Expedia.ca asked me to share my tips and advice for a snowshoeing adventure in Alberta.
Is there anything more beautiful than freshly fallen snow sparkling in the sunshine? In Alberta, Canada, some would say this is the most beautiful sight you can see during the frigid winter. The pillow-like mounds of snow gracefully cover the landscape, creating a spectacular winter wonderland.
Most locals can’t wait to pack their car with all their winter gear and spend their weekends in Banff National Park. There is something satisfying about rising early and walking out into the cold crisp air while dressed in perfectly organized layers of clothing. Skiing and snowboarding are the most popular activities during the winter in Alberta, but there is peace and solitude in snowshoeing that should not be overlooked. Snowshoeing is a cheaper way to experience winter while avoiding the crowded ski hills. There is calmness and comfort that comes from walking through a silent white escape.
The beauty of wintertime in the mountains is not to be missed. You can find many marked trails located near Banff as well as in Kananaskis Country. A short commute will get you to a number of trails that will gift you with the beauty of the Rockies.
Before going out into the wilderness, check the Parks Canada avalanche warning for the area you intent to be in. It’s very important to know how safe your intended trail is on any given day during the winter.
To make your time outside in the cold more enjoyable, follow these simple tips:
- Dress in layers. Winter in Canada can get cold. Your base layer is your wicking layer. Quick drying synthetic fabrics work best. The goal is to wick away moisture from sweat. Your second layer is your insulator, think fleece, down or wool fabrics. Your outer layer is your shell; ideally you want windproof, waterproof and breathable.
- Toque (hat), scarf, mittens/gloves. Keep in mind that mittens/gloves work best if they are water resistant and not knitted fabric.
- Wool or synthetic fabric socks.
- Waterproof, ankle covering hiking boots.
- Hiking pants.
- Knee-high gaiters. If you don’t have these, tie or tape the bottom of your pants to your boots, this will prevent snow from getting inside them.
- Day pack for snacks/lunch, first aid kit, compass and whistle.
- Water. Hydration systems that fit into your backpack work the best as they don’t freeze as quickly. You could also put warm water (or tea) in a thermos which is a nice way to warm up when you start to feel cold.
- Take your cell phone and know the local emergency numbers.
You’ve picked a trail, checked the avalanche warnings and you have the right type of clothing! The only things you’re missing are the snowshoes! You’re in luck, there are great places in Calgary, Canmore and Banff to buy or rent snowshoes.
- MEC (Calgary)
- University of Calgary Outdoor Center
- Gear Up Mountain Sport and Rentals (Canmore)
- Banff Adventures
- MEC (Calgary)
- Atmosphere (Calgary and Banff)
- Costco (Calgary, with a membership)
- Monod Sports (Banff)
Now you’re ready to brave the cold and play in the glistening sunshine and sparkling snow! Enjoy the crisp freshness with each breath in, it’s magical.
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