Pleasure and pain: tree skiing at Whistler

The 2010 Olympics ended nearly eight years ago but the party carries on. The hills and streets echo with languages and accents from around the globe

Pleasure and pain: tree skiing at WhistlerI was navigating a black-diamond run at the end of our last day in Whistler. The path dropped through a steep mogul field, then narrowed to a single track in thick forest. I veered hard right through a tiny opening between two Douglas fir trees. I emerged blindly from the dark boughs. Terra firma vanished.…

Get your vitamin D and do good in the Caribbean

Travel tips: Nordic baths in the Alberta Rockies, music and craft beer festivals for ski enthusiasts, and portable speakers for your next getaway

Get your vitamin D and do good in the CaribbeanBeginning with this column, noted travel writer Lisa Monforton will provide insider tips on new and popular travel destinations, hotel deals, gadget reviews, and unique and affordable experiences for Canadian travellers. If you're wondering how you might afford that surf-and-sand holiday in the sunny Caribbean, here's an idea to consider. In the wake of the…

Fulfilling your Florida golf fantasy

The renovations at PGA Village and PGA National should please the most demanding player and the weekend hacker alike

Fulfilling your Florida golf fantasyPeople travelling south in the winter are always intent of getting plenty of sunshine and sand. Two of Florida’s premier golf facilities are just the ticket. At Port St. Lucie’s renowned PGA Village and at the iconic PGA National Resort and Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, designers have been hard at work giving golfers the…

Christmas dream routes through East Germany

Erfurt, Potsdam and Rostock, in East Germany, rival many of their big city cousins, especially during the Christmas season

Christmas dream routes through East GermanyLike Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, emerging from a world of black and white, East Germany has been transformed into a Technicolor version of its former self. While relatively unknown to those outside of the country, the cities of Erfurt, Potsdam and Rostock have been transformed into vibrant tourist hot spots that rival many…

At Boulder Hut, every ski turn comes after a lot of (uphill) effort

Boulder Hut in the Purcell Range of southeastern British Columbia offers a rustic – and fabulous – backcountry skiing experience

At Boulder Hut, every ski turn comes after a lot of (uphill) effortThere are no baths or showers at Boulder Hut. Cleanup after a day of strenuous backcountry skiing involves soaping up in a wood-fired sauna, then dumping a bucket of water over your head. To my surprise, a fellow guest – fit, naked and female – offered to do the pouring. I reluctantly acquiesced. Thereafter, the absence…

Moving on: nature migrates as winter closes in

On the Pacific coast, the fascinating fall movements of whales, salmon and sea ducks have begun

Moving on: nature migrates as winter closes inOne evening recently at about 6 p.m., I heard a familiar sound from the sheltered bay just in front of our house at Skelhp. If you’ve never heard it, it can be bewildering, even frightening. It’s very loud blasts of air – sometimes two or three in succession, sometimes with about a minute’s silence before…

Finding magical places on the long road from Alberta to Texas

Not having a definitive travel plan can pay off when you unexpectedly find the remarkable – amid the people and the landscape

Finding magical places on the long road from Alberta to TexasYou would not want to go on an RV trip with me. Plans are inevitably last minute and unpredictable. An innocuous road sign may result in a quick U-turn – and a two-day detour to places unknown. In early fall, we packed our modest motor home and slowly, circuitously ambled from Red Deer southward toward…

A minibus ramble through Scottish Highland history

As our minibus pulled to a stop, I felt suddenly that my grandmother’s love of the Highland landscape was surrounding us all

A minibus ramble through Scottish Highland historyI count myself lucky to have had a Scottish grandmother. She was a Graham of Montrose, and came from humble beginnings. I remember her describing something called a byre, and explaining that her mother lived in a crofter’s house with the cattle. From the moment I learned this, I have wanted to travel to northern…

The hardships of Orkney link to Canada’s early days

Displaced from their homes, many citizens of the Orkney islands ended up in Canada working for the Hudson Bay Company

The hardships of Orkney link to Canada’s early daysThe Standing Stones of Stenness on Mainland, the main Scottish island of Orkney, date back to approximately 3,100 BC. Stonehenge, to put the Orkneys in time perspective as a Neolithic parent to western Europe, was constructed from 3,000 to 2,000 BC. What was it about these outpost islands that attracted the earliest agriculturalists to their…

Niagara Falls is much more than a postcard

Niagara Falls is much more than a postcardYou could be forgiven for thinking that visiting Niagara Falls should take up no longer than half an hour. You drive to the falls, get out of the car or off the bus, take a photo and buy something from the gift shop, then leave. Well, if that's been your experience of Niagara Falls, we're…