By Joe Gaskin (UBC, Canada)
In February, at UBC, you get a reading week which I guess is meant for studying but if you’re a study abroad student there are probably better ways to spend it (i.e. travelling). During my reading week, I rented a car with 3 friends and we went on a road trip around British Columbia and neighbouring Alberta.
This trip was basically 10 days that were jam-packed with all sorts of winter activities. We drove from town to town on the highway that stretched from Vancouver to Banff in Alberta. Along the highway was the ski resort of Revelstoke which was one of the most fun mountains I’ve ever skied at. We also stopped off in Yoho National park and went snowshoeing over the frozen Emerald Lake. We stayed over for a few nights in the mountain town of Banff which is one of the most picturesque towns I’ve ever been to. From here went for a hike up a frozen canyon to a frozen waterfall and also went skiing at Lake Louise where we were guided around the mountain by an off-duty ski instructor. From Banff we travelled north up the Icefields Parkway up to Jasper in northern Alberta. This drive was quite simply the most beautiful drives I have ever experienced. The scenery was stunning, so much so it was sometimes hard to keep my eyes on the road. The road is worthy of a feature on Top Gear (or the Grand Tour or any other motoring show). On this drive, we stopped off at the Columbia Icefield – a huge glacier that stretches from the mountains to the road. We went to explore the icefield but this adventure was cut short when one of my friends fell in… It took some quick thinking to spread our weight to pull him out but we managed it and he was fine (but very cold). So this gave us an unwanted shock. When we got to Jasper we spent our time in a remote hostel with no running water to gain the true adventurer experience. We went to see the frozen-over Athabasca falls, we went skiing at Marmot Basin, we went on another ice canyon walk as well as dog-sledding (something I have wanted to do since I was a little kid). We could not believe just how good the trip panned out to be. But this is the beauty of this part of the world – there are so many places to see and so many things to do that in just one week you can do and see multiple things that you thought you would never do, and certainly won’t forget.