Thursday, 3 April 2014

Adventurous Riders

Great to see the Danish lads adventuring into the backcountry (and glad they were safe!)
Eypt Lake is an incredible and exhausting tour, their lines looked incredible.

A bit more accessible, Delirium Dive at Sunshine Village offers expert terrain with lift access.


From the top of the Continental Divide lift, follow the signs to the check-in gate. You will not be able to proceed unless you meet the requirements listed above. Once through the check-in gate, it is a small hike up to the Delirium Dive entrance.
There are a couple of ways to enter Delirium Dive. Just below the summit, there is a five- to six-metre band of rock that crowns the top of the Dive. Negotiate through the cliff’s small weaknesses or simply drop in. A more moderate approach is to go down the access stairs that negotiate the cliff top to slightly more tame ground.
Delirium Dive conditions change constantly and there is avalanche danger that may require closure on short notice. 

Check out the video Mads and Alex did of the di

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Cedar early season update!

I arrived in Banff almost three weeks ago but I already feel like I’ve been here forever! After a late flight and a two-hour bus journey from Calgary, I rocked up to Cedar Chalet and luckily two of the boys were still awake to carry my bags up to my room – which was pretty sweet! 
Banff is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. We are living on Otter Street which is about a five minute walk into town and really close to all the other Gap Year Canada houses. 

After arriving and spending a few days settling in and meeting each other, we started to become tourists in Banff. We went to a programme that made us Ambassadors for Banff and got us a tour of Lake Louise for $5 instead of $55. We drove up the Bow 

Valley Parkway, stopping at various points on the way to look at the view. Banff really is amazing! We have seen a few Elk and lots of deer, the deer especially like chilling in our garden. 

When we got to Lake Louise we could really notice the change in temperature and the lake looked really clear and the mountains were amazing. On Friday night we visited Mel’s, which is sort of a local for Sunshine Staff, cheap drinks and free popcorn so you can’t really go wrong. 

I started work last Friday as a liftie up at Sunshine Village. It was a pretty cold start and we have mainly just been training and getting to know how the lifts work. Although there is a bit of snow up on the hill, there still isn’t enough and they think that the opening date will be delayed for a week which is a shame as we can’t wait to get out there and ride. Saying that however, today we are getting snow in Banff town for the first time and they are expecting 15cm! 

So Thursday was Halloween in Banff. Coming from the UK, where Halloween is typically just dressing up as something scary on a night out, I couldn’t believe the effort people went to in their costumes and decorating their houses! My costume was just a Canadian hockey player, but I put the least amount of effort in and a selection of costumes in our house included Snoopy, Ghostbusters, Ke$ha, a pirate and Angry Birds. Cedar house had some drinks before making our way over to Wolfpack for pres. It was really good, lots of people and booze before we all made our way out at about 11pm. As we were unorganized, none of us had tickets and everywhere was really busy. A group of us went to a club called Auroa before decided it was too packed so took the party back to Cedar house! 

The rest of the time we have mostly been watching movies, chilling out and preparing for when we can get out on the hill. We have already met some amazing people from Gap Year, old Gap Year and others from all over the world. Banff really is an amazing place and I can’t believe I’m lucky enough to be spending the next year here! 

Written by Elle
Photos by Ed

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Winter 2013-2014 arrivals: Welcome to our 9th season in Banff

We look forward to welcome you to Banff, and Gap Year Canada's 9th season!

It is always so inspiring to watch how independent everyone becomes throughout the season.

Whether you are arriving for the season from Calgary, other parts of Canada, or further away in Europe, the UK, Australia or New Zealand...moving to a new town, starting a new job, moving to a new house is all a difficult step.  

For those from out of Canada we will assist you when you arrive with getting your SIN number set up, Alberta Healthcare, and Banking so you are ready for the first day of work with the correct paperwork.
Maps of town will be in all the houses, weekly events in town will be posted on the Facebook group site. We encourage your parents to follow the blog (great tabs down the side to webcams, local weather, or ideas if they are coming to visit), and "like" the Gap Year Canada facebook page as we will
strive to post photos throughout the season of the group at work, play and home as we know often times you can get too busy to keep them in the loop.

Canadians arriving obviously do not need a work visa, however please note you will need a police check to show your employer on your first day of work. This can be requested at your local police department.  It is worthwhile keeping a copy for your file, should you decide to stay on for the summer, a summer employer may request one.

Alberta Healthcare: if you are from out of Canada, you are eligible for Alberta Healthcare from the day you arrive in Canada, if you are from another province, you can apply after three months.  Although everyone requires travel insurance for your Working Holiday Visa, Alberta Healthcare will save you money out of pocket as it covers: Doctors and Hospital coverage if you are injured. You will need to use your own medical coverage for Ambulance, Dental, Prescriptions and Physiotherapy or other services if required.

Alberta Healthcare applications are in your chalet and the office in Banff will have a list of all Gap Year Canada applicants for other required documents we provide them to prove your residency in Alberta. Take your passport/visa and your application in person to register.

Social Insurance Numbers: SIN numbers are processed the same day at the Service Canada office in Canmore.  Bus schedule and details are posted in your chalet. You need to get to Canmore to have this set up prior to your first day of work

Banking:  Appointments have been set up at the Bank of Montreal (see the facebook w13-14 with the airport transfer schedule with your appointment time) If the appointment does not work (you need your account prior to your first day of work) please email to reschedule

For further predeparture information please consult the checklist for further information on packing, your postal address  etc.  As per the accommodation section, please remember to bring your own pillow, towel, and fitted sheet (single for single occupancy, and double fitted sheet for couples or single upgrade bookings)

Airport transfers:  Brewster Airport transfers (Expore the Rockies) or the Banff Airporter have been booked based on your arrival times. After collecting baggage proceed to the check in desk for transfer to your chalet in Banff. You will be emailed your shuttle details and should have your chalet address on that booking, although the driver should have your drop off location on file as well, ensure you are dropped off at the door of your chalet, as no doubt you will have some heavy luggage. Either your housemates, Noel, Nancy or our house manager will meet you at your house to give you keys, and show you around...depending on the arrival times and numbers arriving on the same shuttle.

More info to come in a group email regarding arrivals to Calgary airport, clearing immigration if you are on a working holiday visa, and what you should have in your file to make that process easy.

We promise our next posts to be much more interesting, but as parents we do know that your parents may be a bit concerned about some of the fine details. It doesn't matter if you are 18 or 38, they will worry that you arrive one piece, worry if you are sick, worry if you aren't sick but out on the town 7 nights a week, which could lead to worrying that you get don't up for work in the morning to get to work. So, make sure you keep them in the loop, or pass this information on so they can check out life in Banff via the blog or Gap Year Canada facebook page.

They are welcome to\ Skype "GapYearCanada", email (info@GapYearCanada) or call us directly on +403 763 7015 should they have any questions, concerns or emergencies come up.


Nancy & Noel

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Banff in a nutshell

Banff lifestyle is awesome. 

Living within a fifteen-minute walk of anything in town (big plus for the heavier evenings), and being surrounded by the typical Canadian scenery is not fully appreciated until you’re amongst it.

I was a late arrival and moved into Banff towards the end of November, living in the Wolfpack house with some thirteen other people. My first memories of the coming gap year began with drinking cider on a completely empty stomach and meeting a house full of British folk. Coming from Melbourne where a five minute hailstorm was considered snow, snow in Banff was nothing less than amazing.

My first impression after exploring outside is that it was…cold! Canadian winter is nothing like an Australian winter where the occasional 20*C would imply shorts and t-shirt weather. Since arriving I am still yet to experience a positive temperature. However the -20*C days are quickly adapted to, and the holiday heavily focuses on the skiing and snowboarding. 

Currently working at Sunshine Village as a lifty, I moved out here with the intention to learn snowboarding for the first time. After the notoriously boring SSV training videos, I was handed my staff pass (season pass for the mountain and also Lake Louise) and sent to work on the Goats Eye lift. Lifty life is arguably one of the best jobs on the mountain; two hour ride breaks each day, being outside, easy going job requirements and working with similarly minded people…Its hard to complain when your guaranteed fresh tracks on the big powder days. 

My first white Christmas is another experience that I will remember for a while. Spending my Christmas day snowboarding in bluebird weather after waking up to -31*C in Banff was a polar opposite to what we would see in Melbourne. The traditional turkey dinner was also enjoyed (thanks to Dan). After the Christmas rush came New Years celebrations. Whiskey, twister, house parties, good music and a street party in town with literally thousands of people resulted in me ushering in 2013 waking up on a couch in a giraffe onesie… It’s safe to say New Years Eve is one of bigger nights in Banff! 

In a nutshell, Banff is an amazing place to spend the winter and I couldn’t be happier spending my gap year here.


Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Halloween in Banff

Halloween a holiday we normally don’t put much effort into celebrating in Europe - Or where I’m from at least. But when I got over here in 2010 and had my first Halloween in Banff, I soon discovered it’s not just a party-day, NO, everyone takes the costume part of Halloween very serious.
I had my first day of work on a Friday, Halloween was on a Sunday, which putted me in a dilemma, when my boss told us that the people who showed up drunk on our second day of work, the Monday after Halloween, would be fired. So I decided not to dress up and stay rather sober. Which honestly was really boring. So year 2012 with all the great Gap Year Canada people had to count for something.

First of all, I got myself a costume, not the best or most creative, I was a Pink Crayola… And the Cedar House, where I was living, is a great house with great people, and we decided to have our own little exclusives-club of a pre-drinking party for Halloween. I was amazed with all the great and different costumes people came up with, very colourful indeed.
And another thing I was amazed by was the amount of booze that the Cedar people could drink before 10.30pm, where most decided to go to Will Bills. I think until this day, Halloween 2012 have been the best party and pre-drinking I’ve ever had in Banff, and that says a lot since I’ve already had a winter season in Banff and spend all summer here.

So all in all I just want to say THANK YOU Gap Year Canada and Cedar House, for an amazing couple of weeks, and one of the best endings I could ever have wished for at my Internship and stay here in Banff!
One thing though, If I should anything bad about this Halloween, it would be; I regret, that I didn’t leave Cedar House early enough, so that I could have celebrated Halloween with the rest of the Gap Year Canada at Will Bills. Where I was not allowed in because of a massive line-up at 11pm.
Note to myself and everyone else who are thinking of being here for Halloween 2013, go out earlier than 11pm.  

Monday, 22 October 2012

Snow - Finally

So, finally we got some snow here in Banff, which all of us hopefully are more than stoked about. That means that it is time to go snowboarding and skiing soon, and that you guys will start work soon, if you haven’t already. It’s going to be an epic season out here – I can already feel it.
-      Yes, I must admit that I am SO f***ing jealous of all of you guys right now. I got a bit less than 2 weeks left here in Banff, and I wont even get time to shred some pow pow before I leave.
So for all of you lucky people who are staying out here in Banff, you better take advantage of all the snow Banff is getting, else I’ll come get ya! .

But to be honest, I am just glad that I got to see the snow on all the mountains before I left. Everything is so much prettier out here when it’s covered with the white fluffy crystals we are calling snow.
And you probably can’t wait for winter to start right now, eventhough I’ve heard people are already complaining about the cold… HAHA… in 6 months when it’s like today, +2 deg Celsius and sunny with a chance of snow (typical mountain weather), you’ll be walking around in t-shirts and have a laugh over all the tourists who has layered up and are freezing like you are now.  And for me it still looks a tiny bit funny when I see all of you marching around in all of your ski and snowboard gear in October – we only got a couple of inches of snow and are just below freezing point. – I admit that I’m wearing a lot of clothes myself, summer made me weak, but I’ll not fully dress up to just go outside a door. Wait for it, it’s going to be much much colder!

But let’s enjoy my last two weeks. I hope to meet as many as possible before I go, and remember to enjoy Banff and all the snow you’ll get here. I’ll miss this place whenever I’m not here. And I really hope that you will have as fun as a season as I had 2 years ago – or maybe even more fun.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Day 5

I've been in Banff about 5 days now after being on the longest flight I've ever taken to date, it wasn't as bad as I was expected and with the in-flight entertainment it went relatively quickly. 

I love Banff it is easily one of the most beautiful places I have ever been let alone lived. I am living on Grizzly Street, in a house a short walk from the centre of town with pretty amazing views. This is the view from our street.

Yesterday we rented a huge 7 seater Ford Flex for $150 and went on a road trip to Lake Louise and the surrounding areas, we took the Bow Valley Parkway instead of the highway and it was definitely worth the longer drive time. It's a beautiful winding road which traces the river and the rail tracks for about 60km and there is plenty of wildlife and views along the way.

When we got to Lake Louise the temperature drop was massive in comparison to Banff and we even had some snow fall as we were there, even though it was pretty cloudy and not much blue sky or sun to be seen it was a pretty breath taking sight. We also tried to see Lake Moraine, a slightly lesser known lake in the area, unfortunately even though major snow is yet to fall the access road was closed off.

On the way back from the Lake Louise area we again decided to take the Parkway route over the highway as earlier on we had seen our first black bear of the season and were keen to see another, unfortunately we weren't as lucky the second time round but we did see a large Elk who wasn't too camera shy and didn't seem to mind us being within 10m of him. Done so much cool stuff over the last few days, seen a lot, can't wait to get a clean shot of a grizzly.