Monthly Archives: March 2014

Experiencing An Authentic Korean BBQ

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During my time in Korea, one of the things that interested me most was getting acquainted with this nation’s unique cuisine.  Kimchi, Donkastsu, Kimbap … all had their turn in my mouth, with interesting results at minimum.

One thing that I had yet to try at the point in time when the events in this post occurred (June 2013) was Samgyeopsal, or Korean-style grilled pork belly.  I preferred to call it a pet name, Mutant Korean Bacon™, much to the amusement of friends.

As the summer began to get ever hotter, Sonya, who was one of my co-teachers, invited me to a family BBQ that would involve this meaty treat.  Needless to say, I simply couldn’t turn down an opportunity to experience an authentic Korean BBQ in a rustic setting…

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It wasn’t quite the idyllic park that I had had originally envisioned in my mind filled with Western memes and stereotypes, but the soju, beer (as shown in the cover photo) and the meat roasting atop the grill was very much what I was yearning for…

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The finished product, in its roasting, dripping state would not last long upon this grill.  It quickly found its way to the preparation table …

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… where it got mixed with a variety of ingredients, after which it was wrapped in a lettuce leaf and consumed in a marriage between vegetable and protein that any self-respecting paleo dieter would just adore!

Have you ever tried Samgyeopsal?  Did you love it or hate it? Let me know below!

Because I Was Bored: My Epic Jasper Ski Trip

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In order to have the time to lay out and execute my plan to teach ESL in South Korea, I determined that I needed to quit my job to give myself the breathing space required to satisfy the myriad of steps to secure a Korean work visa and with it, a job.

However, during the ensuing time between leaving my job and boarding the plane to Korea, there was a lot of lag time spent in Calgary going for daily walk in the suburbs, working on my website, and watching Youtube and the Walking Dead. Yawn.

After about a month of this, I was getting restless. The time was ripe for a Jasper ski trip!  For one, there was a ton of powder in the mountains that wasn’t getting shredded … I decided it was up to me to do my solemn Canadian duty to ensure that no line, be it high in the alpine or in a tight glade , went undisturbed.

Second, many of my Jasper friends were still in or near town (the opening photo is a view of the front range of the Rockies from the industrial town of Hinton, Alberta, where two of my former tour guide friends lived), so a visit to these fine folks were definitely in order.

Little did I know, I would get a lot more champagne pow that I had bargained for…!

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First though, I spent some time with my dear friend Brooke and her adorable puppy dog Layla. We spent a couple of days going for long walks through the forests and fields behind her neighbourhood (Canada’s an amazing country, as the wilderness is anywhere from steps to a short drive away from your house!), catching up on the past year, and watching awesome movies!

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I also took the opportunity to drop in on another awesome friend, Stephie!  As a contrast to Brooke’s place, this locale had a distinctly feline flavour.  I would have gotten a better shot of Eddie And Axl Rosie, but they were too busy om nom nom-ing!

After arrival in Jasper and sorting my ski rental for the following morning, I had lunch with another work friend before deciding on my activity for the afternoon: climbing Old Fort Point … in winter!

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The sublime waters of the Athabasca River were made much more effervescent by the slate grey sky above, a harbinger of events to come that weekend.  But first, I had a glacially formed hill to scale first … little did I know that it would be the most harrowing experience of the entire trip!

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It was a tough climb to this point, but the hard packed snow provided enough traction…

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The views of the main range in the distance were quite excellent on this day, but I was more focused on maintaining my balance at this juncture, as the ground underfoot had shifted to mostly glare ice, or loose shale … hurray!

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Made it to the top … now to get down (note to everyone, as well as myself: use crampons next time!) 🙁

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Warming up beside the fire at HI – Whistler’s Hostel (recommended despite the distance from town), I pondered the reports of record snows the next day.  After being skirted by hyped storms in the past, I knew better than to get my hopes up too high…!

Alas, Ullr visited my favourite mountain town with full fury the next day (and the one after that…!)

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It was the day that every powder hound hopes and dreams will happen to them at least once in their lifetime … that particular day struck for me and many other Jasperites at Marmot Basin (it was a weekday, so the city folk were at work, helplessly watching us carve up the sweet, sweet blower…!)

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The view from my favourite cruising black diamond run … the powder hides the skiier created moguls, which form during periods of low snowfall.  Some people treat it like a minefield … I just dive right in!  I need a GoPro 😛

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Slash is one of my favourite runs at Marmot Basin … it starts out innocently enough, and then a steep drop smacks you down just as you’re getting into a comfortable rhythm.  Just attack it – staring over the precipice will only get you in trouble!

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It was a ski selfie kinda day … but it wasn’t over yet…!

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From carving up the powder on the less trafficked blacks and in the turn or die woods, it was a day well lived.  All told, 71 centimetres (2 feet, 4 1/2 inches for any Americanos out there) fell that weekend, stranding me in Jasper for another day.  So, what did I do?  I stayed and skied another day, of course!

No photos on that day though: I focused on soaking in the moment that day … even travel bloggers have to step out from behind the camera sometimes! 🙂

What was your most perfect ski/boarding day in your life like? Share your stoke-filled tale in the comments!