Sunday, March 16, 2014

Visit to Banff...part 2

Another bright and sunny day in Banff and it was our day to hit the slopes.  We are not skiers and both of us felt that at our ages, learning to ski might be a little difficult.  Plus we were worried about the danger to our brittle bones.  But we wanted to enjoy the snow so we did our research and discovered that some of the local ski centers offer snow tubing hills.  The photos and videos on the internet made it look like a good adventure so we decided to check it out.  Our first stop was Mount Norquay.  This tube park had 5 runs and we were really excited to give it a go.  Unfortunately it was not to be...the "magic carpet" that hauls you and your tube back up to the top of the run was broken.  They offered us the opportunity to climb back up the hill under our own power and we considered it (for about 10 seconds) until we watched a group of fit teenagers struggle up the hill pulling their tubes.  Neither of us were convinced that we could do it so we went in search of another ski resort with tubing.

We found one in Lake Louise...the Sunny Tube Park at the Lake Louise Ski Resort.  This tubing area was smaller with only two runs but the magic carpet was working and the price was right!  I was concerned that we would be the oldest folks at the tube park or at the very least, the only ones without little children.  Surprisingly everyone on the hill was our age.  Many of them were non-skiers who opted to tube while the rest of the family hit the slopes with their skis or snowboards.
We hadn't been sledding in over 20 years and it was just as much fun as I remembered...more maybe because we didn't have to climb back up the hill!  It was a blast!  And during our rides up the magic carpet, we got to watch ski school.  Little four and five year old kids learning to ski...great people watching for sure.  And the preteens trying to master their snowboarding skills were even better.  Made me wish that I was younger, in better shape and had stronger bones!

After several hours at Lake Louise, we returned to Banff and checked out Banff Upper Hot Springs.  These mineral rich pools are naturally heated to 104 degrees.  I was hoping that the atmosphere would be more grotto-like but instead, it was a large tiled swimming pool.  But no matter....the water felt great and the sensation of being in that hot water while the steam rises and the snow flurries down was something entirely new to us.  I highly recommend it!  Much better than a hot tub!

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