The glorious, awe-inspiring Canadian Rockies! This is the view from the top of the gondola at Lake Louise Ski Resort, which is still open — until May 8th. To my right, you can see the lake which this part of Banff (Canada’s first national park) was named for. The lake, and Deer Lodge, our digs for the weekend, are both only five minutes from the bottom of the hill.The famous turquoise glacier-fed water is already starting to appear through the rink that I played hockey on in February. The paths around the lake are in good conditions for a hike…… but after a day of snowboarding, apres-ski at Deer Lodge, just down the road, is more tempting.First up, into the rooftop hot tub, for a gorgeous view of the sunset over the Rockies. You can just make out the Beehive, a roundish mountain next to Lake Agnes teahouse, a beautiful hike to do in the summer. Meanwhile, this truly is a hot tub time machine, because afterward you’ll find yourself inside Deer Lodge, which is like going back to 1925, the year it opened.Tilt back your glass at the bar and you’ll see this guy, which makes perfect sense, because you’re in the Caribou Lounge. Just because you’re in a UNESCO World Heritage Site doesn’t mean you can’t get a decent drink.After a day of snowboarding it only made sense to apres with a charcuterie platter. It’s something of a specialty at Deer Lodge, because parent company Canadian Rocky Mountain Resorts raises its own elk, bison and beef.Now that your tummy is primed for food, mosey by the bighorn to the Mount Fairview Dining Room.The Grilled Alberta Beef with parmesan frites is delectable.If you have room for desert, I highly recommend moving to the Great Room and having it in front of the fire. There is no room service at the hotel, but you’re welcome to bring your own drinks or nibbles up to your room. Ours had an incredible view — check it out.What a wonderful weekend! See you next year, Deer Lodge!
Say you’ve just flown in from Vancouver, Canada (elevation: zero). After arriving in Jackson Hole, which is already 6000 feet above sea level, you decide to head to the top of the ski resort for a nice long first run, on the first day of your vacation. Perhaps you don’t consult the trail map. Or realize the possible effects of extreme changes in altitude.
I didn’t realize there was a baby step strategy to elevation. The tram at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort whisked me 6000 feet up to the summit in 9 minutes flat. My instant rocky mountain high was so overwhelming I forgot the photo op — the picture above is courtesy of JHMR.Halfway down the hill I was still short of breath. But check out my cool new ride! Yeah, that’s the super hot Gnu B-pro with the flying unicorns. I give its serrated edges full credit for getting me through Rendezvous Bowl.Next run I thought I’d try the Bridger Gondola. It looked more friendly… heck, there was a blue man group serenading the people in line even though it was -15 Celsius.But after the gondola delivered me to 9095 feet, once again the air seemed very thin. Suddenly lunch seemed like a great idea — and it was, because of the Couloir Restaurant.The incredible view from the table was matched by the food. In my gourmet naivetee, I thought American Beef and Kobe Beef were cattle with different passports. Not at Couloir! The SRF American Kobe Burger was possibly the most delicious burger I’ve ever had. And after I proteined up, I felt like I was absorbing more O2.With my JH Tapped app (not pictured here), not only did I live to tell about my day of snowboarding a mountain known for its large percentage of double blacks, my top speed, elevation and number of runs were recorded for posterity in my iPhone (relief pictured here).And bragging rights are best accompanied by a beer. Avoiding alcohol is recommended while acclimatizing to high altitudes, but it’s hard to resist cool sudsy refreshment when the Handle Bar is conveniently located at the end of several runs.Just another day in the mile high club, minus the airplane.