Fight Those January Blues

Sad DogMisery is expected to peak the third Monday in January (Monday, January 20, 2014) being that it’s the “most depressing day” of the year. (Note: you can say things like “is expected to” if one person expects it to be true.)

That one person is Cliff Arnalls of Wales, who created the formula to determine the worst day of the year. (Note: if you can find someone who agrees with him, we can say: “Researchers agree…”)

bluemonday2

whereby…

W = weather
D = debt
d = amount of January pay check
T = time since Christmas
Q = amount of time since failure to quit bad habit
M = motivational levels
NA = the need to take action

Even though the shortest day of the year is December 21st, the weather continues getting colder throughout the month of January. In fact, in the ancient Roman calendar, the year originally started in March and ended in December. The months of January and February were just one big shapeless clump of days, as the calendar was used mainly for agricultural purposes and was based on lunar cycles rather than solar.  In the 700s BC, January and February were “created” to fill in the gap.

By a couple weeks into the new year, the energy of the holidays has long dissipated, folks have failed all or most of their resolutions, and their bank accounts are still empty.

Of course, this is just a theory — one that has been dismissed by many. But if you do feel down around this time of the year, not all hope is lost. Experts may have found the most depressing day out of 365, but they have also found a number of ways to combat the accompanying feelings of depression.

To lighten the mood during Blue Monday or whenever all seems overwhelming, try these helpful tips:

exerciseGet out and exercise

Staving off the blue can be achieved in many cases with proper exercise and diet. In addition to improving a person’s self-image, exercising regularly releases feel-good chemicals in the body. Physical activity also increases body temperature which creates a calming sensation and reduces the release of stress hormones and other certain chemicals which can make symptoms of depression worse. Use Blue Monday to go out for a jog, play with your pups, or do a 20-minute round at the gym!

Be social

Celebrate Blue Monday with friends and family. Individuals who spend at least two hours a week interacting with others experienced less intense symptoms of depression compared to people who remained isolated. So if you are feeling down, make an effort to find some company!

Get Out of BedTake things one step at a time

For serious bouts of the blues, keeping things simple may be one of the best answers to fighting off Blue Monday. Instead of thinking about all the things you have to do, just focus on the task at hand. First, focus on getting out of bed. Once that task has been accomplished, focus on getting dressed, eating breakfast and getting ready for the day. By keeping things simple, you can feel a sense of accomplishment with each small task.

Keep up with a hobby

It makes sense that doing something you enjoy boosts mental health, and keeping up with a hobby has a positive impact even on patients with major depressive disorders. The use of hobbies to combat depression was primarily used by researcher Viktor Frankl, who created a psychotherapeutic technique called logotherapy. This form of therapy used hobbies and enjoyable activities to help refocus depressed individuals on what they felt was the meaning of life. Having a purpose, such as caring for a pet, helped bring patients back into a productive daily routine.

Do not fall victim of the hype

Who is to say your day has to be a bad one? Remember, you have control over your emotions and thoughts.

Helpful TipsTips for making it through Blue Monday:

“Have a party and celebrate” – Jack Gilbert, Ontario, Canada

“Exercise and bibliotherapy” — Dr. Alan Cohen, Royal College of General Practioners

“Watch the film ‘The Sound of Music’” — Ketan Shah, Harrow, England

“Move to New Zealand… It’s summer!” – Oliver, Auckland, New Zealand

Thank you, New Zealand, for rubbing that in.

Note: make sure to visit Sandman’s Facebook Page on Monday, January 20, 2014 for a giveaway that is sure to cure your Monday or January blues!

Be Safe This Winter – Especially in Avalanche Terrain

Photo credit: Raven Eye Photography

Photo credit: Raven Eye Photography

Written by the Canadian Avalanche Centre

Visiting a Sandman hotel for some winter fun this year? There’s something seriously magical about sliding on snow, whatever your method.  The Canadian Avalanche Centre (CAC) reminds you that whether you’re skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, or anything else that gets you outside and onto the white stuff, you’ve got to be avalanche aware. Especially if you’re heading into avalanche terrain.

Photo credit: Raven Eye Photography

Photo credit: Raven Eye Photography

The backcountry can be an enticing place — it’s peaceful, awe-inspiring, invigorating, and it deserves your respect. Remember, the backcountry can be many miles from civilization, or it can be just beyond a boundary rope. Any time you’re going into the backcountry, remember the CAC’s three key safety messages: get the gear, get the training, and check the forecast. Essential avalanche safety gear is an avalanche transceiver, a probe, and a shovel. Training gives you the fundamentals of travelling safely in avalanche terrain — whether you’re new to the backcountry or have many days of experience under your belt, you owe it to yourself, your family, and your friends to know as much as you can about avalanche risk management. The avalanche forecast gives you avalanche danger ratings, crucial details about primary avalanche concerns, travel advice, info on avalanche activity, snowpack conditions, and forecast weather conditions for the region. Together, these pieces of the puzzle help you make better decisions in the backcountry.

So who is the CAC? We’re a not-for-profit, non-government organization dedicated to public avalanche safety in Canada. Founded in 2004, we coordinate public avalanche safety programs such as regional avalanche forecasts, deliver public avalanche awareness and education programs, provide curriculum and support to instructors of Avalanche Skills Training (AST) courses, act as a hub for avalanche information, and encourage avalanche research. We encourage safe, responsible backcountry use.

To enjoy the backcountry safely and responsibly, do your homework before you travel. Look through our online avalanche course for an intro to avalanche safety or a pre-season refresher (http://www.avalanche.ca/cac/training/online-course). Take an AST course in your hometown or while on your trip. (http://www.avalanche.ca/cac/training/ast). Check the avalanche forecast for the region you’ll be visiting (http://www.avalanche.ca/cac/bulletins/latest). Most importantly, have fun and stay safe.

Sandman is a sponsor of the Canadian Avalanche Centre and the Alberta Snowmobile Association’s billboard initiative for the 2013-2014 season. The objective of this program is to remind travelers to get important avalanche forecasts for three major routes in BC and AB.

Let the Ski Season Begin

Sandman Powder

Let the Ski Season Begin

We’ve all heard the stereotypes about Canada. Some say it is a country full of wild bears and others call it a barren prairieland full of snow. While there may be a few Grizzlies in the woods up here, we Canadians know that the majority of us certainly don’t spend our days running around in plaid shirts fending the furry creatures off with our burly northern physiques and hand carved axes.

However, when it comes to the white stuff, we are pretty proud to admit that during the winter, more often than not, you can find an abundance of the pristine powder on almost every mountain.

Amen for that because if you’re an avid skier, snowboarder, snow shoer, tuber or beyond, there’s an unlimited amount of wonderland to see and ski in Canada this season!

Just to give you an idea of all the great snowy terrain, here are a few of our favourite Canadian mountain picks for 2013.

Rev Up for the Downhill Fun at Revelstoke Mountain Resort, BC

Revelstoke Mountain Resort SkiFast becoming a hot spot for thrill seekers and resort enthusiasts alike, Revelstoke Mountain Resort has been getting outstanding press left, right, and center. So much so that is has been deemed by the Telegraph in the UK as ‘The Greatest Ski Resort on Earth.’ Not to mention, it is also ranked in the top 10 of many ‘best ski resort’ lists worldwide.

Perhaps all these merits are the reason why, once again, Revelstoke Mountain Resort is the only Canadian destination to host the world-famous Swatch Freeride World Tour by The North Face (only 6 locations in the world get to host this famed event every year!).

Or, it could be the mountains stats. For example, Revelstoke Mountain Resort boasts North America’s greatest vertical at 1,713 metres or (5620 feet). You’ll also find 3,121 acres of fall line skiing, 13 areas of gladed terrain and, the pièce de résistance… RMR is the only resort in the world to offer lift, cat, heli and backcountry skiing from one village base.

As an added bonus, if you’re looking for a great family getaway, the resort also has a new Turtle Creek Beginner Area & Tube Park for all the learners and young ones to enjoy. Truly, this destination is the full powder package and then some.

Place to Stay:

Sandman Hotel Revelstoke http://www.sandmanhotels.ca/hotels/revelstoke/

White Wonderland in Whistler, BC

Whistler BcFamed for being the host resort for the 2010 Winter Olympics, Whistler and Blackcomb are two mountains which, combined, offer adventurists a whopping 200 marked runs, 8,171 acres of terrain, 16 alpine bowls, and three glaciers.

Tricksters can have a blast at the exceptional Nintendo Terrain Park where pipes, tables, and boxes align the slope in abundance, making way for some excellent scenery for the chairlift onlookers from above.

Just an hour from Vancouver, and less than 30 minutes from Squamish, this world-class ski resort is easily accessible from Highway 1 and offers drivers some spectacular scenery along the way.
Oh and did we mention that the two mountains are connected by the world’s longest free span gondola? At 4.4 km long, you’ll experience panoramic views unlike any other in the world. Connecting the two epic mountains, the ride will give you an idea of all the amazing terrain at Whistler and Blackcomb – and if you’re lucky, you can ride in one of the two glass bottomed carriages, both which truly show the full extent of this construction wonder.

Sandman Hotel Squamish http://www.sandmanhotels.ca/hotels/squamish/

A Mountain of Fun at Mont Tremblant, Quebec

Set North of Montreal, Mont Tremblant is famed for being the city’s go-to ski destination. The resort has 41 trails and one of the highest Mont Tremblantverticals in the East Coast of Canada. In addition, it is set against the gorgeous Laurentian Mountain range, offering a splendid host of sights and sounds to see.

If you’re in Montreal, you can drive here in less than an hour and a half and experience the charming slopes which offer a great variety for both beginner and advanced skiers.

Where to Stay:

Sandman Hotel Montreal – Longueuil

http://www.sandmanhotels.ca/hotels/montreal-longueuil/

So there you have it. Canada may be vast, but it is far from barren. You could even say it is ripe with snowy opportunities eh?

 

Edmonton Gets Hot with Ice on Whyte!

ice on whyte 2If you’re not familiar with the Edmonton area, then you might think the ‘Ice on Whyte’ moniker is either misspelled or an attempt to create a new version of an old word that sounds young, hip, and kewl. Rest assured, it’s spelled this way for neither of these reasons.

The festival is called ‘Ice on Whyte’ because it pays homage to the city’s famed Whyte Avenue, a popular street that is often brewing with fun and entertainment.

Celebrating its 10th year in action, the festivities run from January 25 – February 3, and feature a wide range of winter sights, sounds, and activities to highlight both the snow, ice, land, and people!

Originally created in 2003 by a group of individuals who wanted to showcase the fabulous art of ice carving, the event has blossomed to include all aspects of winter fun. Held in the popular area known as Steel Park or Festival Park, on 85th Avenue and 104 Street (not too far from Whyte Avenue itself), the hoopla is near impossible to miss because it fills the entire space with gorgeous, brightly-lit ice sculptures in addition to tons of live entertainment, food, and family fun.

Yet, the heart of the festival is still the famed international ice carving competition – which was officially endorsed by the National Ice Carving Association in 2009– the world’s preeminent authority on ice carving standards and art.

ice on whyte 3

During the competition, 10 teams of two will chip away at 15 blocks of ice (per team) for 2.5 days (35 hours total). Using these blocks, they’ll create one sculpture that must be 3.18 meters high and sculpted on all sides. All 15 blocks must be used, and snow made from the carving may also be used in the sculpture. In addition, there are no props, decorations or ice colouring allowed – this is serious ice carving my friend.

Visitors can also expect to find snow sculptures, a giant ice slide, a children’s play area, live music, entertainment and ice carving workshops too.

ice on whyte 5ice on whyte 9ice on whyte 8ice on whyte 7ice on whyte 5ice on whyte 4
No wonder the festival won the Alberta Tourism Award in the Alberta Pride Category in 2012!
Suffice to say, even though the event will bring the big chill in many ways, it is still among one of the hottest festivals in Canada this season!

Now that’s the Whyte stuff!

To see Sandman Hotel Edmonton West’s rates and hot deals, click here: http://www.sandmanhotels.ca/specials-rewards/hot-deals/

To see Sandman Signature Hotel & Suites Edmonton South’s rates and hot deals, click here: http://www.sandmansignature.ca/specials-rewards/hot-deals/

Sandman Celebrates Dine Out Vancouver!

dine out 1

The holidays are special to some, but in Vancouver ‘The most wonderful time of the year’ is arguably less about ‘Yuletide carols being sung by a choir’ and more about yummy food being savoured by a crowd of die-hard foodies.

What we’re talking about is Dine Out Vancouver – the annual, citywide restaurant festival that lets curious culinary connoisseurs discover all the best fare this city has to offer (at amazing prices too!). Slated to take place from January 18 – February 3, there will be throngs of hungry gastronomes heading to a wide range of restaurants to test out a variety of fixed-price menus ranging from approximately $18 – $ 38.

chopOur very own Chop Steakhouse & Bar will be participating in the exciting event, offering up sweet and savoury dishes that reflect the essence of the tasty cuisine. Guests heading to Chop Steakhouse & Bar can expect to find a delicious $38 menu with a great array of culinary picks such as: roasted butternut squash soup with lemon sour cream, prime rib (12 oz) slowly roasted in rock salt and fresh ground pepper, with hand shaved fresh horseradish and au jus served (with a choice of: infused mashed potatoes, wild rice pilaf, baked potato, Chop cut fries or fresh seasonal vegetables), mini raspberry crème brûlée white chocolate, raspberries and caramelized sugar and so much more.

Located in Richmond at the Sandman Signature Hotel & Resort Vancouver Airport, the Dine Out menu provides chop dine out menuan exciting montage of appies, mains and desserts that are sure to impress even the most seasoned Dine Out fanatic. Featuring a $28 menu as well, they are focused on providing a refined, enticing, yet relaxed steak experience that tantalizes the taste buds with only the best AAA Canadian beef, the freshest local ingredients, and a surprising variety of options. Plus, if you are looking for a place to stay after your experience, our cozy Sandman Signature beds are literally an elevator ride away.

DSC_0463In addition, for those who are testing out venues in the city or downtown, other Sandman Hotels in Vancouver, such as Vancouver City Centre and Vancouver Suites on Davie Street are also offering accommodation deals for the event which is expected to draw in thousands upon thousands of locals and international visitors alike!

Possibly the tastiest way to treat yourself to cozy accommodations, fine food and a good time all in one, do yourself a favour and head to Dine Out Vancouver this year!

To see Chop Steakhouse & Bar’s Dine Out menu, click here: http://www.dineoutvancouver.com/listings/Chop-Steakhouse-Bar/21096/1042/#dineoutdinnermenu

To view Dine Out hotel packages with Sandman Hotel Vancouver City Centre, click here: https://reservations.tourismvancouver.com/Hotels-Motels/Package.asp?Hotel_ID=SHV&AFL_ID=DOVF&Pkgc=DOVF

To view Dine Our hotel packages with Sandman Suites Vancouver Davie Street, click here: https://reservations.tourismvancouver.com/Hotels-Motels/Package.asp?Hotel_ID=SSV&AFL_ID=DOVF&Pkgc=DOVF

Please visit dineoutvancouver.com for complete festival details.