First Mountainous Days

Trip Start Jan 14, 2005
Trip End Oct 22, 2005

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Thursday, January 20, 2005

I have been out in the mountains for over a week now and definitely experienced an entire spectrum of weather. We arrived in Calgary to brilliantly clear blue skys and frigid temperatures which quickly changed to days of endless wintery mix precipitation.

Nadine, Heather, Ian and I spent no time in Calgary but instead zipped straight up to our hotel in Canmore where we met up with Chris. Chris and I decided to splash out on our own room at the Windtower Hotel where the others were staying. A little bit of luxury before starting our months as poor ski bums. And were we ever spoiled. The nicest staff, scrumptious all you can eat breakfasts and even a fitness room.

We headed to Banff one day for a bit of a wander. It has been said that the streets there are littered with celebrities and wildlife but we left sadly without spotting a single A-list star or animal. We did sufficiently gape our way around the Banff Springs Hotel which is every bit as posh as I have heard described.

From Canmore we made our way to Lake Louise where I finally strapped on some downhill skis and headed to the hills. I had an absolute blast my first day of sking and decided to sign up for a lesson the next day. It is without a doubt that my klutzy self is much more suited to sking than snowboarding. According to my instructor I picked up a good form rather quickly and I am quite eager to get back on the slopes.

In Lake Louise we stayed in the sketchy East Wing of the Deer Lodge (aka The Employee Quarters) Our friends Rob and Sue (from Australia) have been living there since last August and have managed to create quite the cozy room for themselves within the smelly and somewhat decrepit building. Conditions were quite cramped with Chris and I sleeping on their floor but all was endured for the sake of free accommodation. I managed to pick up a particularly nasty strain of the East Wing virus and have consequently have developed an unattractive hacking cough. I thought getting away from the city smog was supposed to be good for my health.

Although ski conditions were excellent in Lake Louise after a couple of nights we had enough of sleeping on cramped floors and decided to get ourselves to Fernie, BC. When I decided to travel to the Rockies the travelling snob part of me gawfed a little. This wasn't going to be 'real_travel'. Where was the challenge in travelling within my own country. No language barriers to overcome, no currency exchanges worry about, and no need even for a passport. Well I freely admit that making our way to Fernie proved more of challenge than the vast majority of places I have travelled in Asia, Peru and Europe. It was a bit of a haul to say the least. Due to cruddy public transportation options and terrible pre-planning on our part it took us 24 hours to make the what would have been 2 hour direct trip. I won't go into the details but if Chris and I had been an Amazing Race team we would have been easily Philiminated.

Hope you enjoy the pictures and feel free to sign my guestbook. Thanks to everyone who sent a little message. I promise to write back to each and everyone of you.
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