5 Reasons to Brave the Cold this Winter

When the snow starts to fly and the temperature drops below freezing, a warm weekend inside seems very appealing, but here are 5 reasons why I opt to embrace the chill and make the most of the winter weather while it's here in Alberta, Canada.

1. New perspectives

Overnight, already stunning locations are transformed into wild frozen wonderlands. Snow cakes onto trees, crystallized lakes and an almost secret side to life is revealed. As the first big snow storm hit Banff National Park this past November, I immediately starting watching weather reports, mountain top web cams and trail reports to see what areas were covered. We set out to visit a few spots along the Icefield Parkway that we had seen back in the peak of summer. The hike up to Peyto Lake Lookout through shin deep wet snow was definitely worth it!  

2. Revitalizing air

Sub-zero cool air wakes you up like nothing else, sparking your motivation to keep moving forward. It clears your mind and pulls you back into the here and now. If you're lucky, you'll get to see steam rising off an alpine lake while it begins to freeze. Here is a display from this winter over Lake Minnewanka.

3. Simple quiet

Trails become ghost towns and even the most popular views are all yours! Instead of the buzzing tourists all you hear is the gentle whispers of snowflakes falling, the crackles of shifting half frozen lakes, and the echoes of your own voice. Two Jack Lake is one of the most crowded locations in Banff National Park, with hundreds of visitors and dozens of tour buses arriving each weekend, but on this chilly Saturday morning at 8am we were literally 2 of 3 people at the lake!  

4. Forge your own trail

There is something exhilarating about a big white field of immaculate fresh snow just waiting for new footprints. Impossibilities melt away and you get to explore this beautiful place in your own way. All of the trails were below over a foot of new snow, and we had Bow Lake all to ourselves due to the sideways blowing snow, so we ditched the usual and found some new favourite spots.

5. Friendship

Great friends, new and old, forge deep bonds on the winter trail. You learn new things about one another as you battle the elements. This is definitely true for myself and my husband, who is always up for my crazy trips. Even after over 10 years together we still manage to discover new ways to connect out in the chilly Alberta winter. Sheep Falls and Natural Bridge were great snowy day trips that strengthened our bond and love for winter adventure.

By Olivia McCreary

See more of Olivia's adventures and photography on Instagram: @oliviamcreary or on her website