I guess holing up in the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel is the antithesis of camping. Gin and I began our day with massages (paid for personally for you Touche-Ross types out there), followed by a short walk over to Phil's (which used to be called Phil's Pancake House when I was 18). After a big feed, I wanted the boys to see a Banff classic, The Upper Sulfur Hot Springs. Feeling guilty and missing the cadence of our feet in the stirrups I insisted we walk the uphill 20 minutes to the springs. Same building, same pool as in 1965, but the temperature was102 degrees - not the 104-106 I remember, nor was there the memorable rotten egg odour, as strong as it used to be. The end result - the mellow, relaxing, spent, turn your limbs into spaghetti feeling - was the same, though. On the way back down I couldn't help reminiscing about our high school bus trips to Banff, where $100 could get you a week's vacation at Christmas, thanks to $5.50 ski tickets, $2.75 t- bone steaks (a third of an inch thick at Mr. Paris Steak House), and lodging at the kind old Czech woman, Mrs.Prozoney's, boarding house at $1.50 per night: "I love you young boys, but you're so wild."
The boys joined Gin at the hotel spa's mineral springs for the remainder of the afternoon while I relaxed with my iPad Kindle in our room, helplessly monitoring the snowfall outside my window. The crowning highlight of the day was joining the big boss, GM David Roberts and his wife, Dianne, for a single malt scotch in the renowned Rundle Bar, followed by an awesome sushi dinner upstairs where we were personally served by Ross, the hotel's food and beverage manager. Let me tell you: when you dine avec La Grande Fromage, the service really sparkles. We wound up a wonderful evening we will never forget with a nightcap, meeting new friends, and a final pool game in the hotel's lower German Pub, The Wildhaus, overlooking the spectacular golf course.