Feb
27
2012

Visit The Big White Ski Resort

a destination that proudly boasts itself as "Canada's Favourite Family Resort"

Visit The Big White Ski Resort

With its lush landscape and serine lake dotted with cottages and boat ports, the Okanagan Valley is almost perfectly contrasted with the stark mountains that rise around it. High up into the surreal rocky and snow covered terrain, about an hour drive from Kelowna is the Big White Ski Resort—a destination that proudly boasts itself as "Canada's Favourite Family Resort." A lofty declaration considering the number of ski resorts the province alone contains. As wallets have tightened over the last several years, there is fierce competition for vacation dollars. Resorts advertising themselves as family-friendly need to do a lot more than just pay lip service to your family's needs—they need to ensure that they can cater to the requirements of visitors in every age range while providing value that mom & dad can appreciate. So how does Big White measure up?

 
The Skiing
 
 
With the Okanagan Valley visible far below Big White's base village, it is almost ideally located to ensure perfect ski conditions throughout the winter months. The basin below provides perfect conditions for great powder snow, clear blue skies and minimal risk of plunging temperatures. While Big White can occasionally succumb to foggy conditions, it is truly an ideal location to ensure a weather-cooperative ski vacation.
 
The ski runs bridge a broad range of skills, important when skiing with a family. The area immediately surrounding the village is perfectly suited for beginner skiers and offers everything needed from those strapping skis on for the first time to those who are still trying to build their confidence before heading out on the more challenging runs on the mountain itself. Where Big White really shines though is its ability to host the intermediate skier, with dozens of 'blue runs' that weave their way down its massive slopes. From just about every peak and ski lift there is a plethora of intermediate runs down the mountainside. The resort boasts nearly one hundred runs across 2,900 acres of skiing. For the advanced skier, the West side of the mountain, known as Gem Lake, offers some more advanced runs and challenges. For snowboarders there is a ski park on the mountain which includes a half pipe, jumps for all levels and a fairly gentle slalom course where your family can race down the hill and test their skills against one another.
 
The Resort
 
 
While many resorts have recently opted for a fabricated European-village feel, Big White prides itself on its uniquely Canadian appeal. There are no mock-cobbled streets lined with Irish pubs, French patisseries or German chocolate shoppes. The village and its subtle combination of chalets and log buildings brings just the right amount of Canadian charm while avoiding the over-the-top sheen and glamour of the overhauled resorts Intrawest has been sprouting up of late.
 
Nearly all of the accommodations offer ski in/ski out ability and with 17,00 beds the resort offers a wide array of accommodation options. From multi-room units with bunkbeds in one of the many hotels to massive high-end chalets with stunning views of the mountain-side, the sky is truly the limit when it comes to the variables available on pricing, size and comfort. The staff are all so friendly, it's really one of the lasting impressions you'll take away with you. Everyone from the pimply kid shoveling snow from the base of the chair lift to the shuttle bus drivers will greet you with a warm smile and friendly hello.
 
The Food
 
 
You will not find a conglomerate restaurant anywhere at Big White. All of the restaurants are either run by the resort or local owners who lease the space directly from the resort. While there are higher end restaurants available if you are looking for a nice glass of wine, a steak dinner or an evening at the pub, the resort does not lack for family-friendly options. From pizzas, to hamburgers and bowls of pasta—nearly every restaurant has either child friendly selections or its own Kids' Menu available.
 
For those taking part in the Kids Centre activities, fresh kid-friendly meals are prepared on-site every day with a strict "nothing fried" policy. The Kids Centre is also happy to accommodate nearly any dietary requirement with enough advance notice.
 
The Programming
 
 
If you've got members of your family who decide the ski hills are just not their thing, Big White has a ton of other stuff going on at just about any hour of the day. Climbing their one-of-a-kind ice tower, skating on their massive outdoor rink, or scooting around on their child-sized skidoos—there is no lack of programming available for your family.
 
If you fancy a nice night out with your significant other the kids can take part in an evening of fully-supervised tubing and dinner while you dine nearby. Almost every night of the week there is something going on in the village centre. From carnival night, to movie night and fireworks there is certainly no lack of entertainment options for your crew. 
 
The Kid Centre
 
 
Big White's greatest strength is definitely its family oriented Kids Centre. Children aged 18 months to 5 years can spend half or full days in their Tot Town daycare where staff watch over the resorts youngest guests in a full-facility daycare. Areas designated for play-time, learning, napping and snacks make it feel like a fully functioning day care you'd find at home.
 
Across from the daycare those kids old enough to ski can sign up for full or half days in the Kids Centre. Skiers of all levels can sign up to go out with a ski instructor and improve on their skiing, or spend a day at the tubing park. The Kid Centre boasts its own kitchen, a rock climbing wall, art centre and more. A lot of families often opt to put their children in a half day ski program in the morning, and then join up with their kids for lunch and an afternoon on the slopes. The key to the Kids Centre is its breadth of options while still offering the best flexibility for your family.
 
 
Clearly, Big White does not take its family-friendly status lightly. There are an abundance of family activities, facilities and accommodations for families of any size. It doesn't take much time walking around the village to see just how much fun families can have at Big White, spending time together and making lasting memories. With direct flights into Kelowna from many locations throughout Canada, it is not difficult to see why it may indeed be Canada's favourite family resort.
 
Photo credits: Big White Ski Resorts & Shane Black
 
If you are looking for some great ways to keep your kids looking cool while keeping warm, check out this great post
Feb
19
2012

Hosting An Oscar-Worthy Party

2012 Academy Awards

Hosting An Oscar-Worthy Party

Anyone can invite over some friends, bake some cookies, turn on the TV and call it an Oscars party.  But if you're gonna do it—you might as well do it right. Throw a party they'll be talking about from now until next year's awards.

By honouring each of this year's Best Picture nominations with a pizza pie you'll bowl over your party guests. The wonderful thing with pizza is you can make it as simple or complex as you'd like. Order the whole thing from a delivery joint, or make it from scratch at home—the choice is yours. 

Print up some mini movie posters with a brief description to go alongside your pies. 

 

War Horse - what iconic food tips its hat to the Brits as much as Sheppard's Pie? Toppings: basil pesto, roasted potato, ground beef and cheddar

 

 

 

The Artist - Taking us back to the black & white films of yesteryear this pizza is a perfect fit. Toppings: white pizza (no sauce) with mushrooms, goat cheese, kalamata olives, onions, and mozzarella

 

 

 

Moneyball - Take me out to the ballgame buy me some peanuts and.. a giant hotdog with all the fixin's. Toppings: cheese pizza with peanut sauce, sourkraut, and salami slices

 

 

 

The Descendants - The sand, the surf, the sun. This one's a no-brainer. Toppings: Hawaiian

 

 

 

The Tree of Life - A pie worthy of the big ol' State of Texas. Toppings: steak, bbq sauce, french fried onions, mozzarella

 

 

 

Hugo + Midnight in Paris - Parisians would likely not approve but this gourmet pizza is magnifique. Toppings: caramelized onion, alfredo sauce, gorgonzola cheese

 

 

 

The Help - There is nothing as Southern or delicious as pimento cheese. Here's a perfect representation in pizza form. Toppings: roasted red pepper sauce, fried green tomatoes, cheddar cheese

 

 

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close - Following a boy on his journey around New York City, what better homage to the Big Apple than a shout-out to the marvelous pastrami and cheesecake found in every corner deli of NY. Toppings: fried pastrami, pastrami spices, Ricotta cheese. 

 

 

Check out a full list of this year's nominee's here.

Feb
13
2012

Visit Ottawa For Winterlude 2012

You Say Brrrr..I say Brrr-illiant!

Visit Ottawa For Winterlude 2012

With the mild weather we've been having this year, a trip to Ottawa for a healthy does of winter is just what the doctor ordered. For the Family Day long weekend the YummyMummyClub and their families will be descending on Ottawa for their annual get-together in the nation's capital.

Winterlude is a city-wide celebration of my favorite season (forgive me, I'm a winter baby). Ottawa rolls out the red carpet for its visitors during the entire month of February for what is surely the city's most impressive time of year. Skating down the picturesque Rideau Canal has become an iconic wintertime activity for locals and visitors alike, but it's really just one of a myriad of activities and events that take place during Winterlude.
 
Winterlude really shines in the numerous outdoor destinations for visitors to choose from. Whether taking an ice sculpting lesson, visiting a maple syrup sugar shack or toboggoning in one of the various parks around the city. There is no shortage of entertainment to get you outdoors and into the fresh air. For those with kids there's an entire winter wonderland called Snowflake Kingdom—North America's largest outdoor snow playground.
 
For those more inclined to stay inside where it's warm, Ottawa has a slew of museums to choose from. The breadth of selection is really unique to any other city in Canada and will make sure that everyone in your family has a blast. We're looking forward to a great winter family escape and my kids have already started to list me our mandatory stops...Beaver Tails, Byward Market, Snowflake Kingdom, it's going to be a fun and very BUSY weekend!