REVIEW: Glacier Skywalk

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Having traversed the glass floors of both the CN Tower and Calgary Tower, the novelty has slightly worn off. Still, the concept of walk on an outdoor glass floor was enticing enough for me to take a detour to the Glacier Skywalk in Alberta’s Jasper National Park during a road trip. The ticket, which included a short bus ride from the Columbia Icefield Discovery Centre to the attraction, cost $29.95 before tax. I felt that the trip was informational and worth experiencing, mainly if joined with the other tour in the area.

Located about a four-hour drive from Calgary, the Glacier Skywalk officially opened on May 1, 2014. I visited the attraction on May 17, 2015.

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The ride

The Glacier Skywalk is located on the south side of the two-lane Icefields Parkway. Parking at the site was only for buses, so I parked (for free) at the centre. The buses used to get passengers to and from the attraction were similar to the ones used by the Toronto Transit Commission.

The ride lasted fewer than 10 minutes.

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The experience

I found that it still had that nice “new glass floor smell” to it. I’m kidding about the smell, but the site did look new and sleek. Visitors could pick up a phone-like device (seen in the penultimate photo in this post) that offered an audio tour at no charge. According to the attraction’s website, the tour is offered in English, French, Mandarin, Korean, and Japanese.

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For some people, whether they enjoy visiting the structure will depend on if they like the view in the photo below; looking down through the glass floor shows a relatively plain mountain side. I didn’t see animals or anything that particularly blew me away. That said, looking almost everywhere else did offer up a nice view.

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Selfies

Of course, because of the novelty of the floor, I had to be careful not to step on any faces.

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Truly, it was one of the most popular poses.

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I got someone to take one of me, too (not pictured).

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That time I unknowingly shot a marriage proposal

Shortly after stepping onto the glass floor, a man asked me to hold a monopod that had a GoPro attached. Before I had time to figure out what was about to happen, he knelt down on one knee and proposed to his girlfriend. I found myself both freaking out and in awe. A video journalist at heart, I wanted to capture the unexpected moment as best I could. I started recording the scene a few seconds in. The couple said that they wouldn’t mind if I put the video online.

Next to the main balcony, presentations were put on by guides.

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Stopping at every exhibit, and taking a few photos took about an hour.

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Although the actual view seen looking down through the glass floor wasn’t remarkable, almost every other aspect of the trip was enjoyable. The other views were great, the option to have an audio tour was nice, and I felt that I learned a lot about the area through the interactive exhibits.

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Conclusion

The attraction wasn’t compelling enough for me to want to go back specifically for it. I think that the best option, if you’re in the area, would be to buy tickets for the Glacier Explorer Combo, which grants entry to the Glacier Skywalk and the Glacier Adventure. The latter, which I enjoyed going on a version of about a decade prior, entailed a tour on the Athabasca Glacier across the road from the centre. Both attractions are neat, and buying the combo is cheaper than buying separate tickets.

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