Sunday, 27 January 2008

Top Tip for Tremblant

If you're heading to Tremblant for a ski/snowboard holiday then get yourself a HI (Hostelling International) membership card - available from all HI hostels in Canada.

The card is $24CAD for a year's membership and gives you $4 a night off your stay at a HI hostel, so if you're got a 6 night/7 day trip then you've already broken even. The real bargain is that if you've got a HI card you can get your daily lift pass at the HI Mont Tremblant for $57CAD instead of $75CAD - bon marche, oui?

Tripped out by Tremblant

Have been in Tremblant for a few days now and I'm still a bit spun out as although I've only traveled across Canada it feels like being in a completely different country - and not just because of the language, there's a whole different vibe here.

I'm coping with the language (just) and my incredibly poor GCSE French is slowly coming back enough for me to get by if I combine it with gesturing and pointing :)

The hostel is great and although it doesn't have a cafe, it does have a bar with a great selection of local beers - one of the most popular being "Le Fin Du Monde", or "The End of the World", which is a bit of a skull-smasher at 9%

The resort itself is kind of trippy as well as it's a man-made faux village, with a selection of bars, restaurants and shops, which is almost Disney Epcot-esque (though not quite as cheesy).

Anyways - good snow, good hostel, good people, good times :)

Thursday, 24 January 2008

Goodbye Louise

Well I've now left Lake Louise and the West(ish) coast and have headed over to Mont Tremblant on the East coast. More on Tremblant soon, but I have to say a goodbye to Lake Louise and a thank you to all the people that made the last 2 weeks a fortnight to remember.

Too many people to name, but if I met you in Louise-Banff-Sunshine-Kicking Horse over the last two weeks then a sincere "Thank You" for what is probably the best holiday I've ever had.

Tuesday, 22 January 2008


Last day in Banff-Lake Louise so headed out to Norquay today to do the last of the "Big 3". It's a smaller resort than Lake Louise and Sunshine, but it had some nice, mellow green runs for me to practice my turns (and not do anything too reckless and risk breaking something).

Snow was not as compacted as it has been at Louise over the last few days, which made for a fun and relaxing last day and the temperature was warmer as well at around -3c to -5c.

Definitely have to get better on this board so I can come back and try out the park and some of the black runs as they looked like a blast if you knew what you were doing, and incredibly painful if you didn't ;)

Monday, 21 January 2008

Last Day on the Hill

Today was the last day on the Hill at Lake Louise so I decided to make the most of it with a solid 6 hours of boarding (okay I did stop for lunch) taking in both the North and South faces - steered clear of Larch because the word on the street was that the snow was crap on that face today.

Temperatures on the chilly side again today with it being -29c this morning, but it warmed up to about -14c in the afternoon - it does still make me smile when the weather is announced as "warming up" to -14c :)

As mentioned, Norquay tomorrow where things are looking quite a bit warmer with a high of -3c - that's shorts and t-shirt weather 'round these parts :)

Sunday, 20 January 2008

Another Fine Day at Lake Louise

My last but one day at Lake Louise and another fun day on the slopes - and I've finally got my bindings how I like them :)

Temperature was a bit on the cold side at -20c, but an investment in a gator stopped my nose from freezing off and once you got going the temperature was more than bearable - especially when the sun came out this afternoon, though I'm kicking myself I didn't take the camera to the slopes today as the views in the sunshine were stunning.

Will be hitting the hill at Lake Louise again tomorrow for the last time on this trip and then heading out to Norquay for the day on Tuesday. After that it's the early morning coach to Calgary on Wednesday to fly across to Montreal for part II, where I get to do it all again on a different mountain :)

Friday, 18 January 2008

Sunshine Village

Took another short road trip today to the Sunshine Village resort which is about an hour away from Lake Louise. Of the "Big 3" resorts of Louise, Sunshine and Norquay, Sunshine is the only one that doesn't need snow machines as it gets so much natural snow and is at a higher elevation (I think) - well you do have to take a 20 minute gondola ride from the resort to get to the actual slopes :)

Conditions were good on the slopes and there was plenty of powder if you ventured away from the crowds.

So that's 2 down and 1 to go of the "Big 3" with a trip to Norquay to complete the trilogy planned for either Saturday or Tuesday.

Thursday, 17 January 2008

First Outing

I love my new toy :) First day on the slopes with my new board and I am a very happy chappy. It's so much more responsive (and forgiving) than the rental board and the Burton bindings purely and simply rock.

I'm still tweaking the settings on the bindings to find the best setup for me right now, but I'm already very impressed. The capstrap over the toe of the boot is way more comfortable than a traditional binding and the adjustable high-backs mean I can force myself to ride low - ride high and die they say, so riding low is a good thing.

Good snow on the slopes today as well mean, to quote Ice Cube, "Today was a good day" :)

I ain't gonna be taking down Shaun White in X-Games any time soon, but I don't suck quite as hard on my new board as I have been doing on the rental clunker.

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

My New Toy

After doing some calculations and realising that it's crazy to carry on renting a board for the length of time I'm over here for I now have a new toy - a Rossignol Sultan 2008 board with Burton Custom 2008 bindings.

It may seem a bit impulsive, but this little lot was cheaper to buy brand new than it would be to carry on renting the clunky board and bindings I've been riding for the last week.

Can't wait to give them their first run out tomorrow :)

Fresh Snow :)

After a bit of a dry spell there was 15cm of fresh snow at Lake Louise on Monday night which made for some excellent conditions on the Mountain on Tuesday.

Things had quietened down o the slopes after the weekend so the combination of fresh powder and hardly any queues for the lifts meant that a great time was had by all - well I say "all", but I really mean me, I didn't really ask how other people were doing as I was having too much fun :)

Monday, 14 January 2008

Kicking Horse - Kicking Ass

Another day, another room mate and another resort.

Snow's been a bit patchy at Lake Louise for the last couple of days and the arrival of a new room mate on a whistlestop tour of the Rockies brought an opportunity to head to Kicking Horse in British Columbia today. Three of us jumped in his 4x4 and headed the 80km or so for some much needed powder.

The snow at Kicking Horse was fantastic and is dubbed "Champagne Powder" - with good reason. It wasn't the knee high powder that they've had over the last couple of weeks, but was still way more fun than the icy conditions at Louise over the weekend.

Photos of this excellent day out are available here.

Sunday, 13 January 2008

In your face Mountain!!

It's all starting to come back to me now and today I managed several runs without falling - which may not sound like a big deal, but I'm chuffed so back off :)

Conditions weren't great as there hasn't been much snow over the last few days and this combined with the influx of Calgary weekenders means the slopes were packed and very icy - ice is definitely not a friend of the snowboarder.

Things should calm down a bit tomorrow once everyone heads back to the city, but it doesn't look like there's any fresh snow on the way anytime soon so a trip to Sunshine might be in order as it looks like they've been getting lots of fresh snow of late.

Saturday, 12 January 2008

A Day Off

Following a bit of a spill yesterday I decided to take a day off the slopes and head a little way up the mountain from Lake Louise Village to the actual Lake.

The place is absolutely stunning and photos will be appearing here as soon as I get chance to get them uploaded, but as a taster (and to prove I'm actually here), here's me at Lake Louise with the HUGE Chateau Lake Louise in the background.

Friday, 11 January 2008

Now with photos

Not many photos available so far, but what there is can be found at

NB: above URL now corrected

I've given up on Flickr as I got stuck in YahooID/Non-YahooID password reset hell - which means I can't access my Flickr account anymore and it won't let me create a new one with my existing email address - bunch of arse.

Thursday, 10 January 2008

Yeah that was just stupid

Note to self - when in a new resort, read the resort guide to find the best trail for your skill level. Do not just jump in the heated Gondola with no idea where it's going to take you.

First run of the day (and therefore for 2 years) and I decided to jump on this. Which drops off at the far right trail at the top of the peak.

I did make it down - just - but stayed with more sensible runs for my current skill level for the rest of the day.

Day one on the slope

Today was first day back in the saddle after having not strapped a board on for 2 years and I'm glad to say, I survived :), though I am now very, very sore.

Was a bit of an eye opener as to how rusty I was so it's lessons booked for tomorrow to try and brush up on how not to fall over and how to pay attention to the trail signs so you don't accidentally go down a Black run - yes that very nearly happened today.

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

and so it begins

Well I've made it to the resort after a minor skirmish with customs for trying to bring a banana into the country, but I got over that and now all is right with the world.

Have only been at the resort for a couple of hours, but already it's a mixture of great food and great people. Next stop bed (I've been up for over 25 hours straight now) and then onto picking up board hire and lift passes in the morning.

Definitely looking forward to getting back on the slopes after a 2 year break and I'm not going to be leaving it that long between ski trips again.