Thursday, January 28, 2021

Winter Memories - Alberta

We're in a deep freeze here in Virginia for the next week but after all it's late January and we should all be staying home anyway.  I am reminded fondly of our winter trips to Alberta, likely my favorite spot in winter.  

There is nothing more beautiful in winter than the Canadian Rockies and we have this trip down to an art form after making many northern treks as our first visit was in 2002.  We've tweaked on the itinerary quite a bit but this is how it now goes....

Fly into Calgary

Rent car and drive northwest to Banff, about 1 1/2 hours.

Spent a night in Banff.  The town of Banff is charming, full of shops, hotels and restaurants.  You can easily spend more than a day here but we've done it so many times. Our favorite gallery is Canada House and we bought many paintings here (all Canadian artists). 

Drive to Lake Louise, about a 45 minute drive west.

Spend time skiing at the Lake. Have stayed at the Chateau Lake Louise and the Post Hotel but we prefer the Chateau.  This is a view of the hotel from the lake side which is obviously frozen over in winter.  That's the ski hill behind it, it's about a 10 minute drive from the hotel and shuttle buses leave every half hour. Fabulous skiing, so large you need a map.  It can take 10 minutes at full speed to ski all the way down the front run.  Many slopes are groomed. The place is like a zoo in summer but very calm and quiet in the winter. You can cross country ski, take horse sleigh rides, go snow shoeing or just take quiet walks from the hotel.  And the inside is lovely.

Our next trip we are adding a night at Emerald Lake, not far from Lake Louise and also a trip to Jasper to stay at the Fairmont property there. We've stayed in Jasper before.  We visited Emerald Lake last time we were in Canada but we did not stay there.  By the time you get to Jasper I believe you are in British Columbia. You pass the Icefields on the way up but they are often closed in winter. The roads can get treacherous. But it is a sight to see in winter.

Some added notes - the weather in Alberta can be very cold but it's a dry cold.  Dress appropriately.  We have all the gear by now.  Arcteryx is by far the warmest.  We don't take our skis with us to Canada as you can rent very high quality skis there. It's not worth the trouble to bring them with you.  There is much to do at the Chateau if you don't ski.  Consider Canada.  We just adore it!  Missing it now but hoping by late February 2022, I'll be skiing on the "hill" as they call it in Lake Louise.


  1. I love staying at the Chateau! I also loved Banff! Beautiful country. So clean and wide open!

  2. Albertan here! Jasper is still in Alberta. It is beautiful and definitely more secluded and "off the beaten trail" than Banff. If you like to hike, I recommend coming in the fall (a little less busy than summer). We definitely have a fabulous outdoor playground here, no matter what the season. I'm glad you like it!

    1. Thank you for the clarification. Love, love, love your country and cannot wait to make another trip, hoping in 2022.


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