BY SHERI RADFORD
Photo by Jakob Ager
On one of those perfect cold-but-sunny Saturdays that make Vancouver seem worth every penny of its astronomical housing prices, Paul (my husband) and I embarked on a North Shore adventure. Sofie, a student, and Jakob, a photographer, were our guides for the day—Locals, in the parlance of Yervana, while Paul and I were the Explorers. Sofie and Jakob took us to Cypress Mountain, where the four of us donned snowshoes and tromped around the mountain trails, past one tiny tot trying to ski for the very first time, past picturesque cabins nestled in the snow like something out of a storybook, past giggling groups of Boy Scouts and Girl Guides on their own snowy, chaperoned adventures.
Photo by Jakob Ager
We lost track of time, snowshoeing through the pristine wilderness. Eventually, we stopped for sandwiches (still warm from Whole Foods) and snacks and decided, reluctantly, that is was time to head back from this winter wonderland.
Photo by Jakob Ager
All too soon, we were back in civilization. Further snowy adventures would have to wait for another Yervana day.
Yervana is a new website and iOS app that offers personalized outdoor adventures in Vancouver, Squamish and Whistler, including snowshoeing, skiing, hiking, trail riding, kayaking, sailing, stargazing and long-exposure photography. Yervana matches up knowledgeable Locals with eager Explorers. Visit www.yervana.com to learn more.
Feb. 4, 2016
By Afton Aikens & John Strugnell
Jasper National Park with its vast wilderness is a winter enthusiast’s paradise.
1. Explore by Snowshoe
Five Jasper trails are newly designated for snowshoeing and fat tire biking. “Snowshoeing is an affordable sport that allows trail users of all abilities to connect to the park,” says Joseph Zebrowski of Parks Canada. Find maps at the Information Centre; rental shops and tours are listed in our activities directory.
Jan. 25, 2016
Afton Aikens & Jack Wennot
Skoki Lodge, Travel Alberta
Snowshoe or ski tour to these rustic, log-built wilderness cabins that serve home-cooked meals and offer access to many fantastic trails. Reservations are a must.
Skoki Lodge, built by local residents in 1931, is 11 km from the Lake Louise Ski Resort over Boulder and Deception mountain passes. The lodge caters to skiers of all abilities, with ski touring and telemarking slopes, plus cross country routes nearby.
The main lodge and three surrounding cabins can accommodate 22 guests. Skoki does not have electricity or running water, but warm wash water is available. At night, candles and kerosene lamps light the lodge. Skoki is known for its delicious buffet-style breakfasts and dinners. Winter season runs to April 24.
Dec. 14, 2015
By Afton Aikens
If you want to step outside the comfort zone of a hotel but aren’t keen on winter camping, an Alpine Club of Canada (ACC) backcountry hut may be an ideal choice—and a great base for skiing or snowshoeing. The huts vary from century-old log cabins in meadows to bunker-looking dwellings above treeline.
“The Alpine Club has put a lot of resources into them, so they’re well kept,” says the ACC’s Keith Haberl. “The great thing about (staying at a hut) is you don’t have to carry a tent or a stove, and the sleeping pads are there; just bring a sleeping bag and food,” he adds. “Huts open the door to a lot more terrain for a lot more people.”
Hut accommodation is dormitory-style; sleeping quarters, common areas and kitchens are shared with other guests. Huts can be booked up to 30 days in advance (or six months in advance for ACC members—and anyone can become a member). “There’s a high likelihood of meeting like-minded people who have some recreational objective that’s similar,” Haberl says.
Popular huts in winter include:
Photo by Tanya Koob
- Elk Lakes Cabin, Elk Lakes Park, BC: This is the ACC’s closest hut to Calgary, accessed from
Peter Lougheed Park in Kananaskis. The trailhead is 62 km south of Hwy 1 on Hwy 40, and it’s
a 9-km (three to four hours) cross-country ski to the hut; the trail is track set in Peter Lougheed
Park. Elk Lakes Cabin is a family favourite, with ski touring ranging from easy to advanced.
By Afton Aikens
The second part of this four-week post series will introduce you to snowshoeing, a fun, low-impact and low-cost old-fashioned winter activity. Snowshoeing requires little planning, simple gear and no experience. Luckily, here in the Rockies there’s no shortage of powder to sink those snowshoes into! Join a local operator on a guided tour, or rent snowshoes and be your own guide.
Photo: Banff Lake Louise Tourism
An Authentic Sense of Winter
“Snowshoeing is the fastest growing sport in North America,” says Mark Zanetti, sales manager at Discover Banff Tours. “People from all walks of life try it out and to their surprise find it not difficult at all. We tell guests that if you can walk, you can snowshoe!”
Lainio Snow Village in Finland (Photo by Visit Finland)
The CBC has gotten wind of a new snow village resort to be constructed on the Île Sainte-Hélène in downtown Montreal. The information was released (leaked?) via a flyer on Twitter. Plans for the snow village suggest it will have an ice bar, ice restaurant, ice hotel, ice wedding chapel, a spa, and something called a Panoramic Igloo. The CBC reports snowshoeing, dog sledding, and an ice replica of the city of Montreal among the attractions. (more…)