Taking on the Canadian Rockies to See Snow Differently

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Canadian Rocky Mountains

I’m not a huge fan of winter. Maybe that’s because I grew up in the middle of Illinois where it was cold all winter but we only got a big snowstorm a few times a season. It was just blah – gray, drab, and cold.

It’s the kind of winter where you really can’t do anything but be annoyed. Sure, there were some great snow days where the landscape would be blanketed as our personal white fluffy playground and my brother and I would spend every second outside sledding, building igloo tunnel systems in the drifts, make snow angles, and pelt each other with snow balls. My mother would even get out her cross-country skis and do laps around our big garden.

But these days didn’t last long and soon our igloos collapsed, our sledding tracks started revealing mud and grass, and the snow turned into a brown puddle that remained for the next few months. Winters in Peoria were sort of torture as a kid – like Cinderella’s ball that you had to wait and wait for but was over far too soon.

Real winter – the kind where you get to frolic around in the snow, participate in the myriad of winter sports and activities, have big beautiful views of snow capped mountains, and have a legit reason to drink hot toddy’s – now that’s the kind of winter I’ve always yearned for. And on Monday, I’m grabbing my passport and hopping on a plane to where the beating heart of winter resides. Altitude, snow, avalanches, ice rinks, dog sleds, woolie socks, fireplaces, outdoor hot tubs, poutine, and maple syrup fun will be had by me in Alberta Canada this February.

I’ll be in Canmore/Banff area in Alberta for an entire month – meaning the Canadian Rockies, which will be my snowy winter playground that I yearned for as a kid!

Canmore Alberta Map

Why the Canadian Rockies?

Being in one place that’s my own for a month is ridiculously exciting for me – I’m actually giddy about it. I get to unpack, hang up my clothes, leave stuff lying around my apartment, cook for myself, become a part of a local community, find a yoga studio, and have friends come visit me.

These are things that are rarities in my nomadic life. I’ll be staying in a two bedroom apartment at the Grand Rockies in Canmore Alberta. I will have a car and lots of room for friends – so consider this your invitation if you feel like coming to play in the snow this winter! It’s so fun to think that I get to turn the tables of being an eternal guest in other people’s homes and now I get to host people. Plus – this will allow me to travel deeper and meet locals; I’ll really get to know the area.

Grand Rockies Resort Canmore Alberta
I was at dinner the other night with a twenty something who was gossiping on and on about some person she worked for.  She said, “He’s old…like 45 or something,” and I fought back the urge to unleash some old curmudgeon anger on her for fear that she wouldn’t even understand the word curmudgeon.

While I’m in Alberta, I’ll be turning 45 years old and even though  that number looks old to a twenty-something, I don’t really feel old. According to the Mayo Clinic, we need to get in the habit of trying new things and one of the best ways to stay ‘young’ and healthy is to continue to push yourself to try new things. In fact I personally come alive when I test the limits of my comfort zone and overcome my fears.

“Whenever a thing is done for the first time, it releases a little demon.” –Emily Dickinson

So with this in mind, I’m going to spend an entire month releasing demons doing things for the first time. I’m working with Travel Alberta, Canmore and Banff Tourism groups to organize a series of ‘firsts’ for my time in the Canadian Rockies – because in my opinion there’s no better way to turn 45 than to push yourself out of your comfort zone.

What Will I be Doing in the Snow?
I am not a ski nut  because it scares me to death.  So in this winter wonderland where skiing is the main attraction, my goal is to explore all the other non-skiing things to do in the snow. Since I love the ‘underdogs’ in life and hate to go with the flow, I want to introduce you to all the other great snow activities you can do.

I want you to See Snow Differently

For my lineup of ‘firsts’ here’s a few of the things I’ll be taking on:

    • Heli-snowshoeing – the ultimate in back country snow shoeing and aerial photography!
    • Caving (the Canmore area has a huge underground caving system!)
    • Ice Climbing
    • Biathalon / Cross County Skiing
    • Dog Sledding
    • Curling
    • Ice Fishing
    • Fat Biking
    • Snow Boarding

Every one of these things are new to me. Some of the things on this list completely intimidate me, but I’m super excited to at least try them – some may be keepers and some may be epic fails. But regardless, hopefully you’ll start to see snow differently.


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