See Snow Differently

January 23, 2015 15 Comments »

Canadian Rocky Mountains
Canadian Rocky Mountains – the Ultimate Winter Playground!

I’m not a huge fan of winter. Maybe that’s because I grew up in the middle of Illinois, where it was cold all winter, but we only got a big snowstorm a few times a season. It was just blah – gray, drab, and cold. It’s the kind of winter where you really can’t do anything but be annoyed. Sure, there were some great snow days where the landscape would be blanketed as our personal white fluffy playground, and my brother and I would spend every second outside sledding, building igloo tunnel systems in the drifts, making snow angles, and pelt each other with snowballs. My mother would even get out her cross-country skis and do laps around our big garden.

But these days didn’t last long, and soon our igloos collapsed, our sledding tracks started revealing mud and grass, and the snow turned into a brown puddle that remained for the next few months. Winters in Peoria were sort of torture as a kid – like Cinderella’s ball that you had to wait and wait for but was over far too soon.

kids with snowman
My brother, sister, and I (I’m the youngest!) are making the most of our infrequent snow in Peoria, Illinois

Real winter – the kind where you get to frolic around in the snow, participate in the myriad of winter sports and activities, have big beautiful views of snow-capped mountains, and have a legit reason to drink hot toddies – now that’s the kind of winter I’ve always yearned for. And on Monday, I’m grabbing my passport and hopping on a plane to where the beating heart of winter resides. Altitude, snow, avalanches, ice rinks, dog sleds, woolie socks, fireplaces, outdoor hot tubs, poutine, and maple syrup fun will be had by me in Alberta, Canada, this February.

I’ll be a Blogger in Residence for the Canmore/Banff area in Alberta for an entire month – meaning the Canadian Rockies will be the snowy winter playground that I yearned for as a kid!

Canmore Alberta Map
Puttin’ Canmore Alberta on the map!

Why the Canadian Rockies?

There are two reasons why I’m super excited to do this project.

A Place to Call Home
A nomadic life on the road is challenging – especially when you’ve been traveling for eight years. Being in one place that’s my own for a month is ridiculously exciting for me – I’m actually giddy about it. I get to unpack, hang up my clothes, leave stuff lying around my apartment, cook for myself, become a part of a local community, find a yoga studio, and have friends come visit me. These are things that are rare in my nomadic life. I’ll be staying in a two-bedroom apartment at the Grand Rockies in Canmore, Alberta.

I will have a car and lots of room for friends – so consider this your invitation if you feel like coming to play in the snow this winter! It’s so fun to think that I get to turn the tables and be an eternal guest in other people’s homes, and now I get to host people. Plus, this will allow me to travel deeper and meet locals, and I’ll really get to know the area.

Grand Rockies Resort Canmore Alberta
Grand Rockies Resort Canmore Alberta – Image by Katya Nova

First Time for Everything
I was at dinner the other night with a twenty-something who was gossiping about some person she worked for.  She said, “He’s old…like 45 or something,” and I fought back the urge to unleash some old curmudgeon anger on her for fear that she wouldn’t even understand the word curmudgeon.  While I’m in Alberta, I’ll be turning 45 years old, and even though that number looks old to a twenty-something, I don’t really feel old. According to the Mayo Clinic, we need to get in the habit of trying new things, and one of the best ways to stay ‘young’ and healthy is to continue to push ourselves to try new things. In fact, I personally come alive when I test the limits of my comfort zone and overcome my fears.

“Whenever a thing is done for the first time, it releases a little demon.” –Emily Dickinson

So, with this in mind, I’m going to spend an entire month releasing demons doing things for the first time. I’m working with Travel Alberta, Canmore, and Banff Tourism groups to organize a series of ‘firsts’ for my time in the Canadian Rockies – because, in my opinion, there’s no better way to turn 45 than to push yourself out of your comfort zone.

What Will I be Doing in the Snow?
I am not a ski nut because it scares me to death.  So, in this winter wonderland, where skiing is the main attraction, my goal is to explore all the other non-skiing things to do in the snow. Since I love the ‘underdogs’ in life and hate to go with the flow, I want to introduce you to all the other great snow activities you can do.

Learn the story of the two sisters – Canmore and Banff

I want you to See Snow Differently

For my lineup of ‘firsts,’ here are a few of the things I’ll be taking on:

Heli-snowshoeing – the ultimate in backcountry snowshoeing and aerial photography!
Caving (the Canmore area has a huge underground caving system!)
Ice Climbing
Biathlon / Cross County Skiing
Dog Sledding
Ice Fishing
Fat Biking
Snow Boarding

Every one of these things are new to me. Some of the things on this list completely intimidate me, but I’m super excited to at least try them – some may be keepers, and some may be epic fails. Regardless, hopefully, you’ll start to see snow differently.

How to Follow Along in the Winter Adventure

Even if you can’t come and stay with me in Canmore in February, you can still follow along in my adventures! I’ll be posting daily from social media with the hashtag #SeeSnowDifferently – so you can follow that hashtag – or simply follow me on social media by clicking on any of these buttons:

button 3

I’ll be sharing tons of photos and candid footage of how my attempts at ‘firsts’ go – and knowing me – there may even be tears – hopefully of happiness.

I’ll also be posting updates on the activities and what it’s like to have a home for a month here on my website.

Join in the adventure and #SeeSnowDifferently with me in Alberta this February!

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