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Treffen Banff: Porsches, snow, and exploration in the Canadian Rockies

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Article by Mariela Murphy
Lead photo by Vu Nguyen

When you think of the Canadian Rockies, images of jagged, ice-capped peaks, alpine lakes fed by glaciers, diverse wildlife wandering the road, and breathtaking curved roads inevitably comes to mind. Welcome to Treffen Banff – four days of magic and adventure in a little resort town located within Banff National Park. Here, 350 fellow Porsche enthusiasts and 180 or so Porsches called the historic Fairmont Banff Springs our luxury base camp while exploring the nearby Banff and Jasper National Park sites and wonders.

Photo by Kevin Johnston

The experience began like no other in the historical Mt. Stephen Hall where we were greeted with enthusiasm and smiles from PCA Wild Rose Region volunteers, local Big Rock Brewery beer tastings (including one commemorating the 911 birthday), and a fun Treffen Banff photo booth to capture the memory. The buzz throughout the evening was not only about the amazing surroundings — the view alone of the picturesque Bow Valley River from the wall of original windows dating back to the 1800s was awe inspiring — but also of the impending snow. 

Photo by Vu Nguyen

What would we do faced with snowy roads and challenging conditions? Drive our Porsches of course! With safety in mind, we met at the Mt. Norquay Ski area where five of the scheduled driving tours launched amidst a light snowfall. What an experience: twisty roads winding through the Canadian Rockies, mountains surprising us as they peaked through the clouds, navigators watching for elk or big horned sheep that might wander onto the road. We put our cars to the test and afterwards excitedly reported at dinner that evening to our fellow PCA friends how well the Porsches handled the snowy weather, hugging the curves, overcoming the slick roads, and allowing us to enjoy the vistas offered by the surroundings. The next day would see better weather conditions, but still, once again, the Porsches did not disappoint. And although dirty and covered with snow, these superior vehicles delivered an unforgettable drive.

Photo by Vu Nguyen

But driving is only part of the Treffen experience. Themed dinners and bus touring are also included. For our first night at the Castle in the Rockies, we celebrated the Calgary Stampede, complete with fair-food and live music played by eight amazing fiddlers. These young ladies brought the house down with their rendition of “Ghost Riders in the Sky.” The following evening, we all enjoyed a dinner consisting of culinary delights from across the Canadian provinces. At the door to the elegant Cascade ballroom, we were greeted by a retired Mountie who regaled us with stories of how he became one of the Canadian Royal Mounted Police. The laughter that echoed throughout the room was only occasionally quieted by the sumptuous feast that we were enjoying.

Photo by Cindy Jacisin

The final day was our day off — from driving that is! Some Treffen guests opted for a bus tour to renowned Lake Louise. Others rode the infamous Banff Gondola or toured the quaint village on a cultural and town tour. Others still opted for a day at the spa or went on their own driving or hiking adventure. Our dinner that evening celebrated the culinary delights of the castle – a little taste of the entire dining fare one could find at the Fairmont Banff Springs. The night was capped off with our president, Caren Cooper, assisted by members of the VIR singing “O Canada,” and then a PCA giveaway of a lifetime from Fast Lane Travel, a European Treffen.

Above: Member wins a Treffen European driving tour for two. Photo by Vu Nguyen

Next up for Treffen in 2019: Touring the American Riviera in Santa Barbara, California and Touring the Green Mountains in Woodstock, Vermont. I’ve got my regatta outfit and binoculars at the ready. 

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