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, make snow angles, and pelt each other with snow balls. 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.
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 toddy’s – 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 my snowy winter playground that I yearned for as a kid!
Why the Canadian Rockies?
There are a 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 8 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 rarities 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 of being 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; I’ll really get to know the area.
First Time for Everything
I was at dinner the other night with a twenty something who was gossiping on and on 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 yourself 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.
I want you to See Snow Differently
For my lineup of ‘firsts’ here’s a few of the things I’ll be taking on:
Heli-snowshoeing – the ultimate in back country snow shoeing and aerial photography!
Caving (the Canmore area has a huge underground caving system!)
Biathalon / Cross County Skiing
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. But 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:
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 here to my website updates on the activities and what it’s like to have a home for a month.
Join in the adventure and #SeeSnowDifferently with me in Alberta this February!
By Darlene Foster January 23, 2015 - 10:19 am
Have a fab time in my home province. Canmore is a great place and don´t forget to check out MacKays Ice cream in nearby Cochrane. You will find Albertans to be very friendly. Enjoy your snowy adventure.
By Kristin Henning January 23, 2015 - 1:03 pm
Have fun using those hangers, because the time will go quickly. I embrace all the above because I’m from Minnesota, I’m over 50(…no wait, over 60…), and love the concept of a place to explore new ac.
tivities! Have fun
By Katie @ Second-Hand Hedgehog January 23, 2015 - 2:01 pm
45 is NOT old! At least, I hope it isn’t; even though I’m still a 20-something, 45 seems to be approaching all too quickly! (Seriously, how are we in 2015 already? Last time I looked, it was the millennium.)
Hope you have an amazing birthday, and enjoy you’re month in Alberta. Sounds like such a luxury – I’m looking forward to following along. 🙂
By Brian January 23, 2015 - 4:36 pm
Have a great time in Alberta. Look forward to your adventure and photos.
By Brooke January 23, 2015 - 4:49 pm
I did 5 days in Canmore and Banff this summer and wondered what it would be like in winter. Can’t wait for the pics!
By Gary January 23, 2015 - 6:25 pm
Canada is amazing, and I love the snow. My dog and I go snowshoeing every winter in the Pacific Northwest. I have never tried Heli-snowshowing. I bet you get put into some deep powder by doing that.
By Bryan January 23, 2015 - 7:31 pm
Love the photo bombing cat in the photo of you as a kid!
By Sherry January 26, 2015 - 10:26 pm
Ha! That was WAYYYYYYY before we even had the word photo bombing. And that was our cat Smokey…ahhh – the memories!
By Ronny January 23, 2015 - 8:36 pm
Having been to the Rockies in Canada last year in the winter, I know you’ll have the time of your life … enjoy!
By Corinne January 24, 2015 - 5:38 am
Sherrie, We stayed in Canmore for a blissful week over the summer. The apartment was amazing, and the rest…just awesome! Have fun!
By De'Jav January 25, 2015 - 4:42 am
Firstly I can totally feel about not liking the snow being from the Midwest. Congrats on doing things for the first time though. It seems your experience has been a learning one and keeping you young.
By Nadine January 26, 2015 - 3:01 pm
Isn’t it amazing how our perspective on age changes over time? Once, we were all in our early 20’s, and 40 seemed a long way off. Maybe it didn’t seem ‘old’ to all of us, but it certainly seemed ‘adult’ and serious. I’m not there, yet- I’m 34- but old? Not for a long, long time. (And yet, I feel so much older now than I did at 24. And I’m fine with that).
In any case, I loved reading about your upcoming adventures- staying in one place and exploring the snow sounds perfect. 🙂
By Cindy Baker January 26, 2015 - 5:57 pm
You will love it! I am not really a ‘winter’ person either. I am a little older than you and packed in some “out-of-my comfort zone” activities on a recent visit. The beauty of the place is jaw-dropping (see http://instagram.com/travelblissnow/) and I had such fun. A month?!! Enjoy and bravo to you!
By Tony and Thomas January 26, 2015 - 8:46 pm
Sounds great. Real time (as opposed to blog time) we just spent a month in Buenos Aires. When we had to pack to leave, we were both like, “No, I want to lie on the couch and eat pizza.”
By Stephanie - The Travel Chica February 8, 2015 - 10:49 am
How fun! My issue with midwest Winter is that it’s just cold and icy. Not much to do for outdoorsy adventures to enjoy the snow. Would love an opportunity to spend a month somewhere like this.