Throwback Thursday: To when the mountains were right in my backyard

Sometimes, I really miss living in the Rockies, especially when I’m trolling Instagram and seeing how nice a Spring they’re having {insert heavy sigh here}.  I spent 3.5 years in Banff, and another 1.5 years in Calgary, during which time I drove back and forth to the mountains every single weekend. It is still one of my favourite places to visit and home to many of my favourite trails.

For a portion of the time I lived in Banff, I was super into running, particularly making use of the many surrounding mountain roads to work on my uphill road running endurance.  I had it good back then. It was such a luxury to be able to head outside on my lunch break and hit some of the most scenic running routes you can imagine.  I mean I know Vancouver’s not too shabby in the scenery department, but gargantuan in-your-face-close-up mountains will always trump ocean-and-distant-mountain views for me.

Anyway, today I share what used to be my favourite hill run because with all the sunshine outside, I am desperately missing a good, uphill road run. How sad is that????

Without further adieu, here she is: the scenic road to Norquay ski hill.

my old favourite

If you live in or near Banff, or have plans to visit the area (which you should! It’s a UNESCO world heritage site after all!), this is the perfect 7(ish) mile sustained hill road run.  It’s only 305 m over 5.5 km so it’s not an overly aggressive hill but it’s pretty constant aside from a few flat stretches, so it still gets your attention.  And along the way you’re greeted with some pretty awesome views of Mt. Rundle, Vermillion Lakes and the Banff townsite.

banffSeriously, how can that view not distract you from burning lungs and legs?

One of my favourite things about this route is that after a sustained climb, you get a delightfully cruisy downhill jaunt to round out your run. All your work is on the way up, none of the work is on the way down.  For extra distance, you can easily tack on a few kilometres each way and run to Norquay road from downtown Banff.

Or, if you’re more like me, 11.5 km is just fine for a run, and you can instead reward your efforts with a crisp, cool beer (or cocktail, or chilled wine) and some appies at the Juniper Lodge, conveniently located right where you’d park a car before you start your run.  Their patio has amazing views and it’s never crowded because it’s not in town. There you go. Now you also have a hidden gem for happy hour. You’re welcome.

Happy road running! If I can’t do it, I’ll make sure a tiny group of my readers have some damn good options!

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