T’is the Season

Christmas isn’t always an easy time of year for many people. I have been spoiled. For eight years THIS place was my home. Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise (at the time, Canadian Pacific Hotels & Resorts). 

Christmas was spent with hundreds of friends, surrounded by more a thousand or more guests, in the land of a million Christmas trees. 

Chateau Lake Louise
Winter at Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, with the Ice Castle. Lake Louise, AB.

The castle in the foreground is made of ice, and it sits on the frozen glacial lake, which is 273′ deep and 5680′ above sea level. For two winters one of my jobs was to make hot chocolate and take it by toboggan out to the rink where I would start a fire in the elevated 1/2 barrel and simply chat with the guests as they skated or walked by.One winter we looked up in the sky and could see Comet Hayakutake quite clearly. Occasionally avalanches could be heard rumbling in the dark in the distance.

Christmas celebrations began in November, when the seniors started coming up for lunches and corporations started having their Christmas parties. Santa was invited to each and every one of those events, and I was lucky enough to be one of the Jolly Man’s stunt doubles. One year, during the Women’s World Cup Downhill I stepped in for him and represented him for the numbered bib distribution, and even was featured on Italian sports television. Fortunately “Ho Ho Ho!” is fairly universal.

On Christmas Eve the hotel put on a live animal nativity scene, outdoors, usually in -20 to -30c weather. I often played Joseph.

The hotel was decorated with Christmas trees and garlands for a month and to say that we “got into the spirit” would be an understatement. Not all of the staff loved it or even liked it, but for me, so far from home, those people were my other family. Too many of them are gone, now… Shenette, Tracy, Tim and Carolyn, Randy… but when Christmas is quiet around here, it is the warm memories of this place, those years, and so many friends that fill my house with joy.

Merry Christmas to so many of you who were part of those wonderful times and are still dear friends, and Merry Christmas to absolutely everyone, because Christmas is about Peace and Hope and Love, and who wouldn’t wish more of that for everyone.

Travel wisely, my friends and family, because I want you all to be around next year so I can bore you with the story again. 🙂

Ciao for now.


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