Winter Escapades in Banff Canada

by | Mar 25, 2024 | My Wild and Precious Life

I bolted off the chairlift at the Top of the World ski run so I wouldn’t get my ski caught with one of the other five people on our chair.

 I moved out of the path of skiers coming up behind me as I focused intently on putting my gloved hands through the straps on my poles as quickly as possible. As I scooted around the corner intent on taking my first run of the day, I gasped.

 Quickly pulling off my gloves, letting my poles drop to the ground and pushing my goggles up on my helmet, I dug in my jacket pocket for my phone.

 With intense awe, I eagerly focused the camera on the amazing sight in front of me.

 Bright sunlight sparkled over the glorious blanket of white, highlighting the pointy peaks and rounded mountaintops that encircled an iridescent crystal blue lake below. I could hardly take it all in with my eyes, much less my camera lens.


When Dennis suggested we go with the Ski Club to Banff, I jumped at the idea. What a great way to spend my 78th birthday!

I had forgotten about the long arduous journey to get there. After sixteen hours of bus travels, plane rides and a trek through customs, we arrived at our hotel where all 60 weary ski club members stood outside the bus in the dark waiting for our suitcases and gear.

While others waited for the key to their room, I made friends with the bartender who happily poured Dennis and I a glass of Pinot Noir. Next came our late-night hamburgers which we eagerly gobbled up with our second glass of wine.

Now we were ready for our room key.

Tired to the bone but revived by our little meal, we climbed on the elevator and soon were opening the door to our tidy little room at the Ptarmigan Inn for the week. Thankfully our luggage was waiting for us there.

That night, my best birthday gift was to lay my head down on a soft pillow and visit dreamland. I dreamed of gliding down the powdery slopes feeling like I could almost fly, brisk air stinging my cheeks.

I knew I would forget all about the 16 hours of arduous travel as soon as we checked into the spectacular Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel the next day, my sweet birthday gift from Dennis.

I was right.

The next morning, Dennis and I walked the mile and a half from the Ptarmigan Inn to the grandiose Fairmont where we were meeting our ski club buddies for a sumptuous brunch in the Fairmont’s gorgeous dining room overlooking the snowy mountains.

After a delightful brunch, we checked into our spectacular private chateau.

We marveled at our magical suite and the stunning view outside our window—ice skaters gliding below against a background of majestic snow-covered mountains.

The next morning, after a leisurely breakfast in our private lounge, we donned white fluffy robes and monogrammed slippers to pad down to the spa. Thanks to Dennis’ prearrangement, I enjoyed 90 minutes of pure bliss from my massage therapist.

Possibly one of the best massages I’ve ever had.

That evening, I floated down the elaborately decorated hallway, arm in arm with Dennis, to the renowned Italian restaurant, Costello’s, for my official birthday dinner. We couldn’t finish all the delicious food we ordered, but we sure enjoyed all the Caparzo Brunello wine.

Another wonderful night’s sleep in our own lovely cocoon, and we leisurely made our way down the richly decorated hallway to enjoy a delicious breakfast in our private lounge overlooking the white sunlit slopes.

After a late check-out, we walked the mile and a half back to the hotel in town we are sharing with our ski club buddies.


Now, let the skiing begin.

A good night sleep in our non-luxurious but adequate room followed by a basic buffet breakfast and we were ready to board the bus to Lake Louise for a day of skiing.

After our 45-minute bus ride, we arrived at beautiful Lake Louise ski area. It took a while to get our tickets, lockers and gear settled. But great snow and perfect conditions rewarded us.

At lunchtime, we removed our skis and left them on the nearby rack along with our poles then trudged into the lodge, not realizing we were at the wrong end of the enormous building.

I found out the hard way when I went to get our lunch that the reason we found an empty table so quickly was because we were in the overflow area. The place to order and pick up lunch was a long way away. In fact, after walking through a maze, I finally had to ask someone where the food area was.

When I finally found it, I was at the end of a very long line snaking through the seating areas.  It was all so confusing. I finally grabbed a tray and waited my turn to get our chicken sandwich and fries. I returned through the long gauntlet of tables, skiers and gear.

By that time I was pooped. Thank heavens we decided to rent a locker and leave our skis and boots there overnight.

After we finished lunch, we decided to catch the next bus back to our hotel. So we boarded the bus a little after 2:00 and arrived at our hotel a little before 3:00.

We removed our glove and boot batteries and quickly plugged them into the chargers.

Dennis got caught up on emails and then took a well-deserved nap and, after getting caught up on my emails, I walked to the nearby pharmacy to get medicine for a cold I thought was just beginning. Ugh!

Turned out that I either had the world’s shortest cold or I didn’t even have one. I used the medicine for a day or two just in case. But then decided I didn’t actually have a cold and put it all in a bag under a chair. Hooray!

We enjoyed four days of fabulous skiing! Great visibility, lots of sunshine, really good snow, blue skies, and no wind. Our legs and equipment held out just fine and we were grateful to end our ski trip with no injuries and lots of delightful experiences.

Now it was time to head home, basking in our enjoyable week of skiing.


I didn’t realize I was about to be faced with a big hiccup.

The TSA security system in Canada is a bit different than in the U.S. and many other countries. I was used to breezing through security because of our high clearance and advanced age.

Canada doesn’t do it that way.

They required me to remove my shoes and take my iPad out of my backpack and put it in a separate container. I double checked to make sure they were serious about this. They were.

I dutifully followed all the instructions, waited for my bin to pass through the detector and then put on my shoes and picked up my backpack and purse. I hurried along because now it was time to go through customs and our plane was due to take off soon.

As we hurried through the massive airport toward our faraway gate, a sudden realization blasted into my brain. I had forgotten to retrieve my iPad from the bin on the security carousel!

So many thoughts raced through my head. What if someone finds my iPad and steals my information? How was I going to watch the videos I had carefully downloaded for the flight home? Did I have time to get back to the security area and then back to the gate before the plane loaded?

I told Dennis what happened and began racing back through the airport toward security.

I finally arrived at the entrance only to be met by a very angry, unfriendly police officer who insisted that I turn around and leave unless I wanted to be arrested.

So frustrated knowing my iPad lay just yards away from him and it would be so easy to just retrieve it, I accused him of keeping my iPad.

He was not amused.

I finally realized I had to leave without my treasure. Dejected, I once again ran through the airport arriving at the gate just in time to board our plane.


Thankfully, it ultimately ended well.

The airline steward told me to visit the Calgary airport website and report my iPad to lost and found. I thought it was a shot in the dark, but when we got home I followed his instructions.

I actually spoke with a very helpful airport staff who took all my information and explained the somewhat complex process. He then gave me the information for Calgary UPS so I could arrange for delivery.

I fielded three follow up phone calls from Calgary while I was pushing my cart through the grocery store later that day.

Finally, two days later, UPS delivered my beloved iPad to my doorstep. I was overjoyed.

What do they say about all’s well that ends well? It appears all is well!