We flew to Calgary on Friday morning, picked up our lovely little Toyotal Carolla at the rental car agency and headed just West of the city to spend the evening and night with my sister and brother in law. Was wonderful to see them again! And even though I have not lived in Calgary for many, many years, I did grow up there and still feel like I am coming home every time I visit.
On Saturday morning we woke up to a beautiful sunny but frosty morning... after slathering ourselves with lotion cause the air is so much drier than we are used to we enjoyed a family breakfast and then we waived goodbye and started the car... and discovered, much to our delight, that our rental car had heated seats. YAY!
We headed West and drove for about an hour before we found our first adventure site... A helicopter ride that included an hour of snow-shoeing through the woods on a mountain near Kananaskis. It was truly fabulous. The owner of the company was our pilot and there were 4 other guests... another couple, and 2 delightful and funny young woman from the Phillipines.
The pefect day! Soft, pillowy snow and good company. The Bailey's laced hot chocolate at midpoint on the side of the mountain overlooking a river valley was a nice touch too.
Then we carried on West, heading into Banff National Park, and stopping at the town of Banff to pick up our tri-area lift tickets before carrying on another 35 miles to Lake Louise and our home for 2 nights... the fabulous Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.
Looking to hotel from mid-lake with Lake Louse Ski area behind.
Before we bought the sailboat and moved South, we were avid skiers and spent many lovely Christmases at the Chateau. She is still a beautiful and grand old hotel and it is fun to visit when the lake is frozen over. There are lots of activities to enjoy... skating on the lake, hiking, ice climbing, and there are also horse-drawn sleigh rides and dog-sled rides as well. There was a lake-side ice bar and also fire pits... and of course the trees are lit up at night and the mood is very festive.
Morning breaks above the lake and Victoria Glacier... this was the view from our room.
We enjoyed a day at Ski Louise... the nearby ski resort. Breathtaking views and fabulous snow conditions.
On Monday we left Lake Louise and drove back to Banff.... our home for the next 3 nights was the Rimrock Hotel, high above town on the side of Sulphur Mountain. Lovely.
We spent one day at Sunshine Village ski area... and it was Heavenly! I had forgotten how beautiful it was there and so busy, too!
Just outside the hotel in Sunshine Village.
And we also checked out Mount Norquay ski area as well... the snow was definitely getting worn out there on the lower runs... Spring for sure. Much smaller and fewer people. I see why those who are fans do love it, though. Beautiful. I have never skiied Norquay but did toboggan there as a kid...now there is a huge tube park on a bottom slope.
We really enjoyed our time in Banff... and we did lots of exploring the nearby sites... Bow River Falls, Lake Minnewanka, Two Jack Lake, Vermillion Lakes, and the Hoodoos on Tunnel Mountain. We also drove the Bow Valley Parkway and picknicked along the way. Was so fun to be back in my own 'backyard'.
There are several sets of these red chairs at different viewpoints around the park now. Nice place to take a break and just enjoy!
Above the Hoodoos on Tunnel Mountain.
We also enjoyed the Rimrock Fitness area, particularly the swimming pool and hot pools and the sauna.
We headed back to Calgary on Thursday around noon, in the middle of a bit of a snow squall. Light and dry flakes, but a bit unnverving to this girl who never drives in the snow anymore!
We spent two more nights with my sister and brother in law, and on Good Friday, their kids and grandkids joined us for a raucous family dinner/evening. Was so fun to get everyone together and catch up.
Saturday we said our goodbyes and headed to the airport. We had a short flight home and arrived tired and happy... just the way you should feel when getting home from a wonderful vacation!
Have you ever visited Banff or Lake Louise?