How to Take in the Scenery While Working Up a Sweat
It’s that resolution time of year again and, while resolutions come in many shapes and sizes, many of them boil down to us wanting to be fitter. So why not squeeze in some fitness while you visit Banff National Park? There are a number of ways to get active in the park so here are our favorite ways to up your game on the slopes and to cross-train while taking in the scenery.
Working Your Legs: Ski Lesson Style
Most visitors are here to ski, but let’s face it: if this is your one big ski vacation this season, chances are it will take you a little while to get your ski legs back. You may not go for double black diamonds right out of the gate. You may also ski a bit ‘lazy’. You’ll stay upright to avoid those deep squats, and choose wide-open, gently-sloped groomers where engaging your core isn’t a requirement. Signing up for lessons will push you outside of your comfort zone. Instructors read where your weakness lie and push you into deeper squats on more aggressive terrain. You will definitely get more of a workout than if left to your own devices. Better yet: sign up for a three day lesson with Club Ski. They will push you to explore challenging terrain at all three resorts, meaning you will walk away with the leg burn you are after.
Cross-Train: Cardio Cross-Country
If you don’t get your fill of cardio at the ski resorts, rent a pair of cross-country skis and explore the track-set matrix of trails in the National Park. Both Lake Minnewanka (in Banff) and Moraine Lake Road (in Lake Louise) will have you breathless – it will just hard to know if it is because of your cardio efforts or the spectacular scenery.
Climb Sheer Ice
If you are game for some adventure, ice climbing may be just the ticket. It is basically climbing but with ice axes and set in a spectacular amphitheater of turquoise-blue sheets of ice. Half-day and full day guided excursions are available and will have you using both your legs and ice-axe-wielding arms.
Hike to Instagram-Worthy Heights
Walking is great exercise – but only if you cover distances greater than that separating your car from your hotel. So explore the trail systems in and around both the towns of Banff and Lake Louise.
Make your way up Tunnel Mountain for some epic views of Banff on a gently graded trail that climbs to a majestic look out. It only takes 1.5 to 3 hours return and will get you some Instagram-worthy pics. If climbing doesn’t interest you, a trail running along the Bow River will get you views of Bow Falls and the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. It’s cruisy and quiet so well worth an afternoon stroll.
Walking the lakeshore trail of Lake Louise will allow you to snap that iconic image of the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise that will have your friends at home gaffing with envy. It is only 2 km (1.3miles) to the back of the lake; give yourself an hour for the round trip.
If the Snowshoe Fits
Playing in the powder isn’t just for skiers and boarders, strapping on a pair of snowshoes will allow you to pounce through the pow like a pro and allow you to sneak off-piste, away from the lifts. Lake Louise Ski Resort offers a number of different guided outings which include equipment rental; consider a night time tour that will get you moving after sundown. Otherwise, explore the vast landscape beyond the lifts at Sunshine Village with White Mountain Adventures snowshoe excursions into Sunshine Meadows.