Canada features some spectacular skiing

Canada features some spectacular skiing

guest post by Vicky Anscombe

the familiar Canadian flag

the familiar Canadian flag

Your Gap Year is probably going to be the most exciting year of your life – and it’s vital that you plan it properly, to make sure that you have the most amount of fun humanly possible. If you’re from Europe and you fancy setting off for somewhere far from home that’ll offer you unrivalled adventures, we recommend that you choose Canada. Travel is never cheap, but visiting this stunning North American country is one of the most awe-inspiring things that you’ll ever do – as there’s so much to be enjoyed that you can’t experience at home. Here’s why.

If you can ski proficiently, look into the numerous ski instructor courses that are available. These courses will put you through your paces emotionally and physically, even if you’re a proficient skier, but a steep learning curve is all part of the process – and you’ll end up with qualifications that’ll look great on your CV. The ski season in Canada tends to be from November to April, but this can vary, depending on where you are. British Columbia and Alberta have a more moderate climate and a longer ski season. Look for courses in Fergie, Banff or even the scarily-named ‘steep and deepRed Mountain. These courses aren’t for the faint-hearted, but if you love to ski, you couldn’t hope for a better adventure. Canada is famed for its thick, lush snowfall and challenging pistes, so if you’re after a proper adventure, head West.

Thrills and spills of white water rafting

Thrills and spills of white water rafting

If you’re after a wetter (but not necessarily colder) thrill, make sure that you go white water rafting. The best locations are, as a rule, Banff, Jasper and Vancouver. The season runs from April to October, with the best water volumes in June and July. In terms of popularity, there are plenty of rafting locations to choose from; one of the most popular rivers is the Kicking Horse River, located in the Canadian Rockies of South Eastern British Columbia. This river boasts 14 sets of rapids, and has some wonderful scenery, including towering canyon walls. The middle and lower sections of the canyon comes highly recommended due to their turbulent waters, and most rafting companies will allow you to have a swim in safer sections of the water afterwards so you can relax after your trip.

Aerial view of the Canadian Rockies

Aerial view of the Canadian Rockies

Trekking through the Rocky Mountains isn’t cheap – most tour operators will charge about $350-$400 for a four-day trip in the Canadian summer (August/September). Saying that, don’t let the price put you off – this area is a must-see. The Rocky Mountain National Park is comprised of 415 square miles of beautiful, unbeatable scenery that you’ll be hard-pushed to find anywhere else in the world. Here, you’ll find at least 60 mountains – the tallest of which is 14,259 feet. Names such as Cirrus, Chiefs Head, Isolation and Mummy give the Rockies the edge over sweet little Ben Nevis. However, that’s not all. The alpine flowers, lakes, forests and mountain wildlife is well-worth a look – just watch out for coyotes, which can be a pain at the best of times. If you’re a rambler by nature, this is an environment that will stun and enthral you from the minute you set off – don’t miss out.

La Casa Gelato features over 200 flavours

La Casa Gelato in Vancouver features over 200 flavours

However, don’t be fooled into thinking that Canada’s a wilderness, suitable only for extreme sports. It has a selection of fantastic cities to immerse yourself in, with cutting-edge nightlife, cosmopolitan bars, restaurants, galleries, museums, and much more. If you can only pick one city to explore, get to grips with Vancouver. Great spots to explore at night include the Roxy at 932 Granville, Richard’s on Richards, and try your hardest to try to take in some jazz – there are plenty of hard-to-find bars that you can discover accidentally, and spend a whole night in. The Boathouse is a luxurious option for outdoors summertime dining, and La Casa Gelato is brilliant for, well, gelato. You can also watch Shakespeare on the beach (Google ‘Bard on the Beach’ and enjoy a dip in Canada’s longest salt-water pool, Swim Kitsilano Pool.

Canada has something for everyone wanting to make their gap year one of the highlights of their life.

Vicky Anscombe writes for Nonstop Ski & Snowboard, a family-run company with a passion for the mountains, snow and adventure. She would very much like to take a ski instructor course in Canada, but doesn’t have the balance, unfortunately.

Photo Credits: skiing, flag. white water rafting, rockies, ice cream



3 Responses to Why Canada Should be your Ultimate Gap Year Destination

  • Adam says:

    I went to Banff on a Ski Instructor Training Course with SnowSkool and I cannot recommend my experience enough. I spent 13 weeks training in the snow to do something that I love and had the most amazing time of my life. The course from SnowSkool was organised completely and gave me everything I wanted from my time in Canada. If you are looking to spend some time in Canada and the Rockies for your gap year you should definitely check out Banff and if you enjoy skiing or snowboarding then also look into SnowSkool. Canada is such an amazing place and has great scenery and a very cool way of life. If you have the chance to visit anywhere in Alberta or British Columbia then jump at the chance, you won’t regret it!

  • Wow, I can’t wait to visit Canada. I like your post and that’s an awesome spot for enjoy and hang out!


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Welcome to Travel Wonders
My name is Mark and I’m a keen traveller. In fact, over the last 25 years, I’ve travelled to every continent and over 80 countries. This blog is about the most memorable destinations – the places I regard as the travel wonders of the world. I’m also a keen photographer, and have taken nearly all the photos you’ll see. During my travels, I’ve met some incredible people, seen inspiring places, viewed extraordinary wildlife and scenery and had some amazing experiences, and I’m writing these stories not only to entertain but primarily to inspire others to discover their own travel wonders.
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