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Polar Paradise

Baby it's cold outside!

Snowy Scenes from Central Alberta







As the temperature hits -35C, I can barely bring myself to click the shutter on my camera. I am on a weekend long road trip across central Alberta with my best friend, on the hunt for some scenic winter wonderlands before I head back home to rainy, grey Vancouver.

On an extended route to Jasper from Edmonton via David Thompson Highway, we had been on the road for three hours when a sign for Nordegg came into sight. It's our first pit stop of the day, and turns out to be a ghost town with eerie charm.


Everything is boarded up except a small motel on the edge of town, with one black truck in the parking lot. We pull up beside Nordegg Public Library, and despite the bright warm sun, the cold air pierces my face as I exit the car. I cringe and question what sane human being would choose to be out in this temperature.


As I walk across the vacant hamlet amidst acres of unplowed snow and decrepit architecture, the aroma of pine and campfire fill my lungs. I notice a quaint white church sitting on a hill in the distance. It's 11:45, and the light already starts to dip behind the tree line as I rush in excitement to find the perfect vantage point. I get exactly 3 shots before the sun disappears from the steeple, but am delighted with the outcome. I run back to the car and blast the heat to de-thaw my frozen appendages and call it quits.


Home to only 90 residents, the small hamlet of Nordegg is a popular stop for tourists and adventure seekers alike during summer months, but sits desolate and dead silent on this uncomfortably numb winter afternoon. Founded in 1914, it was once a bustling coal mining town housing over 2500 residents. As diesel slowly became the fuel of choice and coal markets continued to decline, the mines suffered and were closed permanently by 1955. In 2002, they were formally declared a National Historic Site of Canada. Tours of Brazeau Collieries Mine run from May to September.





a man emerges from an otherwise vacant motel on the edge of town




a divine light peeks through the steeple of Nordegg Community Church






houses sit scattered in disrepair as the elements continue to wreak havoc on their structures