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Banff, Canmore & Area

Spring Skiing in the Rockies

With warmer weather in the forecast, we can finally start thawing out after a particularly cold and snowy winter. So take off your coats, put on your sunglasses, and head for the patio; it’s time for some spring skiing!

Photo courtesy of Kicking Horse Mountain Resort


Spend a weekend at Sunshine because starting March 24th, Sunshine Village will be hosting concerts every Saturday and Sunday afternoon! Get a few runs in and then head over to Mad Trappers where different artists perform each weekend.


Visit Lake Louise on any of these incredible musical weekends!

March 31/April 1 – BIG FONTS

April 7/8 – Abbey Rodeo

April 14/15 – Aaron Pollock

April 21/22 – Sam Bailey Band

April 29 – Rumspringer

May 5/6 – DJ CAIN.1 + Friends


Head to Panorama for the High Notes Music Festival on March 23-25th. Friday night features an evening of live music, food and wine. See headliners Jay Gilday, The Burn Ins, and Scenic Route to Alaska on Saturday night!


Get excited for the Whitetooth Grill concert series at Kicking Horse!

March 24 – Eric Larocque

March 31 – John Jenkins’ Small Town Revival

April 7 – Eric Larocque

April 14 – The Pickups


Check out the Kokanee Freeride event at Marmot Basin on April 14th. The whole event takes place at the mid-mountain Paradise Chalet Patio so that you can catch a few rays while you listen to live music and chow down on a BBQ lunch!



Shake the Lake will have you dancing, feasting and cheering! On April 28th, head to Lake Louise and watch (or compete) in the Rail Jam/Slush Cup extravaganza! There will be a daytime après ski party and an after party in the Lodge of the Ten Peaks!


The Slush Showdown Pond Skimming Cup will be awarded at Panorama on April 7th. Can you make it across the pond?


The Slush Cup & Pig Roast Party takes place on April 15th at Kicking Horse. Throw on a costume and try to cross 75m of slush!


The Slushshine Rail Jam at Sunshine Village is part Rail Jam, part Slush Cup, and it is going to be a blast! So sign yourself up, or mark your calendar for May 19th, and watch riders and skiers take on a series of challenging features set up over water!


The Slush Cup on May 21st at Sunshine Village is the last slush cup of the year, so plan to be there and get rowdy while competitors attempt to make one last skim across the pond!


Just for Fun

Indulge your sweet tooth at the Kicking Horse Sugar Shack on March 24th and 25th where you can try maple syrup on snow, listen to live music, and eat A LOT of taffy!


Compete in the ShredAbility Fundraiser at Sunshine Village on April 7th! This mountain treasure hunt has teams of two completing adaptive challenges all over the mountain in support of Rocky Mountain Adaptive!


Test your building skills and design a dummy for the Panorama Dummy Downhill on April 8th! Can your creation make it down the slopes, or will it crash? (don’t worry there’s a prize for that too!)


Hula downhill on April 21st at Marmot Basin’s Aloha Cup! This all-ages race is full of banked turns, rollers and small jumps; it’s a fun way finish off the season. There are prizes for fastest run and for best costume, so grab your skis and dress to impress!


Get creative and build a cardboard sled for the Annual Lake Louise Cardboard Box Downhill Derby on April 22nd! Prizes will be given to the 3 fastest racers and the three coolest sleds, so remember: style counts!


Whether you are singing, skiing, or soaking wet (post-slush cup), enjoy your sunny spring days on the slopes!

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day 2018 in the Rockies

Don’t get pinched this St. Paddy’s Day! Throw on something green and get yourself to any one of these fabulously festive events!




Open Mic at Wild Life Distillery

What could be better than a St. Paddy’s Day open mic? A St. Paddy’s open mic with no cover and drinks made with Wild Life’s own spirits on special, that’s what!


St. Patrick’s Day at the Drake

The Orchard Trio is playing from 5 to 9, followed by The Hot O’Malleys on the main stage at 10. Jacks, Jameson’s and Guinness will be on special and there will be plenty of green beer for everyone!


St. Patrick’s Saturday at Tavern 1883

DJ Najee is playing, and Jameson shots and Kokanee are on special. Better yet? the Tavern will be opening the patio!





St. Patrick’s Day at Sunshine Village

Compete in the St. Paddy’s Day Treasure Hunt by finding one of the leprechauns and six clovers hidden on the mountain. Then head to the Sunshine Mountain Lodge, Mad Trappers or Creekside for a green beer and a corn beef sandwich!


Sasquatch St. Patrick’s Day

Party at the Dancing Sasquatch with DJ CAIN.1! Join the guest list for VIP access before 10:30 pm.


St. Patrick’s Day with Brent Lee, Andy Loops, Kev Dev & The Swillbillies

St. James’s Gate Irish Pub knows how to celebrate St. Paddy’s Day. The party starts at noon, but you can head there for breakfast as early as 10 am. There will be tons of giveaways, so get green and get there!


Dahlia & The Value Villains at Wild Bill’s

If you like St. Patrick’s Day served with a side of country, tuck your green pants into your cowboy boots and head to Wild Bills for a St. Paddy’s two-step!


St. Paddy’s Day at High Rollers

The lanes open at noon, the DJ is on at 4, and there is no end to the St. Patrick’s Day deals at High Rollers: $6 pints of green beer, $6 stout bombs, and $6 Jameson shots!



Lake Louise


Lucky Sevens St. Paddy’s Day Party

Lake Louise Ski Resort has teamed up with Monster Energy to bring the party to Lake Louise! Monster DJs will be taking over the Kokanee Kabin for this free, 18+ event! There will be a free shuttle service to Banff, so there’s no excuse to miss out on this St. Paddy’s après ski!





Eat, Drink & Be Irish

You won’t have to miss the St. Paddy’s fun if you are skiing at Marmot Basin. Pete Cherniawsky will be in the Caribou Chalet from 2 to 4 and you’ll find Irish food specials all over the mountain! Irish stout beef stew is being offered in the Eagles Nest and at the Caribou Lounge; corned beef is being served in the Paradise Café; and the Caribou Café is offering a classic Shepard’s pie.





The Best of Banff: Bison Restaurant

If you’re looking for a restaurant where bright and airy meets romantic and rustic, look no further than the Bison (211 Bear St, Banff). The restaurant boasts natural light thanks to three walls worth of windows, and the recently renovated space now gives customers an intimate look into the kitchen where the seasonal, regional, and Canadian menu items are prepared.

Dining Room at the Bison Restaurant

The renovated space at the Bison boasts bright light and an open concept. Photo Credit: Orange Girl










It’s hard to say what the best part of the Bison is because there is so much to appreciate; from the menu to the service, the Bison doesn’t cut corners.

If you’ve dined at the restaurant before, you’ll notice some changes to the current menu—fear not, though, because the same farm-to-table ethos is present in your options. Instead of filling up on one main dish, the portion sizes of the dishes have been made smaller so that you can order more to your table. Even better, the prices on the menu reflect the smaller portion sizes so that what you spend on several dishes now is what you would have spent on one main dish in the past. The menu is such that you don’t have to limit yourself to one choice, and sharing is made easy.

Knowing where your food comes from is also made easy: the menu features a map indicating where ingredients are regionally and provincially sourced. Should you need some recommendations, order (I repeat, ORDER!) the heritage wheat sourdough with cultured, housemade butter. There’s butter, and then there’s butter from the Bison (I’m still trying to figure out how I can bulk order their sourdough and butter). For main dishes, don’t hesitate to order the Alberta lamb or the bison burger.

Sourdough at the Bison Restaurant

Heritage Wheat Sourdough
Photo Credit: Orange Girl








Alberta Lamb Bison Restaurant

Alberta Lamb








Bear & Flower Pork Katsu at Bison Restaurant Banff

Bear & Flower Pork Katsu









Bison Burger at the Bison Restaurant Banff

Bison Burger











If you want a restaurant experience that makes you feel like you’re at a Calgary hot spot with Banff scenery, you won’t be disappointed at the Bison. The service is excellent and the waitstaff are well versed in all aspects of the menu so that recommendations and suggestions are educated and thoughtful responses to your needs and desires. Everyone from the hostess to the manager treats you like you’re someone important, and in a transient town like Banff, that level of service isn’t easy to find.

Eating at the Bison makes me feel like I’m a cooler person than I really am. You might feel that way, too.

Make a reservation by calling (403-762-5550) or by visiting the website where can book a table online (www.thebison.ca) for dinner or for Sunday brunch.

Table for Two at the Bison Restaurant

Get cozy and comfortable at a table for two at the Bison Restaurant.
Photo Credit: Orange Girl















By: Nicky Pacas





Nordic Tradition in Canadian Plaid

By Calli Naish

Tall trees and taller mountains: there couldn’t be a more perfect backdrop for Alberta’s first Nordic Spa. Nestled so comfortably in the Rockies that it seems like it has been there all along, the Kananaskis Nordic Spa combines elements of relaxation with the healing properties of water to create a spa experience unlike any other. The best part? You can stay ALL DAY LONG!

Hot tub with a view

Relax in the Spa Lodge

Founded in the Kneipp tradition of hydrotherapy, the spa features a series of outdoor pools of varying temperatures. You begin in a hot pool, then move to a natural pool slightly above body temperature, followed with a quick dip in the cold plunge pool before doing it all over again. This heat-cool-repeat cycle is designed to stimulate circulation and detox the body. The spa’s laid-back atmosphere, however, means there is nothing keeping you from spending all your time in the hottest tub or lounging in the salt-water float pool.

Hot Pool and Heated Robe Station

Hot Pool 

Cool Plunge Pool 

The spa also features Finnish, Barrel and Banya saunas, heated hammocks, social fire areas, and two steam cabins. The Eucalyptus Steam Cabin will use eucalyptus oils and the Alchemist Steam Cabin will offer a series of aromatherapy oils to compliment the changing seasons. There will also be an exfoliation cabin (not open at the time of this post) where you can rejuvenate your skin through self-exfoliating aromatic salts.

Finnish Sauna 

Barrel Sauna 

The spa is designed to accommodate everyone. Those who thrive on social energy may join in the company of others on the social side of the spa; however, those who are interested in meditative healing may enjoy the waters of the quiet pools or while adrift in the float pool (to be completed this summer).

Comfort in the Spa Lodge

The Spa Lodge has eight treatment rooms (and two couples’ rooms) where you can book a deep tissue, hot stone, or relaxation massage. The lodge is also home to the Spa’s Bistro where you can sip and savour with a view of the mountains.

Champagne in the Spa Lodge

The Relaxation Lodge, which will open in the summer, allows you to pair healing water therapies with mental recovery (which we could all use a little more of). There will be a dream lounge, a meditation labyrinth, heated lounge chairs with personal music stations, and finally, a 30-person yoga studio complete with aerial silk hammocks that yoga enthusiasts will appreciate .

The Spa Lodge and Bistro

The spa sells natural and sustainable beauty products by [comfort zone]. Currently, two lines are available (Skin Regimen and Tranquility), with plans to include more product lines as time goes on. Additionally, [comfort zone] Aromasoul oil blends will be featured within the spa treatment rooms and lodge.

Skin Regimen by [comfort zone]

Tranquility by [comfort zone]

Creating a “hot tub with a view” may have been the original goal for the spa renovation, but the Kananskis Nordic Spa has become so much more. Spa creators, Hank van Weelden and Jennifer Buckler, speak with such passion about their vision for the Knordic Spa that it is clear the project is a labour of love. Every detail has been curated to create an environment of true Canadian hospitality. So forget the typical spa stuffiness and slip into a guest robe designed in Canadian plaid. The tartan represents the four seasons in Canada, and the spa creators hope that you will embrace each of these seasons with equal fervor.

Canadian Plaid Robes

It’s all in the details

Planks made from trees felled at the site

Live edge wood adds to the rustic atmosphere of the spa

Founded on tradition, built of trees felled at its site, and immersed in Rocky Mountain culture, the Kananaskis Nordic Spa is designed to accommodate everyone by providing an atmosphere of collective healing and regeneration. Outside, the pools and buildings blend into the surrounding scenery seamlessly; inside, you are welcomed by the smell of cedar and the calm of a modern, yet rustic, communal space. Plaid robes, mountain air and Nordic knowledge: it is a place of mental and physical recovery enjoyed equally during the cold Canadian winter or in the short mountain summer.

Fireplace in the Spa Lodge

Phase 1 of the Knordic Spa is complete and will be open on weekends with most amenities available.

Phase 2 will be completed this summer.

Top 5 Spa Treatments in the Canadian Rockies

The Canadian Rockies are known for fast-paced activities like alpine skiing, mountain running, cross country skiing, biking, hiking, and rapid-fire Instagram posts. But sometimes, it’s nice to slow down, relax a little, and soothe your body after a day (or days) of mountain pursuits. Even if you haven’t pushed your body to its physical limits, there is no reason why you shouldn’t take advantage of the exceptional spa treatments available in the Canadian Rockies; a little self-care goes a long way.

1. Aromatic Moor Mud Wrap

Winter’s cold weather can be really hard on our skin. Battling the frigid temperatures of the outdoors and the dry air of the indoors can leave skin feeling a little lizard-like, especially if you’re not used to the climate of the Rocky Mountains.

At Wild Orchid Salon and Spa in Jasper, indulge in a Moor Mud wrap to exfoliate your skin and absorb the rich vitamins, minerals and enzymes of the warm aromatic mud. Wash away the mud (and your stress) in a cleansing steam shower before your skin is moisturized with high-quality products.

If you are someone who is prone to chronic pain, fatigue, rheumatism/arthritis pain, or post-sports injury, this treatment will alleviate sore muscles, aches and pains as your body’s circulation is stimulated.

To request an appointment, call 780-852-2111

Moor Mud Wrap Wild Orchid Jasper







2. Purifying Detox Facial

A new addition to the Spa at the Chateau Lake Louise, the Purifying Detox 60-Minute Facial is created to address all skin types and to help reverse environmental signs of aging. Unique purifying products powered by fruit enzymes, purple clay and essential oils, detox and deep clean your skin so that you can make the most of your wellness experience in Lake Louise.

To book an appointment, call +1 403 522 1545

Detox Facial at Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise








3. Couple’s Massage

Relax and connect during a couple’s massage at Wildflower Massage and Esthetics in Canmore. While two people receive massages from two different therapists at the same time, a couple’s massage can encourage bonding and mindfulness, and it’s a great way to carve out time with a partner.

While studies have shown that couples who work out together report higher levels of connectedness and motivation, it’s also important to slow down and share in the recovery together, too. The benefits of massage will see both partners with reduced pain, anxiety, and stress.

Book online or call 403.678.4644

Couples massage at Wildflower in Canmore









4. Signature Pedicure

When was the last time you thought about taking care of your feet? And not just putting on clean socks or keeping your toes warm, but really taking care of your feet? Our feet go through a lot: we shove our toes into too-tight ski boots, we wear fashionably freezing footwear, we step on pieces of abandoned Lego, and more than once, a toe has stubbed the corner of a bedframe.

At the Meadow Spa in Banff, thank your feet for all they do by getting a Signature Pedicure. The pedicure includes a soak, cuticle work, nail shaping, exfoliation, a soothing foot mud wrap, a lower-leg massage, a paraffin treatment, and a pressure point massage on the bottoms of the feet.

Call 866-379-0022 or 403-760-8577 to book your appointment

Pedicure Room at Meadow Spa Banff








5. Mountain Hot Stone Massage

No trip to the Canadian Rockies should ever be complete without a visit to the Willow Stream Spa at the Fairmont Banff Springs, and no one should ever go without a hot stone massage. In a Mountain Hot Stone Massage, feel the release and relief of deep-seated tension. During your treatment, an expert therapist uses a combination of hot basalt river stones, healing hands, and a warmed oil blend of lavender, ylang ylang, ginger and eucalyptus. You will leave with a feeling of increased mobility and relaxed muscles, while the aromatic oil blend will leave your senses feeling uplifted.

Call (403) 762-1772 for more information or to book your treatment.

Hot Stone Massage Fairmont








Do you want to relax in a spa setting without getting a treatment? Many spas allow clients to use their facilities by paying an access fee. Among many features, the Willow Stream Spa boasts three waterfall whirlpools and an indoor European mineral pool that are guaranteed to melt away your stresses and soothe your soul. At Meadow Spa in Banff, you can access the rooftop pools, private spa hot pool, sauna and fitness facility. Call for bookings and availability.

Fairmont Banff Springs Mineral Pool
















By: Nicky Pacas

Best of the Backcountry: Mount Engadine Lodge

The last time I stayed at Mount Engadine Lodge, I was 16 years old and my dad was turning 50. I’d spent years within the same proximity of the Lodge, skiing and training on the Mt. Shark cross-country trail system a few kilometers up the road, but I never had the opportunity to stop in and see the space. During the celebration of my dad’s birthday (to which my parents had invited several close friends), I seem to recall everyone having a really good time. What I remember of my personal time at the Lodge as an unimpressionable 16-year-old is that I slid the family SUV into a snow bank after finally being granted the rights to a learner’s driving permit.

Looking to replace my shameful memory of bad driving, I found myself back at Mount Engadine, 16 years later, 16 years wiser, and ready to create new (but no less impactful) memories.

Everything about Mount Engadine Lodge is welcoming, even the signs.







































Mount Engadine Lodge is located at the bases of Mt. Engadine and Mt. Shark in Spray Lakes Provincial Park. Easily accessible from Calgary and Canmore, and operated by Castleavery Hospitality Ventures Inc., the Lodge is a backcountry dream. It’s a space that reminds me of a deep backcountry lodge: there is no cell phone reception; there are no televisions; and meals are served so that everyone sits together at one big table, family-style. It’s a space that begs you to slow down and to enjoy being. Because of its location in the Provincial Park –one away from major highway traffic and light pollution— Mount Engadine Lodge is a good reminder of what silence sounds like; it’s a rare type of quiet that makes me appreciate being disconnected from my phone and email.

If you *have* to connect to wifi, it is available in public areas. Connecting with the fireplace is a lot more rewarding, though.




















Unlike a deep backcountry lodge, however, Mount Engadine is open all year and you can access it by car whenever you want. It doesn’t take a helicopter ride or an elaborate five-hour ski to get there. So if you want to bring your luxury bathrobe and a change of clothing for every possible weather event, go ahead and do it.


Even when the weather is frightful, the deck at Engadine is delightful. You can also see some of the guest cabins near the main lodge. Photo credit: Sebastian Buzzalino











If you never left your room at Mount Engadine Lodge, no one would blame you (especially because the rooms come with locally-made soap from the Rocky Mountain Soap Company). Photo credit: Sebastian Buzzalino












Like most backcountry lodges, the experience at Engadine is intimate. Accommodating a maximum of nineteen guests each night, the all-inclusive style of the Lodge encourages guests and staff to connect through conversation during meals, which often leads to conversations between meals, too. What begins as small talk about the day’s adventures among guests quickly evolves into praise for Chef Mandy Leighton’s three-course dinner (for your reference, during my stay I was treated to a plated appetizer of elk ribeye, a main course of grilled herbed chicken with mushroom and white wine risotto, and grilled broccolini, and finally earl grey crème brulée for dessert). It’s praise that comes upagain during breakfast, afternoon tea, and when you open your bagged lunch.

Brunch is made better with mimosas. Photo credit: Sebastian Buzzalino











If you’re an adventurer, Mount Engadine Lodge’s location is perfect for quick access to backcountry skiing terrain, groomed cross-country ski trails, snowshoeing and fat biking trails. There are sets of snowshoes and two fat bikes designated for guest use, so if you don’t have your own equipment or if you want to dip your toes into some outdoor winter fun, the Lodge has you covered. And at the end of the day, no matter what you did (or didn’t do), you’ve earned yourself a seat in the wood-fired sauna.

Skiing in the meadow below Mount Engadine Lodge. Photo credit: Noel Rogers









Perfect grooming on the Mount Shark cross-country ski trails



















Mount Engadine Lodge really delivers. From the setting to the meals, and from the activities to the accommodations, the new memories that I’ve formed have successfully replaced the shadow of my 16-year-old self, and they encourage me to return to the Lodge as frequently as possible—something that I plan on doing, whether for the night or just for brunch.

For more information on Mount Engadine Lodge (including details on making reservations for Sunday brunch), click here.




















By: Nicky Pacas

For the Love of Love! Valentine’s Day in the Canadian Rockies, Part 2

Let’s get real for a second: Valentine’s Day is so much more than one day. It takes coordination. It takes foresight. It takes the perfect card or box of chocolate curated well in advance of what is touted as the most romantic day of the year.

Remember in the Disney version of Beauty and the Beast when the Beast asks Cogsworth how he should win Belle’s love? Cogsworth tells him to do the usual things: “flowers, chocolates, promises you don’t intend to keep.”

For Valentine’s Day this year, don’t be a Cogsworth.

Last week we gave you some suggestions for how to show your love, and we’re back with a new list for you this week. The editors at Where Canadian Rockies are rooting for your Valentine’s Day success!


Valentine’s Week at the Creek

Maybe you love love so much that you want Valentine’s Day to last longer than one day. Maybe you don’t want to feel the pressure of demonstrating your love on February 14th and you think the 15th is more meaningful. Whatever your feelings are, think about booking a package at Baker Creek Mountain Resort in Lake Louise.

When you book a room through their “Valentine’s Week at the Creek” package, Baker Creek offers you a sweet treat upon your arrival, complimentary skate and snowshoe rentals, a fire pit reservation with an unlimited wood supply, and a fireside gourmet hot chocolate and s’more station.

The offer runs from February 14th to February 18th and starts at $150/night. There is also a special Alberta Resident Room Rate that starts at $139/night.

If you really want to impress your Valentine (or yourself, for that matter), enjoy the specially crafted tasting menu at the Baker Creek Bistro ($39 per person, plus tax and service).

For more information or to book your room, call 1-403-522-3761

Baker Creek Mountain Resort

Cozy up by the fire at Baker Creek










Love’s-a-Brewin’ at Kicking Horse

If ‘beer’ and ‘Valentine’s Day’ are synonymous for you, book a seat at the 2018 Brewmaster’s Dinner hosted in the Eagle’s Eye Restaurant at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort on February 16th.

At 7700 feet with 360-degree alpine views, experience mountaintop dining with canapés and an appetizer from the menu that boasts Surf & Turf and Vegan Pasta for entrées and a deconstructed lemon pie for dessert. Yes, you read that right: a deconstructed lemon pie (va va voom!)

You’ll also hear from Kent Donaldson from Whitetooth Brewing, and from Paul Walker of Stanley Park Brewing. At $79 (plus tax and gratuities) per guest, celebrate Valentine’s Day (or beer) on a Friday and show your true love that Brewmasters know how to do things right.

For booking or more information, call 250-439-5553

Dine on top of the world at the Eagle’s Eye Restaurant









Eagle's Eye Restaurant at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort

Picture yourself taking in the 360-degree mountain views during the 2018 Brewmaster’s Dinner. Photo: Liam Glass












For when Two is Better than One

Mountain Wellness Day Spa in Jasper makes it impossible for you to pull a Cogsworth with their Spa Packages for Two. Choose packages that range from a couple’s massage to body exfoliations and wraps (mimosas included!) to impress your best Valentine (or Galentine).

If you really want to step things up, book a Deluxe Package for Two offered exclusively at the Chateau Jasper location. Choose a Romance, Escape, or Wellness package and soak in their tub-for-two (…bathing suits optional!). Spa Packages for Two are offered all year, so we won’t blame you if you start celebrating Valentine’s Day on a weekly basis

For information or booking, call 780-852-3252


There is nowhere else you need to be once you’re on the massage table at Mountain Wellness Day Spa in Jasper











In the Market for Love

If you are in Canmore on February 14th, book a table at the Market Bistro in Three Sisters and enjoy an evening of delicious food and live music. The three-course menu features scallops, a baked goat cheese salad, beef brisket, salmon wellington, and a lava cake.

In 2017, the chef at Market Bistro was awarded “Best Chef of the Festival” at Canmore Uncorked and we can see why. The flavours on the Valentine’s Day menu are sure to impress, and at $55 per person, Valentine’s Day can be affordable but taste expensive.

Dinner seating begins at 5 p.m. with live jazz starting around 6 p.m.

For more information and for booking, call 403-675-3006


My Fair Romance

All year, the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge offers a Romance Package and we think there’s no better time to take advantage of it.

Stay for two nights in a Fairmont Room and receive wine and chocolate truffles upon your arrival, a $300 credit at the Fairmont Spa, a dinner for two, and daily breakfast at the ORSO Trattoria.

Starting at $599 per night, the Jasper Park Lodge will make you feel like royalty.

For more information, click here, or call 1-866-540-4454 to book your package.

The Romance Package at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge includes a $300 credit at the Fairmont Spa



Top 5 Things to do at the Canmore Winter Carnival

Winter often gets a reputation for its harsh weather, keeping us locked indoors, and for a muted colour palette. But we think winter deserves to be celebrated! While winter weather can sometimes hurt our faces, it also lets us ski and skate and slide. We can drink hot chocolate without regret (we need it to stay warm, right?), we can cozy up to warm fires, and we can experience our mountain terrain in different ways. There’s also no better way to celebrate winter than to take part in the Canmore Winter Carnival, which runs from February 1st to the 11th. With lots going on, here are our top five things to do this year:


1. Opening Night!
Friday, February 2

Bring your kids and celebrate the opening reception of the Canmore Winter Carnival at the Canmore Civic Centre. From 5 p.m. – 8 p.m., grab a marshmallow and cozy up to a bonfire while you take in live performances and a DJ. A display of children’s art will also be on show.

Maple Taffy Temptations. Photo by Jvan Ommeren















2. Ice Carving Competition at the Civic Centre
Saturday, February 3

The Ice Magic festival in Lake Louise is over, but the magic lives on in Canmore! Watch carvers impressively transform blocks of ice into sculptures that fit this year’s theme of Hockey. Competition begins at 9 a.m. with judging at 3:30 p.m. Is there a sculpture that you like the most? Cast your People’s Choice vote and see who wins the award at 4:30 p.m.

Joe Martin of Canmore works on his first place award winning owl ice carving at the annual Ice Carving contest in the Canmore Civic Centre at the Canmore Winter Carnival on Sunday, February 5, 2017. photo by Pam Doyle.













3. Snowy Owl Kid N Mutt Races
Sunday, February 4

The Canmore Nordic Centre hosts world-class competitions on a regular basis, and this event is no different! Come up and cheer on teams of kids and sled dogs as they race for glory and kibble. Races are ongoing between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.

While you’re up at the Nordic Centre, why not try a drop-in cross country ski lesson at Trail Sports? On weekends and holidays, the local shop located at the Nordic Centre hosts 1.5 hour group lessons (both skate and classic techniques are offered) for $45/person. No pre-booking is required, although you need to register by 10:30 a.m. Lessons begin at 11 a.m.

Kid N Mutt Races at the Canmore Nordic Centre. Photo by Pam Doyle










4. Rogers Hometown Hockey
February 10 & 11

If the good ol’ hockey game is the best game you can name, then make sure you experience a weekend-long celebration of all things community, and all things hockey! The event takes place in downtown Canmore on Main Street (8th St) and at the Canmore Civic Centre.

There will be performances by On-the-Bench and by country music star, Paul Brandt. You can also take part in family-friendly activities like the Rogers Fan Hub, the Sportsnet Virtual Photo, a McDonald’s Ball Hockey Rink featuring local Minor Hockey teams, a Playmobil Kids Zone, the Scotiabank Community Locker Room, a Dodge Stow n’ Go Challenge, a Dr. Oetker Giuseppe Pizzeria, and much more.

With community events like pancake breakfasts to fuel you up, you can be at your best for the live pre-game and NHL game broadcast between the Calgary Flames and New York Islanders, hosted by Ron MacLean and Tara Slone.

You can also catch a glimpse of hockey greats, Ryan Smyth, Brendan Morrison, and Lanny McDonald

Parking in Canmore is limited, so ROAM Transit is offering free local transit service on February 10th and 11th. For information on the transit schedule, click here.

For more information on Rogers Hometown Hockey, click here.


5. Log Sawing Competition
Sunday, February 11

Grab your plaid-print flannel and make your way down to the Log Sawing Competition. Between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., watch feats of Canadian athleticism as competitors aim to be the faster sawyer.

All cheering should be done in Canadian (eh! eh! eh!)

Dan Brown, left, and Clayton Williams compete in the log sawing contest as Woodpecker European Timber Framing project manager Markus Temmen supervises at the Canmore Winter Carnival on Sunday, February 5, 2017. Photo by Pam Doyle












More information on the Canmore Winter Carnival can be found here.

Where’s Where to Après Ski

By Where Writers

So you want to après ski, eh?

From ski hills to yoga studios, and breakfast joints to late night pubs, we’ve created the definitive list for après ski activities in the Canadian Rockies. Without bias, we can certainly declare that our list if the best list. Read on!


Pre-après your Day

Sometimes the most important part of your ski day happens before you squeeze your feet into boots.

Saltlik Steakhouse Caesar















Stretch out before you head out with lululemon Banff. They host free Sunday morning classes so that you can get ready for a whole day of skiing … or recover from one.

Fuel the whole family at Craigs’ in Canmore. This classic diner serves hearty breakfasts that are sure to give you energy for the entire day.

Late night? Rally in Canmore with a fresh-pressed juice from Toniq or a Hangover Wrap from Harvest (718, 10 St., Canmore). If you are in Banff and feeling a little worse-for-wear, grab a day-saving Caesar at Saltlik. Rumor has it that any of these cures will have you back on the slopes in no time.


Wear your Ski Boots

In a mountain town you can wear your gear with pride, so long as you know where to go…

Get your après on at these on-hill locales (goggles optional):

  1. The Caribou Lounge at Marmot Basin offers food and drink specials every weekend from 2 till 5 (and that includes Friday).
  2. Mad Trappers resides in the original Sunshine Village ski lodge, so you can après the same way the very first skiers did. Sunshine’s other favourite end of day spot, The Chimney Corner, offers fireside lounging for cold days and an outdoor terrace for sunny ones.
  3. It’s said that the Kokanee Kabin at the Lake Louise Ski Resort has the “best draught deck in the Rockies,” but we’ll let you be the judge of that.
  4. Stop for a late lunch or an early après on the deck at Nakiska’s Mid-Mountain Lodge, or pop up to the Finish Line Lounge for a post-ski poutine.
  5. Pause for a pint at Norquay’s Lone Pine Pub before heading back down into Banff.
  6. If you’ve crossed over into BC for the weekend, treat yourself to a traditional Raclette Après at Panorama’s Elkhorn Cabin, or take in live music and après specials from the Whitetooth Grill at Kicking Horse.

If you can make it up the stairs in your ski boots, we’ll lay a bet that you can dance in them too. You might head to Wild Bill’s in Banff for the drinks, but you’ll wind up staying for dinner and likely late into the night when the live music starts and the real fun begins!


Grab Some Grub

Some of us are in it for the adventure, some of us are in it for the party, some of us are in it for the scenery, but ALL of us are in it for the FOOD!

Mountain Mercato Après Ski Special











Bite into the burger of your dreams at Eddie Burger (137 Banff Ave., Banff). The Grass Fed Rancher has us drooling, but maybe you’ll go for the Aussie Burger (topped with grilled pineapple, beets and a fried egg!). No matter what toppings you choose, we’re sure you’ll be satisfied.

If your post-hill cravings are for finer fare, the Juniper Bistro in Banff offers an après ski lounge menu starting at 3 pm, and Murrieta’s in Canmore offers half price appies and $5 beer and wine, Monday to Friday 3 to 6 pm.

Mountain Mercato (817 8st., Canmore) is a local favourite, and with their beer and panini combo for $15, we can understand why. Head there between 4 and 6 pm to get yours.

Baker Creek Bistro in Lake Louise offers their winter appetizer menu from 2 to 5 pm. These seasonal selections pair beautifully with fireplaces and afternoon cocktails.


Get Your Game On

If the slopes were great, but you spent all day worrying about the score, don’t worry; you can catch up on all your favourite teams (and Olympic athletes) no matter where you are in the Rockies.

Montana’s Game Night













If you’re in Jasper, O’Shea’s has game night specials and Montana’s has great game day door prizes.

In Banff you can cheer on your team at Melissa’s and you won’t miss one word of the commentary because each table has its own speaker. Join passionate locals at Tommy’s, a favourite hangout of everyone in Banff.

Pull up a chair anywhere at the Iron Goat in Canmore. The two-story restaurant has TVs on both floors so you won’t miss the game no matter where you are seated.


Après Hour is the Happiest Hour

We’re pretty sure that après ski is French for Happy Hour, no matter what you say.

Crazyweed Crab Fundido













Crazyweed In House Smoked Camembert


Jasper Brewing Co. has great vibes and luckily, the end of your ski-day coincides nicely with their Happy Hour. From 3 to 6 pm, enjoy $4 pints of local brews and $1 off mixed drinks from the bar.

Canmore’s Crazyweed calls 3 to 5 pm “Crazy Hour”, probably because they offer a crazy awesome sharing menu including Taber Corn & Crab Fundido and In House Smoked Camembert.

From 5 to 7 pm you will find daily drink and food specials at the De’d Dog Bar & Grill in Jasper. This means $6 pints of seasonal ale and Sriracha cod Sandwiches on Saturdays, and steak night Sundays with $5.25 pints of Keith’s.


Soothe It Out

If dinner sounds nice, but your sore legs have you feeling wobblier than Bambi on ice, maybe try out a few of these active recovery methods first.

Wildheart Studio















Wildheart Studio


Do your stretches at Canmore’s Wildheart in their Snow Flow yoga class on Monday and Saturday evenings. This class is designed to help you relax into a deep stretch after a day on the slopes as well as build strength for your next lengthy ski day. Jasper Wellness offers a similar class, Après Activity, on Saturday afternoons at 4 pm. This class will help you finish off your day by re-lengthening.

The Willow Stream Spa at the Banff Springs offers a variety of massages including a deep tissue massage to help your muscles recover from strenuous exercise or you can soak it out in one of the three waterfall treatment whirlpools.

Come Home to Canmore


Greet Adventure from your Front Door

Those unfamiliar with Canmore may think of it as the gateway to Banff, but for those who live here, Canmore is the center of mountain adventure. It’s the kind of town that you can visit for a weekend, but as you get ready to leave, you realize that you’ve only just begun to scratch the surface of what you can do here.

The clean alpine air somehow convinces you to get outside even on the coldest days, and mountain shade provides a welcome respite from the hot sun in summer months. The town is one that thrives on community and togetherness, and its growth is easily attributable to visitors quickly realizing that while a weekend in Canmore is nice, a lifetime of weekends is ideal. Here, living and adventure are mutually inclusive.

The landscape of Canmore is vast, but the amount of land available for residential building is small in comparison. Commitments to maintaining wildlife corridors and the natural environment for all who experience the town make opportunities to purchase a new home a rare commodity. Unlike Banff, which has a ‘need-to-reside’ policy preventing part-time and vacation ownership in the townsite, Canmore allows anyone interested in living in the mountains a place to hang their coat after a day outside.










Stewart Creek, nestled at the base of the iconic trio of peaks known as the Three Sisters, is a burgeoning community of open and green spaces begging to be explored. It’s a location close to downtown, but it affords the quiet, laidback lifestyle for those trying to get away from busy urban centers. When you need them, scenic river pathways lead you into town where you can live the outdoors and experience the arts within minutes of each other.

The views are stunning: Pigeon Mountain to the east, Cascade Mountain to the west.

It’s an escape, but it’s not isolating. The innovative, contemporary mountain architecture of Stewart Creek reflects rustic lifestyle and luxury, and the community attracts newcomers and longtime residents, first-time homeowners and retirees. It offers something for everyone.

Stewart Creek extends to buyers the convenience of working with homebuilders, like Devonian Properties, Distinctive Homes, QuantumPlace, Renaissance, Versant at Stewart Creek, NuAlpine, and Legend Developments, who want to customize or modify homes to fit a buyer’s needs. Offering a range of homes, from single-family to duplex-style and multi-family units, the builders of Stewart Creek design and construct residences so that they accommodate the lifestyles of the homeowners living in them.

The best way to experience Canmore is close up, so do it! Come to town and visit Stewart Creek and pick out the views you will look forward to for decades. Take a walk though a show home or sales center and stay a while; this is your home now, too.

Visit tsmv.ca for more information.



Layer Up

Winter in the Canadian Rockies is predictably unpredictable. While cold temperatures are guaranteed, warm Chinook winds can sometimes have us thinking about spring in January. The best way to dress for the varying weather conditions of the Rockies is to dress in layers so that as the temperatures change, you don’t have to.

BASE LAYERS sit closest to your skin and keep you dry by wicking away moisture.









  1. Helly Hansen Lifa Merino Crew. 100% merino wool conbined with Lifa® Stay Warm Technology in a 2 layer construction. Available at Helly Hansen
  2. Patagonia Capilene® Midweight Zip-neck. Superior warmth, breathability and moisture-wicking performance. Available at Patagonia Banff and Valhalla Pure Outfitters
  3. Lolë Shop Lolë Banff, Jasper, and Valhalla Pure Outfitters
  4. Icebreaker Sprite Hot Pants (w) and Anatomica Boxers (m). Available at Valhalla Pure Outfitters. Icebreaker also at Chateau Mountain Sports (Banff, Lake Louise), Monod Sports, Wilson Sports Lake Louise and Gravity Gear Jasper
  5. The North Face Warm Me Up Tights (w) densely knit, compressive tights that are warm, breathable and moisture-wicking. Available at the North Face Banff. The North Face also at Sports Experts and at Wild Mountain Jasper. Icebreaker Oasis Leggings with fly (m). Enough warmth under a pant for really cold days in winter sports.
  6. Smartwool PhD Ski Medium socks. Breathable Merino blend with targeted ventilation zones and cushioning. Available at Valhalla Pure Outfitters. Smartwool also at Monod Sports, Wilson Sports and Chateau Mountain Sports.














MID-LAYERS wick away moisture, too, but they also add insulation.








  1. Helly Hansen Astra Jacket. A mix of insulation and jersey, this jacket is as fashionable as it is functional. Available at Helly Hansen.
  2. The North Face Ventrix Hoodie. A lightly insulated hoodie that features state-of-the-art Ventrix™ ventilation for balanced warmth and breathability. Perforations in key areas are designed to expand and dump heat or contract and retain as you move. Available at the North Face.
  3. Marmot Toaster Capri. Quick-drying, Primaloft®-insulated tight. Available at Valhalla Pure Outfitters.

OUTER-LAYERS fit comfortably over your base and mid-layers to protect you from wind, cold and precipitation.









  1. Helly Hansen Elevation Shell. A jacket tested by professional free skiers and constructed with superior breathability, this shell features large cuffs that are easy to adjust with your mitts on. To maintain airflow and wicking capabilities, the jacket is designed to keep your backpack from pressing against your body. Visible colours and a relaxed fit are safety and function features worth wearing. Available at Helly Hansen.
  2. Arc’teryx Sentinel Pant. Made with GORE-TEX® and lined with flannel, these pants enable movement while keeping you protected. Available at Monod Sports.
  3. Camp Brand Goods Heritage Toque, Hestra Army Leather Heli Mitt and Sorel Joan of Arctic Boots available at Valhalla Pure Outfitters.
  4. Buff Knitted Polar Neckwarmer. Buff available at Ultimate Ski & Ride, Monod Sports, Chateau Mountain Sports, Valhalla Pure Outfitters, and Sports Experts.


By: Nicky Pacas
Photos: Jade Wetherell
Art: Alex Mukai Jr.

What to do during Ice Magic & Snow Days

By: Calli Naish


The days are getting longer, the snow is getting deeper, and it’s the perfect time to celebrate winter in Banff and Lake Louise because Snow Days and Ice Magic start this week!


January 18, 19 and 20

Watch artists turn massive blocks of ice into glittering sculptures at the Lake Louise Ice Carving festival. The event takes place at the Chateau Lake Louise and although tickets are required between 10 am and 5:30 pm on weekends, the sculptures can be viewed for free outside of these times and during the week.

Photo by Kelly MacDonald, courtesy of Banff & Lake Louise Tourism











January 19

The pressure is on at the One Hour, One Carver, One Block speed-carving event! Watch 10 carvers compete as fast as they can outside the Kokanee Kabin at the Lake Louise Ski Resort, and then vote for your favourite sculpture. The carving will take place between 2:30 and 3:30 pm, but you can always check out the impressive results after the competition is over.

Photo by Kelly MacDonald, courtesy of Banff & Lake Louise Tourism











January 19

Test your ingenuity and your nerve by entering the Cardboard Sled Derby and racing your own handmade sled down Mt. Norquay. Be sure to design a trendy toboggan because prizes are being awarded for best overall, as well as fastest sled and best crash. The event begins at 7 pm and entry is $10 at the door.


January 19 & 20

Lace up your skates and join DJ Hunnicutt and DJ Co-Op at the All-Canadian Skate Parties. The parties are family friendly and are hosted at the Banff High School field from 7 to 10 pm on Friday, and from 1 to 4 pm on Saturday.


January 20

Watch local and international snow artists put the finishing touches on the infamous Snow Days snow sculptures from 6 to 9 pm. You can find these masterpieces at the Bear Street festival area where there will be bonfires and dancing into the night.

Photo by Kelly MacDonald, courtesy of Banff & Lake Louise Tourism










Photo by Kelly MacDonald, courtesy of Banff & Lake Louise Tourism




















January 20 & 21

Celebrate the snow with FIS World Snow Days! To encourage families to get out and explore the snow, kids will ski for free all weekend at the Lake Louise Ski Resort. Plus there are family discounts on tubing and on lessons, making it the perfect time for skiers and non-skiers to enjoy the slopes together!


January 20, 21, 27 and 28

Learn how to snowshoe at the Snowshoe Sampler! Meet on the Lake Louise shoreline between 10 am and 3 pm for some games and activities led by a Parks Canada interpretive guide. Snowshoes are provided so it’s the perfect time to try out a new winter sport.


January 26

Experience an evening of winter celebration at the Lake Louise Torchlight Dinner. The evening begins at 3:30 pm with après drinks and appies at the Whitehorn Bistro, where you’ll be entertained with an ice carving demo before doing some carving of your own as you ski by torchlight down the freshly groomed runs. The evening finishes off with a buffet dinner at the Sitzmark Lounge and live music by One Night Band. If an evening of dinner and dancing sounds great, but you could do without the skiing, no worries; you can purchase tickets specifically for the post-ski activities. This event is popular so be sure to book your spots ahead of time!


January 27 & 28

Excite your creative side at the Ice that Inspires carving demo, where one of the carving competitors will demonstrate the precision and artistry of ice carving. Tickets are required and the demonstrations take place between 10 am and 5 pm at the Chateau Lake Louise.


All Festival Long

Step 1: Consult this map (for snow) or head to Lake Louise (for ice)


Step 2: Find the 10 snow sculptures in downtown Banff (plus 2 at Mt. Norquay), or the ice sculptures outside the Chateau Lake Louise


Step 3: Take a moment to take in the magic of winter in the Canadian Rockies


Step 4: Tag @whererockies in your favourite winter masterpiece photos and we’ll feature them in our Instagram Story



On January 20, 21, 27 and 28, free shuttles will run from the Lake Louise Samson Mall, to the Upper Lake Louise Parking Lot. The first shuttle leaves from the Samson Mall at 10:30 am and the last shuttle leaves from the Upper Parking Lot at 6 pm. No pets will be allowed on the shuttle.