There are many activities to do in and around Lake Louise and the Canadian Rockies in the winter. Snow shoeing, dog sledging, ice climbing etc. All stereotypical winter activities that are worth trying once but not worth pursuing as a full time hobby when you get home, not like I could do dog sledging in Manchester anyway. However the main past time and the real reason why people come to this very pretty but uncomfortably cold part of Canada is for the skiing and snowboarding.
I had skiing and snowboarding lessons back in Manchester on an indoor slope and out of the two I much preferred snowboarding. One of my snowboarding instructors told me “once you can board on an indoor slope you can board anywhere”. However, I found that this is absolutely not true. Learning the basics on an indoor slope was certainly very useful and gave me a solid skill foundation to build on but going down an actual mountain side with the confidence of “I can board anywhere” resulted in some nasty wipeouts, severe bruising and a headache that lasted several days. The last time I had bruises like this was when I fell off the top deck of a 3 story boat in Ha Long Bay, Vietnam and landed belly first into the water which resulted in a nose bleed, a black eye and a bruised manhood.
After getting my arse kicked by the mountain I retreated to the lodge at the bottom of the hill to have a few pints and to re-evaluate my life. A girl (Anna) who I met on the shuttle bus that morning advised me to “point in the direction I wanted to go”. This simple method was a game changer. Focusing on pointing helped me get over the skill threshold required to board on real slopes without constantly falling over.
The next few days on the hill proved very productive and soon I could board Wiwaxy (Lake Louise’s beginners run) and slide down to the lodge at the bottom of the hill without wiping out. I had gone from ripping my board off my boots and throwing it aggressively into the snow shouting “I can’t fucking do this” to (somewhat) calmly sliding down to the lodge wanting to give myself a million high-fives. Picking up a new hobby or skill and watching your own progress develop is an immensely rewarding experience.
This was all back in November when the slopes first opened, I was too busy in December with work to even think about snowboarding. After the holiday season had ended and all the hotel guests had sodded off I had time to pick up my board and continued were I left off.