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Winter at Talus

Excerpts from a Calgary Herald article by Trent Edwards. March 2008Talus Lodge buildings

At Talus Lodge it is hard not to remain in a suspended state of giddiness.

After our chopper lifted off the plateau, whipping snow into our grinning faces, our ears took a moment to adjust to the silence. Frosted peaks, forested valleys and frozen lakes a plateau straddling the Continental Divide, we were still on a high from that thrill ride.

Surrounded by snowy mountains, our home for the weekend felt like a million miles from the nearest city, rather than a mere 15-minute helicopter ride from Canmore.

This little piece of heaven near Banff National Park would surely have been placed within its borders had the park’s founders known of its natural charms back in the 19th century.

This small plateau is surrounded by jagged peaks, a cirque and a 300-metre cliff that offers inspiring viewpoints over a picturesque valley and distant peaks.

None of these natural beauties, however, are quite so spectacular as the Talon, a 2,710-metre peak with a hook-topped shape that dominates most views here.

For a ski-tourer this place is posh — hot and delicious meals, a heated lodge with soft beds and, perhaps best of all, not having to carry your food, cooking and sleeping gear with you.

All of the snowshoers couldn’t seem to stop acting like kids on a snow day. We laughed and hollered as we ran down steep hillsides of fluffy powder on a snowpack up to six metres deep.

Out of politeness to the others, I fought the urge to get out of our leader’s tracks so as to preserve the pristine snowscape from my tracks. But I soon found myself greedily making my own tracks as I explored between groves of trees.

Though days old, the untracked powder was still light and fluffy. A short traverse then brought us to the natural glades that lead all the way to the valley floor. We whooped it up as we carefully picked our way through the trees.

For the next three days, we would fill our minds with beautiful sights, bask in classic Rockies scenery while snowshoeing and ski touring, enjoy powder skiing, eat decadent meals and get to know a cast of interesting strangers.