By Where Staff
Although the Canadian Rockies is a fantastic destination year round, we admit, sometimes the weather doesn’t cooperate when we want to ski or hike. Don’t let shoulder season conditions get you down! Here are some ways to ensure fun times, any time of year.
Have Dinner with a View: Cozy up in a Banff Gondola car and glide to the top of Sulphur Mountain. Marvel at the expansive views of snowy Cascade and Rundle mountains, and the fairytale-esque Fairmont Banff Springs hotel. Make an evening of it: a three-course ‘Alpine Lights’ Alberta prime rib dinner is served Saturdays (to May 12) with a side of twinkling Banff lights.
Go Indoor Rock Climbing: Want to try climbing but don’t have a partner? The 11,000-sq ft climbing walls at Canmore’s Elevation Place feature six auto-belay systems that require little experience to use. Ask staff for help learning the ropes (pun intended). Rental gear is available.
Shop for Unique Décor: The Tin Box in Canmore offers gurgle pots—vibrantly coloured fish-shaped water carafes that gurgle as you pour. Take your pick of handcrafted wood, from rustic-yet-elegant boxes and chests to photo frames. Or choose puzzle piece wall décor—frames, clocks and quotes that connect like a jigsaw for a collage.
Visit Banff’s Reborn Train Station: Built in 1910, the Banff Railway Station’s architecture earned it Canadian Heritage status. Underused in recent years, the new leaseholder’s grand plan to revitalize the station has yielded interim results. Inside is an information desk, activity booking kiosk, coffee shop, car rental, and Greyhound bus and Rocky Mountaineer train depots.
Crack Your Own Geode: At Pipestone Quarry in Lake Louise, you can split open your own geode, a rock formed inside a volcano, to expose the crystal core. “The most popular are ‘Las Choyas Geodes’ from Mexico,” says owner Danny Dorion.
Go to the Salon: New on Canmore’s salon scene is Fascination Haircuts & Clothes. Owner Ute van Essen, who hails from Germany, is joined by established local stylist Zac Jones. Their European-inspired cut-and-go ($20-$26) includes a professional wash and cut and style-it-your-way at a DIY station. They also carry clothes by Exatmo—vamped-up traditional German styles with corsets, buckles and ruffles.
Get Fit For Free: Lolë Banff well-being sessions embrace this activewear store’s motto ‘Live Out Loud Everyday’. Bow Valley fitness instructors lead free meetups that encourage movement and outdoor enjoyment. Yoga, crossfit and dance events are popular. Drop by the shop or visit their Facebook page for details.
Host Game Night: These picks from Canmore’s Armadillo Games will keep you entertained. Munchkin is a bit like Dungeons & Dragons, but no role-playing required. Settlers of Catan is a holding acquisition game that’s so popular, cafés and pubs host tournaments. Ticket to Ride is railway-themed, easy to learn and never the same twice, with myriad expansion options.
>> For more Canadian Rockies activities, shops, restaurants and entertainment, read our digital magazine.