Posted by: James Shannon | May 10, 2012

Photo: Late Winter Windstorm Stirs Up Alpine Snow, Jasper National Park, Canada

 High winds ravage the alpine along the main range of the Canadian Rockies in March 2008

After a very enjoyable day of carving up Marmot Basin Ski Resort over Easter 2008, I set out down the Icefields Parkway to take in a world famous highway at a time of year where virtually nobody is on this lonely piece of asphalt. Dangerous? Yes it can be if you don’t fuel up to the max before leaving either Lake Louise or Jasper, as the gas bar at Saskatchewan River Crossing, open only during the summer, is snowbound, shut down, and very much closed. As long as you do this, inform people of your plans beforehand and bring blankets, food, candles, first aid kit, etc, you will be fine if the worst case scenario hits.

The reward for taking on this risk is stark beauty … the glistening white peaks, blowing snow from afar creating a cloud of fine, crystallized powder, random wildlife encounters, all heightened by the sense of solitude you get from knowing that you are the only person for hundreds of kilometres (except for park wardens and the occasional kindred soul driving by about once per hour or two).

Yes, being in a place this remote carries concerns worth thinking about, but don’t let it stop you from what will likely be an experience of a lifetime. Just make the appropriate preparations and then go for it!

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