bikes canada general moosling snow

Yet more post-Christmas snow adventures

The day after Boxing Day, we headed to West Bragg Creek to go exploring. It feels like a long drive, but that’s just because these days we’re outraged by having to drive a whole hour to do something apparently. There’s an absolute nest of rideable snowy single track out there, good for running and snow-shoeing too, as well as groomed nordic ski trails.

We only had a few hours there, but the conclusion was that we really need to return with more time up our sleeves. And on a less windy day (we were both blown off the bike a few times).

I went for a snowshoe while Alex was out riding. The Moosling was unimpressed with the wind, but held on while I stomped about. I don’t really feel like I see the point of snow-shoeing, as it seems to largely be done on trails that you could just as easily run on.

And then the next day it was out to Lake Louise, and my first time skiing the Telemark and Great Divide trails. It was a painful day on classic skis, with far too much grip wax on making everything hard work – on top of me being a little tired and sore after so many consecutive days of activity. On the plus side, after working at it for a few hours, I may have marginally better technique now (thanks Lincoln).

The Great Divide trail isn’t terribly inspiring, particularly when you’re working just as hard on the downhill as you are on the up, but it was still a fun day of exploration, with bonus sled dogs.

canada general snow

Spring skiing at Lake Louise

We spent Monday enjoying the free snow at Lake Louise. They’ve stayed open an extra week because the snow is so good – and it really is! There’s still snow all the way to the lodge, even if it does get a bit mucky towards the end. And thanks to their (as Brendan put it) either random generosity or attempt to deviously poach pass holders from other resorts, we got to ski for free (thanks to having passes to Sunshine Village).

The extra week of skiing lasts until this Sunday, but was gorgeous on a warm and sunny weekday. No crowds, and lots of slush all to ourselves! And very nice slush it was too. I even forgot my gloves, and didn’t get cold hands – ahhh, Spring skiing.

We wandered up to Lake Louise afterwards, which is looking less than inspiring at the moment. Still covered in snow and ice, with hoards of tourists tromping back and forth across it. It will be a while before all the lakes have melted properly, and we have the hiking trails back again. I’m beginning to wonder if I should buy some snowshoes, or just invest in a little more patience.

canada climbing general

lake lousie

The weather’s taken a turn for the unpredictable recently – weather forecasts keep looking promising, then turning to scattered showers the day beforehand, and the day in question ends up being miserable and rainy. And that’s exactly what happened when I tried to finally climb at Lake Louise.


Views of Lake Louise (ski resort), Lake Louise (chateau) and Lake Louise (lake – filling up with people in canoes)


There was low cloud lurking through the Bow Valley, and all the way along the drive there.

“It’ll be fine!” we said. “At least it’s not raining!” we said. The rock was horribly cold and uninspiring. The longer you spent on the climb, the more warmth was sapped from your fingers and your toes, so instead of warming up you’d just get colder and colder, until you couldn’t really feel your fingers at all, and your big toes were definitely quite numb (possibly your next toes too, and some of the others). You’d have to place your feet and hands visually and hope the hold was good enough to stick to, as it was just impossible to tell by feel.


Walking into the crag


By the time we finished the second climb (which was actually quite fun climbing on Arapiles-style horizontals) it was a little warmer. Perhaps we would keep going. But then it started to rain. We retired to town for hot chocolate and brownies.

canada general travel

chipmunks and RVs – tales of the road

After living here for nearly a year, we finally visited Lake Louise and drove up the Icefields Parkway to Jasper on the weekend, in a bout of touristing with Mum. It wasn’t fatal, but camping and road trips sure are popular round here in Summer. We fought our way up the highway through streams of traffic, and battled for campground space with RVs. Vicious chipmunks attempted to eat our shoes and car tyres, and vicious panpipe and trumpet players attempted to assault our ears. We were not crushed by the relentless retreat of the Athabasca Glacier, and no tourists fell down a crevasse, despite crossing the barriers and dancing round on the glacier and posing for silly photos. Oh, and we also escaped unscathed from the man-eating Canada Geese at Maligne Lake.


Golden-mantled ground squirrel, at the Lake Agnes Teahouse near Lake Louise


Poppies outside the Lake Louise Chateau


Athabasca wuz ere in ’82


Train tracks outside of Jasper

Tomorrow we’re jumping on a ship and sailing up to the Yukon, where I’ll wrestle a moose, then tame it and ride it back to Canmore. And also drive up to Dawson City, and the Dempster Highway – well that’s the plan anyway.