So, De La Soul tell me that ‘Three is the Magic Number’, but on my last trip away two really was the sweet-spot. I covered two national parks, skied two amazing mountain resorts and met a whole host of new people during MTS, a two-day ski trade show.
I met my Australian colleague Jo at Calgary airport and we travelled into dusk through the beautiful Kootenay National Park, full of snowy mountains. We arrived at Panorama just as it was getting dark and received a very warm welcome – I say warm but it was snowing (#powder #excited).
The next morning was a typical pre-ski morning – losing gloves, dropping lift passes, and after a couple of trips back to the apartment I got myself and my already achy legs to our group meeting point. We had a great mixture of Brits, Australians and New Zealanders. With a dusting of fresh snow and brilliant sunshine, it was a fun warming-up on some easy blues, then we headed to the highest point for lunch, with incredible views into Tayton Bowl. After this the more patient and experienced skiers headed off to have their fun, for an afternoon of steep and deep, and the rest of us skied down the gorgeous ‘View of 1000 Peaks’ run into the resort.
Not only did we get to ski together but the following morning we were treated to a trip up the mountain on snowmobiles! We wound through the trees, with snow falling pretty heavily, until we reached a tiny hut, virtually snowed-under. It was a very romantic setting, with the thick snow and little cabin where we had cookies and hot chocolate. The icing on the cake for my trip to Panorama was a short (but very out-of-breath) hike to an incredible frozen waterfall!
We then headed to Kicking Horse Mountain Resort. Renowned for its experienced terrain, this was sure to be a test of my skiing! We took the huge gondola up to Eagles Eye restaurant, home to Canada’s most elevated dining experience, and our guide Toby led us off for the day. We explored through the huge trees and the snow was so light, backing up the resorts claim to be the ‘Champagne Powder Capital of Canada’. As we emerged from the clouds the view over the Columbia Valley was amazing. Despite its expert reputation, I had a great day challenging myself on harder runs, and then cruising the greens and blues in the afternoon when my legs gave up the ghost.
Our next stop was Banff for the serious part of the trip, Mountain Travel Symposium, a global meeting point for all things ski. But before we reached Banff we made a quick stop at Lake Louise. It would have been rude not to! We walked across the frozen lake… quite tentatively on my part, and had fun taking photos of the ice castles.
I remembered Banff and its small-town feel, with a mixture of glamorous and rustic shop fronts, having been once before on a whistle-stop search for poutine. This time we headed through to the impressive Fairmont Banff Springs, our home for the next 4 nights. The next couple of days flew by, a blur of meetings with familiar faces and the introduction of many brand-new faces. It was intriguing to meet people from all over the globe, all united by their passion for ski and I look forward to seeing where my next MTS adventure could take me.