Though Kicking Horse was receiving some snow fall the freezing level was steadily rising meaning that you had to stay up top to ride the good snow. This was limiting the terrain that we could access somewhat so on Sunday night we decided we would leave Golden the following morning and head to Sunshine Village who had had 18 cms in the last 24 hours.
We left the Kicking Horse River Lodge at about 6.30 in the end, the early start a ride awakening after having only got up early on a powder day for the last 2 months and even then, that would only be at about 7.30.
We had chosen a hostel in Lake Louise and intended to drop the bags off en route to Golden.
The drive to Lake Louise was spectacular, as we were driving through the pass the sun was just beginning to rise meaning that there was a slight golden hue around the mountains that we were passing. We had entered the Rockies and the make up of the mountains was clearly different. They are very much larger and more striking, similar somewhat to the Alps. As we continued and it became a little more light the sky took on a really pale blue colour and clouds hung motionless around the mountains that surrounded us, some of the clouds with slightly pink under glow where the sun was reflecting on them. It was an incredible sight
Having dropped our kit off we headed over to Sunshine along with every other family in the area by the looks of things. When we arrived we were told that it was the beginning of Spring Break in Alberta.
Sunshine is very much like the big resorts in Europe that I have been to but with the added air of a Disney theme park (and associated cost) too. Having fought with the masses to get to the ticket booth we boarded the Gondola which takes you to the base of the resort.
Again, the vastness of the place hits you, there are 8 high speed detachable quads whisking people off in all directions a huge lodge and other associated buildings / shops / pubs. We rode a couple of runs off of each chair struggling to find any steep slopes, even the stuff marked as blacks seemed fairly tame. I did manage to find some powder and got some nice turns in, always enough to bring a smile to my face.
In the afternoon we headed over to another part of the mountain and did manage to find some decent terrain though it was really tracked out and covered in moguls, still it gave us some soft turns.
After the day’s riding it was off to Banff to have a look round, the town is like no other ski town I have ever seen, incredibly commercial and huge too with that same air of Disney to it. There were bus loads of people being shipped in and the same types of shops selling crap memorabilia to the hordes of tourists.
We left quickly and made our way back to the hostel in Lake Louise. We’d booked ourselves a private room but soon discovered that the idea of a private room was far from that of the ones at the Kicking Horse River Lodge, to boot the place stunk and was full of large groups of families on joint holidays with Dads parading round in leggings whilst the Mums cooked super sized portions of lasagne. The seasonaires were even something to behold, lots of indoor wool wearing going on (Nath you would have loved it) and even one bloke wearing two caps. Very Yo. We decided that we wouldn’t be staying another night.
It has to be said at this point that I am growing more and more tired of hostel life, I long to be able to walk in to a kitchen that isn’t busy, that has clean work surfaces, where the utensils / cutlery / crockery doesn’t reside on the draining board, where you can find a quiet room without people and most of all, somewhere where I don’t have to live out of a locker.
We’ve decided to head over to Whistler without riding Lake Louise as there is 16 cms due on Wednesday night with a further 14 on Thursday night. We’ll be breaking the journey down in to 2 days as the total distance looks to be about 800 kms.