Guest Blogger: Phil Purdie
The meteorite is en route and Bruce Willis’ gang of pro-drillers are not proving up to the task. We have 24 hours to live and I have some decisions to make. Suffice it to say, my final meal will be steak with every known variety of potato (chipped, mashed, roasted, dauphinoised etc) washed down by gallons of fantastic, robust red wine, but we’ll get to that later. Where will I go? What will I do?
And so we’re off to Banff…
Given the impending death and destruction that is coming tomorrow, I am very much in the “get-up-early-camp” and so The Sunshine Mountain Lodge, which is Banff’s only ski-in/ ski-out hotel, is the ideal place to take a hearty lumberjack-style breakfast. First track’s breakfast allows diners to eat and head out for…yes…first tracks before the punters arrive! We’ll plump for the traditional Canadian breakfast of pancakes, crispy bacon, maple syrup and icing sugar! Isn’t it just wonderful that the restaurant staff and lifties are happy to work and not spend the hours before Armageddon in the bosom of their families? Such is the industrious nature of Banffers!
I did my ski instructor course at Sunshine Village in 01/02 and, to this day, it remains my favourite ski resort – I like to think of it as the back garden of Banff, my spiritual home! To start the day, we’ll grab a chair and do some carving down some of Sunshine’s wide-open pistes. Continental Divide is always a good place to start to get the leg muscles pumping! After that, we’ll hit Mount Standish a few times with runs down black areas; Headwall, Garbage Chutes and Dirty Little Corner – short pitches but super-steep and pretty intense. Before breaking for lunch, we have time to explore Wawa bowl, dropping the cornice (lip!) into Paris Bowl and back through the always-icy Waterfall and a beautiful run through the trees on Shaken Not Stirred!
Now for lunch, taken in Chimney Corner which offers awe-inspiring views over the jagged peaks of Sunshine Village. It is a view that never gets boring! Sticking with the old Canadian favourites, I’ll be dining on Poutine: a wonderful dish of crispy fries topped by cheese curds and a chicken based sauce washed down by some Canadian Dry!
After lunch, we don our transceivers, pack up probes & shovels and we’re off up to Delirium Dive which plays host to, without doubt, the most insane in-bounds terrain in Canada, if not the world. We hit line after line of steep pitch with cliff drops, narrow chutes, wide-open bowls and a ton of fantastic natural hits. The whole area is covered in the lightest, fluffiest powder snow that provides us with endless face-shots as we whoop and holler our way down!
With tired legs, we ski down the final run and end up at Trapper’s Bar. As we move onto the terrace with an après-ski beer, the sun starts beaming and the temperature gauge on the mercury moves up to 25C. What a stroke of luck!
Not wishing to waste too much time, we head back downtown for a soak in Banff’s famous hot springs. There is nothing like lolling around in deliciously hot water to shake off the aches and pains of a tough day on the slopes.
For dinner at Saltlik (arguably the best steak-house in the world!), I will be joined by Billy Connelly, Smithy from Gavin & Stacey, George Best (I know!) and my best-mate-from-home, Jamie. Eva Longoria Parker will play the part of my love interest. She will sit at my side and gaze longingly at me all night. As indicated earlier, I shall be having at least one steak, but probably two, with a blue-cheese sauce and served with fries, roast potatoes, a little mash potato and a large dish of dauphinoise potatoes. The wine will be French, very old and expensive!
After dinner, we’ll party the night away in Hoodoos and Auroras before Eva and I repair to the Presidential Suite at the Banff Springs Hotel for a night that I will never forget.
The perfect day to see in the Armageddon…!