By Dauna Ditson
Special to the Pioneer
Erin and Joe Palashniuk, the new owners of Gateway Motel, have big plans for their first Christmas as residents of Radium Hot Springs. In addition to their own family celebration, they are hosting a Christmas Eve sleigh ride and will volunteer at a Christmas Day turkey dinner.
Mrs. Palashniuk said the motel is almost fully booked for Christmas, and she wanted to provide some holiday magic for her guests and the community. She has fond memories of sleigh rides over the years and is looking forward to bringing the Christmas tradition to Radium.
“For me it really gives you that Christmas-y kind of spirit,” she said. “They’re a lot of fun.”
Sleigh rides will be available across from the Radium fire hall from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday, December 24th. Hot chocolate and candy canes will be provided, and Santa himself will make an appearance.
The sleigh rides will run for either 15 minutes or half an hour, depending on how many people are waiting for a turn. Both the longer and shorter routes avoid the highway – a condition of council’s approval for Mrs. Palashniuk’s request to use a horse-drawn carriage.
A ride will cost $5 per person or $20 per family. Mrs. Palashniuk, who hopes to make the sleigh ride an annual event, said the fee for the inaugural ride will help build a reserve to allow for more sleigh rides in the future.
When the Palashniuks moved to Radium from Calgary in March 2017, they were looking for a community where they could share of themselves and connect with others. That’s exactly what they found here, Mrs. Palashniuk said, and listed off the other groups that are involved in supporting the event: Bar Z Mountain Adventures, Crystal Springs Motel, Village Country Inn, Bighorn Meadows Resort, Horsethief Creek Pub & Eatery and the Village of Radium Hot Springs.
“There’s a real sense in the area that it’s best if people work together,” Mrs. Palashniuk said, adding that a community can be like a family. “There’s a desire to work together and spend time together,” she said.
That’s why she and her family won’t take Christmas Day off. Instead they will continue spreading Christmas cheer by volunteering at the La Cabina Ristorante turkey dinner. The buffet will run from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Christmas Day.