Posted by: carterlakelife | October 4, 2011

Zachary Alexander James

Well, it has been a very busy 4 months in the Carter home.  We welcomed Zachary into our lives on June 3 and we are happy to say that he was born healthy and happy in Yorkton, Saskatchewan.  Zachary was 9 lbs 3 oz and 22 1/2 inches long.  At 4 months he is 14 lbs 6 oz and 26 inches long.

Life has changes a lot for us and we couldn’t be happier. During the first month, he slept through the night and cat-napped during the day – that has changed with the introduction of 2 bottom teeth at 3 1/2 months.  Our little guy is growing quickly and is constantly on the move, making sure Mom is on her toes.  He has an intense gaze and has inherited the Nickel’s blue eyes.

We have spent time at the lake and in Brandon with the Carter family and visited with Grandma Nickel and Great Grandma Nickel in Winnipeg.  Our future plans include a flight to Iceland to see Uncle David, Aunt Elisabet, cousins Harold and Styrmir.

We are looking forward to spending time with family and friends during Thanksgiving and Christmas. I hope to update our blog as often as possible, so please check back often.

Wishing you all the best,
Kirsten, Kevin & Zachary

Posted by: carterlakelife | June 2, 2011

Baby Carter

So many things have happened this year for us, the most important being the soon to be addition to our family. Tomorrow we head to Yorkton, Saskatchewan to have our first child. It has been a journey to this point in our lives and we are very excited and anxious to meet our little someone. We will do our best to keep everyone up to date, and will be posting pictures soon.

Posted by: carterlakelife | July 26, 2010

More new Whistler experiences

So, if you read the previous blog post, you will know that we spent part of Sunday evening visiting with Kirsten’s uncle and his family at their hotel room which is in the main building across the street from the Hilton where we are staying. Actually, the fact that we were right across the street was discovered as we took a short cut through the back of the building on our way back to our room at around 11:30 p.m.. A few short steps down the street to a side stairwell that comes up just across the main entrance area of the Hilton through a nice flower garden and we would be back home. We took the few steps down the street, realized where we were and said to ourselves that we didn’t think we were that close. I bounded up the first 5 or 6 of the approximately 20 steps up to the main entrance, looked up and was staring into the face of a black bear. Now, I’m a prairie boy, but have never been a hunter, so my experiences with direct contact with wildlife are quite limited. Needless to say, but I stepped back off of the stairs and watched the bear roam into the flower garden and start chewing on the grass/shrubs that were planted within. We took another look and Kirsten and I both confirmed it was definitely a bear and we moved up the lane to enter from the main driveway into the hotel. When we looked back we saw a young guy  bound across the road that we had just come down and up the same set of stairs that I had just abandoned. He definitely saw the bear as we could hear him clapping his hands to try to scare it away. When he entered the hotel he advised the doormen and they were coming out to check out the story when we walked up and confirmed our sighting. Meanwhile, the bear had made its’ way down to the street that we had just come out and was wandering away. In our conversation with the hotel guys, they did not seem very worried about the situation stating that as long as no-one got between the baby and the mom, everything would be fine. There are 55-60 resident bears in the Whistler area and they roam around in the village on occasion. As one of the hotel guys put it, the bears were here long before we were. Regardless, an interesting experience nonetheless.

Posted by: carterlakelife | July 26, 2010

Last Weekend in Whistler

We spent Friday evening after we checked in unpacking and getting ourselves organized in our new accommodations. We walked around the hotel to get familiar with the amenities and while our time in the studio apartment at the Clocktower was suitable for our needs and right in the middle of the Whistler village, our stay at the Hilton will be very comfortable. Spacious room with microwave, fridge and mini-dishwasher. The hotel has a pool, sauna and whirlpool facility that we will take advantage of and the room is just around the corner from the pool and the meeting rooms where the conference is being held. There is also a restaurant/lounge within the hotel that is supposed to be one of the best in Whistler as well. Pretty comfy!

Saturday we spent the morning and early part of the afternoon testing out the gym facilities (only 20 minutes – don’t want to wear myself out) and lounging poolside. The sky was clear, sun hot and the pool was refreshing. Later in the afternoon we discovered we may have lounged a little too long – we will have to avoid the sun for long periods of time for a day or two! We went out for a casual late afternoon dinner at the base of the Whistler mountain at one of the many restaurant patios and watched the people moving about the village and coming down off the mountain either from the gondola or finishing their rides on the mountain bike trails. We then returned to the room to get out of the sun and spend a casual evening.

Sunday was intended to visit the local Farmer’s Market in the morning, but the fact that we spent a little too much time in the sun on Saturday slowed our activity. We met Glen, Jamie, Mack and Jesse (Kirsten’s uncle, his wife and their kids) at The Old Spaghetti Factory for lunch and then went for a walk through the village with them for an hour while they waited to check into their room at The Crystal Lodge not far from our accommodation. They are spending the night and planning for the boys (and Glen) to do some mountain biking down the trails on Whistler Mountain.

Kirsten is attending the opening session of her conference this evening for a couple of hours and we will then spend some more time visiting with Glen, Jamie et al later this evening.

While Kirsten is enjoying her middle school conference tomorrow, I am hoping to get in a round of golf at the Whistler course which is right across the street. That is if the sunburn I have on my shoulders and previously ghost white, but now lobster pink belly will allow me to swing without my skin splitting.

Gotta go – more lotion to apply!

Posted by: carterlakelife | July 24, 2010

Whistler Adventures

KevinAs the previous blog alludes to, we hit Nicklaus North Golf Club this past Monday. What a treat! A beautifully manicured course against the mountain scenery is truly spectacular. It  was difficult to keep from looking around from the tees and greens to all the sites. Pretty sweet – unlimited access to practice balls prior to the round; lemonade/water to get you started; have an apple if you need a little nourishment; complimentary ball mark tool; cart; yardage book; towel to keep your hand dry or to wipe your brow; tee off from the first hole with gorgeous homes lining the right side of the hole; smash it in the bush on the left — who cares. Never saw a member of the grounds crew, no sprinklers when we were out, no brown spots on the course. The staff were very friendly – “Have you played here before? First time to Nicklaus North? Welcome, and enjoy your round!” Awesome. The greens rolled true and the fairways were a perfect lie everytime.  A great round. Hoping to get out there again before we leave.

We also stayed for dinner out at the “Bear’s Den” restaurant on the patio overlooking Green Lake and the 16th tee box. Very comfortable and the food was very, very good with the most reasonable prices we have come across since we’ve been out here. A good cap to a good day.

On Tuesday, we had a slower morning which isn’t hard to do around here. Everything is pretty laid back, nothingKevin at the end of the rainbow opens until 10:00 a.m. and there aren’t many people out and about, especially during the week. We went for a stroll through the village, had lunch, hit a couple of the shops and stopped by the Whistler Golf Course to set up a tee time.  Back through the village to check out a few more activity possibilities and a bite to eat before golf. Sitting in our apartment at 4:30 watching the rain come down, we weren’t optimistic, but we venture to the course shortly after and were advised by a couple of people from around the village that it wouldn’t last long, which it didn’t.  Our tee time was for 5:40 p.m. (twilight time – a little cheaper round), but there was a clinic going on that was chewing up the first two holes, so we started on hole #3. In addition to that, we were paired up with a couple of locals from Whistler – nice couple, younger – they have lived in Whistler for 8 years. Matt works as a bellman at the Westin and Andrea works waiting tables at the Brewhouse (yep, local microbrewery) restaurant/bar. Not sure of their incomes, but it’s expensive to live, so they either have a pile of cash socked away or there is supplemental income of some sort. Regardless, they played with us for about 9 or 10 holes and then headed off. Being an unfamiliar course, playing with strangers (although very nice) are the excuses I’m using for beating it around the first few holes. I’m sure that had something to do with them taking off. We finished that last few holes on our own, made the turn at the clubhouse to finish off hole #1 and #2 and called it a night. According to Matt, only about 80 members at the local Whistler Golf Club. Outside of tourist season (July – September), it would pretty much be a walk up and play scenario at any time which is pretty good at an Arnold Palmer designed course.

Wednesday we slept in, tried to rest up a little bit and ate lunch in. The afternoon was reserved for Zip-lining. We signed up and started with a 10-15 minute bus ride to Cougar Mountain. Once we arrived, we were lucky enough to discover that we were the only two that showed up for the 1:00 p.m. time slot although there were 8 people previously scheduled to attend, so we got a private tour with the two ziplining experts, Lisa and Jimmy. After a quick tutorial and fitting of the harness we were ready to go and hopped into the back of an old army jeep driven by a guy who looked like he should have been in the movie Platoon. He got us to our destination safely where our two guides gave us a test run on a short line – about 100 yards. From there, straight into the longest, line with the biggest drop and fastest speed they had on the tour. 1700 feet, 200 foot drop, speed 50 – 60 mph, 400 feet above the valley floor. A great rush and a lot of fun once you got used to the landings which was having your “trolley” (which rode on the braided steel line) smash into springloaded brake system…at 50 mph. Whammo! The abrupt stops were almost as fun as the ride across. A great way to see the sights and do something we don’t get to do everyday and the fact we were lucky enough to go on our own made things pretty casual, but very enjoyable. This is another experience we would highly recommend for everyone to try at least once.  After a cold drink and a quick rest we were back in the van and back into Whistler by 4:00 p.m.  The Flying Wedgies

We had dinner at the Dubh Linh Gate (traditional Shepherd’s Pie and Salmon Salad and a couple of irish beers) headed back to the apartment for a change of clothes and then hit the local theatre to catch a movie. We watched the new Leonardo Di Caprio movie Inception complete with drinks and a big bag of popcorn. Great movie for anyone looking forward to seeing it.

Yesterday was a little cooler and we hung out at the apartment and started to get packed up for our move to the Hilton. Actually, we saved our energy and our experience for the day for the Araxi Restaurant which is in the heart of the village and only 50 steps from our accommodation. For those that are Hell’s Kitchen fans, the Araxi was the “prize” for last season’s winner on the reality TV show where aspiring chefs battle and are put to the test by world renowned chef Gordon Ramsay. The winners become a staff chef at his latest restaurant and this one was opend up prior to the Olympics with the winner starting in January 2010, just 6 weeks before the Olympic Games were set to open. Reading a little background on the Internet, the restaurant was a place where the winner would hit the ground running as the story posted of an interview with the Executive Chef at the Araxi oat the end of October 2009 revealed that there were already, at that time, 4500+ reservations for the restauarnt during the Olympic period. The atmosphere was great and the meal was an experience. Beef tenderloin and bison rib-eye were the mains that followed an oyster-in-the-shell appetizer. Dessert was a creme broulee and chocolate fondant. You can never go wrong with a chocolate dessert and that was the only one on the menu. An easy decision…and a good one.

Friday morning we finished packing up our studio apartment that we have spent the past 11 nights. Check out was at 11:00 and check in to the Hilton was not until 4:00 p.m. With our good packed into the vehicle, we headed back up to Nicklaus North for breakfast. Another good choice and we got there just before 11:00 a.m., so we were still able to get breakfast. Once breakfast was complete, we headed back into the village and walked about to the Aboriginal Cultural Centre for a quick look. From there we headed up the Blackcomb side of the area to the Whistler Sliding Centre, site of the Olympic luge, skeleton and bobsled events. We were able to tour the track area at least partway up the course and got to see how the track is put together and the twists and turns that are part of the structure. We were only able to venture up about a third of the way up due to the fact that there is no “bear control” further up in the area. Got some good pics  and got to see the site which was the main goal of the visit. The vertical drop of the course from top to the bottom point is 500 feet which provided and opporunity for speeds to hit nearly 150 km/h at the second to last turn. There is a memorial in the Village to the Georgian luge competitor, Nodar Kumaritashvili, who was killed during practice runs at the Olympics. There is a book where many people have left their comments and a place where many people have left tribute gifts to the athlete.

We were able to check into the Hilton a little early and by 3:30 p.m. we were comfortably in our new accommodations where we will spend the next 5 nights before departing on Wednesday the 28th. It is supposed to be hot this weekend (28 or 29) and we are looking forward to some time around the pool evening out our still prairie farmer tans and taking advantage of the amenities here (pool, proximity to golf, pool, workout room (ha)). We are expecting to have a vist with Uncle Glen and family from Surrey who are planning on coming up on Sunday for lunch and the afternoon before Kirsten starts here teacher conference on Sunday night.

Posted by: carterlakelife | July 20, 2010

Nicklaus North Golf Course

Kevin       I will have to let Kevin tell you about golfing at Nicklaus North, but as a “cart rider” I have only a few comments….. I can’t wait until my hands heal a little more because this place is fantastic!   and   if this is what golf is like, sign me up!   The course was in peak condition, the people were helpful and kind (they didn’t look down their noses at a couple from Manitoba awestruck by mountains and the fact that we were at a fancy place) and they take care of their patrons so well, complimentary  pink lemonade or water, a green apple for the ride sir? ah…..this is the life!    

Posted by: carterlakelife | July 19, 2010

Whistler Continued…

Kevin      We were able to take advantage of an on-line booking for a two days for the price of one for gondola/lift tickets which allowed us to ride up the mountain on Thursday and Friday (July 15 & 16). The first day was great in a closed gondola up Whistler Mountain. A little cooler than down in the valley, but still t-shirt and shorts for the most part. The views all around are spectacular and something that everyone should see at least once. The first gondola took us to an elevation of approximately 6100 feet, which was amazing enough, but we also had an opportunity to travel to the peak of the mountain on the “Peak Express”. An open-chair lift ride seemingly straight up another 1200 feet. The views back down into the valley overlooking Whistler and into the back country on the back side of the mountain were again breathtaking and it wasn’t hard to see how one could spend an entire day up there if you are the least bit interested in the landscape.   

Snow Much Fun There is the Roundhouse Lodge containing two restaurants and a coffee shop, a souvenir/clothing shop and many hiking trails starting from both the Lodge and the peak, if you were so inclined. We were not with the exception of a short hike across a snowbank to another rocky peak with more spectacular views. There is also a large stone Inukshuk that adorns the top of the mountain at the Roundhouse Lodge and another leading the way to the trails on the backside of the mountain.

Blackcomb to Whistler A relatively new feature is the peak-to-peak gondola ride from the top of  Whistler mountain to the top of Blackcomb with the option of riding across in a gondola with a glass bottom giving you great views of the valley floor during your crossing. Once across to the Blackcomb side, similar amenities existed with a Lodge containing a restaurant, coffee shop, souvenir and clothing shop. A new and unique sight, at least for prairie folk in July, was skiers and snowboarders coming down a trail that ended right at the Lodge.

There is also the opportunity to get even higher up the mountain on the Blackcomb side and after a short bus ride to another open-air chairlift, we found ourselves at 7500 feet overlooking a glacier/snow-covered bowl at the top of the mountain with many snowboarders and skiiers taking advantage of a warm July day. We passed over the downhill ski/snowboard trail that led from the 7500 foot point back down to the Rendezvous Lodge at the top of Blackcomb.  

We returned back down the mountain via an open-air chair lift giving us some great views of Whistler and the valley and also a couple of black bears who are part of the wildlife that inhabit the area. The second day we reversed our trek and traveled up the mountain on the 0pen-air lift, rode across on the peak-to-peak over to the Whistler Mountain and to the Roundhouse Lodge where we enjoyed a BBQ dinner. The food is amazing at at that altitude with the views added on, the meal was tremendous. Whole hog bbq on a spit, bbq chicken, ribs, corn on the cob, buttermilk biscuits, garlic & herb potatoes and topped off with a fantastic apple cobbler and fudge brownie. Awesome!  Kirsten

We did get “sucked into” a sort of time share presentation that is commonplace in these locations, but we stuck to our plans not to commit to anything although it was difficult and tempting for the opportunity, at least until we saw the buy-in price. We got $100 to spend in the village and discounts at a couple of the local spots, so it wasn’t a lost morning.

On Saturday, we spent much of the early part of the day relaxing in our apartment, then spent a few hours in the afternoon hanging out in the Peace Park (next to Rebigliati Park for those of you that remember him). The sun was hot and the muskoka chairs were comfortable and some tanning was in order. Late afternoon we returned to the apartment, had a quick rest and then went back out into the village for some shopping and dinner.

 We hit the Dubh Lihn Gate, an Irish pub and sat on the patio while we ate. As the evening went on we noticed live music drifting outside, so we moved in and took in some of the entertainment which surrounded a guitar player, fiddle player and a couple of bridal showers and a birthday party. The place filled up as the evening went on and the music drew many enthusiastic dancers especially a table of french-speaking tourists. One of whom spent most of the night very excited about the dancing and the music. His friends described him as “gauche”. A good evening all around.

Today, we had a relaxing morning, caught the final round of the British Open, had lunch in the village and decided to take a drive to explore more of the sights in and around Whistler. First stop was the Nicklaus North Golf Course just north of town. An amazing area with many very beautiful home that surround and intersect the golf course. It looks like an amazing course and we are looking forward to playing there this coming week. Related to the British Open, the clubhouse had a sale on merchandise related to the tournament. The players in the field were grouped into five categories from favourites to long-shots. Each category came with a % discount in the pro-shop. Less for the favourites, more for the long-shots. With Louis Oosthuizen, a relative unknown, leading the tournament since Friday and winning the tournament today, he was in a category that resulted in a 40% discount on clothing apparel in the pro-shop. For us, a very opportune time to be in there to get some good deals.

Following our time at Nicklaus North, we ventured south of the village to Whistler Olympic Park, site of the Kevinski-jumping, cross-country skiing, biathlon and other nordic events of the 2010 Olympic Games. Again, it was great to see those sites and the surrounding areas. The venues are still being “tidied” up a bit, according to one of the workers at the park gate, but will be used and available for years to come. We made a quick stop in Whistler Creekside where the downhill ski events were held and completed our journey of the Olympic venues in the area. We returned to the village and our studio apartment to reflect on the day and will be heading to dinner later on.

Posted by: carterlakelife | July 14, 2010

Whistler – Day 3


   Today was a restful day.  We had decided that after the last two days of travel, that we wouldn’t plan anything and let the day unravel as it saw fit…catching up on sleep was my main objective.  A leisurely stroll through the village, a quick photo at the Olympic rings, brunch at a local restaurant and I was ready for a nap. 

   The Clock Tower where we are staying is right in the heart of Whistler, and as we found out yesterday, is only a 2 minute walk from both Blackcomb and Whistler Gondolas.  Tomorrow we will make our first trek up the mountain for some sight-seeing adventure.  The Whistler Golf Course is also within a 2 minute walk from where we are staying and Kevin as already inquired about late afternoon tee times. 
  The weather, as we Canadians are fond of mentioning, is typical summer (+20s during the day)  but cools off quite quickly in the evenings.  The stores post temperatures outside the shops, and yesterday it was 0.7 C at the Whistler restaurant.  Dressing in layers is definitely in order.
We are looking forward to checking out the different golf courses, hiking, zip-lining, shopping, and sight-seeing adventures.  We will be posting pictures to our facebook pages as well as a few here.  Kevin seems to be pretty adventureous and wants to rent mountain bikes and go white water kayaking.

Posted by: carterlakelife | July 13, 2010

Whistler Trip – Day 2

Captain`s Log – 12July10 – Hit the Yellowhead west just after 9:00 a.m. local time and continued our trek into the mountains. Looking at the map and coming through on the northern route, we decided to take Hwy 99 whan we hit Kamloops. 207 Km from that point to Whistler. A stop for a bite at Cache Creek about 75 km down the road and we thought we were in for an early arrival. Althought we would highly recommend that route for the experience and the views that you certainly would not get traveling the number 1, we are unlikely to make that trek again. For a couple of prairie flatlanders, the long and winding (understatement) road with many elevation changes in the middle of the mountains and on the side of the mountains made for an interesting experience. Guardrails on the side of the highway on the prairies when the ditch is more than 10 feet deep gives us a safe feeling. Out here, not wasting time and money on that. Traveling this mountain back road while looking into a canyon that seems to drop into the centre of the earth is a little unnerving. You know the kind, similar to those that Yosemite Sam or Wile E. Coyote have fallen in many times in their pursuit of Bugs Bunny and The Roadrunner. This highway takes you through Lillooet and Pemberton, BC. Traffic is definitely not heavy and thankfully so, as we drove over at least 7 single lane wooden bridges with the warning sign `Slippery when Frosty`which in and of itself is more amusing than anything; however, the temperature was 5 degrees at that elevation, so perhaps a warning to be heeded even in mid-July. Hairpin turns where 20 km per hour was aggressive driving, runaway lanes and roads that turned back on themselves made for an intersting hike. We made it through nonetheless although the last 125 kilometres took about two hours with an average speed of 70 km. So, as stated, if you are looking for a scenic and adventurous route and not worried about making good time, we would recommend Hwy 99.

We arrive in Whistler approximately 9:30 p.m. local time and with a quick call to security to get us registered and into the building, we were settled in our studio suite a little after 10 p.m. Now that we are here, we are looking forward to many adventures.


Posted by: carterlakelife | July 13, 2010

Whistler Trip – Day 1

Captain’s Log – 11July10 – Day 1 started off well thanks to Kirsten’s organized packing and preparation. With a quick stop off at Dean and Donna’s to say hello and a little “cobwebby” after the wedding (great time and congratulations once again from us), we were off and running leaving town around 11:30 a.m. Weather was great, travel was easy and after stopping for supper in Edson, we spent the first night in Spruce Grove, AB at a comfortable Royal Inn Express.

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