Living in Banff during the winter can certainly be fun. Despite summer being the ‘busy’ season, winter offers downhill skiing, cross country skiing, snowboarding of course, tobogganing and plenty of other excitement.
If you’re planning a ski holiday, or heading to snowy paradise this winter for relaxation and the possibility of snow sports be aware that most travel insurance providers don’t include skiing and other snow sports in their typical cover – make sure your provider has winter sports travel insurance cover. Snow sports do seem to have a higher risk of injury than other sporting possibilities, but they are also oooh so much fun. I love snowboarding through pine trees on fresh powder or thin windy banked tracks. Snow shoeing in search of Elk, or just hiking up a peak on a nice day and overlooking a snow white vista.
Skiing and Snowboarding in Canada
During my stay in Banff I managed to ski Sunshine and Lake Louise a number of times as well as visiting Revelstoke, Castle, Fernie and Sun Peaks. I got really familiar with Sunshine and Lake Louise ski fields. Lake Louise was always my personal favourite, they both offer advantages and disadvantages and depending on what type of skiing you prefer you could like either. Sunshine tended to hold the snow pack better, so if it hasn’t snowed in a while I’d head to Sunshine. Lake Louise on a good snow day has a lot of terrain, and more interesting terrain in my opinion – if you’re an experienced skiier and are looking for fun black runs then head to Lake Louise (providing they have sufficient snow).
Castle, Fernie and Sun Peaks I only visited once and skied them for a day or a few days. All were excellent fun. If you get the chance to go to Fernie – definitely do, the skiing is so much fun. The area tends to get a lot of snow and since these ski fields are outside of the Banff and Jasper National Park domains other snow sport opportunities are available like skidooing (snowmobile).
Walks, Snow Shoeing, Couch Surfers & More
I hosted some awesome couch surfers and enjoyed the odd snow shoeing excursion on the frozen lakes in search of Elk. Walking and hiking isn’t normally considered a ‘winter’ sport, but on a nice sunny day which isn’t too cold a good walk in the snow can be very relaxing and fulfilling.
Along with walks in the snow going on a dog sled ride is also something which people have said really good things about. When in Quebec City for the Winter Carnival I did try a short dog sled ride and found it quite enjoyable – so a longer one in a natural winter environment would be really fun.
Cardboard Sled Derby
The Cardboard Sled Derby held at Sunshine Ski Resort. Unfortunately I couldn’t compete with my shoulder injury so I just provided enthusiasm from the side. Essentially teams created their own cardboard sled, lined them up at the start line and then the first sled to get to the bottom of the hill and cross the finish line was crowned the winner. As with most fun sled derbies there were prizes for design as well as crossing first. Makes it more interesting this way because the simplest design, with a one person team often seems to be the most effective.