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See the Northern Lights from the wilderness of Northwest Canada

Join the Cloud Appreciation Society for a once-in-a-lifetime expedition to the remote Northwest Territories of Canada. Amongst the frozen lakes of this epic landscape, you will stay at an eco lodge that we consider one of the best destinations in the world for experiencing the awe-inspiring aurora borealis.

19 – 24 February and 23 – 28 February 2018

A remote eco lodge, an untouched frozen lake in prime aurora territory

This epic landscape of ice-covered lakes and ancient pine forests is, in our opinion, one of the world’s best locations for experiencing the beauty of the Northern Lights. A 20-minute flight by ski-plane from Yellowknife, capital of Canada’s Northwest Territories, Blachford Lake Lodge is located on a jewel of a lake set in the frozen splendour of the remote Canadian north. The spacious, handcrafted log lodge offers a blend of rustic charm and modern comfort. Visitors can stay in the eco lodge or, for a real feel of the wilderness, in one of the cosy trapper’s cabins, warmed by a wood-fire stove. Gourmet meals are prepared by the Red-Seal certified chef, and there are a whole range of fantastic winter activities included, from snowmobiling to cross-country skiing, ice skating on the frozen lake to ice fishing. The lodge includes an open dining area, bar and lounge, and even a hot tub outside under the stars.

This sky adventure is being hosted by Cloud Appreciation Society founder, Gavin Pretor-Pinney. He will be giving inspirational, illustrated presentations about the sky, while the Lodge staff will introduce us to the Northern Lights and give help and instruction about photographing them.

Blachford Lake Lodge was one of the destinations on the 2011 royal tour of Canada. William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, visited not long after they married. The lodge is remote, rustic, eco and with all the creature comforts.

We believe Blachford Lake is the world’s best destination for experiencing the Northern Lights in the unspoilt winter wilderness.

A video taster of Blachford Lake Lodge, Northwest Territories, Canada.

“This was a perfectly planned and perfectly executed trip — Just spectacular in every way.”
L.H.R. (Member 3660, and attendee on our 2017 Canada aurora trip)

The Northern Lights: A must-see for sky lovers

The swirling greens, pinks and yellows of the aurora are a sight that you will never forget. The colours are caused by the interaction of solar winds – streams of charged particles emitted by the Sun – with the molecules in the upper reaches of our atmosphere. The intensity of the displays depends on the sun-spot activity, which varies in cycles.

We at the Cloud Appreciation Society know more than most how impossible it is to make promises about what will happen in the sky on a particular weekend. But we have chosen the location of this amazing trip to maximise the chances of us witnessing a stunning display of the Northern Lights. Blachford Lake Lodge is remote enough to be away from artificial light pollution and the weekend we’ll be there is on a new moon, ensuring the background sky is as dark as can be. The lodge is right in the middle of the ‘aurora oval’, the ring around the geomagnetic pole within which the Northern Lights form directly overhead. We’ve chosen this time of year for the best combination of longer nights and less low cloud cover and these particular dates are close to a new moon to reduce the competition from moonlight.

The great advantage of staying at Blachford Lake Lodge is that we don’t need  to travel to see the lights. When they show, they appear directly overhead. Use the viewing platform, step out onto the frozen lake or enjoy them from the warmth of the hot tub!

Our destination is perfectly situated in the Canadian wilderness, away from any light pollution and right beneath the ‘aurora oval’.

“Best holiday ever! Magical evenings were spent standing in awe of the aurora. Days were action-packed with a variety of activities. All the time surrounded by talented, well-travelled and kind cloud enthusiasts.”
S.C. (Member 33510, and attendee on our 2017 Canada aurora trip)

Yellowknife: Vibrant capital of the Northwest Territories

Before taking the ski plane out to Blachford Lake Lodge, we will explore Yellowknife, the capital city of Canada’s Northwest Territories. Located on the shores of the Great Slave Lake, this vibrant settlement was founded in the 1930s, during region’s gold rush era. The mining activities have now given way to the business of government of the Northwest Territories region, but the cabins and fish shacks of the Old Town still have a tangible gold-rush atmosphere. The friendly community is a mix of indigenous Inuit, Dene, and Métis peoples with a whole range of immigrants from Europe, North America and elsewhere. This part of our trip will be the perfect introduction to the rich culture and history of this unique region of the world.

We will enjoy the warm welcome and frontier spirit of Yellowknife, capital of Canada’s Northwest Territories.

“The CAS Sky Holiday marks an inflection point in my life — I have a new relationship with the cold, nature, silence, and the CAS. I made new friends that I plan to have for the rest of my life.”
B.B. (Member 33192, and attendee on our 2017 Canada aurora trip)

The Itinerary

Day One – Arrival

Arrive in Yellowknife and Enjoy the Welcome

When you arrive at Yellowknife Airport, you will be transferred to the Explorer Hotel, your home for the first two nights.

Winter clothing rental is included in your package (down-filled parka, ski pants, lined winter boots, mitts and hat). If you have arrived on an earlier flight, you will have the opportunity for a fitting during the afternoon. If you arrive later, there will be a fitting the following morning.

You will receive your CAS Welcome Bag, which will include all the necessary information as well as CAS goodies and your exclusive Society embroidered patch to commemorate the 2018 trip. Take some time to rest from your flight, but don’t forget to look up at the sky! Sometimes the aurora borealis can be seen from the city.

Overnight: The Explorer Hotel, Yellowknife.

CAS Patch and Booklet
The embroidered patch and booklet included in our 2017 welcome bag.
The Explorer Hotel, Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada

DAY TWO – Yellowknife

Explore the capital of the Northwest Territories

After a leisurely breakfast, you will be met by Rosie Strong, your host for a day of touring Yellowknife, the vibrant capital of the Northwest Territories. Located on the shores of Great Slave Lake the city boasts endless stunning arctic landscapes.

Our tour of Yellowknife with a fantastic local guide will give us an appreciation both of the town’s fascinating mining past and its equally interesting legislative assembly, as well as visiting the Old Town and the infamous ‘ice road’ heading north over the frozen lakes.

Your day will start with a tour of the Yellowknife Mining Heritage Center, which will give you a rich understanding of the colourful history of the city, founded on the gold rush. Then you will move on to the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories. This is a fascinating introduction to this remarkable part of Canada and its pioneering consensus system of government.

After lunch at the city’s famous Bullocks Bistro, we will get a city tour of Yellowknife. From the ice road, to the characterful streets of the Old Town, where the pioneer spirit is alive and well, and taking in the views of Pilot’s Monument, we will explore it all, with time for some shopping for anyone who is interested.

In the evening we will gather at the hotel for welcome drinks, where you will meet Cloud Appreciation Society founder, Gavin Pretor-Pinney. We will then all head out to the fantastic Woodyard Brewhouse & Eatery for dinner.

The activity after dinner will depend on what is happening in the sky.  Either you will be treated to an exclusive Dene cultural performance – an entertaining celebration of the cultural heritage of this wonderful region. Or if the weather is right and the aurora is active, you will driven away from the city lights to enjoy your first view of the amazing aurora display.

Overnight: The Explorer Hotel, Yellowknife.

Yellowknife: the welcoming capital of the Northwest Territories sits beside the Great Slave Lake.
With down-filled winter gear provided for everyone, our 2017 guests stayed comfortable even though Yellowknife is the coldest city in Canada.

Day Three – Heading East

Take the Ski Plane across to the Frozen Wilderness

Throw open your curtains and take in that glorious, sparkling snowy vista! Enjoy breakfast at your hotel, and pack up your things – you’re heading east. You will be met in the lobby to be taken to the ski-plane base for the next part of your adventure. At approximately noon today, we depart for Blachford Lake Lodge, located in the true wilderness, 100km east of Yellowknife. Enjoy the breathtaking landscape as we soar over the frozen lakes, forests, and snowmobile trails below.

Upon arrival, you will meet the Lodge team, and enjoy a delicious hot lunch. You’ll get a tour of the facilities and have time to settle into your accommodation for the next three nights. Try out one of the hiking trails, peruse the northern library, or relax in the hot tub before an evening talk from the Lodge staff about the aurora borealis with advice about how best to photograph it. Spend the evening talking to guests and taking in any aurora displays in the vast night sky of these truly stunning surroundings.

Overnight: Blachford Lake Lodge.

The ski plane takes us the 100km from Yellowknife to Blatchford Lodge

Day Four – Blachford Lake

Skis, skates, snowshoes, igloos and the lights

This morning you’ll have a chance to enjoy the unspoilt wilderness around you. Go snowshoeing, skiing, hiking, or skating (guided or un-guided). Get to know the remote Canadian beauty of the frozen lakes.

This afternoon there will be an igloo building workshop for you to take part in. Ever wondered how difficult it is to build one of those ice houses? You’re about to find out!

After spending the day outside, head back to the lodge and enjoy a hearty home-cooked dinner and an illustrated Tour of Our Atmosphere talk by Cloud Appreciation Society founder, Gavin Pretor-Pinney. Take a nap if you’d like, but don’t forget to step outside for Mother Nature’s ultimate light show. If you would like, the Lodge staff on ‘Aurora Watch’ will always be happy to wake you up when the aurora is active after you’ve tucked in.

Overnight: Blachford Lake Lodge.

No light pollution and in prime aurora latitudes, Blatchford Lake Lodge is an ideal location for the Northern Lights.

Day Five – Snowmobiles

Snowmobiles, saunas and a celebration dinner

After breakfast, at your leisure, there’s another full day of activities in store. Why not try ice fishing this morning (in line with the Lodge’s barbless “catch & release” program)? Today is free for you to choose which of the different activities you would like to take part in.

Included in your package is a two-hour snowmobiling tour to Great Slave Lake. You’ll glide across ice and snow trails on a skidoo – the most common mode of winter transportation in the north.

Relax in the sauna or hot tub before we gather for the group celebration dinner. Take part in our Canadian Skies quiz – with prizes – and savour your last evening in aurora-watcher’s paradise.

Overnight: Blachford Lake Lodge.

Enjoy the pristine wilderness of Great Slave Lake by snowmobile

Day Six – Back to Yellowknife

We Head Back West as the City’s Winter Festival Begins

You are free this morning to go for a last hike, skate, ski or snowshoe. Your flight departs the lodge at approximately 12:30pm for Yellowknife. From there, you’ll have time to connect to Edmonton, and your flight home. Or why not extend the trip for another night or two (not included in our package). There is plenty more to see in Yellowknife such as the Prince of Wales Heritage Centre, which is the North’s top museum. It showcases the art, culture, industry and history of the territory, with displays featuring everything from mooseskin boats to old-time bushplanes. March 1 will be the first day of the city’s famous Snowking Winter Festival, which takes place within an ice castle constructed out on the Great Slave Lake, so if you are in the second group you might want to consider staying on for this. Blachford Lake Lodge can help you with booking additional nights for you if you’d like.

If you're in the second group, why not stay on in Yellowknife after the trip finishes for the Snowking Winter Festival, which takes place in an ice castle out on the Great Slave Lake?

“This was absolutely the best trip of my life. The activities were excellent and the experience is something I would never have achieved otherwise. A truly magical adventure!”
M.W. (Member 23652, and attendee on our 2017 Canada aurora trip)

Prices and Details

Accommodation in a Rustic Trapper’s Cabin:

$3785.00 CAD (+5% tax)

(Canadian Dollars) per person

Approx. $3115 USD + 5% tax / £2355 GBP + 5% tax / €2615 EUR + 5% tax / $3897 AUD + 5% tax, depending on the exchange rate at time of purchase.

Price includes all staff gratuities and everything listed in the ‘What’s Included’ section. Discounts and supplements: There will be a discount of $400 CAD per person for bookings of three or more sharing a cabin. There will be a supplement of + 25% for single occupancy of a cabin.

There are five rustic trapper’s cabins within 3-minutes walk from the Lodge. Heated by wood-burning stoves, these cosy cabins offer the true wilderness experience within easy reach of facilities.

Accommodation in the Lodge:

$4975.00 CAD (+5% tax)

(Canadian Dollars) per person

LODGE SOLD OUT

Approx. $3765 USD + 5% tax / £2975 GBP + 5% tax / €3370 EUR + 5% tax / $4985 AUD + 5% tax, depending on the exchange rate at time of purchase.

Price includes all staff gratuities and everything listed in the ‘What’s Included’ section. Discounts and supplements: There will be a discount of $400 CAD per person for bookings of three or more sharing a Lodge room. We are not able to accommodate single occupancy of Lodge rooms.

With access to shared shower and washrooms, lodge rooms are dressed with down duvets, and feature huge windows with expansive views.

What’s Included:

  2 nights’ accommodation Yellowknife

  Yellowknife meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner on Day 2, breakfast on Day 3

  Winter clothing rental: down-filled parka, ski pants, lined winter boots, mitts and hat

  Yellowknife city tour

  Visit to the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories

  Welcome reception (finger food, wine and beer) in Yellowknife

  Yellowknife evening cultural activity / aurora viewing (conditions permitting)

  All group transfers in Yellowknife

  Flights Yellowknife –> Blachford Lake Lodge –> Yellowknife

  All meals and snacks at Blachford Lake Lodge

  Non-alcoholic beverages with group meals (There will also be an opportunity to purchase alcoholic drinks in Yellowknife to take with us)

  3 nights’ accommodation Blachford Lake Lodge (cabin or lodge, depending on package)

  Use of all Lodge facilities (lounge, tipi, hot tub, sauna, Northern Library, etc.)

  Use of Lodge equipment: cross-country skis, snowshoes, fat-tyre bikes, ice skates, ice fishing equipment, hiking trails, etc.

  Two-hour snowmobile tour to Great Slave Lake

  Lodge staff as guides for daytime activities

  Cloud Appreciation Society talks at Blachford Lake Lodge

  Aurora photography and camera advice from the Lodge staff

  Spruce Salve making workshop

  All gratuities for Lodge staff

  A Cloud Appreciation Society welcome bag with special commemorative embroidered patch to mark the trip

What’s Not Included:

  Flights between Yellowknife and your home city (but the Lodge’s air department can help arrange these for you when you make contact about your booking)

  Travel insurance

  Items of a personal nature

BOOK THIS 2018 CANADA SKY HOLIDAY TODAY!

If you are interested to reserve a place on our 2018 Sky Holiday to the Northwest Territories of Canada, please email Kate and Katherine at Blachford Lake Lodge with the following details:

1) The number of people in your party,
2) Your preference for the the two tour dates – 19-24 February 2018 or 23-28 February 2018,
3) Your phone number (including country code) so that they can contact you.

Kate or Katherine will, of course, be happy to answer any queries you have.