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Has anyone solo backpacked the Rocky Mountains? watch

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    Has anyone done any backpacking by themselves in the Rocky Mountains? In the summer or winter.

    I'm in Canada right now and I'm trying to decide whether to head over to Banff/Jasper in April to ski or save more money and head over there in the summer.
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    No but it sounds awesome :top: Quite expensive getting there from here though
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    I may want to go there this summer. I've been looking at a few options, which include some NOLS courses in Alaska and in the Yukon and in the Rockies. I'd probably go on my own, though. That's if I could find a route to last about 3/4/5 weeks and train myself in bear avoidance.
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    (Original post by SteveCrain)
    I may want to go there this summer. I've been looking at a few options, which include some NOLS courses in Alaska and in the Yukon and in the Rockies. I'd probably go on my own, though. That's if I could find a route to last about 3/4/5 weeks and train myself in bear avoidance.
    Definitely go, mate.

    I think I'm going to go in April instead. Seeing Banff with lots of snow is a once in a lifetime experience.
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    Hi, I am living at Lake Louise right now, about 57km from Banff- I go there quite a lot. It's a lovely postcard tourist place, amazing views and lots of places to stay, drink, eat etc., pretty expensive but then I find Canada in general to be expensive, prices here are not too horrendous.

    Skiing here is great- there's 3 main ski areas around Banff- Norquay is the nearest and smallest, then Sunshine Village and Lake Louise is the furthest (about 1 hr), although you have to take a 20 min gondola from Sunshine car park to the lifts so travel time is not really that different. You can buy tri-area passes which enable you to ski at all 3 and get free buses to and from Banff town. If you are an experienced skiier I can't really think of better places to ski than the Canadian Rockies, if you're a beginner then it's a brilliant place to learn- you'll get hooked! Winter is actually low season in Banff so hotel rates are pretty reasonable, there's also a few hostels in town which are about $25-30 for a dorm bed per night. If you do come to ski I recommend buying your gear, there's some really good end of season deals on in town at the moment and it might actually work out cheaper than renting.

    Summer will be packed and hotel prices will go through the roof. I'm sure it'll still be awesome (am looking forward to experiencing summer in the mountains) but it'll be totally different. Depends on what sort of experience you're looking for I suppose. Anyway, hope to see you at LL soon!
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    Alright! That's awesome. I'm so jealous. Are you travelling as well? If so, how hard was it to find an apartment and job (assuming you're looking for work as well) over there?

    I'm not sure where I should base myself when I get there. Banff, Lake Louise or Jasper. Money is one issue and distance from all the activities and views is the other. Heck, getting to the hostel from the airport is another problem I've still haven't figured out yet lol.

    Wherever I'm based, I'll be staying at a hostel, probably one of the HI Hostels. They're the cheapest and the easiest way to meet people. I'll be going for around one week and splitting my trip into different parts, something like 2-3 days skiing and then the rest for sight seeing and other activities.

    Are there any non touristy activities/side trips that you recommend?

    Are there any other ways to get to the peak of one of the mountains without skiing? And can I still take crazy awesome breathtaking pics on the mountain even though I'm a beginner? It seems only the expert runs provide the best views =( I'm only skiing mainly for the views to be honest :P So based on that which one do you think would provide the most kick ass views?

    How was the winter there? Must have been crazy. The winter here in Toronto sucked, not enough snow in my opinion although it did hit -27C at one point. Wind chill hurts.

    Sorry for all the questions. I'm genuinely interested about the Rockies. I might relocate there for the summer, probably Canmore or just come back for a longer trip instead of 7 days.

    Thanks for the tips though. I'll definitely need a new ski jacket. The zip broke on my current one.
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    (Original post by ShaolinTemple)
    Alright! That's awesome. I'm so jealous. Are you travelling as well? If so, how hard was it to find an apartment and job (assuming you're looking for work as well) over there?

    I'm not sure where I should base myself when I get there. Banff, Lake Louise or Jasper. Money is one issue and distance from all the activities and views is the other. Heck, getting to the hostel from the airport is another problem I've still haven't figured out yet lol.

    Wherever I'm based, I'll be staying at a hostel, probably one of the HI Hostels. They're the cheapest and the easiest way to meet people. I'll be going for around one week and splitting my trip into different parts, something like 2-3 days skiing and then the rest for sight seeing and other activities.

    Are there any non touristy activities/side trips that you recommend?

    Are there any other ways to get to the peak of one of the mountains without skiing? And can I still take crazy awesome breathtaking pics on the mountain even though I'm a beginner? It seems only the expert runs provide the best views =( I'm only skiing mainly for the views to be honest :P So based on that which one do you think would provide the most kick ass views?

    How was the winter there? Must have been crazy. The winter here in Toronto sucked, not enough snow in my opinion although it did hit -27C at one point. Wind chill hurts.

    Sorry for all the questions. I'm genuinely interested about the Rockies. I might relocate there for the summer, probably Canmore or just come back for a longer trip instead of 7 days.

    Thanks for the tips though. I'll definitely need a new ski jacket. The zip broke on my current one.
    Are you on a gap year?
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    (Original post by SteveCrain)
    Are you on a gap year?
    Yeah. Went with BUNAC Canada. You should do it if you're thinking about it. Everyone has their fears but that's the whole point. You do it to overcome them. Heck, I was about to cry when I was at the airport and I'm 21 years old :P I was so scared lol.
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    (Original post by ShaolinTemple)
    Alright! That's awesome. I'm so jealous. Are you travelling as well? If so, how hard was it to find an apartment and job (assuming you're looking for work as well) over there?
    I'm on a working holiday visa, have been here since December. I've been to Vancouver but hopefully will get over to the east sometime in September after the summer season here. I work for the ski hill so I get staff accommodation but it's pretty easy to find somewhere to live in Banff. Expect to pay about $500 a month, maybe more. Depending on where you worked you might get staff accom too, probably most likely at the hotels.

    (Original post by ShaolinTemple)
    I'm not sure where I should base myself when I get there. Banff, Lake Louise or Jasper. Money is one issue and distance from all the activities and views is the other. Heck, getting to the hostel from the airport is another problem I've still haven't figured out yet lol.

    Wherever I'm based, I'll be staying at a hostel, probably one of the HI Hostels. They're the cheapest and the easiest way to meet people. I'll be going for around one week and splitting my trip into different parts, something like 2-3 days skiing and then the rest for sight seeing and other activities.
    If you want to do other things apart from skiing then I'd stay in Banff. LL is very small, not really a lot to do here in the winter except ski/board! Banff has a better social scene and plus most of the tourist excursions pick up in Banff so it would be much more convenient for you. I know a lot of people who stayed in the HI in Banff and they all said it was really good. It's a bit out of town though so factor in that you'd have to get a bus/cab or walk about 30 mins to get to Banff Ave (where all the shops/restuarants/bars are). The Samesun hostel is much more central but hasn't got as good reviews.

    You can get the Banff airporter- http://banffairporter.com/- straight from Calgary Airport to the HI for about $50. Or you can get Greyhound from the middle of Calgary to the bus terminal in Banff.


    (Original post by ShaolinTemple)
    Are there any non touristy activities/side trips that you recommend?
    Well, you'd be hard pressed to find 'non touristy' things to do in Banff but there's stuff to do besides skiing. In winter you can go dogsledding, snowmobiling, ice skating, ice climbing, snowshoeing etc. Then in summer there's hiking, mountain biking, cruises on the lake, white water rafting, horse riding...If you're an outdoors type of person then it's heaven. Also the Banff gondola operates year round, I imagine it'd be great if you wanted to take loads of photos. And the hot springs! Need to get round to doing those things...

    (Original post by ShaolinTemple)
    Are there any other ways to get to the peak of one of the mountains without skiing? And can I still take crazy awesome breathtaking pics on the mountain even though I'm a beginner? It seems only the expert runs provide the best views =( I'm only skiing mainly for the views to be honest :P So based on that which one do you think would provide the most kick ass views?
    To be honest it's impossible to take a boring picture in this area, even walking to the petrol station I am surrounded by beautiful scenery. I know at LL there's a green run from every lift except one. If you're a total beginner though I don't recommend going careering off down the mountain even if it's on a green run. Have some lessons on the bunny hill first. You can hike up some of the mountains in the summer I think but now now.

    (Original post by ShaolinTemple)
    How was the winter there? Must have been crazy. The winter here in Toronto sucked, not enough snow in my opinion although it did hit -27C at one point. Wind chill hurts.
    Yeah, it was pretty brutal at times, had a few weeks of -30 and below. Mind you, I think you dress better for the winter here though so it's not as bad as you expect. There was a few days where my hair was freezing and stuff though! Canadian winters are not for wimps...

    (Original post by ShaolinTemple)
    Sorry for all the questions. I'm genuinely interested about the Rockies. I might relocate there for the summer, probably Canmore or just come back for a longer trip instead of 7 days.
    No problem, I will repay the favour when I get around to going to Toronto!
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    (Original post by Crystal89)
    I'm on a working holiday visa, have been here since December. I've been to Vancouver but hopefully will get over to the east sometime in September after the summer season here. I work for the ski hill so I get staff accommodation but it's pretty easy to find somewhere to live in Banff. Expect to pay about $500 a month, maybe more. Depending on where you worked you might get staff accom too, probably most likely at the hotels.



    If you want to do other things apart from skiing then I'd stay in Banff. LL is very small, not really a lot to do here in the winter except ski/board! Banff has a better social scene and plus most of the tourist excursions pick up in Banff so it would be much more convenient for you. I know a lot of people who stayed in the HI in Banff and they all said it was really good. It's a bit out of town though so factor in that you'd have to get a bus/cab or walk about 30 mins to get to Banff Ave (where all the shops/restuarants/bars are). The Samesun hostel is much more central but hasn't got as good reviews.

    You can get the Banff airporter- http://banffairporter.com/- straight from Calgary Airport to the HI for about $50. Or you can get Greyhound from the middle of Calgary to the bus terminal in Banff.




    Well, you'd be hard pressed to find 'non touristy' things to do in Banff but there's stuff to do besides skiing. In winter you can go dogsledding, snowmobiling, ice skating, ice climbing, snowshoeing etc. Then in summer there's hiking, mountain biking, cruises on the lake, white water rafting, horse riding...If you're an outdoors type of person then it's heaven. Also the Banff gondola operates year round, I imagine it'd be great if you wanted to take loads of photos. And the hot springs! Need to get round to doing those things...



    To be honest it's impossible to take a boring picture in this area, even walking to the petrol station I am surrounded by beautiful scenery. I know at LL there's a green run from every lift except one. If you're a total beginner though I don't recommend going careering off down the mountain even if it's on a green run. Have some lessons on the bunny hill first. You can hike up some of the mountains in the summer I think but now now.



    Yeah, it was pretty brutal at times, had a few weeks of -30 and below. Mind you, I think you dress better for the winter here though so it's not as bad as you expect. There was a few days where my hair was freezing and stuff though! Canadian winters are not for wimps...



    No problem, I will repay the favour when I get around to going to Toronto!
    Thank you for the immense reply. Phwoar.

    One more question (Don't hurt me), are the ski jackets still on sale and is there a big selection? What's the name of the shop so I can check it out when I get there next week =D

    Oh, feel free by all means to grill me about Toronto. Though I don't think there's much to do in Toronto, apart from eat and shop. It get's really boring after a month. But that's coming from an outdoor adventure loving guy. Do drop by Moonbean Cafe at Kensington Market and order the London Fog. You will not be disappointed.
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    Actually, another question. How do you get to Lake Louise HI hostel from where Greyhound stops? (Oh god, I feel fire, stones and rakes coming my way)
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    I went, best experience of my life so far

    Alberta is so beautiful!!! Definately go in summer
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    (Original post by Nottingham_Banker)
    I went, best experience of my life so far

    Alberta is so beautiful!!! Definately go in summer
    You got any pics? Bet they're all beautiful and breathtaking.

    What did you do there?
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    (Original post by ShaolinTemple)
    Thank you for the immense reply. Phwoar.

    One more question (Don't hurt me), are the ski jackets still on sale and is there a big selection? What's the name of the shop so I can check it out when I get there next week =D

    Oh, feel free by all means to grill me about Toronto. Though I don't think there's much to do in Toronto, apart from eat and shop. It get's really boring after a month. But that's coming from an outdoor adventure loving guy. Do drop by Moonbean Cafe at Kensington Market and order the London Fog. You will not be disappointed.

    In LL there's only Wilson's really in the village- pricey. Or there's some stuff in the shop at the ski hill, lots of stuff is on sale but choice is pretty limited. You'll be able to find something though. There's tonnes of ski wear shops in Banff if you're stopping there first.

    Greyhound will drop you off at the Samson Mall, go across the car park and out of the exit directly in front of you and go left basically. Keep going till the end of the road, past the Lake Louise Inn and the Post Hotel. If you go past the Petro Canada station then you're going the wrong way! It's a really nice hostel with a great cafe and you just need to walk about 1 min down the road to get the free bus to the ski hill. Have fun!
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    Well worth checking out in the summer if you're not a ski nut - the hiking is fantastic

    Check out Vancouver Island also.
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    (Original post by Crystal89)
    In LL there's only Wilson's really in the village- pricey. Or there's some stuff in the shop at the ski hill, lots of stuff is on sale but choice is pretty limited. You'll be able to find something though. There's tonnes of ski wear shops in Banff if you're stopping there first.

    Greyhound will drop you off at the Samson Mall, go across the car park and out of the exit directly in front of you and go left basically. Keep going till the end of the road, past the Lake Louise Inn and the Post Hotel. If you go past the Petro Canada station then you're going the wrong way! It's a really nice hostel with a great cafe and you just need to walk about 1 min down the road to get the free bus to the ski hill. Have fun!
    Sorry for all the questions. Proper nervous since it's my first time in a hostel and everything!

    Anyway, I arrived in Banff last week and stayed there for a week. OH. MY. GOD. That's all I have to say really. I went on the gondola and then went skiing for three days at all three resorts. I'm a beginner so Norquay sucks, Lake Louise was scary, they don't even have any real beginner runs. Pika was so narrow I was so scared of accidently falling onto the double black diamonds that were right over the edge. Had me life going! Sunshine was simply amazing. Best powder and views. That one hour long run from the top back to the parking lot was sublime.

    Now I'm at Lake Louise. Just arrived today and I hiked two hours up to the lake. My shoes and socks are all wet. Walked 3/4 across the frozen lake and got scared and walked back. The view was amazing. The sun was shining right above the peak and there were blue skies. Think I'm going to do Lake Agnes tomorrow!

    (Psht, know if wherever you're working are hiring people? I'm going to hand out resumes everywhere)
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    (Original post by ShaolinTemple)
    Sorry for all the questions. Proper nervous since it's my first time in a hostel and everything!

    Anyway, I arrived in Banff last week and stayed there for a week. OH. MY. GOD. That's all I have to say really. I went on the gondola and then went skiing for three days at all three resorts. I'm a beginner so Norquay sucks, Lake Louise was scary, they don't even have any real beginner runs. Pika was so narrow I was so scared of accidently falling onto the double black diamonds that were right over the edge. Had me life going! Sunshine was simply amazing. Best powder and views. That one hour long run from the top back to the parking lot was sublime.

    Now I'm at Lake Louise. Just arrived today and I hiked two hours up to the lake. My shoes and socks are all wet. Walked 3/4 across the frozen lake and got scared and walked back. The view was amazing. The sun was shining right above the peak and there were blue skies. Think I'm going to do Lake Agnes tomorrow!

    (Psht, know if wherever you're working are hiring people? I'm going to hand out resumes everywhere)
    'Oh my God' in a good way or a bad way haha?

    I pretty much learned to ski at LL (had gone once 5 years ago and hated my instructor so didn't really make much of an effort) so I don't really know any different. Have been told that skiing in Europe will be a breeze now though, runs are much easier apparently. It's a big old step from the bunny hill to the mountain though at LL, for sure! I wiped out so bad the first time... If you're going to ski here again then Wiwaxy (up Glacier chair) or Deer Run/Eagle Meadows (gondola) are much nicer beginner runs in my opinion, much wider. Saddleback, off Top of the World chair starts off pretty narrow but it widens out nicely and it's a great long run down to Ptarmigan chair. Pika was the first run I did at LL and I hated it too. I suppose Sunshine would be a nicer place to learn because of the shorter runs and stuff but I can't help being biased towards here! The Sunshine ski out is pretty sweet though. Never been to Norquay, heard it was really small so couldn't be bothered!

    And you walked all the way up to the Chateau :eek: Wow, I used to live up there and I cannot imagine walking all the way up that hill! If you want to go again, get the bus to the ski hill and then get the Fairmont mini bus (goes every 20 mins on the weekend, think they take a break between 12 and 2 or something like that), last one back down from the Chateau is 16:00 I think, just ask the driver to drop you off at the fourways.

    I think they are still hiring for the summer yeah, you can apply online: http://www.skilouise.com/the-mountain/summer_jobs.php
    I would go down to HR and ask if they have any jobs at the hill itself though because trust me, you do not want to be working at the Great Divide Lodge unless they will transport you there and back. DO NOT live there. HR is just to the left of guest services in Whiskyjack Lodge.

    Questions are welcome, don't apologize!
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    (Original post by Crystal89)
    'Oh my God' in a good way or a bad way haha?

    I pretty much learned to ski at LL (had gone once 5 years ago and hated my instructor so didn't really make much of an effort) so I don't really know any different. Have been told that skiing in Europe will be a breeze now though, runs are much easier apparently. It's a big old step from the bunny hill to the mountain though at LL, for sure! I wiped out so bad the first time... If you're going to ski here again then Wiwaxy (up Glacier chair) or Deer Run/Eagle Meadows (gondola) are much nicer beginner runs in my opinion, much wider. Saddleback, off Top of the World chair starts off pretty narrow but it widens out nicely and it's a great long run down to Ptarmigan chair. Pika was the first run I did at LL and I hated it too. I suppose Sunshine would be a nicer place to learn because of the shorter runs and stuff but I can't help being biased towards here! The Sunshine ski out is pretty sweet though. Never been to Norquay, heard it was really small so couldn't be bothered!

    And you walked all the way up to the Chateau :eek: Wow, I used to live up there and I cannot imagine walking all the way up that hill! If you want to go again, get the bus to the ski hill and then get the Fairmont mini bus (goes every 20 mins on the weekend, think they take a break between 12 and 2 or something like that), last one back down from the Chateau is 16:00 I think, just ask the driver to drop you off at the fourways.

    I think they are still hiring for the summer yeah, you can apply online: http://www.skilouise.com/the-mountain/summer_jobs.php
    I would go down to HR and ask if they have any jobs at the hill itself though because trust me, you do not want to be working at the Great Divide Lodge unless they will transport you there and back. DO NOT live there. HR is just to the left of guest services in Whiskyjack Lodge.

    Questions are welcome, don't apologize!
    You stayed at the Chateau?!? How?! It costs over $200 for one night. I went inside and goodness me it was posh. Even has a mini shopping mall. I didn't bother checking the prices of their products lol. Grocery at Samson mall is bad enough.

    Oh, I just replied to the job postings at the website. Let's hope I don't get the job? lol.

    Yeah, Pika was crazy. I asked one of the instructors what was a nice easy run and he told me to do Pika. He nearly killed me. I went up to the greens on Larch after that and they weren't any better so I stuck to Eagle Meadows for the rest of the day. Has some steep hills but at least it's wide. I really wanted to go to the one at 'The Top of The World' to see what the view was like but I don't know if I could have handled it being so high and with so many black diamonds off the edge. Especially not after Pika.

    Yeah, I won't be hiking up that hill again. It wasn't fun. It was all uphill and covered in snow and I don't have shoes that go above your ankle so the snow was getting into my shoe. I want to check out Lake Agnes and Moraine Lake some time though otherwise there's nothing to do here.

    Don't go to Norquay. You're not missing anything. I only went because I had a 3 day tri area lift pass so I was compelled to go to all three resorts for each day.
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    Oh, if you ever do hike up to the lake and you see little messages on the snow by the side of the trail, things like "WATCH OUT FOR ZOMBIES", "RAWR" and "I JUST FARTED" then it was me.
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    I got an interview for the housekeeping position at Great Divide Lodge which is on Sunday...the day I go back to Banff and I have no formal clothes =.= I'll be interviewing with jeans, hiking snow shoes, and some casual top. Why didn't I bring something decent to wear =.=
 
 
 
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