In December Dave headed out west to fulfill his travel aspiration of spending the ski season in Lake Louise. I supported him (even though it meant 3.5 months apart) because keeping someone close to you involves supporting their dreams, even if that means loving them from a distance for a while.
Luckily, Lake Louise is one of the most beautiful places in Canada so it wasn’t very difficult to convince me to come out for a visit (despite my preference for sunshine and bikinis over snowpants and wind chill). I spent the 1st week of February there and every moment was breathtaking.
Dave and I don’t mess around when we holiday. Banff National Park boasts pretty much every winter activity out there and we wanted to try them all!
Snowshoeing Lake Louise
We did this on our first day. While Dave was hoping for a lazy lie in, I was having none of it. I was a bit jet legged and there was too much fun to be had! So we strapped on our snowshoes and ventured up to Fairview Lookout (a nice 2 km trek). The view from the top was pretty stunning!
After some lunch and a shot of whisky we were ready blaze our own trail across the lake.
This made for more exciting snowshoeing as the snow was fresh and, once we got a ways from the Chateau, was virtually untouched by other foot prints. The drifts were deep and in some places we sank over a foot down as we explored what felt like the great unknown!
The next morning we piled onto the Fairmont’s shuttle bus and headed to Lake Louise Ski Resort for my lesson. Now, down hill skiing is not my forte. I haven’t hit the slopes since I was about 12 years old and the last time I went, not one but two different skiers managed to crash into me at the same time! Other fond memories include that time I fell off the t-bar and when my snowboard actually fell off while on the the chairlift…
So yeah, I was a little wary of this part of the trip. Dave, who snowboards, volunteered to learn to ski with me so we’d be at the same experience level. What a sweetheart! Our ski instructor, Kate, was fantastic and soon had my confidence soaring as I zoomed down the beginner hill. So we headed up the gondola to try out the real deal.
Which was completely terrifying! We started with Pika, one of the easier green runs. It starts out so steep at one point I started panicking and wanted to just sit down and cry. Obviously, I didn’t – I womaned-upped and managed to make my way down to Temple Lodge very, very slowly. The next time around was significantly faster and I started to re-build my confidence.
Our second day was fantastic. It had been snowing and the runs were gorgeously coated in fresh powder. I was trying new runs, feeling confident and starting to pick up speed!
Rock Climbing with Surprise Guests: Elk
In Banff, we trekked over to the Banff Centre for a few hours of climbing. We left at dusk and found 3 giant Elk just hanging out. It’s Feb (which is when they shed their racks) so their towering antlers were at their pinnacle and were very impressive!
Cross Country Skiing
Finally, we turned to my area of expertise: cross country skiing, where I had the pleasure (for once) of teaching Dave something new. We headed out on the 12 km Spray River Loop Trail and he did wonderfully!
It had been snowing like crazy but the blue skies came out for our last day in Banff, magically transforming our surroundings into a fairytail-esque world. Sunshine shone down through the snow frosted trees creating a breathtaking landscape for us to explore.
The first half of the trail was perfectly groomed. It ended at a small, snow laden bridge that led to the return loop back to the Fairmont. Before setting out I’d been advised by multiple people that this trail was indeed a skiable loop so I felt pretty confident with continuing along. I soon discovered that beyond the bridge the trail was no longer groomed. Luckily, there had been some skiers out within the last day or so and they’d blazed a lovely trail for us to follow.
I was eager to explore – I adore getting off the beaten track! At this point though, Dave was feeling the cold (it was a bitter -25C out) and a tad less keen. Luckily, as a fellow explorer he didn’t take much convincing. The trail was much narrower here and unlike earlier, it was littered with animal tracks. I kept my eyes peeled looking for my beautiful and allusive lynx friend that I really wanted to meet. Instead, we encountered a large deer which jumped out of the woods and across the trail right in front of me!
It was a magnificent day but by the end of it we’d been out in the elements for almost 4 hours and were eager to relinquish our equipment and head down to the hotel’s hot tub and impressive outdoor heated salt pool for some well earned relaxation.
Our week together just flew by and we had such a wonderful time! Needless to say, getting on that bus and leaving Dave behind in paradise was tough!
Thank you for reading!
If you enjoyed my post please feel free to like or leave me a comment! Also, check out Dave’s blog here about his 3 years exploring Canada.