Flights in Canada can be ridiculously expensive. Depending on where you're flying, there are pretty much two main airlines, which doesn't really inspire competitive pricing. When flying to the States, it's fairly common for Canadians to drive a few hours across the border, to catch a flight for a more reasonable price.
For that reason, R and I haven't been to visit his family in Saskatchewan for a couple of years. But, we decided that we couldn't skip Christmas in Saskatchewan for three years in a row and bit the bullet.
Shortly after arriving, we made our way north to spend the holidays with the whole family in a cottage in the Wapiti Valley. If you're familiar with Saskatchewan, it's about 30 minutes from Melfort.
We stayed in a 16 person cabin at The Outerbanks. The cabin was nicely laid out, with ample space for everyone and a hot tub on the deck.
The view from balcony:
It was a bit of a shock to the system to spend 3 days with six kids, all under the age of seven. It made me wish that there was more insulation between the floors of the cottage, because when we were downstairs, it sounded like a herd of elephants running through the house.
Thankfully, there were lots of winter activities to keep the kids busy. Nearby, there's tobogganing, sleighrides, skidooing, etc.
Skiing was a highlight for those that went. Even Grandpa had a good time. Maybe too good of a time:
I guess it's all fun and games until someone breaks a limb and needs to have surgery. Thankfully, it happened on the last day and it was time to return home and pick up my buddies from the "puppy jail."
It was also time to spend some time with R's friends and take pictures of one of the oddities of Saskatchewan: superfluous Saskatchewan Roughrider merchandise. Apparently the Riders sell more merchandise than all other CFL teams combined. Their merchandise sales are 3rd highest as far as sports teams in Canada go, after the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadians. Here's just a selection of what you can buy.
Everyone needs a Rider birdhouse, right?
R and I had several "discussions" where I've flat out refused to have a Rider BBQ cover:
Co-marketing with Pilsner:
I'm sure the fish in Saskatchewan won't be able to resist a Rider fishing lure:
A must have to go with the BBQ cover:
Don't blame the Riders if your drink isn't cold:
Seriously - it's your own fault! They even provide the ice:
Someone turned this poor stuffed monkey into a green monster:
Even the dog can't escape the Riders:
I think I offended a few Rider fans when they realized that I was taking pictures of Rider merchandise because I think it's over the top. So, after wearing out my welcome in the province, it was time to leave the Prairies and head back to Ottawa.