Contiki The Powder Rush Tour

Back in February, I went on a trip with Contiki to the west of Canada including Vancouver, Whistler & Banff. It was the most incredible experience, so I wanted to share my thoughts on it as I would have loved to know a bit more about the whole Contiki experience before going!

To give a bit of background on what exactly Contiki is – they are a travel company for people aged 18-35 who organise group trips all around the world. Everything is basically planned out for you, although there is a lot of free time as well for you to do what you want! Have a look at their website here to find out a bit more about them.

VANCOUVER, BC

I flew from Montréal to Vancouver on the 19th of February, full of trepidation. It was the first time that I had ever travelled ‘alone’ – while I’ve been on tons of flights by myself I’d never planned a trip where I wasn’t going with someone I knew. It was raining when I arrived, which I kind of loved because I had been living in snow and ice in Montréal since January and it reminded me of Scotland a lot.

I remember being SO nervous driving over to the hotel in downtown Vancouver – I had no idea what to expect. However, after being in the room for about 15 minutes I met my roommate Hannah and from there all the nerves disappeared. Hannah and I got on so well from the moment we met that everyone else in the group thought we knew each other already!

The first night we had a meeting with our trip manager Alex where we talked about all of the “me time optionals” and our itinerary for the trip. Me time optionals are basically activities arranged by Contiki that are supplementary to the price of the trip. On the Powder Rush trip, our optionals included the lift passes/lessons/rentals for skiing and snowboarding, snowmobiling, zip-lining, a helicopter ride and dog sledding. Some of the activities can be quite pricey, but honestly Contiki get a really good price for each of them and I absolutely loved everything that I did. It really added to the experience and a lot of us got to know each other better from doing the extra activities.

The next day, it was time to explore Vancouver. First of all we went on a little city tour on our bus, stopping by Stanley Park and the Lionsgate Bridge. Afterward, we went to the Capilano Suspension Bridge which was one of our included activities on the trip. It was quite rainy when we went, but I actually really liked that because it made the surroundings seem even more lush and green.

After exploring for a few hours and taking everything in, we grabbed gingerbread lattes (#basicbitches) at the on-site coffee shop all the while gushing over how rustic the whole place was.

WHISTLER, BC

We had only 1 day in Vancouver and then it was off to Whistler. After a short drive on the Sea-to-Sky Highway we arrived in the beautiful (and oh so rustic) Whistler Village where we had a little bit of free time before doing the optional activities available that day.

I decided to do snowmobiling – and oh my god it was the most fun, scary and amazing thing I’ve ever done. I sat on the back and took GoPro footage while Hannah drove (very well, may I add) through the mountains, trees, down hills.. It was terrifying but absolutely exhilarating. I actually ended up falling off on our very last turn before returning to the camp and Hannah didn’t even realise and kept driving – which of course turned into the joke of the day. It was worth it.

Day 2 in Whistler we spent skiing. I can wholeheartedly say that this day was on of the best in my life – I had the most fun ever. We had a great little group who all stuck together – 3 skiers and 2 boarders. The weather was perfect, the snow was amazing and it was one of the first times that I had actually properly enjoyed skiing with no fear whatsoever.

I can get really anxious when I ski, even though I do really love it. I want to do a blog post on that in the future because I think it’s something that other people experience too (or well I hope it isn’t just me!).

But anyway, back to the super fun day. After a full day of skiing (and a few Bailey’s coffees) it was time for the Pub Crawl. This was also an optional activity but everyone took part in this one. There was drinking games, live-music, dancing and a late-night sprint to McDonalds before bed. In summary, it was such a great night although I was dying the next day.

Day 2 in Whistler consisted of a hungover breakfast, endless hot chocolates and a trip on the peak-to-peak gondola between the Whistler and Blackcomb mountain. In the afternoon, we did our second optional activity – zip-lining. Between mountains. With a hangover. It was quite the experience, as you can imagine.

BANFF, AB

After our 3 days in Whistler, it was time to hop on a plane and go to Banff in Alberta. Banff was quite a different skiing experience to what I’d done before – it is a very quaint little town with a Western kind of feel but it is around 20-30 mins away by bus to the nearest ski hills. There are 3 to choose from: Lake Louise, Sunshine Village and Mt Norquay.

While it is a bit more of an inconvenience to have to travel by bus to the hill, Banff was absolutely beautiful. The Rocky Mountains are incredible and I am so glad that I got to see them.

However, this is where I ran into a little mishap on my trip. In fact, it was around 10 mins after this picture on the left was taken. I had a very unfortunate fall right at the bottom of the piste and I got taken off the hill on a ski-stretcher to the first-aid building. As it turns out, I’ve ruptured my ACL (ligament in my knee) which means that I have a lot of physiotherapy and surgery on my agenda for this summer.

But at the time of the accident, our trip manager Alex came and found me at the first aid department and really helped me out a lot. I would not have had a clue about what to do without his help and I think that is a major plus for Contiki – you aren’t alone and there is someone to help you in your time of need!

So injuries and accidents aside, my trip with Contiki was absolutely amazing. I feel like I haven’t even done it justice in this blog post because it was that good. I met some lovely people and now have friends all over the world (mostly Australia – my trip was full of Aussies!).

More than anything, I feel like I faced a fear by doing this trip. I was so terrified before going that I wasn’t going to make any friends or that it was all going to be a disaster. But it was the total opposite from that and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

I now recommend Contiki to all my friends – I feel like everyone should do a Contiki at some point in their lives! I’m already thinking about booking another one for next year, but where to go?!

You can find out more about the Powder Rush tour here.

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