The most exciting that normally happens to me on a Thursday is fast-forwarding through the commercials on my DVR-ed episode of 30 Rock and pressing play again at exactly the right moment. Seriously, if this ever happens to me? Then man, it's been a banner day! This Thursday, however, the excitement quotient has been ratcheted way, way up. Because today, Internet, I flew to Banff, I went ice-skating on a real lake, and then just to cap off a day of firsts, I ate both air-dried bison and elk salami. Trust me: no other Thursday in the world is ever going to compare.

We landed in Calgary around lunchtime after a surprisingly uneventful flight from San Francisco, and if there's any adjective I like to use to describe my flights these days---just a few short weeks after a plane crash-landed in the Hudson River, of course---it's "uneventful." We managed to score not only exit row seats but also one of those rare but pleasant breeds of children who remain entirely silent throughout the flight, save for a jubilant cheer upon touchdown. Our bags came through quickly, our rental car turned out to be a brand new model---we were also, touchingly, referred to as each other's "spouse" on the rental agreement, which gave me a brief thrill, albeit a preemptive one---and, while we managed to get embarrassingly lost on the way out of Calgary (if you live in the area, you will know that we were not supposed to drive through a town called Cochrane, and yet that's exactly where we found ourselves), we figured it out after a little while and continued smoothly on our way without even yelling at each other once.

After a tour of the magnificent Fairmont Lake Louise from an extremely lovely man called Matthew (hi, Matthew!), we grabbed our rented ice skates and headed down to the frozen lake and, I'm sorry, but this is where I have to admit that I was positively shaking with excitement over this activity, because one of the things I have always wanted to do in my life is ice skate on a real frozen-over lake. This isn't because I'm particularly good at ice-skating or anything---in fact, as you are about to see in video below, it's really more the opposite---but rather because I may have attended just one too many ice discos in my youth, and ice discos are typically held in suburban malls, which just cannot compare to real frozen-over lakes, making real frozen-over lakes the stuff of dreams for suburban teenage girls everywhere. Or maybe that's just me.

(See? See how excited I am about the prospect of ice-skating on a real frozen-over lake?)

The thing that soon becomes apparent about ice-skating on a real frozen-over lake, however, is that there's nothing around the edges to hold onto. And this can often present a problem when your preferred method of stopping is crashing head-on into the bar around the side of the ice rink. Whoops! Not that either of us found that out the hard way or anything. Or, you know, the hard and cold and icy way.

Tomorrow, we're off bright and early to ski the Lake Louise area, and for now, my deep and squishy hotel bed is calling me, so I'll leave you with a video of our ice skating adventure (please ignore my bad, bad hair. Also, please ignore the fact that we apparently totally ignore that little boy who falls down in the middle of the lake---after someone screams, hilariously, "watch out, Scott!"---and then lies there crying for a while. Whoops! I didn't see him officer, I swear!) (No, I really didn't. I was too busy trying to simultaneously ice-skate and vlog. It's a tricky combination.)

Tomorrow I'll also tell you about the bison and the elk, and man, if that doesn't sound like the beginning of a joke ("a bison and an elk walk into a bar...") then I don't know what does, but this is what I do know: both the bison and the elk were surprisingly delicious. I'm full, I'm warm, I've ice-skated on a lake, and Canada, right now you and your perfect snow are wooing me dangerously. Stop it right now before I pack up and move here.

Ice skating on Lake Louise from Holly on Vimeo.


Jan 30, 2009

Well, if I weren't envious enough of the fact that you were going to Banff, I am even MORE knowing you're staying at the Fairmont. Has been in my Top 25 places to visit for many, many years.

And ice skating! On a real lake! !!!! Totally the things dreams are made of. (Except the biting cold outside, which you manage to escape at those mall rinks. Still, I think the real lake totally makes up for the cold.)

Jan 30, 2009

I'm glad that you are enjoying yourself so far, my boyfriend is at Lake Louise skiing today(Friday) too! Don't feel bad about ending up in Cochrane it happens to everyone.

Rachael W
Jan 30, 2009

The Fairmont Lake Louise! I've actually stayed there (and we managed to sneak our dog in as well), but during the summer, so no frozen-pond-ice-skating for me. Which is probably for the best, since I'm one of those ice skaters who makes their way around the rink slowly, gripping onto the bar for dear life.

Jan 30, 2009

Holly!! Try to get on the dogsleds while in Lake Louise...they're just down the road, seriously. Ask Matthew ;o) I x-country ski on the snow-covered road they use - it looks like fun, warm fun. Otherwise, enjoy the snow in the mountains. Cate

Jan 30, 2009

Looks fun! And you look nice and warm! And cute!

I've had a bison burger and was by far the BEST burger I've ever had.

Jan 30, 2009

Do they have a zamboni that comes out and smooths out the ice? Otherwise I'd be in double trouble with no rail and lots of grooves from other people's skates...

She Likes Purple
Jan 30, 2009

I could completely be creating this, but I swear I heard "Scott" or whoever was sprawled out across the ice mutter a "help" somewhere in the video. I could not stop laughing, which makes me sure hope Scott actually got help or I'll feel pretty badly as well.

Also, I love how nice you and Sean are to one another. I know that's a silly thing to appreciate about a couple -- shouldn't all couples be nice? -- but after so many years together, you still seem gracious to each other and it's really refreshing.

Jan 30, 2009

I never knew I wanted to skate on an iced over lake until this post!

FunnyGal KAT
Jan 30, 2009

I love ice skating. We're lucky to have a pond in the yard of the house we bought so I was out there the other night. But we don't have an awesome ice sculpture in the middle of it-- I must get the Pretend Husband working on that!

Jan 30, 2009

Sean didn't totally ignore the little fallen boy. What I saw was Sean making a very deliberate effort not to skate over him as he lay, sprawled, probably with a broken limb, most assuredly cold and in shock, on the ice.

Still, looks fun!

Pink Sun Drops
Jan 30, 2009

Hahaha!! the boy falling on the ice was hilarious. I bet they were shooting evil looks your way afterwards : ) . Oops!!

Jan 30, 2009

Wow, you're good! I'm in Massachusetts shivering and have been complaining to everyone that I can find about the cold, ice, and snow.

Strangely enough, your post is making even MORE ice and snow look good to me. :D

Jan 30, 2009

oh, that skating area is so brilliant - i was there last year and added to the skating excitement by discovering that there's a frozen waterfall at the far end of the lake, just begging to be climbed... getting down is a touch more difficult although the amazing blue colour of the frozen water kind of makes up for the discomfort. also, the quesadillas at the post hotel bar down the hill are a-mazing...

Vampy Varnish
Jan 30, 2009

Wow, that lake is beautiful! I used to be an ice skater when I was young (really wanted to go to the Olympics) and I have always wanted to skate on a lake, but never had a chance. Looks fun!

Camels & Chocolate
Jan 30, 2009

How funny because I have a video of me on the lake, too--only I was KAYAKING on the lake, against a brilliant blue different it looks in the winter!

Also, I love that picture of you ice skating...good thing you went for a vibrant colored coat so you pop against all the gray and snow!

So when are you, me, Sean and Scott moving to Banff and becoming neighbors? We can have a shared summer (or maybe winter instead?) home in San Francisco!

Jan 30, 2009

I have actual tears of laughter at watching poor Scott sprawled on the ice, crying as you go gaily skating by, vlogging. Fabulous.

And yes, I share your dream of skating on an actual lake - I'm so jealous!

Jan 30, 2009

The Fairmont Lake Louise is quite possible my most favourite hotel EVER. Even more so than the Banff Springs.
Go to the fondue restaurant. Seriously, you MUST go there - it's ridiculously amazing.

Jan 30, 2009

Oh, you guys are making me so jealous. I had never heard of Banff, but it is now officially on my list of places to go.

Jan 30, 2009

Oh I second that suggestion of eating at the fondue restaurant. SERIOUSLY, SO GOOD.

I used to work at the Chateau Lake Louise in the summer of 1999. There's even a photo of me in uniform there on my Flickr!

This brought back all kinds of fun memories.

Jan 30, 2009

Are you in Banff for work? Doing all those campaigns for them has really piqued my interest to go.

Skating on a real lake is so fun and lovely except when you fall in which happened to me when I was about 5 yrs old. Ha, I had forgotten about that until now.

And it seems skating technology has really advanced since the last time I skated, I used to have the white leather skates but yours looked so sporty.

Anne in SC
Jan 31, 2009

You had properly built up the video and I couldn't wait to see it. Then I oohed and aahhed at the beautiful ice sculpture - that was a bonus. And the way the woman yelled "Scott" totally had me laughing outloud and picturing Frau Farbissina screaming for Seth Green in "Austin Powers".

Jan 31, 2009

And you were worried you wouldn't enjoy it. I am so glad you are having a nice time.

The child languishing on the ice did make for a more hilarious video, I must tell you.

Feb 02, 2009

The kid laying on the ice has to be the funniest thing I have seen in a long time. I can't stop laughing.

God, what does that say about me?