Saturday, April 13, 2013

Making the Most of the Late Season Snow

The current weather forecast for Calgary and the Canadian Rockies reads as such:   Snowfall Warning:  10 to 25 cm of snow expected by Sunday afternoon.  Were this February I'm sure we'd all be excited and possibly even willing to brave icy roads to reach the nearest ski resort.  February though it is not;  It's April, and we want spring!  We put our skis away last week and want to start hiking.  We want green grass and buds on the trees.  We want to start thinking about our garden.  We want...

The list of "what we want" could go on and on couldn't it?  So how do you wait patiently for spring when it  feels like it will NEVER get here?  How do you make the most of this challenging shoulder season when it feels like spring has decided to skip your country this year?  Below are a few ideas on how to beat the late winter blues while you wait patiently (or not so patiently) for spring to arrive.

1.  Go in Search of Good Snow
Why fight it?  It's still snowing so you might as well enjoy the snow.  The challenge is to find fluffy snow you can actually play in rather than the ice/slush combo you'll find in the front ranges or on cross country ski trails.  We chose to visit the Icefields Parkway last weekend in Banff knowing we would find tons of snow for sledding, snowshoeing, and all-out winter fun!  We stayed at the Hilda Creek Wilderness Hostel for a taste of winter camping and even had to snowshoe to the door of our cabin.  Spring was the furthest thing from our minds as we played in the snow all weekend.  We were caught up in the moment of our snowy winter wonderland and making the most of the season at hand.

Hiking to the Peyto Lake Viewpoint, Banff National Park

2.  Make a Snowman
Spring temperatures create the perfect snow for making snowmen so grab your friends and see if you can make the biggest snowman ever!  We tried this out at the hostel last weekend and it was a LOT of fun.  We stopped grumbling about the snow for at least a half hour while working on our creation.

Making a snowman with perfect spring snow!

Our masterpiece

3.  Enjoy Sledding - One Last Time
Kids love sledding and tobogganing so you might as well get out and enjoy this great winter sport one last time.  I mean, it's still snowing outside so what else were you planning to do besides hibernate or buy a plane ticket to Florida?

Sledding at the hostel last weekend

4.  Get Away Someplace New and Different
This year we chose to visit a wilderness hostel to get our minds off the never to arrive spring season.  Last year we took a trip over the border into BC in search of green grass at Fairmont Hotsprings. Whether you choose to embrace the lingering snow or go looking for spring - just go somewhere.   Plan a fun weekend getaway and escape the same old views out your kitchen window.  (the views out mine are pretty bleak right now!)  

Our Mountain Paradise at Hilda Creek

5.  Try Snowshoeing
Skiing in April is challenging to say the least with the morning ice slick and afternoon slush fest. Meanwhile snowshoeing can still be enjoyable if you get out in the morning before the snow goes isothermal.  The warmer weather in spring makes for a great time to try this sport with young kids and you'll be able to stay out longer without worrying over frozen fingers and toes.

Snowshoeing on the Icefields Parkway
Peyto Lake Viewpoint

Really sick of the snow and don't want to build a snowman, go sledding, snowshoeing, or try winter camping?  I have a sequel to this post coming soon that will focus on the not so snowy ways you can wait patiently for spring.  I also have a story in Snowshoe Magazine that talks more about our adventures at Hilda Creek, complete with more photos.

Below are a couple more photos from our travels last weekend.

Snow Cave at the Hostel
Hiking to the toe of the Athabasca Glacier

Are you done with the snow as in D.O.N.E. or are you still making the most of it? 

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