18th Annual Snowflea Telefest – Feb. 21-23 /14

…just reposting my emailed letter from a few weeks ago here in the blog- in case we missed anyone! See you soon!

“Hellllooooooo!!! …..a reminder to join us for a fluffy and fun-filled weekend, our 18th Annual Snowflea Telefest, February 21st-23rd!
Hi folks! Well, you just can’t keep a good deity down, and our personal buddha, Heikki Lunta, a.k.a. good ol’ Hank Snow has been flurrying us with his attention for a few months now!

Back-country conditions are amazing at present. It started snowing in early November and it just hasn’t stopped. Super cold temperatures have kept the snow very dry and deep, and every day there’s new powder to enjoy, on top of a base of 1.2 metres (that’s 3.5 feet for you southerners!)
But then of course, most of the middle of the continent is enjoying the same awesome conditions.

A few sad under-shovelled people are groaning about too much of a good thing – but not us Snowflea- ers!
…and hey, what’s with – “Polar Vortex”? ….didn’t we just used to call it winter?

Some of the excessive effort needed to survive this” Vortex”; (not to be confused with The Vortex of Pain on our trail system) – include catching your breath after a supreme 50-turn flight down the newest pitch, Lone Pine, slogging in a fresh access trail after every nights’ snowfall of 24 cm (10 inches) … and of course deciding what type of beer to reward oneself with after a thirsty day!

Lodge attendance has escalated this year as everyone bows down to old Heikki – and once bent over past their knees I see most using their mittened hands to strap on those trusty skis and snowshoes. What can ya do – the only seasonal alternative is Hawaii, mall-walking or anti-depressants … or a radical option, like medical hibernation. (?)

So wouldn’t it be more fun to set your compass for some snorkel-skiing at The 18th Annual Snowflea Telefest 2014? Seventeen years so far – every single one of them a blast!

Check out the snowflea page on our website here:

http://www.bellevuevalleylodge.ca/shome.html

Here’s our fancy new poster courtesy of Ryan Creagh http://www.bellevuevalleylodge.ca/telefest2014.jpg

…. we would like to remind all local friends with time constraints we still offer a special rate that includes the Saturday afternoon tour on snowshoes or skis, full dinner and concert.
This year our featured performer is Roger Marin, a very talented alt-country singer-songwriter ~ www.rogermarin.com – ( you may remember seeing him playing guitar and pedal steel in Fred Eaglesmith’s band a few years back.)

Thanks to those of you who have already registered!

Anyone else? ….just drop us a line and let us know if you will be pitching a tent, staking a chair, or reserving a room ! (Yes, we are contemplating building a snow cave just for you, Mr. “Timex” Hill!)

…yers in a big white-out,
Robin

House Concert in November – Stephen Fearing

We are looking forward to a favourite artist performing here in November – musician and friend Stephen Fearing will be here on November 24th for a matinee performance. Stephen is one-third of the supergroup “Blackie and the Rodeo Kings”, former Snowflea Telefest performer, part of the duo “Fearing and White” and one of the most talented and hardest touring folk-rocksters I know of… this past summer he set up several shows live streamed on the internet that were simply amazing in the sense of intimacy and candour, and yet available for viewing by everyone who wished to participate. 

As someone who is old enough to remember how we lived before the internet became our closest companion, I am overwhelmed when I see the possibility of the technology used for performance of art; in this case gathering a crowd of people from every part of the planet all at one time to participate in the experience. The shows Stephen presented were so ambient – the audience could tweet and talk on the sidescreen, ask Stephen questions or request songs, revisit old friends, all from the (assumed) privacy of their computer screen. It was mind-blowing to experience what was effectively a “house concert ” presented in this way. 

However I still love the intimacy of a small room, warm with bodies, all with a like-minded intent to be physically present in that moment, to actually experience with more senses than just the eyes and ears, to become one with the performer, and BE the one entity that is that particular concert at that time in space. Everyone and thing becomes a key player; the sound technician, the lady who brought cake, your seatmate’s coat, the curtains that lend shape to the lighting, the road you drove to get there, the things you will say to the performer, the glass of water on the stage, the shift and creak of the audience breathing. 

It’s good to know that an alternative exists; but you can’t beat the real thing.

Stephen Fearing in Concert

November 24th

Bellevue Valley Lodge

http://www.stephenfearing.com

 

2013 Lopp-It Good @ Snowflea 2014 Date announcement!

Chickadee by D. KasunicHi folks!

I hope everyone has enjoyed a wonderful year!
Looks like the globally weirded but welcome month of Aug-tober is drawing to a close, and my favourite time of year is finally here.
I love the outside scene when the vermillion leaves of the maples are down, making way for the rusty-brown oaks, yellow tamarack and deep green of the spruce and pine; allowing those far-off dreamy hill views, anchored between golden fields and azure skies. The ilex berries and moose-maple are all ablaze along the waterways.
…however I will admit that blue not the colour of the sky today – it is actually hailing outside, and I heard the buntings and juncos tweeting about snow!  We still have a lot of outside work to attend to around here, so I have hopes that this sleeting will be fleeting – just a quick visit from the weather gods, practicing for the Lopp-It weekend.
Which reminds me to get to the point ……as well as finally remembering my blog password, and dropping by to say hello, I wanted to invite any who can join us on the weekend of November 9th and 10th for the annual Bellevue Valley Lodge “Lopp-It-Good”!  We get out in the woods on our ski runs to shift what the winds have brought down, scout new death-defying drops and clear off the brushy ankle-grabbers.
We tromp around with power tools and loppers to test our mettle, and sometimes the elements test our resolve too!
Besides, there’s nothing like a bit of pain to make you think you are having a good time!
If you would like to join in on the weekend of November 9th, we happily house and feed you in exchange for this workout for your brawny bodies….please call or email for more details.
Also, the 18th Annual Snowflea Telefest is set for February 21st – 23rd, 2014…. so mark your calendars! (18 years … can you believe it?)
Thanks for reading ~ take care, hopefully we’ll cross tips and tracks sometime soon!
Best wishes,
Robin
(and Enn, who is busy building a new garage to host ski-waxing parties)

That time of year again!!

…….announcing The 17th Annual Snowflea Telefest!

FEBRUARY 23RD & 24TH, 2013

….sorry, been too busy skiing and enjoying a REAL winter to even think about writing to all you folks. Besides, most of you have been so eager to get out on the slopes I have talked to all of you personally over the past 6 weeks – yes, it is winter in Northern Ontario once again!

Since Christmas, several heavy and prolonged snowfalls have given us a great base, and even with our two days of warm weather and rain this past week we are still enjoying great conditions in the back-country! It is snowing right now, and the forecast is calling for over 20 cm of freshies by tomorrow morning – and the long-range shows significant snowfall for the next five days – well into next week!

So all systems go for Snowflea Telefest 2013!

This past fall the “Lopp -It – Good” crew plotted and cleaned up two MAJOR extensions to the bottoms of Northwest Passage and  Undertaker runs – giving us some longer ski-able terrain closer to the lodge. A new line was cut returning skiers from The North Face – and was christened “The Lone Pine” – it circles the mountain and gives us a new choice for a sweet downhill line on the tour home. A lovely loop and very relaxed!

……so hey, if you are planning on coming for Snowflea and have not called to confirm – please do so. We are already full here at the main lodge but Bert has offered a few rooms for overnighters –  and if you are local and thinking of coming along for Saturday, you know you are very welcome, I would just like you to confirm so I can plan meals – THANKS!

Yours snowingly,
robin

Spring flings wings!

Sunday morning chorus … so many happy travelers have arrived back home this week! Flutebird (hermit thrush) got back late last night, his song overlapped with an early morning barred owl. Yesterday it was Wagtail (eastern phoebe) who stood out as newcomer. The Yakker family (northern flickers) were quiet for a few days, but are now making a huge fuss – perturbed that the rotten poplar where they have nested in for a few springs has fallen; checking out several other suitable spots. Mr. Cutthroat (rose breasted grosbeak) is high in the treetops, sounding like an oriole.

There are a pair of eastern bluebirds hanging out near the compost piles; we put up a nestbox but I think the hole is too big for their liking.

Robins, sand hill cranes, nuthatches, brown creeper, downy, hairy, and three-toed woodpeckers, a mourning dove, purple finch, chickadees, bluejay, redpolls, pine siskins, goldfinch, several wandering ducks, boat-tailed grackles, red-wing blackbirds, and a drumming partridge also featured solo in the choir this morning. Yesterday while raking the yard I was spy-hopped by a turkey vulture, kestrel, kingfisher, a marsh hawk, and my ever scrap-hopeful raven couple and their cousin, Jet the Crow. Jet doesn’t want the ravens around suddenly – his partner must be sitting on a nest somewhere close by “his” territory. The ravens nest a bit earlier, but I probably saw one of the nesting partners and a juvie “helper” …out cruising for a treat.

Have not yet heard the white-throated sparrow, brown thrasher, catbird, or vireo this spring- a few warblers in the woods but no sign of the black-throated blue, the olive, or the black and white, at least here near the house, where they like to pick bugs from the copse of hazel out in front.
Later on in May, just after the sand cherries bloom, I will watch for those far-ranging travelers – the scarlet tanager and indigo bunting. Always a relief when they make it back here from the tropical lands.

I’m sure that the hummingbirds must be back – anyone seen one yet?

What a day for a tour …..

February 7th, 2012

It was an incredibly sunny,  blue, gold and white winter day today!

What a change from the past few weeks – and so overdue ~

I know it’s silly to feel responsible for the weather, but I always feel anxious when the weather doesn’t put on it’s best face for guests who are enjoying a hard-won holiday here in the north country. But sunshine is not always a precursor to a fine day – just received a wonderful note from our guests from last weekend  – and am happy to publish it here.

Thanks so much, Craig, for taking the time to write about the joyful day you and Terri experienced, and sharing your inner sunshine!

…Craig wrote:

“Terri and I had a wonderful tour.  We followed the tracks from the day before and instead of heading down onto, I believe Hemlock Lake, we stayed south and climbed the south side of the bluff at the east end of the lake.  What an incredible view from the top.  We could see the beaver dams, Hemlock Lake, and it was clear enough to see Whitefish Point from there looking out over the “North Face”, and Lake Superior.
 
We then skied and laughed our way down the north side from the bluff.  The snow was firm and we were able to stay on top even though we were skiing on thinner 160cm skis.  We learned to get our weight back if we came to a small compression, or skied next to a larger tree, if not, we would break through and come to an immediate stop.  The brush wasn’t too bad, so we were able to find some gentle lines.  We got out on the east end of the lake and crossed the center to the tracks from the day before. 
Sure enough we came across the tracks of a snow snake.  Two of them.  Quite fresh.  I think we just missed those otters, or they heard us coming.  Awesome to see and I am not sure I would have guessed at what made them had you not described the tracks to me that morning.  I wanted to take chase and Terri wanted to let them be.  I know they were close, but we left them in peace. 
We then headed up to the North Face and then to the “Look Out”.  Had two ravens putting on a show for us in the breeze before we headed back around.  As we came down Lois Lane, we came across a grouse strutting across the run.  Terri skied to within 6-7 meters and tried to get her camera phone out before it strutted away.  It never took flight.  As I had mentioned, the snow had firmed up.   Once we were below the steeper pitches, it was a fun ski to the bottom.  No falls.
 
We had been out for over 3 hours and Terri had a wonderful time.  What a transition from her first descent two weeks ago.  She has become so comfortable on her skis as long as we stick to the gentle slopes.  She mentioned that this is her favorite type of crosscountry/backcountry skiing and is looking forward to the next outing.  It will be tough to beat yesterdays adventure of the Algoma Highlands and Bellevue.
 
Thanks Robin and Enn.  Hope our paths cross again soon.
Craig”