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Staying Active in Winter YYC

Bison Elk Island Park
Edmonton Weekend Activities: Bison & Boutiques
December 8, 2015
Heated Chairlift Sunshine Village
Sunshine Village Heated Chairlift (Teepee Town)
December 15, 2015

Staying Active in Winter YYC

Snowboard Gopro Girl

Snowboard Gopro Girl

If you live in Calgary and you think that Winter is a time to curl up in front of a fire or a time when there’s nothing to do then, I’ll be honest with you, I think you’re doing it wrong. There’s no place on earth like Calgary, and if you’re spending the Winter months hibernating (and the summer for that matter), you’re ignoring something that most of the world would kill to have at its fingertips.

A quick google of skiing near Calgary comes up with an article listing the TOP 10 ski resorts within 5 hours drive. The TOP 10!!! That’s not even all of them! I struggle to think of anywhere else that can possible come close to that. Calgary was recently voted one of the Economist’s top 5 liveable cities in the world, and it absolutely isn’t because we have the best bars and nightlife.

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Lake Louise Snowboarding

Lake Louise Snowboarding

I’ve lived in Beijing, Berlin, Hong Kong, London and Calgary, and I can honestly say that Calgary is the best one by far. You might be reading that and scratching your head a little bit. How could a city that most people have never heard of possibly compare to some of the world’s biggest and most famous cities? It’s so simple really.

In most places (the UK for example), unless you live very rurally, it really isn’t convenient or possible to get away from the city. Sure, London has a few parks, but you’re still slap bang in the middle of the City. For most of my friends in London, unwinding consists of bar hopping or Netflix and a bottle of wine. There’s no escape and life becomes one giant routine. I still have lots of friends working in the city in London; they’re mid-twenties and hating life. They live for their 3 weeks holiday a year when they can just get away and escape life for a little while.

If you haven’t worked out why living in Calgary makes you the luckiest person in the world yet, then let me spell it out. Calgary is the only place I’ve ever lived that I don’t need a holiday from.

Mini breaks

Every weekend is a mini holiday here. Every weekend I can drive 90 minutes and transport myself to another world. I can spend the day hiking, looking for wildlife, skiing, ice skating; whatever; and come back completely and utterly revitalised. I have a better quality of life living near the mountains than I’ve ever had elsewhere….and for a fraction of the cost! Now that I don’t need to go to the bar to get my kicks, my wallet is thanking me too. Hiking in the mountains just costs me the gas to get me there (probably the cost of 3 beers)…

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Northern lights Banff

Northern Lights, Banff

It’s Time to get Outside!

So that brings me to my main point; Winter is not a time for hibernation, it’s a time for exploration. Winter can be a depressing time; days get shorter, the temperature drops and we get less sun – maybe SAD kicks in for some of us. Staying in the city all Winter is enough to drive anyone crazy. Getting out and enjoying the snow is the only way to turn that negative into a positive, and it always amazes me that so many of our friends are so content with being miserable and vegetating indoors over the winter months.

Seeing so many friends not taking advantage of the incredible opportunities available doesn’t sit well with me, and I ask myself, “why aren’t these guys going to the mountains?” Our friends are young, free, and mobile, so why aren’t they getting the most out of life here? I think it all boils down to excuses and the unknown.

Finding a Guide

When I first moved to Calgary, I was fortunate enough to get to know some locals in Banff and more importantly, meet an amazing Banff girl who’s spent the past 4 years showing me the very best that the mountains have to offer.

I’d have never seen all the things I’ve seen without such amazing guidance, and I can see how intimidating the mountains could be if you didn’t have someone showing you around. I wouldn’t even know where to begin. A lot of our friends fall into this category. They’ve grown up in Calgary and have never really ventured outside of the city. They’re desperate to go exploring but just have no idea where to go or what they need to bring or what to expect, so they just make excuses for themselves. Some of them have lived in Calgary their whole lives and have only ever skied a couple of times..WHAT?!? I don’t know whether to feel sad or angry.

I think there’s a perception that the mountains are less accessible than they actually are, and that’s why we’ve really made it our mission to spread the word as much as we possibly can.

We’ve really campaigned hard on social media to show off the best of the mountains and make suggestions for things to do. What started out as the odd friend asking has quickly become constant stream of requests. Our friends are having their eyes opened for the first time about the things they’ve been missing out on all these years and they want back in. There’s such incredible beauty out there that even the biggest couch potato hermits are asking us for advice and are finally getting out there! It’s the most satisfying thing to show someone the mountains up close for the first time and have a chance to feel the amazement through their eyes again. We’re always so thrilled when a new friend asks to come on our next adventure!

If lack of expertise is what’s holding you back, you can check out our blog for inspiration, email us for advice, or better yet, just come with us one weekend. We’re always happy to bring people out and give them a taste of the mountains (send me an email! – robin@eliteyyc.com). We can go hard or take it easy; it’s not what we do that matters, it’s the fact that we’re doing something; anything other than sitting, vegetating in a dark room.

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Castle Junction

Even the most mundane things come alive in Winter!

Excuses 

Lack of experience isn’t the only excuse we’ve heard. So let’s try and address a few more concerns while we’re at it:

 

“But I’m not fit”

While for some people, this may be a valid concern, for most people it really isn’t an excuse. You can set your own pace in hiking, and do you know what the only cure for poor fitness is? …Exercise!… Everyone’s got to start somewhere, and there are plenty of easy things you can do and still make the most of the outdoors.

“I can’t afford it”

Trips to the mountains don’t have to be expensive, or cost you anything other than the gas to get you there. Walking in the mountains is always free. Check out our posts on Grotto Canyon and Johnston Canyon for some starter winter hikes that cost absolutely nothing at all! Renting a pair of ice skates and finding a frozen lake will probably cost you less than 10 bucks, and there are tons of other things there you can do on a shoestring.

“I can’t get there”

I know that having a car that can handle the winter has been a sticking point for us in the past. We found that priceline has super reasonable rates for car rentals, especially on the weekend, and that has really opened up the door for mountain exploration for us. Especially when you can split the cost of rental/gas between 4 or 5 people. Last week we rented a car for 14 bucks for the day.. Not as expensive as you might think.

“I don’t like skiing/snowboarding”

There are LOADS of things to do in the mountains apart from skiing and snowboarding. There’s something for all fitness levels, and all levels of activity. From walking, to sledding, to tubing, to dog sledding, to ice skating… ad infinitum. Why not take advantage of living in the best place on earth and try something new!

So what are you doing this weekend?

So what are you waiting for? Get in touch with us, or with anyone you know that likes to get outside; get out and explore the world. Otherwise one day might never come, and you’ll regret the things you never did.

Even if you’re not from Calgary, the principle I’m talking about can be applied anywhere. In this day and age there is so much instant gratification within arms reach that we’ve become so lazy, and thoughts of getting outdoors get pushed to one side. Wherever you live, there’s always something you can do to broaden your horizons.  I implore you to grab life by the horns and go see what the world has to offer.

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Natural Bridge Field

Natural Bridge, Field

If you decide to make the Rockies your next trip then look us up and we’ll help you make some unforgettable memories!

If you have any feedback or want to get in touch then feel free to message me at robin@eliteyyc.com, check out our website or check out our instagrams for a bit of inspiration (@robintuck1 @wzylouisey @elite.yyc)![/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

2 Comments

  1. eunjungahh says:

    Your photos are breathtaking. I love it. 🙂

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