Winter 2020

For the first time in 15 years, my winter didn’t revolve around cross country ski racing. I skied one local Alberta Cup race, and the grueling 160km+ Canadian Ski Marathon, which was especially tough this year (more on that later).

The winter has flown by and was full of exploring new areas to ski and snowshoe. Laura and I also had some visitors come help us enjoy and explore. Calgary has not disappointed this year with lots of blue skies and not too many brutally cold days.

Sunset in Calgary.

Our good friend from England, Tom, took a break from his work in Amsterdam to dive right into the Canadian winter. We gave him no time to recover from any jet lag and got him out snowshoeing right away.

Snowshoeing along the shores of Lake Minnewanka.
Happy to be out skiing on Christmas Day.
Some serious climbing along Ribbon Creek.
LEGO for Christmas!
Skiing is the best Christmas present!
Skiing on a frosty morning.
Tom approves of Canada!

After a good number of days of skiing and excellent home cooked food it was time for Laura to head back to work. Tom and I had a bit more time off so we decided to take on the Canadian challenge of winter camping.

Exploring above Barrier Lake.
Early evening before descending to our winter camping location.
Making a fire to keep warm during the evening.

Mid January arrived and it was back to work for everyone. By mid February I took a handful of days off and headed east for the Canadian Ski Marathon. The Canadian Ski Marathon is an incredible 160+km ski roughly between Ottawa and Montreal that is completed over two days. I had skied it 6 times during my university days and had sadly missed the last 6 editions due to competitive skiing. I was excited to be back and to see friends from the Yukon, Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa who had all gathered for the event. My friend Graham also drove all the way from Washington D.C. in a snowstorm to participate, so you can tell it’s a special event.

Temperatures during this years CSM were very cold. This made the snow very high friction and increased the effort that had to be put in to skiing. Overnight temperatures apparently were -27C, which was fine in our sleeping bags. On Sunday morning I had to wear all my available clothes while skiing to keep my fingers and toes warm. I haven’t seen any official numbers, but suspect that this year had very low completion rates.

Graham braving the cold. I was too chilly to take any pictures.
Graham and friends celebrate reaching kilometer 160. A message for the new CSM skier – be prepared to ski another (potentially soul crushing) 4km from this point to the finish.

Late February brought a dramatic change of scenery as I headed to Vancouver meet with Laura and her visiting parents for a few days, before heading back to Calgary and the Rockies with everyone.

A rare sunny winter day in Vancouver.

While back in the Rockies we did some more exploring of the Kananaskis area. I had completely missed out on exploring this area last winter and was really glad to get out this year, especially to the areas around the Mount Engadine Lodge and Mount Shark.

Snowshoeing in the Hogarth lakes area.
Stopping for a snack and/or clothing layer adjustment.
Rummel Lake.
In a spot of trouble on the way home, luckily we had all we needed to install a spare tire quickly.
A biting wind, but fortunately sun kept things much warmer than they could have been on a bad day.

As February turned to March there were some incredible sunny weekends with perfect temperatures to get out and enjoy more skiing in the Kananaskis. Unfortunately these pictures below are the last ones we took before access to the mountain parks has been curtailed due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Skiing along Fox creek.
Readjusting our wax.
Happily making our way up a long uphill.
Incredible views from Blueberry Hill.
Back down from Blueberry Hill, very close to the Alberta/British Columbia border.
Lots of snow left in the mountains. Hopefully all the animals are enjoying the newfound peace and quiet.

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