Craving a ski holiday with your family this winter? Do you fancy alpine vistas, cozy log cabins, and the breeze whipping past your face while you make tracks on a powdery slope but find you can’t face the day-long drive and expense of a trip to the mountains? This was how my family was feeling during the long dark days that follow Christmas. We needed a break and we needed one that wouldn’t break the bank, so we decided to try something new. When I mentioned to a few friends who grew up in the Melfort area that we were interested in a ski getaway, they suggested Wapiti Valley Ski & Board Resort. We’d never been but the commute was manageable so I thought, why not?! Wanting to make several nights stay of it, I did a bit of research and stumbled across the gorgeous Outer Banks Luxury Country Vacation Rentals, booked in, and we were set!
Our arrival at Outer Banks was a pleasant surprise! Our cabin (one of nine diverse rentable accommodations) was nestled cozily next to the serene Saskatchewan River. We were looking for a break from the every day, and the second I laid eyes on our home-away-from-home, I knew we had found it! Our kids ran in excited to find their own beds in the more than roomy bedrooms, and I was silently thankful that, unlike other cabins we have rented, we hadn’t needed to bring bedding, towels, dishes, and a number of other small conveniences that would make our stay just a little easier. The temptation to pit in and watch the Olympics was great (the cabin came equipped with full cable and WiFi), but the call of the beautiful outdoors was greater so we dressed up and went for a refreshing cross-country ski along the river. As darkness drew in, we cozied in for an evening that would take on a Christmas Eve-esque quality. We shared a nice BBQ meal with friends who were staying next door, poured ourselves a few drinks, got in our jammies, and dug into our stash of board games. The hours disappeared in that mysterious way they do only during holiday times, and we stayed up far too late!
After some zzz’s, we drank our morning coffee on a couch with a five-star view and rallied the troops for a day on the hill at Wapiti Valley Ski & Board Resort! Now here’s the best part… After rolling out of bed at a lazy 8:30, we were still able kit out our family of 5 in winter gear and ski rentals by the time the lift opened at 10, thanks in large part to the 5-minute commute from our cabin to the resort. Our youngest daughter had never skied before so we booked her a lesson and left her in the capable hands of Lucy, a CSIA, CASI and CADS certified ski instructor. My son decided to give snow-boarding a try for the first time and enjoyed a one-hour group lesson while my husband and I ventured out to enjoy some precious time on the slopes on our own! I’m a green run kind-of girl and found plenty to suit my tastes while my more adventurous husband released his inner speed demon on the blue and black runs. Wapiti impressed us with its 15 runs and nearly 20 000 feet of trail. Our son was brave enough to give the terrain park a go, and even caught a tiny bit of air in the process! Between runs, our family enjoyed breaks in the roomy Chalet with snacks from the canteen and maybe the occasional craft beer and cocktail from the bar. Needless to say, a good time was had by all.
We retired to our cabin after the hill closed at 4:30 and soaked our sore muscles in the natural heat wood-burning hot tub we were able to rent from Jerry in Melfort. This may have been my personal highlight on an otherwise fantastic holiday. Fresh air, P & Q, G & T, a stunning view, the cozy smell of burning wood, the prospect of another fantastic skiing day, and lazing around in a hot tub… Yep, you can’t get much better than that!
With special thanks to Sean and Natalie Bodenstab for their hospitality at our home away from home and to Marc Anderson and the wonderful staff at the hill for getting us on our way to a fantastic ski adventure!