It’s that time of the year again when sitting by the fireplace, sinking deeper into that warm couch, clinging tight to that hot cup of chocolate become a norm. While it is convenient to go into hibernation, there is also a magical white kingdom staring at you from the other side of the window, heartily inviting you to be a part of it. We heeded to one such calling and started to Canada. There are only a few places that match up to the grandiose of the Canadian Rockies, especially in the winters.
Banff is a pretty little town in the heart of Canadian Rockies and a gateway to the famous banff national park. While it’s easy to imagine it being a hot destination for the of summers, the winters here are equally stunning. We didn’t let the weather or poor road conditions be any bad influence and tidied up for a road trip through the Rockies. Banff is a short drive from Calgary which is well connected by Air from anywhere in the world you are.
Just outside of the town of Banff, a short drive took us to Lake Minnewanka. This was our first stop and unsurprisingly we were the only ones around admiring this frozen beauty. There were impressive patterns created by the wind over the icy surface; some long streaks, a few frozen bubbles adding that artistic touch. The picnic benches were covered in a thick sheet of snow and utterly unprepared to host anyone.
We then headed to Lake Louise, a glistening turquoise wonder and the major crowd puller for Banff. In winter however it transformed itself to a skating rink and the guests from the nearby Fairmont hotel were doing exactly that, skating. Several back country ski trails spur off from the shores of the lake. We chose to just walk on the frozen lake, always dreading the moment the surface might crack and we ending up in the biting cold water. The road to the nearby Peyto lake, which we so much wanted to see was sadly closed.
While driving alone is an adventure in itself there are myriad of things to do when you decide to stretch your legs. Ski down to sample the endless terrains of Mt Norquay or the Sunshine village. If the chair lifts won’t do it for you try heliskiing off the innumerable remote peaks. If you proud yourselves of having good route funding skills snowshoeing here would be a delight. For the more laid back sledding or snowmobiling options are in abundance. Whatever way you choose make the most of the snow, make a snow man, have snowball fights or just flutter your arms lying down on the powder and make snow angels.
We continued towards the neighbouring jasper national park.The trees here were heavily snowed down resembling giant white ghosts ready to be shredded down. The beautiful views were occasionally punctured by the signs if avalanche danger. After one such sign board The road went bad and we were forced to turn back and instead dove west towards Vancouver. The drive was mostly on trans Canada highway 1 which is well maintained and plowed regularly even when the weather turns harsh. To us it meant driving unobtrusively through Kootenay, Yoho and glacier national parks. This extended drive was no less beautiful than the one through Banff.