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Does Canada really live up to the winter hype?

A man is taking a selfie with a group of huskies.

I’m a huge believer in never judging a book by it’s cover, but when I heard Contiki was sending me on a snow day to Canada, I knew I was in for a temperature shock. Trading tropical weather for endless pow was a challenge I was happy to accept though, and what I found was a winter wonderland worthy of any thrill seeker.

The feeling of nostalgia hit me the second I stepped off the plane. There’s something about the snow for Australian’s that’s so alien and yet so magical. For me, it brought back so many childhood memories of watching Home Alone on repeat at Christmas time. What big kid doesn’t want to build a snowman, eat cookies and drink eggnog?

On the flight over I made a pact with myself to shred the gnar at every opportunity and tackle the blue and black runs in Whistler… even if it was only my third time in the snow! And guess what, I did it…even if the snowboard rental company may beg to differ, after my board came back with ‘severe damages’ (I blame the rocks at Banff).

Anything that involves the consistent dumping of powder over mountains and you having to descend that slope with a thin piece of fibreglass strapped to your feet is just yelling out ADVENTURE!

My next personal mission was one that was equally physical, just not for me; dog sledding. When I was cruising through the optional extras for my trip it just jumped out at me as a truly unique experience. Plus, dogs. I can now happily confirm it was one of the most breathtaking moments of my entire trip.–_/

The most surprising moment for me though, was one that on paper didn’t sound that crazy adventurous. But man, how wrong I was. Johnston Canyon in Banff seriously blew my mind. During the Ice Walk you see incredible, almost nature defying ice formations, frozen rivers, tunnels and stalactites lining the canyon. It felt like something you’d only see in the movies, but it was just a standard winter landscape in ol’ Canadaia.

Canada comes with a whole lot of hype, but trust me, it lives up to it for sure. In fact, I’ve already got plans to head back to the beautiful Lake Louise with a friend I met on the trip in the warmer months so we can kayak in it rather than ice skate on it. The thrill seeking never ends does it? If you haven’t been to Canada… you gotta go!

A final piece of advice

If there’s one piece of wisdom I can impart on first time snow bunnies, it’s this – don’t just pack your suitcase full of warm clothes. Instead, YouTube how to dress yourself for cold climates. There is a technique and a skill to it, because who wants to be shivering when there’s a whole winter wonderland out there to explore…

Check out Jake’s vlog from his Canadian adventure below ?

Jake Rich travelled with Contiki on The Powder Rush as part of The Travel Project. Want to contribute your own story and become a contributor to six-two? Find out more here.