Lake Louise Ice Skating: Pre-Quarantine

In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider: God has made the one as well as the other, so that man may not find out anything that will be after him.

Ecclesiastes 7:14

This last month has been an adventure as we work together to curtail the spread of COVID-19. I am blessed to have work, fun roommates and a wonderful fiance. 🙂 But, I have also found it challenging to do “lab work” from home and move social interactions online. Many happy plans have been dashed and many more may well follow. I am still very much learning to receive this as a special season from God’s hand, with its own blessings, rather than as a pause on life that I want to end quickly. But, I am learning to appreciate the work He is doing in my heart and the sweet memories we are making. Some of the sweetest came in the opening weeks of the outbreak here in Alberta.

I had planned an elaborate proposal in the mountains, but just days before a cold snap and the pandemic made swift work of it all. So I proposed in my girlfriend’s front door, and we danced in a friend’s living room. Not what I had planned but very special.

Her sisters were supposed to fly into town the following week, but they didn’t. We hope they’ll still have a fun girl’s weekend before the wedding, but it was not that weekend. Instead, the two of us went ice skating at Lake Louise—the last weekend the parks were open.

I’ve wanted to go ice skating at Louise since I went to the area in 2014 and discovered that the ski hill and the lake are two very different entities. Alas, loftier mountains always beckoned, and I never made it. Instead it was saved for this, our first trip to the mountains as an engaged couple.

We took it slow and started with a warm lunch on the shores of Lake Louise. Then we got out our skates and hit the ice. Thankfully the lake wasn’t too busy, so we could keep a reasonable distance from the others. Jersey had mixed feelings about this whole ice skating business, but we got a few good runs out of her. I think she feels the same way about ice as she does about powder: tolerable but best avoided. Fortunately for her, there was a decent path around the outside of the rink that she could enjoy while we skated.

After a healthy dose of ice skating, we decided to head across the lake. Obviously, I packed my backcountry skis to get more time in the boots before our Columbia Icefield adventure (which is looking a little doubtful). She decided to leave her snowshoes in the car and mostly got away with it. Breaking trail across the lake is a great away to stay away from the crowds, but occasionally the snow is not as supportive as you would like—unless you’re on skis! 😛

Eventually we rejoined the Lakeshore trail and I experimented with the kick double pole technique. I managed a pretty good pace—for short spurts— and, on that icy snowshoe trail, learned the value tracksetting.

We went to the waterfall on the far end of Lake Louse where I flipped down my heel risers and started climbing. It’s a steep slope but not too bad as long as you avoid the patch where people glissade down. At the top I took a good look at the falls and Fairview Mountain before transitioning. I was hoping for a nice corn run, but it was pretty icy. Still, I’m grateful to have gotten a few more turns in before the season shut down.

I rejoined my fiance at the bottom, and we headed home.

We are sad that her sisters could not join us that weekend, but we still had a wonderful time. I do not know when we will be able to get out to the mountains again. I have no idea what might happen to our wedding plans or if my parents will be there. But, I do know that there will also be many happy memories along the way. And, I know that God is doing a great work in me and in the world. Last weekend we celebrated the death of Jesus on the cross: the darkest day in history and yet the hope of all mankind. God makes great beauty out of tragedy. So, everyday I am learning, a little more, to trust Him with my future and look forward to His return when He will make all things right.

One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.

Psalm 27:4