From the Archives: When in Banff, Play Like the Locals

The beautiful town of Banff is completely surrounded by mountains.

About two years ago, and after I had only known him for three weeks, Chris packed up and left the U.S. to head over to Banff, Canada, for a five-month long trip to work and play.

Lucky for me, we continued to talk while he was gone, which meant that right around the two month mark after he left, we both felt it was time for a trip. I was headin’ to Banff! I wouldn’t have a lot of time off of work, since it was only one month after I returned from Hawaii, but you’d be surprised, as I was, with everything you can do in Banff in only 4 days.

My first surprise was how long the flight would be—4 hours! It took just a little longer than that to drive to the Canadian border from my mom’s house in New York! But Banff is in “middleish” to “far away” Canada, and therefore would take hours, even by plane. Then, after my 4 hour plane ride into Calgary, I boarded a bus for a 2 hour trip into Banff. I didn’t mind the trek though—the scenery throughout Alberta was worth the trip alone.

Once at the apartment that Chris was sharing with his best friend from Australia and his best friend’s girlfriend, it seemed like time started moving at a fast-forward pace. First we took a walk into the village area, where there were tons of stores and restaurants, and again, no lack of scenery.

That night the four of us headed out to dinner at The Juniper Hotel & Bistro, a great piece of property with an unobstructed view of both Mount Rundle and Sulphur Mountain.We had drinks by the fire, then sat on the deck in the unseasonably (for April) warm 60 degree weather before heading back in for dinner.

After dinner we headed out to Hoodoo Lounge so I could meet a few more of Chris’s new Banff friends, and to Aurora, so we could party like the locals.

However great it was to have the warm weather to greet me in Canada, it didn’t last long. We woke up the next morning to 2 feet of fresh snowfall overnight—and a sky that promised to dump down snow for the rest of the day. Which was just perfect for my first ever attempt at snowboarding!

Snow accumulated overnight on the outside tables at a restaurant

Chris was working the lifts at Sunshine Village while he was in Banff, so we were lucky to be able to get a great discount for me to go snowboarding for the two days that we stayed on the mountain. The first day, while Chris tried to teach me himself, I looked a lot like this the whole time:

Because of this, I readily sat in the hot tub back at the hotel on the mountain where we were staying—Sunshine Mountain Lodge. It was an outdoor hot tub, mind you. Surrounded by the mountains. While it continued to snow. It was one of the best, and most relaxing, things I’ve ever done.

The second day my boy blessed me with the greatest gift of all—lessons! My instructor was great, and very patient. Chris took off on some of his harder hills on the second day while I worked hard at perfecting my skills—you know, getting off the lift and stuff.

After two days of snowboarding, drinking, eating and trekking through the never-ending snow, I was exhausted when Sunday rolled around and it was time for me to catch my bus back to my plane back to New York. It was a bummer to leave Banff, to leave Chris, and to leave my newly found love of snowboarding. But it’s okay, we’ll make it our business to head over there again some time. I’ve heard it’s awesome in the summer months, as well.

Till then, my friends, I leave you with these parting photos of beautiful Banff…so bis bald!

P.S. Something super exciting is coming up. An amazingly awesome friend of mine happens to be married to an equally as amazing man who works in publishing. Today I was sent “Grounded: A Down to Earth Journey Around the World” by Seth Stevenson for my reading and reviewing pleasure. I’m diving into it as soon as I hit Publish here on this little doosey of an entry. Can’t wait to share my thoughts with you on the book….

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