Last week in partnership with Canadian Rockies Golf, I took an epic 7 day trip to Alberta to see the best of what the area had to offer in terms of golf and the outdoors.
To put it bluntly, the Candian Rockies were even more breathtaking and spectacular than I could have expected.
Arriving in Calgary, you can’t help but think the Rockies, well, would be a little more rocky (yeah, I know, that John Denver is full of shit man.)
But within half an hour of driving out of the city you begin to see just how amazing the area really is.
When we arrived the first night in Canmore it was totally dark, so it wasn’t until I woke up the next morning that I saw this:
The Canadian Rockies felt very little like the Colorado Rockies. In Colorado, everything kind of feels like a big hill when you’re driving up I-80 into the mountains, you don’t necessarily get a sense of scale until you get on the mountains.
When you’re driving up towards Banff, the scale of the craggily peaks that surround you is unreal.
The only thing I’ve seen that compares are the Dolomites in Italy, which had a very similar feel.
In this post, I’ll spare you all of the golf details. You can check out a post on that here.
But just know, the golf was excellent, and if you’re ever looking for a destination to play varied and impressive golf courses, I’ve been to few places better.
Stand Up Paddleboarding in Canmore
As the trip was scheduled, we only had one day where we wouldn’t be playing golf.
The goal was to go stand up paddle boarding on the reservoir in Canmore, and then go explore the town of Banff.
Here’s the deal with me and stand up paddle boarding…
I’ve been twice.
And 2 out of 2 times I’ve ended up in the water!
We were visiting Alberta in September, which historically is an excellent time of the year to go. It’s still warm, has great weather, and is coming off of peak tourist season.
As you’ll learn about in my next post about the trip, things didn’t quite work out that way for us.
And this started the day we went paddle boarding.
For starters, it was unseasonably cool when we were there, and on this particular day it looked like the skies could open up and start dumping rain on us any minute.
Lo and behold, that’s exactly what began to happen when we arrived.
So between chilly weather, rain, and a glacial lake that was described to us as “bracingly cold” we had some concerns about how this whole adventure was going to play out.
I’ll let you watch for yourself how things really ended up:
In the end, despite some sarcastic remarks about the cold, we had a blast. The lake at the base of the mountains was incredible, and despite a couple touch and go moments when first getting on the board, there were no close calls or unplanned dips into the water!
And the best news of all is that the rain mostly held off until about 5 minutes after we packed up and headed for Banff
An Afternoon in Banff
The town of Banff is exactly as I expected it to be. Incredibly quaint, incredibly beautiful, and surprisingly crowded.
Random fact about me, is I’ve always been super intrigued by luxury hotels (here are a bunch more random facts if you’re interested).
And one of the most infamous luxury hotels in the world is the Fairmont Banff Springs.
It opened in 1888, and is truly unlike any hotel I’ve ever seen.
It’s a maze of late 19th century history and architecture, and we had a blast roaming the halls, getting lost, and eventually stopping by their german restaurant the Waldhaus to try my first ever Caeser (think a Canadian bloody mary).
The next morning we played Banff Springs Golf Course, which is super unique, as it is located in what is now Banff National Park.
Since the course was built before the national park designation, it was able to remain – but I can’t imagine a course like this, in this setting, ever being built in this day and age.
Everywhere you looked there were huge mountains:
Driving Highway 93 from Banff to Jasper
And then this is where things started to get interesting.
The next stop was to be the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge about 4 hours away in Jasper National Park.
The Jasper Park Lodge is the only property of its kind within hours in any direction, and you are truly out in the wilderness.
But equally as impressive as the property itself is, was the drive on highway 93 from Banff to Jasper.
I’d heard this drive was impressive.
But nothing could prepare me for this.
Towering peaks, azure mountain lakes, sprawling forests. It’s worth taking the trip to Alberta, just to make this drive.
It was that impressive.
Not What We Expected
Once we arrived at Jasper Park Lodge, we were treated to what is essentially a luxury adult summer camp, complete with literally any activity you could want to partake in.
We had a glorious meal at their Italian restaurant Orso, and then went to bed eager to play their golf course in the morning – which is ranked #2 in the entire country.
Unfortunately, that’s not exactly how things worked out.
Next week I’ll fill you in on exactly what happened, and how it was nothing like what we were anticipating when we landed in Alberta just a few days before.
But here’s a little sneak peek:
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