Last Day at Lake Louise (Whitehorn Mountain)

Lake Louise ski area is a fabulous place. An absolutely beautiful area with an epic back bowl feeling from the top. And just massive snow! The cornices you can pop off, the chutes you can run, the diverse terrain. I love it. That far run-out, Ptarmigan, on the back side is quite the avenue. After coming down from the heights, it always burns your legs. An avenue of smiles for having made it out of some crazy descent.

A fourth day on the slopes! I had never done this and I was surprised at how good my legs felt. All the training was good. Leg blasters. Squats. Goose kicks. Stair-mastering. All good. And these past few days were just glorious. Good to feel so well expressed, physically. And to be able to keep up with the boys!

My upper body was actually the problem – I was toast from the various scooting, pushing, punching and even boot fastening that I was doing. A couple rides up the summit poma lift – hanging on for dear life for the 12-minute ride – was taking a toll on my arms in a way the actual skiing was not causing problems for me. I had been training for the bumps and the slopes – the quads were in good shape. My shoulders and triceps, not so much. One more day!

The Incredible Back Bowl of Lake Louise. We went pretty far out to the right of frame.

This was a Monday. Pretty empty.

We toured the whole mountain. We did the cruisers. We went up to the top. We did the far back bowl. We did the main back bow. We did the Paradise Bowl and glades. We went through our favorite front bowl area and we even went to the back Spruce Peak. Okay, this was because we never found the perfect snow conditions anywhere, but it was fun to tour around. And to find some new jaunts in the Spruce area. A few good jumps. And then…Neil wanted me to do the jumps runs on the main competition slope a few times. I surprised myself saying yes, going the right speed, and catching some big air. And not getting hurt. Good times!

The Eagle Ridge going south to the Paradise Bowl and surroundings. Epic!

The cloud cover increased as the day progressed: snow would be falling by sunset – you could see it coming in from the west. But we would miss it. Time to head back to where we were from.

It was just magical to spend time with my oldest buddies doing something we all love and we all excel at. Wonderful to learn from them and to be getting better and better at the sport. Chats on the lifts are both boyish about “that last jump” or observing the scenery, but also bigger topics come up about professional direction, wives & children, and even the emerging ailments of being proto-grizzly “old dudes.”

Driving out, it was sad to think this might be the last time out there in Banff. Neil (based in Edmonton the past ten years) has a lot going on and might not be at that academic outpost forever. Those final runs on the jumps course were awesome. I do hope to return. Passing the iconic Mt Rundle along the highway, getting back into Banff town, I wondered…

I’ll have to come back, maybe hit those jumps with someone with fresher legs sometime!

It was a fine final day for the 2019 Boys Trip to Banff!

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