A fleeting visit from some Queenslanders.

We were lucky enough to have a very fleeting visit from Sarah and Deryck from Australia in March. I know Sarah as the daughter of Kyme, who used to sing in a band with my Dad years ago in Australia. She seems to have followed me around the world from NZ to Australia then to England and now to Canada! Her boyfriend Deryck did a season in Whistler so returns to Canada often. (I hope we will follow suit)

They stayed in Whistler on their holidays and made the long journey (14 hours or so) over to Banff to see us. The weather was bad when they drove through, both BC and Alberta were getting pummelled with snow and at one point I wasn’t sure they were going to make it.

Sure enough, while at work on the night shift I received a call that they they were only an hour away! So once they arrived Fergus came to work to meet them, grab some dinner from Nesters and keep them company until I arrived home. 

The following day we got up early and headed to Lake Louise. With only one full day in Banff, Deryck was keen to see the ledgedary lake voted one of the most popular tourist spots in Canada and on the places to see in the Lonely Planet Guide on Canada.Once there we bundled down to the snow covered, frozen lake for a wander. Deryck, intent on taking thousands of photos (much like me) wanted to walk across the centre while Sarah, Fergus and I chose to walk on the sleigh path around the side of the lake to avoid the deep snow. 

Somehow we lost Deryck and the three of us ended up at the end of the lake watching climbers on the frozen waterfall while Deryck had apparently turned back and was at the Chateau waiting. Sarah and Deryck went for a second trip across the lake while Fergus and I waited at the Chateau and watched the ice skaters. It was a stunning day and not too cold either.Back in Banff we stopped quickly at the Norquay Lookout that looks over the Town of Banff and at Surprise Lookout that looks over the Bow falls to the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. (The Castle in the Rockies)Back in Banff and hungry we stopped into Tommy’s Neighbourhood Pub for burgers and beers. I love Tommy’s, the burgers are big, the drinks cheap and there is always a good atmosphere in there.We then decided to get some wine to take home and headed down to the car which we had parked by the river and were lucky enough to see a couple of huge male Elk foraging for food. Got some great photos and we were really chuffed Sarah and Deryck got to see some of our local wildlife.Had a few wines and a great old catch up at home before heading to bed. Sarah and Deryck left at around 3am that morning.It was really nice to catch up with Sarah and to meet Deryck who is a lovely chap. 

See you in Australia guys! X

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PANORAMA 

In March, the house packed up and went to Panorama ski resort in BC for a couple of nights. Before I start, let me tell you about our travel buddies/flatmates.

  • Carris – English, beautiful girlfriend of Sean and travel guru.
  • Sean – English, boyfriend of Carris and a mean cook/baker.
  • Kurt – Australian, older brother of Zeke and the maker of the amazing video below.
  • Zeke – Australian, Kurt’s not so little brother and the loudest in the house.
  • Tate – Canadian, amazing at almost every Winter sport and longtime Banff resident.

Through being Banff locals we got lift tickets for $69 a day and accommodation on the mountain for $9 a room! Awesome!

Day 1
Fergus, Tate, Kurt, Zeke and I left early in the day on the Wednesday but found out early on our trip would be longer due to the  93 being closed for avalanche control. We stopped in Lake Louise for a sausage roll before continuing up the Trans Canada through Yoho National Park to Golden. 

 On the way we stopped at The Natural Bridge, a rock formation that spans the Kicking Horse river just past Field. The boys meandered down the path in deep snow and along the side of the icy river to go into the cave under the bridge, it looked wonderful in there but I didn’t want to fall into the feeezing river so Fergus and I stayed on the bridge above.We continued on, beers in hand, music blaring, through the gorge to Golden and on to the 95 to Invermere. Stopped for some Timbits before climbing up the hill to PanoramaAfter checking into the Pine Inn we unpacked and headed down to the store on the old town gondola to get supplies (beer and Yagermister). 

Suituated in BC’s Purcell mountains, Panorama has nearly 3000 acres of terrain, 6 chairlifts and Canada’s largest slopeside hot pools as well as shops, cafes and bars.After a few drinks in our rooms we headed for the T-bar, a bar within crawling distance to our lodge! Had a few beers and played some pool (I kicked everyone’s arse!) and chatted. After a while Carris and Sean turned up (Carris had to work in the morning) and we enjoyed a hilarious game of musical bingo which I was rubbish at and by the end I didn’t know if the game was still on every time a song came on! After that we hit up the dance floor and showed off our dance moves, it was so fun. 

Later on it turned a bit fuzzy, I know I had 3 shoeys (drinking beer out of someone’s shoe) and it was a pretty late and messy night…….

Day 2

After a lovely breakfast of bacon and egg sandwiches cooked in our room on a camping stove by Carris and Sean we warily made our way up to the chairlift a mere 10 metres from the lodge.

Headed right up the very top via 2 chairlifts and started our day.  Started on a mogully black run where there was a lot of stopping, falling over, laughing and general hungover shenanegins. Lost Kurt and Zeke after the second run and found out later they had retired back to the room. It was very icy over the whole mountain which made it hard work but it was sunny so we were rewarded with amazing views of the valley and surrounding mountain ranges. 

Relaxed on the deck chairs up the top at the Summit hut and had coffee. It was a lazy day but most of us skied right up until near closing time. Later in the afternoon we hit the hot pools. The one large and two smaller pools ranging from 35-40 degrees were so relaxing after a day on the slopes despite loud children splashing about and the boys throwing balls and squirting water at each other, it was rather nice. Boys will be boys!There is a free shuttle bus that takes people to and from Invermere nearby so jumped on that and headed down the mountain to town to get dinner. It was a long journey on a windy road, we were tired and some were a bit green round the gills. The bus driver kindly recommended a place called The New Station Pub to us which ended up being very nice. It is right on Lake Invermere and we saw a lovely sunset over the lake and mountains.Had a big dinner as many of us hadn’t eaten lunch. I had the Chicken Souvlaki which was yum! Had a few drinks and walked up to town to look around while waiting for the bus. Not much to see in Invermere. We were even stopped by local security asking why we were loitering around at 10:30 pm in town! We all look like friendly folk, I think….

Day 3

Headed back up the mountain again in the morning, another lovely day but the mountain was still icy up the top. Did a few runs up the top before sticking lower down where the snow was slightly softer. Had lunch and beers (it was St Patrick’s day so Guinness all round) down at the main building and chilled out for a bit in the sun.Did a few more runs up the top and through the park before calling it a day. The terrain was great and the mountain has long, wide tree runs and wasn’t busy at all, it was just a pity the snow wasn’t great but for $69 who can complain really.

Packed up the cars and headed on our way home. Stopped at Radium Hot Springs for a dip before carrying on through the gorge on the 93 to Castle Junction. The road had been closed for avalanche control as I mentioned earlier and we could see why as we travelled through there. There were reminants of avalanches all along the road. Up on the mountains you could see where the snow had fallen and on the road where it had been cleared. It was an amazing piece of roadway and driving over the passes and through the valleys really makes you appreciate the scale and beauty of the Canadian Rockies. I really hope to do the drive again in the Summer as there were so many viewpoints and things to do along the way we didn’t stop at. A weekend I will always remember, thanks guys!

Here is a GoPro video Kurt made of our trip.Muppets go to Panorama