Mountains lined in snow in Alberta
On the finish of final yr, Lisa Sanders and her husband, Steven, packed their suitcases and launched into a vacation with Canadian Affair to Alberta. Now, as winter approaches but once more, she displays on her expertise on this spectacular winter wonderland and what makes the province so particular at the moment of yr.
Inform us, what had been the highlights of your journey?
Actually, there are too many to call!
In Banff, it was the fantastic Lake Louise and the expertise of getting afternoon tea while overlooking the frozen lake dotted with ice skaters. Merely being there and witnessing the enormity of the majestic mountains throughout us was superb.
Canine sledding in Jasper was one other spotlight and the right approach to immerse ourselves within the beautiful surroundings. We mastered our personal sled, conserving behind a group of very skilled professionals who saved guaranteeing we had been heat sufficient; it will get extremely chilly – hand and ft heaters are an absolute should! While the chilly climate was slightly excessive at instances, it was completely price it, not only for the surroundings but additionally seeing how a lot the canines loved it. While ‘mushing’, the canines had been so quiet and you would have heard a pin drop, however as quickly as we stopped, they grew to become extremely noisy and had been clearly so excited to get going once more. We additionally had the chance to pet and feed them as soon as the tour had completed, which was a beautiful approach to high off this excellent expertise.
I’d additionally like to say our personal Icefields Parkway tour as one other spotlight. This 5-hour drive, which took us from Banff to Jasper, included a few of the most mesmerising surroundings I’ve ever seen. We made a number of stops alongside the way in which to admire the glaciers and absorb the surroundings. It was an exquisite day with clear blue skies and many sunshine.
These organised actions had been all unbelievable in their very own proper however it’s additionally doable to be caught utterly off guard by a magical second. For us, this occurred after we noticed elk roaming in Jasper, having come down from the mountains. A few of them had been huge and it was so surreal to see them wandering by the city.
What different adventures did you will have?
It’s really superb how a lot we managed to slot in!
Driving the Banff Gondola to the highest of the mountain was actually an journey. As soon as up there, a problem awaited us – following a boardwalk which took us throughout the mountain vary and as much as the summit. We loved a 360 diploma view encompassing Banff, the snow lined peaks and beautiful blue skies – all I can say is ‘wow’, the views had been completely sensational.
On one other day, we loved a guided tour of Johnston Canyon in Banff. The journey lasted for a few hours and concerned donning ice cleats and tracing a walkway by the canyon to admire fantastic ice falls. Regardless of the frozen landscapes, you would nonetheless hear the sound of the water speeding by the canyon below sheets of ice. The stroll took us so far as an ice fall with water thundering behind the massive strong icicles, which supplied the right location to cease and admire the surroundings over a cup of scorching chocolate and maple cookie – scrumptious!
A really totally different sort of journey awaited us on the Jasper Lodge, the place we took half in an astronomical occasion. This concerned trying by tremendous highly effective telescopes on the varied stars and planets, which was fairly awe-inspiring. Jasper Nationwide Park is the second largest Darkish Sky Protect on the planet, so the right place to bask in slightly stargazing.
Alberta is well-known for being house to a various vary of wildlife. Did you see any wildlife in your journey?
We noticed loads of unbelievable wildlife, together with coyote, bald eagles, and a moose along with her younger calf.
One significantly memorable second was after we noticed a winter fox on a thick snow-filled lane. We determined to observe it, conserving our distance in fact, and staying very quiet. To our shock, the fox was in searching mode and we had been capable of witness (and seize) this stunning creature leaping into the air and pouncing into the snow to tug out its prey – some type of rodent. It was superb – I felt like David Attenborough!
What had been the locals like?
The locals had been all so beautiful and useful. On one event, we had been standing at a bus cease in Banff ready for the bus to take us to Lake Louise. There was a bus close to to the place we had been standing however we didn’t realise that it was ours till a neighborhood got here and advised us – whoops! Thank goodness for her assist.
We additionally felt very secure on a regular basis, which isn’t all the time the case once you’re travelling and out of your consolation zone. We had some beautiful post-dinner night strolls in Banff and Jasper and, though it was extremely quiet within the streets, the eating places had been buzzing. Having stated that, it was by no means crowded – the winter season is certainly the suitable time to go and revel in this snowy paradise with out plenty of vacationers.
What recommendation would you give to another person taking a look at visiting Alberta throughout winter?
For those who’re searching for a winter journey, encompassing superb wildlife and unbelievable surroundings, it’s essential to go to Alberta within the winter! The primary time we visited Alberta was round 25 years in the past – we had a tremendous time however didn’t spend that lengthy in Jasper and Banff and have been longing to return ever since. In December 2022, we lastly made that dream a actuality and it actually didn’t disappoint. In reality, we might say that this was our greatest vacation EVER, with some unbelievable experiences that may stick with us for the remainder of our lives.
We thought heading again to Alberta after 25 years would fulfill our curiosity, however we’ve come away with an itch to return once more, as we simply had the very best time!
Is there the rest you’d prefer to share?
Some probably would argue that holidaying in Alberta in December is insanity given how chilly it’s, however don’t let this put you off! So long as you’re clothed appropriately (with a number of layers) and take excursions with those that know and perceive the extremities, you’ll have a really fantastic time. We can’t wait to return once more sometime.