A Travellerspoint blog

Fun in the Canadian Rockies!!

Snowboarding, Dog Sledding, Ice Skating and enjoying the beautiful scenery of Banff/Canmore, Alberta Area

sunny -2 °C

Canadian Rockies!!

It's been a while since our last post but I guess that's the joys of having lots of fun and no committments! ;) Really though...it's SO nice not working. Ok..for those of you who haven't stopped reading yet here's what we've been up to....

We spent our first week at a Hotel in Banff getting to know the area and checking out the local ski hills. In the first week we've discovered some of our favorite and more frequented spots in Banff:

  • The Elk and Orseman's Tuesday night $8 steak sandwich special and local brew Elk pints for $4 is worth a mention...I think we've been there every Tues since we arrived! ha!
  • The Banff Ave Brewing Co. who brew their own fine beer. OK..straight into the pubs I am..what a surprise. ;)

The ski hills....we went 1 day each to Sunshine Village, Lake Louise and Norquay. Lake Louise won for us hands down even though it's a bit of a drive out of the way. The runs are longer, runs on both sides of the hill (great for windy days) and the beers are cheaper (ha! ok..not why we chose it but true!). ;) After our first week we decided Lake Louise was going to be our hill of choice.

After much time and effort spent on trying to find a place to live (we visited 1 place)...we found a condo in Canmore rooming with a guy who's been home a total of maybe 2 nights in the 3 weeks we've been here. Works for us! :) It's a nice 2BR condo, view of the rockies, hot tub, gym and even has heated floors! Sweet. However, it doesn't have a tv..not good for the sports nut in the family but great for encouraging us to get outside and enjoy this wonderful area!

What we've been up to...
Snowboarding at Lake Louise!! Just yesterday I ventured out in my new properly fitted boarding boots and what an amazing day it was! There was 15cm of snow overnight and when we arrived many of the runs were closed because they were avalanche bombing. Once a successful bomb is complete the run opens up and guess what - pure powder!

My first powder experience was yesterday - it was amazing and frustrating at the same time. Basically...Ash was yelling at me to do everything exactly the opposite as what I've been learning the last 3 weeks. Powder is different he says!! I tried...all was going good until my board got bogged down under the snow and I came to a slow stop. Doesn't sound to bad right? Wrong....I fell on my butt. No big deal you say? Wrong! Every time I tried to pop up on my board my arm would just sink into snow up past my elbow..I had no leverage. It was SO tiring! Eventually..after about 10 mins of struggling I managed to get back up, made my way out and well....I wanted to do it again of course! haha!

Jocelyn and Brian came to Banff for a vacation and we had tons of fun!! In addition to boarding together at Louise we went skating at the Fairmont Banff Springs, Dog Sledding and of course had a few good meals (including the steak sandwhich special) and a couple of drinks together. OK..after one night out with Jocelyn having had a bit too much red wine I did have a very rough morning on the hill. Her fault. ;)

Other notable items:
- Denise gets new boarding jacket (thanks Dad!!)
- Denise gets new boarding boots
- Ash gets a Kindle (Happy Birthday Ash!)
- Soaking in the hot springs
- Great night out with Jocelyn & Brian at the Grizzly House fondue restaurant (+ a litre of wine - Jocelyn insisted!!) ;)
- Brian carving up the hill so hard that "grass was flying"
- the Huskey puppies at the dog sledding day! SO cute!
- over budget
- having an AMAZING time

Oh..I can't sign out without some beer talk (as if I haven't done enough):
- Elk & Orseman in Banff: Elk lager
- Banff Ave Brewing Co: Any!
- Drake in Canmore: I had a fantastic Old Fashioned Pilsner today On Tap! Jackie...I thought of you. :)
- Grizzly Paw in Canmore: Powder Pilsner
- Kokanee Gold: Ash's local fave

Off to Fort Mac and Edmonton on Wed to visit family and friends. Back in two weeks!!

Don't forget to leave us a comment...it's the most fun part for us!
Denise n Ash

Me boarding!

Us at the top of the world, Lake Louise

Me at the top of the world, Lake Louise

Ash driving the dog sled

Dog sledding puppies!

For more pics check out this public link to facebook:

Posted by dee-n-ash 19:38 Archived in Canada Comments (3)

Journey to Banff

Driving the Interstates and Trans Canada Highway

sunny 2 °C

So we are currently in sunny, warm Calgary - yup that's right....2 degrees and sunny and the temperature just keeps rising today.

OK.....a little bit about our journey here:

We spent two nights at the Fairmont Chicago and the room was fantastic. Huge, comfy room with a great view of the river. However, Chicago was cold and sleety. We were slipping and sliding trying to walk on the sidewalks!! Chicago does have lots of microbrew beers and the BEST deep dish pizza I've ever eaten - Pizza Uno. YUM! Another notable place was Lou Mitchell's diner where they often have linen ups outside but luckily none when we got there as it was a week day. The place was very busy and I had a huge omelette that was delicious!! Ash had the meatloaf - he was in heaven...lots of meeeeaaaat!! Highly recommend checking out this diner for great value eats.

From Chicago we hadn't decided if we were going to drive all the way to Fargo, North Dakota or stop earlier in Minniapolis. We pushed on through to Fargo and arrived about 10:30 at night. It was late and we figured we just needed a place to sleep so we grabbed the cheapest hotel just off the highway. Turns out the hotel was rated 39th out of 39 hotels in Fargo - and trust me, it was no surprise!! Wow - lesson learned, not doing that again!!

We pushed out from Fargo early on Wednesday morning and headed through North Dakota into Saskatchewan. North Dakota was pretty cool, really white snow covering everything. Luckily it was a nice sunny day and the roads were really clear. As soon as we crossed the boarder into Saskatchewan the Great White Canadian weather greeted us with snow, blowing snow and extremely low visability. Luckily that only lasted about an hour and only caused one 15 minute squabble. ;)

Wednesday night was spent in Moose Jaw Saskatchewan. What a spot! A balmy -39 with windchill....nice. We stayed at the Super 8 which after a night in Fargo was equivalent to the Fairmont experience. :)

Thursday - arrived in Calgary. We managed to luck into two tickets to the Friday night Calgary Flames vs. Dallas Stars game. The seats were amazing....we could literally feel the heat whenever the Flames scored! A 7-4 game for the Flames...couldn't have asked for better. Had a great night with the Willette (with an "e") uncles at the game and at a dive of a bar afteward playing pool - we won! Uncle Stan and Lenny are pretty good pool players I must say!

We just finished breakfast compliments of Uncle Lenny. Off to pack up and leave for the hour ish drive to Banff. Can't wait to see the mountains!!

OK, it wouldn't be a proper blog entry if we didn't recommend some beverages:
Chicago's Goose Island Beer Company - great wheat beer!
Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery - Ash enjoyed the stout
Rolling Rock - easy any day drinking

Look out for the next update from the mountains of Banff!
Denise & Ash

Posted by dee-n-ash 12:36 Archived in Canada Comments (2)

The Countdown is on!

25 more sleeps...

snow -3 °C

Wow...how time has flown by since our last post. I sure hope the travels don't whiz by this quickly! Only 25 more sleeps until life as we know it changes completley for one full year!!

The great news and updates since our last post:

  • house is rented
  • personal items packed and stored
  • the bosses know/approved the leave
  • new camera purchased for the trip (Panasonic Lumix G2 - comments/reviews anyone?)
  • and we are well, I guess we are as ready as we'll ever be!

Fun and exciting thoughts on the itinerary:
Banff in Jan - March
BC late April
Italy May
Greece late May/early June
Egypt we can do a tour with TopDeck early June, then do our overland tour with Intrepid to Turkey (see pic below!)
Spain, Portugal, France, Amsterdam through-out July, early August
England, Scotland, Ireland for August and early September
India for September
Sth East Asia for late September and all October
Bali for late October/early Nov
Australia early/mid Nov

Intrepid Trip - Cairo to Istanbul

Intrepid Trip - Cairo to Istanbul

Just today I heard that it takes the average person 21 days to break a habit. 11 years of corporate life...how long before I can let go and enjoy the adventure of a lifetime?!? Will keep you posted. ;)

No beers on the menu today so I'll leave you with a suggestion - VB is now available at the LCBO! (that one's for you Ash!)

D n Ash

Posted by dee-n-ash 19:25 Archived in Canada Comments (2)

100 things to do before travel start date

#1. Have a beer

Ok, there are SO many things on the list when planning a gap year.
First things first, create a blog! **beer in hand**

Then 99 items to follow. Decide on travel locations, book tickets, organize time off work, pack up the house, rent the house, sell the car...blah blah blah.

Aside from all that - the countdown is ON! 4 months and 10 days to travel kick off!

The plan:
Alberta, Vancouver, South East Asia, India, Middle East, Europe, Australia, Indonesia, New Zealand and whatever else falls in between!

Wish us luck. 4 months to go and many things to do.

Denise and Ash

Beer of the day:
Steamwhistle Pilsner - Toronto, ON, Canada
Sure...they only brew one beer....but they do it really really well. ;)

Posted by dee-n-ash 16:20 Archived in Canada Comments (5)

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