Weekend, March 19-20, 2011 - Banff, Alberta, Canada

Banff

After concluding our business in Calgary on Friday, we traveled to Banff, Alberta, Canada, for the weekend, to experience some of the natural beauties of Canada. Banff is the largest town in Banff National Park and has a permanent population of almost 8,000 people. It is categorized as a resort town and is one of Canada’s most popular tourist destinations. The reason for this became apparent on our drive through the Canadian Rockies, of which Banff resides. Surrounding this relatively small town is some of the most breath taking scenery that a person can ever experience.  There are also a variety of outdoor activities that are available including skiing, biking, mountain climbing and hiking.

Lake Louise Ski Resort

On Saturday a group of us took the opportunity to go skiing and snowboarding at the Lake Louise Ski Area. After enjoying breakfast at our hotel we drove to Lake Louise arriving at the skiing area at 10 am. Within the group there were a variety of different skill levels. For this reason we took a good amount of time finding our limits, experimenting with the less difficult runs on the mountain. Initially we had two people skiing and four people snowboarding. This changed throughout the day because people were able to switch and find which one suited them best. After a short break for lunch we broke into smaller groups and explored the mountain. Collectively we were able to see almost the entire landscape, something we could not have done individually because of the overwhelming size of the skiing area. When the lifts stopped running, at 4 pm, every member in the group was ready to call it a day. We put everything we had into enjoying this experience to its fullest potential but it did take a physical toll.

Hiking the Tunnel Mountain Trail

Also on Saturday another group of us went hiking just outside Banff on the Tunnel Mountain Trail. This trail is about 2.5 km in length and has an increased elevation of nearly 260 meters. The snow made it more difficult in spots to climb but it was not terribly difficult. Throughout the hike we were able to stop and take pictures of the town below and of some of the native wildlife.

  

Sunday Travels and Illini Basketball Game

On Sunday we departed from Banff and drove to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, to continue our educational experience. Before we left we were able to take a group picture on the main road running through Banff.

 

After a 6 hour trip we arrived in Edmonton just in time for the NCAA Tournament Illini basketball game verses Kansas. It was difficult to find a broadcast of the game but we finally did at Earl’s Restaurant.  This was the second time we enjoyed the excellent food at this chain of restaurants, the other coming on Saturday night in Banff.  We were all upset to see the Illini fall to Kansas but understood that we were facing a very talented team. This was the only sour note to what was an excellent weekend in Canada.