If you ‘ve been missing travelling overseas this year, why not dream a little and transport yourself to the Canadian Rockies! Here is an excerpt from the report by Mike & Sue Ryan on the last Canadian Rockies tour. Those of you who were lucky enough to be on one of these tours can relive the experiences, whilst us others can dream of travelling there in the not too distant future. We have put together a Facebook photo album of some of the pictures taken on tour and of the areas visited, so it’s worth viewing these whilst reading the report to help visualize the stunning scenery etc.
After a day in Vancouver, and the chance to discover the city a little, we were all ready for our first game of golf at Northview. This is an Arnold Palmer designed course and proved an excellent introduction to golf in Canada. Whilst the fairways were generous, the undulating greens kept the scoring modest.
We then travelled along the Sea to Sky Highway to Whistler. On this journey we were lucky to see our first black bear on the side of the road. On our trip, bear sightings were few – plenty of signs of bears, but no sightings. We weren’t sure if we were pleased about this or not! Whistler is now a year round resort, with mountain bikers flocking in huge numbers to the resorts when snow sports end their season. The two courses we played here – Whistler and Chateau Whistler – were both challenging but rewarding. Travelling the Peak to Peak Gondola was another highlight while we were in Whistler.
It was then on to the Okanagan Valley and the town of Kelowna. While some of the scenery we saw on this journey was impressive, it was merely a small taste of what we would experience later in the tour. The weather around Kelowna was in the mid 30 degrees – a bit of a shock for Kiwis in June. Our first afternoon was spent wine tasting before the serious business of golf restarted at the Ridge Course at Predator Ridge the next day. This was a spectacular design as the fairways wound their way through the many valleys and canyons in the area. The next day we played the Harvest Golf Course which was a lot more open but still challenging and beautiful.
After Kelowna it was on to the Jasper National Park, which is just over the British Colombia border in Alberta. Here we were accommodated in a large log-cabin style lodge in the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, and it was the perfect size for our group. The Stanley Thompson designed golf course is considered a Canadian Classic and was another wonderful venue. Next morning the group headed off towards Banff. The previous days inclement weather had resulted in 30 centimetres of fresh snow along our route so we had a spectacular journey and the Rockies looked huge, white, imposing and magnificent! On our way we had stops at the Columbia Icefield and Lake Louise – both stunning venues in their own right.
Banff produced two more outstanding golf courses – Stewart Creek and Banff Springs. Both had a multitude of incredible views from the fairways that made concentrating on the game at hand difficult.
We will be returning to Canada if not in 2021, definitely in 2022.