2019 Ski Banff, Canada
(3/22/2019 - 3/25/2019)
On 3/23/2019 a few friends and I skied at some ski areas outside of the city of Banff in Canada. Banff is a very scenic town surrounded by mountains in Alberta which is a "province" (equivalent to a USA "state") in Canada. If you are familiar with the Rocky Mountains in the USA, it extends up north into Canada to Banff and beyond. Here is who showed up: 1. Katherine Chung, 2. Brian Wilson (me), 2. Karl Dohan, 3. Tamara Dohan, 4. Brian Wohletz, 5. Mike Chow, 6. Brady Nilsen. Some pictures are seen below, make sure you click on any picture for the highest quality version.
This trip (with this group of friends) is an annual trip we have taken for 23 years. Each year we decide a new location and all meet there. Here is the list of locations and the dates we skied there.
Starting off at SFO (San Francisco Airport) like most trips:
Our airplane is an Air Canada Bombardier CRJ-705. I'm in the only seat in the entire aircraft that has legroom, because I'm staring down the hallway to the cockpit. In the picture below, my foot is blocking the entrance to the toilet. This is a SERIOUSLY crappy airplane. The airline is "Air Canada", who has a slogan, "We're not happy, until you are unhappy." The only redeeming thing about this situation is it is a direct, non-stop flight from San Francisco to Calgary (the nearest airport to Banff).
Descending into Banff, Canada.
Welcome to Canada!
Main street in Banff, Canada. It is a VERY pretty town filled with friendly people (because they are Canadian).
We stayed in the "Moose Hotel and Suites" in Banff, Canada. It is very centrally located, and the rooms were nice, and there is a decent restaurant on the ground floor of the hotel for breakfast and late night drinks.
We met up with all of our friends at the "Banff Ave Brewing Company". From left to right that is: Tamara, Brady, Mike, Brian Wohletz, Karl, and Katherine on the far right. I'm Brian Wilson taking the picture.
The next morning, we take my rental car seen in the picture below (a black Yukon XL called "Slayer") to ski at the Lake Louise Ski Resort. Lake Louise has 3,250 feet of "vertical" (from parking lot to top of the top most ski lift).
A picture of the Lake Louise Ski resort from the parking lot:
From left to right: Tamara, Mike, Karl, Brady, and Brian Wohletz. I'm behind the camera.
Raally beautiful scenery out here:
Below is a panorama. Click on it for a larger version.
We eat lunch at the "Temple Lodge at Lake Louise Ski Area" seen below:
Lunch! Karl, Tam, and Brian Wohletz cooked their own meals on hot rocks. Brady and Mike shared a Fondue. Everything was really good.
A picture of the Lake Louise ski area is shown below:
It is very pretty scenery:
The top of the gondola at Lake Louise:
Stunning surroundings and striking mountains outside of Banff, Canada:
I stopped on the last run of the day to take this picture below of the base area with the mountains behind it.
And.... we drive home back to Banff at the end of the day.
Along the way (actually near the start), we stop at the MOST FAMOUS Lake Louise Hotel named the "Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise". The lake is frozen right now so you can walk out on the ice, although there is a sign warning you not to walk out on the thin ice. Everybody seems to ignore the sign, which seems dubious to me?
Notice all the people who ignored the sign and are running around hopping up and down trying to break through the ice and fall into the lake?
Here is our group trying to figure out what the sign means:
And back on the road back to Banff!
It is a very pretty drive on the only highway in Canada: Canada Highway 1, also known as the "Trans-Canada Highway". A few years ago, I drove my motorcycle from one end of Canada to the other on this highway.
The next morning, we head off to Kicking Horse Ski Area! Yay! I have never skied Kicking Horse, so this was new for me. The picture below is taken on the drive out.
We stop at a rest stop right next to the "Park Bridge" in Golden, British Columbia, Canada.
A little further along, we see the Kicking Horse Ski Area from the highway. See picture below:
Closer to Kicking Horse:
Brian Wohletz and Karl Dohan in the parking lot at Kicking Horse Ski Area.
When I take my first ride up the mountain (in a Gondola) I see this man standing on the lift tower working on it.
Here we are at the top of the Gondola, it is a beautiful day:
Below is a panorama from the top of the Gondola.
At the top of the hill (after one more chair lift ride), altitude 8,033 feet. This is near the top of "Stairway to Heaven" lift.
A few warning signs about if you ski out of bounds you will get blown to pieces in a mine field of unexploded ordinances and avalanches. :-)
A nice sign at the top of Kicking Horse explaining some things. I didn't really read it, it probably isn't important.
Beautiful Crystal Bowl and Feuz Bowl at Kicking Horse Ski area:
Below is a panorama of the views from the top of Kicking Horse Ski Area:
Another panorama in the same spot, just pointing in a little different direction:
Looking down on the town below:
It is a very striking view out here on the Kicking Horse Ski area, Canada.
Very pretty views of big mountains:
The picture below is the base area at Kicking Horse Ski Area.
Another picture of the base area at Kicking Horse Ski Area:
I quit a little early and had a beer waiting for my friends to finish. Karl was taking his last run and dropped his phone on the ski slope. It was a Pixel 3 that was a couple months old. It had location services turned on, and it taunted us from a few hundred yards away. Here it is on Tamara's "Locate My Phone" functionality:
Here is that location marked on a Kicking Horse Lift map. I have highlighted where Karl dropped his phone (and where it will live calling out to us for the remainder of it's short life), and where I was having a beer, which are the two most important things going on at this time.
Below is a picture of the beer I was having while Karl was losing his phone. Unfortunately we do not have a picture of the phone.
The end of the day at Kicking Horse Ski Area.
Driving home, the scenery is very pretty.
Canada Highway 1 from Kicking Horse Ski Area to Banff, Canada.
The next two pictures show "Wildlife Overpasses" they built across Canada Highway 1. This lets the deer and elk and bunny rabbits and caribou cross over from one side to the other without getting hit by traffic.
Below is another wildlife overpass. I heard that the wolves like to wait at the end to kill all the wildlife that comes through this choke point, but it might have been just a rumor.
Back to Alberta, Baby!
One final picture of the main street of Banff, Canada.
Our group is getting old, and we were kind of wiped out, so we hung out for a while before going home.
Our hotel had a pool, sauna, and hot tub on the roof:
As the sun goes down over our hotel in Banff, Canada:
All done! That's it!
This is not for you! Stop reading! I'm old, I forget things.
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