Cold, can sometimes be an understatement if you are describing a Canadian winter. Icy roads, freezing temperatures and arctic approved clothing might be a slightly better illustration. However, despite mountains of snow, winter is a unique time of year. It brings with it a surplus of activities that are not available at any other time. Imagine snow shoeing without snow, or ice skating without ice. It simply does not paint an ideal picture. So, while we thank our automatic car starters for keeping us warm, we also watch for milder days to be able to explore our chilly yet breathtaking backyard.
This past weekend we gathered two of our closest friends and did just that. Escaping to the mountains, we planned the perfect getaway to enjoy all that winter was ready to throw at us. For those courageous enough to brave a Canadian winter, here’s the perfect way to enjoy the snow.
Before even leaving the house, remember to pack layers. It’s easier to remove extra clothing then to brave the elements with chattering teeth. For us, this starts with wool sweaters and thermal tights. Not only will these keep you warm but they will also wick away moisture that cotton and polyester cannot. Cozy socks make sure your feet stay dry and don’t be shy about wearing multiple pairs, even if your husband makes fun of you. On top, we swear by Helly Hansen to provide us with indestructible jackets and The North Face for waterproof snow pants. Sorel, a household name in Canada, has the warmest winter boots and no outfit is not complete without mitts and a touque.
Go Downhill Skiing
Feeling like an abominable snowman in your gear what better place to fit in then the ski hill. Canada is home to the Rocky Mountains and as a result several world renowned ski resorts. Our own excursion took place at Lake Louise however Kicking Horse, Panorama and Sunshine (to name a few) also offer premiere runs. Rentals are available on site if you don’t have your own gear and lift tickets can be purchased in advance. If visiting Lake Louise make sure to take the Gondola to the back side for amazing views and powdery snow.
Rent a Cozy Cabin
Thanks to Air BnB it is now easier then every to find unique accommodations around the globe. For a truly Canadian experience we highly recommend booking your own cabin. While many areas offer hotel accommodations, a private residence has several advantages. Our own home away from home featured a log interior, indoor fireplace, private hot tub and panoramic views. It gave us the space we needed for winter gear, a layout that allowed us to stay with friends and our own kitchen for endless food and drink. We spent our mornings sipping baileys and coffee and our evenings soaking in the hot tub. It’s hard to imagine much better.
Embark on a Snowshoeing Adventure
Although all four of us are born and raised Canadians, only one of us had ever been snowshoeing. So, with hectares worth of trails at our disposal we decided to tackle this under valued winter activity. For those that are unfamiliar, snowshoeing is in essence winter hiking with a little bit of assistance. No longer made out of wood and rawhide (as we often imagine for old movies), snowshoes today are a combination of aluminum, plastic and synthetic fabric. Bindings secure your winter boots into place and crampons ensure proper traction. Overall, it’s easy to learn and an enjoyable way to explore the outdoors. If snowshoeing in the Golden area, head up to Dawn Mountain Nordic Centre located next to Kicking Horse ski resort.
Enjoy with Friends
While each of the above recommendations are sure to lead to an enjoyable winter getaway the best way to make it an unforgettable trip is to go with friends. We were lucky enough to share our experience with two of our nearest and dearest and the getaway would not have been the same without them. We spend a significant amount of time travelling as a couple so it’s always a breath of fresh air to be able to share our time away with others. A tumble on the ski hill was greeted with friendly laughs, music and drinks filled the cabin, minutes in the hot tub someone turned into hours and an annoying flat tire wasn’t quite as annoying when you had good company to forget about it.
Have you travelled with friends before? Tell us your favourite story, we’d love to hear it!