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MAY-JUN 2017

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Page 20 of 51 21 M A Y / J U N E 2 0 1 7 I t's tough to compare the Chateau Lake Lou- ise and the Banff Springs Hotel. Each is his- toric. Each is magnificent. I think pulling into the Banff Springs is a bit more imposing, but the staff overcomes that immediately. Our hosts at the Chateau Lake Louise treated us to a luxurious suite. Our hosts at the Banff Springs treated us to resplendent breakfasts in their Bow Valley Grill. Each hotel has an outdoor terrace that offers a world- class view, but as a golfer, I'll have to say the patio at the Banff Springs was my favorite. It's huge, with dozens of hightops, where two or three people can have a drink and see the golf course stretching out beneath them hundreds of feet below, framed by the Rockies. Call it a hunch, or call it serendipitous, but I think we did these properties in the right order. The Fairmont Whistler is young and impetuous. The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge seemed old and familiar. Chateau Lake Louise was exhila- rating. But the Fairmont Banff Springs felt like an exclama- tion point. It was a front-row seat to a sold-out performance. For us, the Banff Springs was the summit. By Mac Lacy right in its face for a close-up. Thankfully, that elk never blinked. The drive from Jasper to Lake Louise was magnificent. The high- ways are designed for heavy visitor traffic, and Canada has built wild- life crossings over them to avoid accidents involving wildlife. Warren told me the crossings aren't used much, but miles of highway have been fenced to make it safer for motorists. We made a stop at Athabasca Falls on the way. This magnificent corkscrew waterfall drops several hundred feet into the Athabasca River and is worth a stop. Tauck and Brewster coaches were sitting out front of Sumwapta Falls Rocky Mountain Lodge like billboards, so we pulled in. This old favorite serves a buffet breakfast and features original art in its mas- sive gift shop. "That's a great old place that a lot of groups use," said Warren. "They're only open from May through October due to snow, and for years, they threw a big party for all the tour guides and drivers when the season closed." Several glaciers were visible above us on the drive to Lake Louise. Many groups stop here to board sightseeing vehicles that carry them out to the Columbia Icefield. a tale OF TWO TREASURES Barside at Fairmont Chateau Whistler Athabasca Falls Fairmont Banff Springs Golf Course

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