books so jumping on a quick flight to a sunny destination down south or an all-inclusive resort for the ease of no planning and just taking in the hot Caribbean sun is exactly what the doctor ordered. I definitely encourage travel as its good for the soul. You can take all the vitamin d drops in the world but it certainly doesn’t come close to the actual thing.

I hope that each of you take what you need from our change of seasons. May winter not be the grumbling swear under your breath and perhaps it’s the undiscovered love for snow shoeing, the quiet time at the lake with family and a board game, or perhaps it’s the excuse to book that flight to Panama. Happy Wintering everyone may it be the best one yet.

Chantal