Couple elopes on freezing Lake Louise mountaintop to marry during COVID restrictions

·3 min read

Derailed by shuttered venues, closed catering services and guest lists that were hacked to pieces by restrictions, many wedding plans have suffered in 2020 because of COVID-19.

But one Calgary couple took a tough year in stride, and adhered to restrictions by moving their nuptials to the slopes.

Adam and Erica Koster eloped in –26 C weather last Sunday on top of a mountain at the Lake Louise Ski Resort. They snowboarded away after their ceremony, which was attended by four other people.

And thanks to their formal wear, they didn't even have to wait in line for the gondola to get to their own wedding.

Staff waved them through when it was explained they were going up to get hitched.

"We just rented our [snowboarding] gear in our suit and dress," Adam told the Calgary Eyeopener on Wednesday.

"[Staff] asked for a VIP ticket when we went to the VIP line [for the gondola], and we were like, 'She's wearing the dress, can we just get to the top?'"

'Marry us on top of the mountain'

Adam and Erica love snowboarding, and had dreamed of a small mountain wedding.

But accommodating their bigger families extended the guest list during their initial planning, and they were considering Canmore in March 2021.

Eventually, however, they realized it was likely the pandemic could linger long enough to upend their wedding plans in the spring.

So the list shrunk to immediate family, and then became smaller still, until only a photographer, bridesmaid, maid of honour and an officiant were invited — and the venue was changed to a Lake Louise mountaintop.

Jenna Grey Photography
Jenna Grey Photography

"We ended up actually planning a really small elopement based on the thinking that [in] December, we would be out of the COVID stuff. But we weren't," Erica said.

"A few days before, we had to say to everyone that no one could come. And just our best friends ended up being able to marry us on top of the mountain."

Shaking like a leaf

Though they were wed in sub-zero temperatures, Erica and Adam opted to forgo heavier winter clothes that could detract from the formal attire they were wearing.

After all, you only elope once with snowboards on a freezing mountaintop in the middle of a pandemic.

"I picked a dress with an open back for an indoor winter wedding," Erica said.

"So I had a fur shawl on and … my friend lent me her blue tuque. And [we wore] goggles and our snowboarding boots, and I actually had snow pants on under my dress."

While Erica warded off frostbite with a fur wrap and hidden pants, this was not the case for Adam.

His suit was so nice that he opted to forgo thermal layers, he said.

Adam Koster
Adam Koster

"I decided that I wanted to look as good as I could, and just went with my suit alone," he said. "I was shaking like a leaf at the end of it."

Luckily for Adam, he didn't have to shiver long — the ceremony took just 10 minutes.

And then, he said, they were married.

"She snowboarded down, and we were husband and wife," Adam said.

With files from the Calgary Eyeopener.