What’s a “Chinook”?

After mentioning the Chinook in my last post, I came to realize that outsiders might have no clue as to what the hell that is. Our city's unofficial slogan is, "Get blown in Lethbridge!"

For your consideration:

At first, one might be led to believe that this young gentleman is impersonating Miley Cyrus' "Wrecking Ball," however that is not the case! He's enjoying the dry winds from the west as they bathe his body in warmth. This ball is known as The Lethbridge Wind Gauge, and can be found next to our tourist information bureau on Scenic Drive South.

So, what is a Chinook? Wikipedia explains it quite simply, in plain English:

The Chinook is a foehn wind, a rain shadow wind which results from the subsequent adiabatic warming of air which has dropped most of its moisture on windward slopes (orographic lift). As a consequence of the different adiabatic rates of moist and dry air, the air on the leeward slopes becomes warmer than equivalent elevations on the windward slopes.

As moist winds from the Pacific (also called Chinooks) are forced to rise over the mountains, the moisture in the air is condensed and falls out as precipitation, while the air cools at the moist adiabatic rate of 5°C/1000 m (3.5°F/1000 ft). The dried air then descends on the leeward side of the mountains, warming at the dry adiabatic rate of 10°C/1000m (5.5°F/1000 ft).

The turbulence of the high winds also can prevent the normal nocturnal temperature inversion from forming on the lee side of the slope, allowing night-time temperatures to remain elevated.

And for visual learners, here's an illustration:


The Chinook is an invaluable wind that keeps our winters moderate and blows all our trash to Coaldale, saving the city millions of dollars. Though, it can be of minor inconvenience, leading to a bad hair day here or there:

In southwestern Alberta, Chinook winds can gust in excess of hurricane force [120 km/h (75 mph)]. On November 19, 1962, an especially powerful Chinook in Lethbridge gusted to 171 km/h (106 mph).

But you don't have to take my word for it!

Lethbian Love’s guide to tobogganing

When our Chinook isn’t breathing her gentle 130 km/h winds in Southern Alberta, Old Man Winter takes over and loads upon us ice and snow. But who doesn’t like a good dump once in awhile? Now, let’s toboggan!

Step 1: Gear up on the cheap

First things first, if you're like me and can't afford snow pants, use these common household items: garbage bags and duct tape!

Garbage bag snow pants

Image source: Liana Maeby / Urlesque

If you want, use Glad "Big Orange" garbage bags for additional flair. Optional: keep your feet dry by tying shopping bags over your shoes.

Step 2: Select your ride

Live frugal, live dangerously. Now that you've equipped your garbage bags, we turn our eyes to our toboggan, or lack thereof. For about five bucks, you can get a "Crazy Carpet" from our local Peavey Mart or Canadian Tire stores. They're fast and portable. That kid with the wood sleigh? You'll be up and down the hill 5 times before he drags his slow, safe monster back up.

Crazy Carpet

Image source: Pelican International

Step 2A (advanced):

Veterans of the hill know the legendary GT Snow Racer. If you've got adult money, Stiga makes some of the best on the market.


Step 3: Location, location, location!

In my mind, there's no better location than The Sugar Bowl. If you're bold enough, you can also risk going through the underpass and challenging the coulees. I've done this a few times, and have the facial scars to prove it.

The Sugar Bowl

Image source: The City of Lethbridge

Step 4: Wicked jumps

No tobogganing expedition is complete without getting some major air. Pile up that snow at the bottom of the hill and finish your ride with the sweetest jump ever. Bonus points if you actually land on your crazy carpet!

Image source: Pascal Lauener / Reuters

Now that you've carefully studied my guide, venture out and have fun!

Say “aloha” to this food truck

I heard rumour of a food truck traversing the streets of Lethbridge, but didn't think twice about it until I saw this tweet from from @Masson23:

Hawaiian Treats Food Truck

Keep on the lookout for Hawaiian Treat's truck, and if you eat there make sure to take some photos or tell us about it in the comments!


Hawaiian Treats: Facebook | Twitter

Close Encounters of the Lethbian Kind

Editors note: the following is a guest article from Carli Kogler, who once gave us tips on dealing with an alien apocolypse. She's back and delves further into the paranormal.

A quick ol' fashioned Google search will provide you with loads of material concerning ghostly happenings and other paranormal events within the confines of our city, but what I have yet to find is a decent collective concerning anything to do with the UFO phenomenon. Every year, a good handful of reports are generated with various claims of strange lights and aircraft around Lethbridge's immediate area, yet where is the spotlight for those supposed little green men/secret government agenda? Isn't it time we throw down our shackles of obscure adversity and acknowledge them as yet another precious gem that Lethbridge might have to offer?

Compiled below is a list of some of the more interesting local tales and incidents I managed to scrounge up on the subject matter, so please sit back, enjoy with your eyes, and then forward this page to that family member for some lively commentary or a possible dinnertime debate.

UFO Case File 1: The Fleetwood Elementary Sightings

Sources: [1] [2] [3]

Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's A TERRIFYING HOVERING ELLIPTICAL BLUEISH LIGHT THING? Let's throw rocks at it!

There's somewhat of a conflicting report on this one about whether it was only the school-aged boys who witnessed this occurrence, or if an adult was also present for some of the "apparitions". Either way, these news articles prove interesting in that this unidentified object looked and behaved much differently than the commonly reported aerial abnormalities of the specific era and that it was a "group" type sighting made by different witnesses at different times.

UFO Case File 2: The Airshow UFO(s)

Sources: [1] [2] [3]

Everyone remembers the great airshow jet crash of 2010, but while our minds were fixated on the death-defying reflexes of well-chiseled pilot Capt. Brian Bews and the arguably ":O" explosion of a multi-million dollar piece of flying metal, did we miss something else happening in the background? Shortly after the crash, a series of videos were uploaded and circulated online that many think capture UFOs among the various aerial events of that day. Was this an attempt by the unknown to steal the spotlight from one of the city's go-to summer attractions and perform their own gravity defying acrobatics, or are we seeing proof of something more sinister at hand? Expensive military jets don't just randomly crash on the windy prairie you know.

UFO Case File 3: Nordic Aliens, Ice Circles, and Orbs

Source: [1]

Here's an interesting report submitted to The Vike Factor from an anonymous patron disclosing some very bizarre information.

To the best of my knowledge, these photos were taken February/March of 2003 and the location was at the Old Man River, Lethbridge, Alberta. 

I could probably provide the GPS coordinates if you desire. I know someone who, on a different occasion has seen small chrome orbs above the river, upriver of this circle, but not related to this circle.

​I have personally seen what would be best described as a "Nordic" very tall, albino, long hair, no recognizable facial features, void of mouth eyes nose, just a blank face and acted very strange, again, not related to this circle.

Unfortunately, there's a very valid explanation on why/how ice circles like the one above are formed, but what I'd like to know is why the latter claims made by this person are treated as secondary information. I can't be the only one who is far more interested in this strange featureless tall white guy, right? Also, can we just take a minute to appreciate the DREAM BOATS known as Nordic Aliens?

UFO Case File 4: A well documented encounter

Source: [1]

Yet another post from The Vike Factor, this one has to do with a citizen experiencing what could very well be a close encounter of the third kind.

After being bothered by the sound of footsteps on the roof for three consecutive nights and finding no logical evidence or explanation to who or what was causing the ruckus, this citizen then witnessed a large triangular craft (which seems to be pretty popular around these parts) and documented the whole ordeal as best as they could.

This one stands out and is a personal fave because of the great attention to detail, so thanks anonymous person for delivering the goods on this – unlike the Nordic alien guy above

If you or anyone you know is being ruthlessly terrorized by the unknown or might have saw a thing in the sky once and lived to talk about it, feel free to tell us about it. Lethbian Love only runs half the time thanks to the fodder that comes from citizens like YOU (and sometimes money thrown haphazardly from that shady businessman downtown that smells like cognac and makes us do really weird things for him every September for his birthday…)

How many rabbits on a Pilsner label?

For all Molson claims to have maintained the integrity of the Old Style Pilsner label, there's that one nagging question that comes to every drunkard's mind: how many rabbits on a Pilsner label?

You see three at first, then have another beer and see four. Then they change the label, get hate, only to change it back to something similar (but not quite the same) and say they're doing good on us folk, despite quietly killing off another rabbit! Look how those corporate big-wigs taunt us with their "YouTubes":


Oh well, at least I've tried to document its history the best I could. Lots of good and insighful comment on my original post.

I heart Sidney York

Sidney York

I got an email from a publicist the other day giving me a heads up that Calgary electro-pop duo Sidney York is playing at The Slice on January 25th. I always am happy when bands call on little ol' me for exposure because I get to listen to new albums before they're out!

Today, in fact, Sidney York's latest album <3s drops and it's a treat! But that's because I'm a connoseur of the genre. You can listen to a few tracks on CBC Radio 3, or check this out:


And according to them, "It's not often an navy reservist turned opera singer (Brandi) meets up with a classically trained bassoonist (Krista) to create a electro-pop band, after all."

Doing hard time for a good cause


Sometimes, being on the wrong side of the law can feel so good, like that time I crossed the street when the hand was flashing orange. The exhiliration!

This year I am volunteering with the Canadian Cancer Society for their annual Jail-N-Bail campaign!

Jail-N-Bail involves mock arrests of willing and fun-loving participants who are taken to a mock jail at the event site. You can choose to turn yourself in or help put a felon behind bars. After a playful trial, the jailbird is found guilty and bail is set. The jailbird can choose to go to jail or they can volunteer for house arrest to raise as much bail money as possible by contacting family, friends, co-workers and businesses for tax-deductible donations.

The money raised through Jail-N-Bail helps the Society continue its fight for life by funding the most promising cancer research, support programs and services for people living with cancer, comprehensive cancer information, prevention initiatives, and advocacy for healthy public policy.

Here's where my call to readers comes in: we're still on the lookout for jailbirds! Feeling a wee bit of guilt yourself or know someone who you'd like to snitch on? Consider doing some hard time for a good cause!

Canadian Cancer Society Jail-N-Bail | Facebook Page