Written by Joanne Elves
Immigrant Services Calgary (ISC) and SnowSeekers are proud sponsors of an exciting new initiative that seeks to welcome newcomers to Alberta and promote diversity in winter adventures.
We followed two new Canadian families on their journey to Lake Louise Ski Resort in Banff National Park to see how easy it is to experience a day on the slopes.
Nine-year-old Aaray Bhagchandani along with his family took advantage of the Lake Louise shuttle bus. He took picture after picture of the snow-clad peaks, the frozen waterfalls and the never-ending heaps of snow. When we arrived at Lake Louise Ski Resort, he was the first out the door. He had never skied before and by golly…today was the day.
“This is why we brought our children to Canada,” said his father Amit Bhagchandani. “There is so much more opportunity here to experience things. This is our first full winter in Canada, so we want to try everything.”
Uncover how it went for Amit and his family, read this SnowSeekers feature story.
Never Ever Days
The Bhagchandani family were taking advantage of the Never Ever Days program hosted by Lake Louise where your first day on the slopes is a very affordable experience available through January. Everything is included in this package including equipment rental, beginner area lift ticket, and a lesson for only $25 plus tax. They headed straight to the rental shop.
As Amit filled out the rental forms, the two boys and their mother started the process of acquiring the ski boots and skis. Being new to Canada, they didn’t have proper winterwear, so they rented some excellent winter coats and pants too. They did bring their own hats and mitts.
Within a few minutes the family was doing the classic ski boot waddle out to meet their coach for the morning lessons. Lake Louise coaching staff are fluent in over a dozen languages to help new Canadians feel more at home. The basics of skiing are taught at the base of the hill before everyone steps onto the magic carpet to make their way to the top of the beginner slope.
Aaray and his 15-year-old brother Amey would fall and bounce back up and try it again and again. Their parents moved more cautiously but once they took a fall and found out it didn’t hurt, the inhibition softened, and they started to enjoy the outing.
Also on the bus was a mother and son from China. Qingmei Zeng and her son Roufei Ding decided their day would be spent tubing and snowshoeing. They have lived in Canada for a few years but venturing into the mountains was new. All they needed was a lift ticket for the tube park and they were ready to roll.
It looked intimidating at first but by the time the second lap was over, they were finding ways to race each other to the bottom. Time flew quickly. They stopped for lunch in the lodge where there are many options to purchase food or bring your own.
After lunch, Qingmei and Roufei met their guide at the snowshoe hut where they were handed a pair of snowshoes to use for their afternoon tour at the top of the mountain. The weather was perfect for the adventure. Blue skies surrounded them as they hiked through the alpine meadows.
“Snowshoeing was like an adventure,” said Qingmei as the gondola took them back to the base. “I want to bring the rest of the family out to see all the animal tracks in the snow.”
Learn more about snowshoeing at Lake Louise by clicking here.
As Amit ushered his tired family onto the bus for the ride home he said, “Booking the day made a lot of sense for us. It gives us incentive to try something new. Without making the commitment it is easy to let your days disappear. We don’t want the boys to miss out on opportunities that are available in Canada.”
Learn just how easy it is to experience the Canadian Rockies as Lake Louise offers daily bus service from Calgary (http://www.lakelouiseskibus.com/)
Learn more about winter at Lake Louise by skiing on over to SnowSeekers.ca.
With its clothing rentals, international array of snowshoe and ski guides, bus service and an experience to remember, Lake Louise Ski Resort welcomes newcomers, learn more https://www.skilouise.com/
Photography by Moostang Gurung