Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Playing Tourist

Happy Holidays! Here in Banff, we're preparing for the onslaught of holiday visitors that will be arriving in the next week. December in Banff, is traditionally a very, very quiet time of year to come visit. If you come in December, you can have the whole town to yourself. This past week, I had the opportunity to go and try a few different tours and activities to get a different perspective: that of a winter visitor. There's lots of fun things to do in Banff in winter, but skiing or snowboarding is usually top of the list for most people. If you're not a skiier, there's lots of other options for the visitor to get out and explore a bit.

I did a snowshoe tour with White Mountain Adventures, which was awesome. It was quite funny for me, to go a take a tour of Sunshine Meadows - a place where I spend many, many days on my skis in the winter months. Sunshine Meadows is a beautiful place, no matter which way you shake it. Even on a cold, grey day - like the day we went. The snow is still soft, the scenery is awesome and you get real warm - real quick. There's nothing like playing in the forest in soft fluffy white snow to truly experience winter.


Even the soft and doughy UK girls were rockin' the Snowshoes
(I actually got to see some butt crack which just made my day)


Snowshoeing in the Woods is Fun!

I would totally recommend a trip with White Mountain. They are the area experts when it comes to guided hiking trips in summer and winter snowshoe adventures. Too bad I couldn't take one of these puppy dogs with me for the day. I suspect they would have loved frolicking in the powder like me.


I spiced it up with by going on a Dog-Sledding trip. The good folks at Snowy Mountain Dog Sled Tours offer up a wicked-good tour. I was totally surprised when they let me jump on the back of a sled and head on down the trail with my own pack of dogs and my very own sled. I'd never driven before, but with the knowledge of a few good commands, they let this rookie loose on the trail. So Much Fun!

The dogs were awesome and they actually listen! They also appreciate when you get off the sled (hullo, 140 pounds lighter) and get off and push up the hills. But, on the downhills and the straight-aways, they were flying. Dogs being dogs, occasionally one of them would put on the brakes, assume the position and take a doggie dump in the middle of the trail while trying to run simultaneously. I know it's hard to "dump-and-run" so it's polite to put on the brake, shout the command "whooooooa" to STOP and let the doggie do his thing. Just let the Doggy Do.


Doggy Command for GO: Hike!

Whooozagoodgirrrrrrll?

Can we run NOW?



Whooooozagoodboy?!?

Sulphur Mountain Gondola

....and of course, I had to squeeze a few runs in. On my run up Sulphur Mountain this week, I was flabbergasted at the lack of people. It was such a beautiful day and the Banff Gondola is a MAJOR tourist attraction. It was downright weird for me to be the only one up there on a beautiful day. 'tis the Season. One week later and things are different: the holiday visitors are arriving daily and we're glad to have them. Please come and visit!

Me, Myself and I on the Sulphur Mountain Trail

I had a total tourist week: as well as the dog-sledding and snowshoeing, I visited Bow Falls and enjoyed views of the Fairholme Range, the Wildhaus Restaurant and the Bow River. Awesome. I'm a tourist in my own backyard.

Bow Falls

Great Views of the frozen Bow River with Michelle



video


It was super-fun playing tourist, there's certainly no shortage of beautiful things to do and see year round even in the winter. If you're lucky, this guy will be at the entrance to Banff waiting to greet you.

Welcome to Banff


14 comments:

HappyTrails said...

That Looks Awesome - glad you guys finally started getting the snow! Have a blast with all your guests. Merry Christmas to you and Keith!!!

Helen said...

Looks fabulous. Happy Christmas!

Sara said...

Love the dog pics. Fun stuff!

Brian said...

I knew there was a reason I added winter in Banff as a future to do. Happy Holidays!

olga said...

So, girly, there was a dude at Cactus Rose 50 here in October (and won it) and he says he knows you and you said hi. Yes, it took me that long to say hi back at ya! I think I got reminded because my DH and I had promised to each other to start plowing through our bucket list next year, and visiting Banff is on it! Well, canadian ROcky that is, but I told him I have a friend there. You are a friend, right? Even if just Meghan's:))

Carolyn said...

Awesome pictures Leslie..again! We've finally had a little break in the snow, perhaps it will travel down towards you!

Leslie said...

Hi Olga!
Of course, you have an open invite! There's nothing more than I'd love than to spend a few days on the trails with you and your honey. Because you're a lover of the trails, you need to come visit us in the summer months. One week - not enough. 10 days - better. 14 days - perfect!

Aaaaah....Simon Donato found you! He's a nice boy from Calgary. A newbie with fast legs. He's got a cool hobby as well:

http://www.adventurescience.ca/

Happy Holidays to you and Larry

Hi Steve and Kathleen! Thanks so much and Merry Christmas to both of you.

Thanks Helen! Merry Christmas to you. I remember Christmas in Australia - cold cuts, cold salads and cold veg because my Grandpop wouldn't turn the oven on! Christmas in Tamworth, NSW. My mum is an ex-pat.

HI Ms. Sara! So glad to hear you are back in the saddle and feeling good. You'll be feeling extra motivated I suspect. Hi to D and have a wonderful holiday.

Hi Brian - winter is awesome - it's just "wintery". Fortunately, we get tons of sunlight here - that makes all the difference in making winter that much more enjoyable. Merry Christmas!

olga said...

Wonderful, then! I don't believe you want to escape your mountains even in the debts of the winter, but if you do - it's 85F today in Austin, and you're welcome to explore local rocks and hills!

DEANNA STOPPLER said...

The "doughy" girls. Ha! And dog sledding looked great. I need to get my arse out and do that here in VT. It's pretty big here.

Leslie said...

Thanks Olga!
Hi Deanna - I couldn't help myself with the doughy girls comment. I love the Brits, but we see a lot of the young, beer-drinking, enjoying life variety here in Banff. Local Wildlife! I remember well when I was the Canadian version of "that girl" working in Switzerland in my '20's. The difference was, I would and could ski my ass of every day.

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