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

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”
 

Announcing SNOWFLEA TELEFEST Feb 24 – 26th

Dear Free-Heelers,

Better late than never, right?

Yup – it’s that time of year again!
Although winter took a while to commit, we are now full snow-shovels ahead for the 16th Annual Snowflea Telefest!
February 24th, 25th, and 26th – zoomin’ up on us with its’ rapper coat a’ flapping!

Please check out the web site for details – we hate to break with tradition (it works so well!)
This is a weekend of free-heel frolic, food and frivolous fun upon and in the snowy landscape here at Bellevue Valley Lodge, Goulais River Ontario.

If you are a snowshoer or beginning tele-skier you might be pleased to know we have terrain and tours available close to the main lodge. Prices for the weekend still the same – ! …..NO INFLATION in 16 years! Where will you EVER see that….

AND ~ We are extremely pleased to announce the talented musicians we have appearing for your entertainment on Saturday night – www.pattemple.com/music.cfm

(….dear local friends, please note that if you wish to come only for a part of a day, or the concert and evening’s festivities on Saturday you are very welcome – price for dinner and concert is listed separately on our website.)

PAT TEMPLE has thirty years of performing experience under his belt. A mainstay in the Canadian music and art scene, Pat has performed in venues such as: Massey Hall, The National Art Gallery and Ontario Place Forum He has appeared on MuchMusic, and CBC’s “Swingin’ on a Star”.Graced with a BIGGG theatrical voice, each of Pat’s songstories are the kind that you want to stay up late with – and contain a short novel’s worth of ideas and the musical styles that are truly diverse. They are not to be listened to – they are to be experienced!
Accompanying Pat is Spencer Evans, on keyboards, accordion, clarinet and comic relief. Spencer also sings, and has been known to Prance Around. You will never win a round of “stump the piano – player” with this talented man. A professional musician for 20 of his 33 years, Spence has played Bermuda to Bosnia, New Orleans to the North Pole, and has recorded and toured with The Cowboy Junkies, Sarah Harmer and Pat Temple, and performed with Jeff Healey, Dan Aykroyd, Willie P. Bennett, Jack Mahieu, Alex Pangman, Maria Muldaur, and Toronto’s Swing Gang, among countless others.

Hope to have some of you join us on this auspicious weekend – we’ve been holding it together now for 16 years, who knows how much longer?!
…remember ” Levity Gets You Up – Gravity Gets You Down!!”

Lop-It-Good ~ on November 5th 2011!

Hey there!

Sorry for the short notice – Enn and I have been a bit pre-occupied lately. However announcements are never too late – unless there are not announced, right?  So for all you lurky loppers out there, this here’s yer official notice of the annual Lodge Lop-It, November 5th, 2011, (ye…eess, 10 days from now!)

Calling all trusty trashy trail trimmers!

Finest accomodations, plentiful food and woody warmth  are all provided, and you can bring your silliest stories, loftiest ideals, and sturdy souls. Hard liquor is strangely popular with the gurrls.

Better yet….. a few saws are always welcome. Don’t forget an insurance policy naming Bellevue Valley Lodge as the beneficiary – and you can always use an extra pair of socks. We’ll use your old wet ones to deodorize the sauna. They come in handy to scare the bears away, too!

Please let us know if you can come –  we sure look forward to seeing you!

Post-Snowflea 2011

 

In the face of World and Weather Adversity – we pulled it off!

15th Annual Telefest has been and gone!

Thanks to all (32) of you who made it through the Wicked Winds of the West, the swaying Bridges of Michigan County, and the disheartening possibility of bulletproof Crème Brulé Crust on all your favourite backwoods mounds of whipped topping. And to those of you who braved it through the trauma of car packing, work ducking, and bribing the dog, kid, and house sitters, only to be met with total white-outs, road closures and extremely unco-operative border guards – I say to you;

You were missed, and toasted, and your personal sacrifice was duly noted and will be laid out before the feet of the Heikki, Loki and all the other Trickster-spirits to ensure fair play for the next time you venture out into the Elements!

Friday’s storm deposited enough soft skiffs into the forest crevices to allow most of the snow hoppers to enjoy the day. The snowshoe crowd was proudly self-sufficient, and made tracks to all of the lookouts and ridges long before the sunset chased them back to enjoy the sauna. Although most of the south-facing slopes were downright skitter – scary, after lunch we took the lovely flat-land tour to the bottom of the North Face Runs, where the fresh snow had collected in a most gratifying way on most of the tele-slopes.

Teija was our amazing chef of the weekend, and created incredible edibles with a minimum of fuss and bother. Right from the delectable harvest soup – to barbequed turkey wraps, 4 huge trays of pasta shells, and a multitude of free range and local berry pies and scrumptious muffins to complement egg strata on Sunday morning, we fed Iike bears getting ready to hibernate. It’s amazing we could even bend over to do up our bindings.  And to help us digest our Saturday night eating marathon, The Boothill Crooners royally entertained us with many surprisingly familiar yet musically twisted songs.

I believe a good time was had by all – if I’ve missed anything please pipe right up! (This is a blog that allows other comments, by the way ….. 😉

Snowflea Telefest is privileged to have great sponsors who provide generous swag for our participants (serious stuff – such as gear bags and packs, apparel, equipment, waxes, packs, and head lamps). Thanks to Dave Robinson at Mountain Equipment Co-op in Toronto. Thank you to our local independent store owners here in Sault Ste. Marie who go far beyond retail in their mandate to provide support for people who love to be active in the great outdoors. Chris Theriault at The Duke of Windsor Sport Shop, Brad Phaneuf at Algoma Bicycle Company, Jan Roubal and the staff of Velorution, and Brenda at The Country Way Health Food Store all kindly support our telemark ski festival. Please visit these folks if you are in town – they are a wealth of information and enthusiasm.

Thanks to Gabrielle Bourbonnais who volunteered her help, and her fellow students and teachers Steve Foster and Conor Mihel of the Outdoor Recreation and Parks Program at Sault College for their interest and help in making our slopes safe and free of ankle-biting snags and pitfalls!

And last but definitely first, thanks to all of you, who against all the odds (and even with some odds) make it out for Snowflea. You rock(et)!

I didn’t get any photos this year – too busy having fun – so would appreciate any contributions, corrections or complaints. Heck, we’ll even be glad to receive kudos – what do you think?

robin

 

Magazine Article about Snowflea

Our  local writer and journalist, Conor Mihell, has written an exceptional article about his telemark skiing experiences chasing Enn, Jorma Paloniemi and the rest of the ‘Fleas around our backwoods mountains at last years’ Snowflea.

Check it out in the new magazine, SBC Skier (SBC stands for Snowboard Canada). The Sault Star also picked it up and ran it with a few less photos on February 10th – the Star may be read online at http://eedition.saultstar.com/epaper/viewer.aspx … (if you sign up for a 14 day free trial).

Thanks, Conor!  We love fueling your writing muse!

Only seven days until Snowflea 2010!

Mike cruises on Tele-One