Van Life, Part 5: Canadian Road Trip

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Since our last adventures in the desert, Tera and I have made our way up to Whitefish, Montana. We figured that winter van life with two dogs might be a bit more than we wanted to or could handle. Tera is a nurse and had always wanted to try her hand at a travel nursing job so she started looking into it more and scored a sweet job in Montana at the Kalispell hospital.

When Tera got her job in Kalispell, about 20 minutes south of Whitefish, the first thing that crossed my mind was, "Oh yeah, Canadian road trip!"

Tera bought us Mountain Collective passes for Christmas so that meant we could go ski Lake Louise and Revelstoke. We had also heard amazing things about the touring off of Rogers Pass so we put that on the list as well.

We had quickly passed though Lake Louise over the summer, so we fortunately had an idea of where to camp and the layout of the area. We were both really excited to check out the resort and we weren't disappointed. Both of the days we skied at Lake Louise were a bit overcast with clouds rolling in and out, but we did manage to witness some of the spectacular views the area has to offer, enjoy awesome bowls and hikes, and of course we had to take a run down the world cup DH track.

ski touring at Lake Louise
Tera making her way up one of the many great inbounds hikes that Lake Louise has to offer. Photo: Mike Schirf

Tera making her way up one of the many great inbounds hikes that Lake Louise has to offer. Photo: Mike SchirfAfter our second day of skiing at Lake Louise, we made the short drive over to Banff where we hit up the upper Banff hot springs, found another camp spot, and skied Sunshine Village the next day. It snowed a few inches the night before so we ended up having a really fun day of skiing despite not being able to see much of what was around us.

We debated skiing Sunshine Village another day since it's also part of the Mountain Collective, but decided to start heading towards Revelstoke instead. It's about a 2.5 hour drive from Lake Louise to Revelstoke through Rogers Pass.

open road through snowy mountains
The drive from Lake Louise to Rogers Pass is quite spectacular. Beautiful peaks and lines to ski in every direction. Photo: Mike Schirf

On our way, though, we decided to stop and check out the Rogers Pass Discovery Center to get a lay of the land since you are required to check in there and get a permit for certain areas if you want to ski. The rangers there are very nice and helpful and gave us some great information and since we were there and it was still fairly early in the day, we decided to go for a tour. Again we couldn't see much but we found some amazing snow and great tree skiing.

Tera making her way up to the North Bowl off of Cheops in Rogers Pass. Photo: Mike Schirf

We drove to Revelstoke early the next morning and got our passes. We didn't end up getting the storm skiing I had hoped for but had a great day none the less. The views were in and out, and the snow was still great. We did a few hikes and explored some of the amazing terrain they have to offer.

Tera making her way up to the North Bowl off of Cheops in Rogers Pass.
While we didn't get the big storm we were hoping for in Revelstoke there were still plenty of great runs to be had. Tera making her way down one of the many great groomers. Photo: Mike Schirf

The town of Revelstoke has a great aquatic center, so after skiing we went for a soak in the hot tub before we headed back to the resort parking lot to spend the night.

van life with dogs
We always make sure not to leave the dogs in the van for too long, always coming back for lunch to let them out. Here Tera and Patsy celebrate a great day of skiing in the Revelstoke parking lot. Photo: Mike Schirf

While we had a great day of skiing at Revelstoke we only had 2 days of skiing left on the trip, and we had such an amazing time on our little day touring on Rogers Pass we decided to head back there instead up using our second day.

On our little pit stop at Rogers Pass a few days prior, I noticed a familiar looking car with Utah plates in the parking lot. Upon further inspection I recognized it as White Pine Touring guide Cindi Grant's car so I gave her a quick text and found out that she was up there riding with her husband Zach for the week.

friends enjoying some apres ski
The Park City Crew hanging out after an amazing day of touring on Rogers Pass, BC. Photo: Mike Schirf

Cindi and Zach really did their homework on the area and became super knowledgeable very quickly, so they were really great partners to be in the mountains with. Rogers Pass has something like 140 different slide paths. The Canadian army is up there all winter long to do avalanche control. It's a big intimidating place that is absolutely beautiful at the same time.

We had an amazing two days of touring Rogers Pass with Cindi and Zach as well as making some new friends along the way. The snow was wonderful and snowpack was stable. We couldn't have timed it any better. It's definitely a place I can see us going back to for years to come.

getting ready for a ski day inside a camper van
The sun finally decided to shine on our last day at Rogers Pass. Tera booting up in the van as Patsy looks on. Photo: Mike Schirf