Incoming exchange student Kim Mason, from Charles Sturt University in Australia, shares her recent long weekend adventure to the Rockies, completed by snowball fights, exploring snow covered mountains, and toasting marshmallows on an open fire.
Are you crazy? Do you have a death wish? Avoid at all costs!
These were just some of the responses I encountered upon stating I wanted to travel on the Trans-Canada highway all the way to the Rockies over the Remembrance Day long-weekend.
Newly equipped with winter tires, and the car loaded up with all recommended emergency equipment (including food rations and blankets), my four travelling partners and I set off early Thursday morning for Canmore, Alberta.
Our trip there took forever. The combination of snow and ice, with speeding semitrailer trucks coming within a few inches of our vehicle made for some very scary moments indeed!
However, after twelve rather intense hours we finally reached our destination. With our first glimpse of the snow covered streets, and quaint looking shops lit up with fairy lights, we knew our treacherous journey had been worth it!
What followed was a four-night stay in an amazing three-bedroom condo with a kitchen to cook in, and a garden to have snowball fights in.
The small town of Canmore served as the perfect base for our stay, as we were all but a short drive from most tourist attractions.
Highlights from our extended long weekend included a gondola ride to the top of Mount Sulphur, walking out onto the frozen Lake Louise, and a 6 km hike in the snow to see the frozen Johnston Canyon Upper Falls.
Despite the temperature getting down to minus 17 degrees Celsius one night, the snow proved to be the best and cheapest form of entertainment. There was no stopping our mix of Korean, Spanish, Irish and Australian travellers from submerging themselves in this winter novelty, both figuratively and literally.
Sadly our winter adventure was over all too soon, but with a touch of luck, we had clear skies and clear roads all the way home, which made admiring those stunning mountain views that much easier!
TRAVEL TIP: Now that we are heading into the winter months, it is possible to find great deals on short-term rentals! When travelling in a group, it is both more enjoyable and cost-effective to have your own kitchen to cook meals in! Plus, after a big day of sightseeing, it’s nice to come ‘home’, unwind with a drink or two in your own living room, and toast marshmallows on an open fire!