The Canadian Rocky Mountains are some of the most breathtaking, awe inspiring scenery you will ever experience in your life. Ahead of your ski or snowboard trip, make sure to have a basic level of fitness. I skied a couple times as a kid but had never set foot on a mountain in my entire life or prepared in any way for this trip.
Graduating to Mountains:
Be safe at all times. Stretch. Read and follow signs. Despite their sheer size, you’re still two skis on the ground. Know the risks. Sometimes people can get really hurt or die on the mountains. It is possible to have a life-altering injury skiing or snowboarding.
Remember when you get to the top, the most stunning views await you!
Just west of Banff, Sunshine Village Canada’s highest ski resort with one of the longest seasons in the Rocky Mountains. With all natural snow and Canada’s first heated chairlift, Sunshine is built on three mountains! There is access to 137 runs, through 7 high speed quads and four other lifts, many of which are above the tree line. For the easiest routes, look for the green circles. Plan a route ahead of time and carry a trail guide with you. I prepared by wearing long johns, a proper ski helmet, goggles, several pairs of mitts, gloves under mittens, snow pants, neck warmer, face covering (balaclava), long ski coat and hat. Bring an extra neck warmer, the condensation of your breath has a tendency to freeze your face cover. Put healthy snacks in coat pockets closest to your body so they don’t freeze (and you have snacks for later!). Renting skis and boots was a breeze! Know your conditions ahead of time. If is super cold out dress accordingly. Stash mitts and protein bars in your coat. Be cautious in white out conditions, you can easily misgauge the terrain and end up skis over poles by not seeing a snow ridge in a white out. Know how to stop and turn before attempting steep inclines. Bring layers and hot packs just in case you become cold at any point. Make sure your phone is fully charged, for photos and hopefully not emergencies.
Drink water. Drinking a lot of water will reduce jet lag, combat symptoms of altitude and give you an added burst of energy you need. You should be drinking a gallon a day at least. 4L. Stretch often, especially your legs!
At Sunshine Ski Resort you can take the great divide chair to experience both Alberta and British Colombia in the same run. Get there well before 9AM to park up front or halfway through the day for half-day pass starting at noon. We started on Standish and finished the day on Goat’s Eye, not before completing a summit top to bottom hitting The Great Divide. Get acclimatized to your skis with some runs off the Strawberry chair.
Ski tip: Make a meeting point and at the bottom of the hill in case you become separated. Choose a focal point like the fireplace or the ski lodge. Use the buddy system. Pack some food because mountain food is often expensive. Before you ski anywhere know how to get on and off the lift and obey signs carefully.
Panorama has the third highest vertical drop in Canada, over 3000 acres of terrain and 129 runs. The resort is 18 km west of Invermere, 2016 winner of World Snow Awards with trails as long as 6.5 kms. The discovery zone is ideal for new skiers looking to accelerate your skills. It is scenic, easy and fun for new riders. There are plenty of runs to challenge even the most expert rider too, remember to follow the green and blue colors. Stay focused, pole plant and ski around your pole pointing your toes in the direction you want to go. Make wide turns and don’t fight the mountain. If you get into trouble, do not panic. Remember to stretch and heat your muscles after a long day of skiing. You’re ready to hit the slopes.
Along the way to Jasper we drove the Icefields Parkway through the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Spring is avalanche season but be prepared at anytime with a full tank of gas and food supplies in case anything happens.
There is no signal anywhere along the route!
Also along this route is the famed Columbia Icefield Skywalk Experience…
PRO TIP: In between your ski days, the best hot springs in Alberta aren’t the ones frequented by tourists surrounded by a concrete pool. Rest your aching muscles in completely natural hot springs at Lussier Hotsprings in Radium.
We also did a hike at the Bridal Veil Falls.
In the Winter, everything is frozen so we were able to go behind the falls!
Check out the quick video clip of the breathtaking sights and scenes of Alberta…