Last month PR Account Director Beth Higham jetted off to Alberta to host a group press trip and found herself in a winter wonderland. Looking back, it’s one of her favourite work adventures yet…hear more about her trip below:
We headed for Alberta to explore the Rockies in winter! Come summer, this region is one of the world’s most photographed, bucket list spots, but off season, places like Jasper and Banff National Parks, Lake Louise and the Icefields Parkway are crowd-free and actually in need of visitation.
And, while Alberta might be a tad cold at times, there’s also plenty of ‘winter warmth’ moments to be had too. We roasted apples on a campfire in Elk Island National Park before dipping them in cinnamon sugar (FYI: actually tastes like apple pie); taste tested artisan spirits and brews being made across the province, and had several wow factor, take-your-breath-away moments like ice climbing at Maligne Canyon – the adrenaline sure warms you up!
We also spent time in the provincial capital city of Edmonton visiting Ice Castles and learning about how street art is transforming the city with the team from Rust Magic before heading to nearby Elk Island to visit Canada’s only fully enclosed national park and learn about its bison conservation story.
Here are my top three trip highlights:
Ice Climbing at Maligne Canyon
A fear of heights, the deepest canyon in the Rockies and a 30-metre-high frozen waterfall to climb presented me a challenge. Yet, when our Rockboo Mountain Adventures guides asked who wanted to go first and there was a dull silence from the group, I found myself volunteering. Well, as the resident PR, I had to inspire confidence, right?! Before I knew it, I’d scaled 20 metres up the waterfall using my ice cleats and pick, and after abseiling back down and slowing my heart rate, I realised I absolutely loved it and wanted to do it again and so I did (even if I was terrified the whole time)
Learning to Ski at Lake Louise Ski Resort
I’ve long been the recipient of the phrase “but didn’t you learn to ski as a child?” Well, sadly no. Sure I went on lots of fabulous holidays growing up, but never skiing. So, when the opportunity to learn to ski came up in Alberta, I was excited but anxious in equal measure. Kitted out in my skis at the top of the bunny hill, I wondered just how I’d get to the bottom without breaking an arm, leg or worse. But, with encouragement from our instructors, by the end of the day I’d gone top to bottom on the hill 10+ times – and only fallen once. Victory!
Ice Castles in Edmonton
I truly felt like Elsa on my visit to Edmonton’s Ice Castles. Built from scratch each year by professional ice artists using hundreds of thousands of hand-placed icicles, there are just six sites in North America where you can find these castles, and Edmonton is the only location in Canada so I felt pretty lucky to visit. It’s truly like walking in Narnia – the Ice Castles are LED-lit with tunnels, slides and more.
So, what did the trip teach my media group? That winter’s a great time to visit the Albertan Rockies twinned with Edmonton and Elk Island, and that you can be a complete winter pursuit novice and have a whale of a time. Beginners line up!
For more information on travel to Alberta, visit: www.travelalberta.com/uk