Optional One Day Trip to Kicking Horse Resort, $150 (20 required)
Participants must have a valid passport for travel between the US and Canada.
Contact: banff2013lewisskiclub [dot] org
What a trip it was! 37 participants enjoyed a fun and epic week of skiing and riding in Banff, Alberta Canada with the Lewis Ski Club. We regretted the loss of Allen due to injury, but welcomed Joe as his last minute replacement. Our trip out went mostly without a hitch, except we leaned to allow more time for group check in with Air Canada! Paul apparently didn’t read his trip flyer, which clearly stated a valid passport was needed for air travel to Canada! Oh, well, a scenic drive across the open prairie from Great Falls, MT to Banff is it’s own reward! Once on the ground in Calgary, we had more trouble finding the bus than finding the beverage store, making for a fun ride to Banff. Check in at the fine Banff Aspen Lodge went smooth as could be expected, with Rich and Toni showing up with the luggage truck right on time. After unpacking, your intrepid leaders head off to the store for provisions for the welcome party. First surprise of the trip is $50 for a case of beer! We may have underestimated the trip budget. Not to worry, wine and liquor are cheap enough to make up the difference, and we have a Safeway Club discount card for the snacks!
Our first day of skiing at Lake Louise opens with clouds, wind, and snow. The weather breaks at lunchtime and a sunny afternoon is the perfect backdrop for the sea of green costumes assembled by several of our participants. Thanks to Marilyn for dressing up the trip leader as the world’s tallest leprechaun! We even fostered some international relations, by posing for a photo with a Japanese tour group!
Sunshine Village on the second day was more of the same, weatherwise, but with 6” of new snow to play on. Sunshine has a greater variety of terrain than Lake Louise, but more of a challenge to negotiate all of it for the snowboarders. I guess Lori missed that tip from the bus driver. Goat’s Eye Mountain was the best of the best! Monday night’s group dinner, provided by Skican, gave everyone a chance to swap stories of their first two days of adventure, and the pasta served by the Old Spaghetti Factory provided fuel for the next.
The third day provided blue skies, and cold temperatures for the day trip to Kicking Horse. It was a day of awesome conditions on awesome terrain, which was thoroughly enjoyed by 15 of our participants. Fred really does ski fast, even on a black diamond bowl! Kicking Horse is a relatively new ski area, formerly operated as a heliskiing destination. 4200 vertical feet had lots of legs sore by the end of the day. The remainder of the group skied and rode to their hearts content at Sunshine and Louise, or took a needed day off to enjoy the many sightseeing and excursion possibilities Banff has to offer.
Wednesday was warm and sunny, the perfect day to relax, sleep late and do a half day at Mount Norquay, which was NOT abysmal! There’s something about a cold beer on a sunny deck after a few turns. Followed by a few more in the English pub.
Unfortunately, our only real set back of the trip occurred early in the day, as we learned that Lori tore her ACL at Lake Louise. Rehab it like Linsdsey Vonn, and get well soon!
It’s already Thursday, and the week is starting to wind down, but we have two days left to get after it, so it’s back to Lake Louise. The weather is a little worse than previously, so most folks pick their way down, except Tommygun, who pounds the back bowls all day long, as usual. After lunch, where we get our first taste of “poutine” we ski the signature run for the trip leader as our last, and decide its cold enough to call it a day. The group dinner at Wild Bill’s Saloon is a great meal, with great friends, and entertainment to boot. That bum knee didn’t slow Lori down one bit , or dissuade her erstwhile dance partners!
Our last day of skiing at Sunshine Village, and we finally get a group photo in front of the banner. Mostly blue skies, some leftover new snow, but the coldest temps of the week make for a great wrap up to a great trip. With good visibility, the peak off Great Divide offers wide open powder runs, and a bowl over for Paul! After lunch, Goat’s Eye is again the area of choice for those last few runs.
One last dinner out, and it’s time to pack up for the o’dark thirty bus back to the airport. Good thing everyone is wearing their ski coats, because apparently the bus company also hauls sides of beef to market. Another hour and a half to check in, and we’re on our way home. Minor problems with baggage inspection and Customs in Toronto are overcome, and everyone get back with their luggage intact. All in all, this was one of the best locations I’ve ever visited, with fantastic terrain, excellent excursions, dining, shopping, and night life. I hope everyone enjoyed the trip as much as Bruce and I enjoyed leading it. The skis are parked for the summer, but the memories will last until next season. Hey, it’s only 8 months away!
Mark and Bruce
Lewis Ski Club Membership is Required. Please see the Membership Page for more information.