Home > 2011 Posts > Thirty Below on Lake Maligne

Thirty Below on Lake Maligne

We stepped off the train in Jasper, Alberta, around noon on a partly sunny, balmy, 14° below February day. As we drove our rental car to the condo, we found that the roads were well-plowed, the snow wasn’t more than a couple feet deep in most other places and no more than a half-dozen moose were scattered around town, foraging for people-ish goodies.

The overnight train ride from Vancouver included a nice stateroom, and our sunrise breakfast climbing into the spectacular Canadian Rockies had been a delicious thrill, especially when viewed from a pampered nest lined with silver, linen, crystal and rich coffee. Lots of coffee.

This year, instead of a winter trip to someplace warm, we’d decided that we were going to do some serious cross-country skiing in the wilderness. So, we picked Jasper and the marvelous, nearby Lake Maligne as our destination.

In fairness, no Canadian worth her salt would ever consider this a wilderness trip – after all, other people would be only 10 or 20 miles away. But for us tenderfoot Americans, it counted. Fortunately, we hadn’t yet seen Anthony Hopkin’s film The Edge at the time. When we returned though, a mischievous friend recommended it. Glad we waited.

In any case, we had a great week experiencing the unrivaled, rugged, mountain scenery in deep winter. The word ‘spectacular’ is barely a starting point to describe it.

Lake Maligne in Summer

Two of the days, we spent skiing on the frozen lake. At 30° below. Alone. We never saw another person the whole time. It was like having our very own National Park, with each turn and each point rounded giving us an even more breathtaking vista. We skied all day for many miles, wherever our whim took us, laughing and pointing and as close to the good part of Valhalla as it gets.

The exercise and lack of wind kept the cold at bay, except for a few times when clouds occluded the sun for awhile. Then we really felt the nip. But, when it was time to stop for lunch each day, the clouds magically disappeared. Both days, we also found a sheltered spot on the bank with an open view to the south, across the lake’s frozen plain.

Those places were so pleasant, that we took off three layers. Then, we sat there wearing just our sweaters and ski pants, contentedly munching in the bright sunshine. It was an idyllic experience; our best ever for cross-country skiing.

One summer soon, we plan to return for a whole new Canadian Rockies adventure on a liquid Lake Maligne.

  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: