“Wow!” The Canadian guy in the seat next to me on the packed 15.30 bus coming back to Banff from Sunshine let out an involuntary exclamation of appreciation as we rounded a bend in the Trans Canada Highway and yet another snow-covered mountain range came into view. “I live here” he said “but it still gets me every time!”
I know what he meant. I had been skiing on Lookout Mountain at Sunshine and earlier in the afternoon had come down a steep (for me) Blue run from the Continental Divide. I’m beginning to get the hang of it but need to concentrate, focus on the ground in front of me, so I don’t see my surroundings. The steeper the slope the greater the need to concentrate.
As I reached the bottom of the run it turned left as I approached an easier-gradient Green and spread out far below was the gently undulating expanse of Sunshine Meadows, glossy white, snow reflecting the low-angled sun diffused through the ice-crystals of high level thin cirrus cloud. The Meadows, backed by serrated peaks with pyramid shaped 3,618 metres (11,870 feet) Mt Assiniboine standing above the others, was a popular tourist camping ground in the 1920’s. The number of tents there in summer gave it the nickname ‘Tee Pee Town’, now remembered only in the name of a rickety old 2-person chair-lift part way up the mountain.
I stopped and just gazed, soaking it in through my eyes. It was magnificent. The reason I come skiing.