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Jasper & Area

Celebrate Easter 2018 with Brunch in the Canadian Rockies

At long last, spring has sprung and that has all of us at Where Canadian Rockies thinking about chocolate, fresh flowers, and Easter. Whether you celebrate Easter, or you just want to celebrate the glory of brunch, here is a round-up of some of this year’s best Easter brunch options in the Canadian Rockies:
*we’ve included a few non-brunch Easter activities, too!

Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge

At the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, “leave the kitchen behind and let [the] Fairmont Chefs cook your Easter dinner!” A Saturday night Easter dinner is served in the Beauvert Dining room at a cost of $77/adult, and $28/child (children 5 and under are free).

The next morning, indulge in Easter brunch from the same dining room and try to catch a glimpse of the Easter bunny as you look out toward Lac Beauvert. The cost for brunch is $55/adult, and $28/child (children 5 and under are free).

Be sure to call for reservations for both Easter Dinner on Saturday night, and for Brunch on Sunday.

The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge also hosts a series of fun Easter events for kids, like crafts, an Easter Egg Hunt, an Easter Bunny Tuck-in, and Bingo!

The Post Hotel and Spa

Each year, the Post Hotel and Spa in Lake Louise hosts an extravagant Easter brunch in their beautifully arranged dining room. This year, be part of the cherished tradition on April 1st between 11:30 am and 2:00 pm and taste an exceptional brunch menu prepared by the Post Hotel’s international cooking team led by European-trained Executive Chef, Hans Sauter. After brunch, take in the mountain views as you explore the grounds of the hotel.

For reservations or questions, call 403-522-3989

Eggs Benedict Post Hotel Lake Louise

Courtesy of the Post Hotel









Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel

The Easter fun continues in Banff at the Fairmont Banff Springs where you can experience the best of brunch at the Riverview Brunch Buffet on Sunday, April 1st from 10:00 am – 2:30 pm. Enjoy traditional Easter menu items as well as new favourites from the live cooking stations. While children revel in their Easter delights, adults can revel in their complimentary welcome mimosa.

Cost: $85/adult; $50/children (ages 6-12)

Reservations can be made online here or by calling 403-762-6860.

Are you interested in celebrating Easter like royalty? The Fairmont Banff Springs is offering a special Easter tea service in the Rundle Lounge. Choose from one of 12 fine loose-leaf teas and satisfy your sweet (or savory) tooth with the accompanying pastries and finger sandwiches. This special tea service is offered from March 30th through April 1st from 11:00 am – 5:00 pm.

Cost: $65/adults; $35/children. Reservations can be made online here or by calling 403-762-6860.

Waldhaus Pub

You can also make your way to the Waldhaus Pub (the “House in the Forest”) for an à la carte menu featuring items like eggs Benedict and banana French toast on Saturday, March 31st and Sunday, April 1st from 11:00 am – 2:00 pm. No reservations are required.

The Rimrock Hotel

All of your favourite items are available this year at the Rimrock Resort Hotel’s Easter Brunch (think: breakfast sausages, eggs Benedict, pancakes, omelet station…), but add some new dishes to your list of Easter desires, like the Crossiant Breakfast Strata with smoked salmon, capers, chives and asparagus; or the grilled pork loin chops with lemon, wild mushroom and arugula.

Mount Engadin Lodge

Get out of town and into the wilderness by making your way to Mount Engadin Lodge. On April 1st, the Lodge is hosting a special Easter brunch menu offering house-made salmon gravlax benedict, maple pecan waffles, potato vegetable hash topped with sunny side eggs, and their ever-popular cocktails such as the Mountain Mimosa and the Canada150 Classically Canadian Caesar. With unbeatable views and food, Mount Engadin Lodge is also offering an unbeatable price; for only $25 per adult, and $17.50 for children, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t un-plug and celebrate spring from the middle of nature.

Call 403-678-4080 or email mountengadin@castleavery.ca to make a brunch reservation or for more details.

Canadian Caesar at Mount Engadin Lodge

Courtesy of Mount Engadine Lodge



Are you looking for other Easter activities?

-On Easter Sunday at the Jasper Skytram, do your best to find the coloured eggs hidden throughout the station and in the snow at the Upper Terminal. Bring the eggs to the Upper Terminal desk to be rewarded with a sweet surprise! Better still, the Easter Bunny is making a stop at the Skytram in the afternoon, so make sure you get a photo with the seasonal celebrity!

-At Mount Norquay, enjoy Easter brunch served in the Lone Pine Restaurant ($25/adult; kids 6-14, $18) on April 1st from 10:00 am – 1:00 pm. No reservations or advanced bookings are required, but seating is on a first come, first serve basis.
Norquay is also hosting a free Easter egg hunt. Registration begins at 9:30 am in the main lodge. The hunt begins at 10:00 am. For more information, call 403-762-4421 or email park@banffnorquay.com.

-Meet the Easter Bunny at Sunshine Village on March 31st and April 1st! Mr. and Mrs. Bunny will be in the Village from 11 am – 2 pm on Saturday, and on Sunday, they are hosting a special Egg Hunt at the top of the Strawberry chair at 11:30 am.

-At Marmot Basin, join in the Easter egg hunt beginning at first chair on the lower mountain. Search for colourful eggs at the Magic Carpet, School House, and Home Run, and trade them at the Group Sales desk in the Rental Area of the Lower Chalet for special Easter treats. Keep your eyes peeled for Jasper the Bear and his pal, the Easter Bunny.

-At the Lake Louise Ski Resort, the Easter Bunny is on duty from March 30th-April 1st with a basket full of chocolate eggs! On April 1st, kids 12 and under are invited to join in for a free Easter egg hunt at Temple Lodge. Look for the hunt organizers on the patio just before noon.

However you celebrate Easter this year, may it be a day full of chocolate and fresh mountain air!

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 April 7th, 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!

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

10 Tips for Winter Camping in Jasper National Park


By Calli Naish

Photo by Ryan Bray courtesy of Tourism Jasper


They say there are only two seasons in Canada: Winter and July. And while some Canadians curl up indoors only venturing out for their morning Tim Horton’s fix, the crazier Canucks refuse to miss an opportunity to get outside (even if it’s well below 0°). For those of you who need to test your cold temperature tolerance, here’s a list of winter camping tips (because being prepared isn’t just for the Boy Scouts!)


1. Location. Location. Location.


Photo by Jeff Bartlett courtesy of Tourism Jasper


Choosing the right place for your winter camping excursion depends on your experience, your equipment, and ultimately, what your plans are while you’re roughing it. Whether you plan on skiing, snowshoeing or just sitting fireside, there are 5 campgrounds in Jasper National Park that can accommodate your winter adventures.


Photo by Adam Greenberg courtesy of Tourism Jasper


For a detailed description of Jasper’s winter campgrounds, see the end of this post.


2. Pack Smart


Brian Catto, a Senior Parks Canada interpreter who organizes the programming at the Whirlpool Winter Hub (including the Learn to Winter Camp program), gives great advice for winter camping. He stresses that those who venture out need to understand that summer and winter camping gear are not the same. For example, most people who camp in the summer use a 1-season tent, but for winter camping you need a 4-season tent. Understanding these differences and knowing what to pack are essential to having an enjoyable winter camping experience.

If you are new to camping there are resources to help you get your packing started. MEC has put together a great Winter Camping Gear Check List and Parks Canada has a Winter Backcountry Equipment Checklist. Although these lists may include items above and beyond what you need for a short weekend camping excursion, they will help you build a customized list for your own trip. Add your fat bike and head to Pyramid Lake so you can try out the Pyramid Front Trail, or bring your skis so you can spend a day on the slopes at Marmot Basin.


If you have some unchecked boxes on your equipment list, you can find camping gear at any of these Jasper stores:

Totem Ski Shop and Everest Outoor Store sell tents, sleeping bags, various camping items, how-to books and even some packable snacks.

Gravity Gear sells camp stoves and fuel, as well as last-minute items like headlamps.

Wild Mountain sells tents and sleeping bags, including a sleeping bag that’s rated for -29°C!


3. It’s all in the Set-Up


Photo by Ryan Bray courtesy of Tourism Jasper


This tip is primarily for the tenters out there because if you are camping in an RV, you will have most of your set up already completed. No matter where you sleep, make sure that you have lawn chairs or foam pads for the picnic table so that you aren’t sitting in snow (try Heat-A-Seats for extra warmth).


Tent Tips

Dig a small area in the snow for your tent so that you have some shelter from the wind.

Pack down the remaining snow so that you have a flat surface for your tent and to prevent sinking in the snow at night. This will also prevent you from stepping in a soft spot of snow and tearing through your tent floor.

Stake that tent! Don’t be deterred by the hard ground, winter weather is variable and often windy so it is important to make sure your tent is secure. Though it is easier to drive stakes into the soft snow, you can purchase stakes that will push through the frozen ground.


4. Dress to Impress Stay Warm!


Photo by Jade Wetherell


The key to enjoying winter camping is never feeling too cold – this means layering! Brian Catto emphasizes the importance of knowing how to properly layer for winter weather. Lucky for you we have an entire blog (and article in our magazine) dedicated to teaching you how to layer for winter warmth. Make sure that you pack extra layers so that you always have a dry change of clothes. Also, throw an extra set of mitts and a spare toque in your bag because cold fingers and ears will seriously bring down your pro-winter vibes.


Facing a drop in temperature you aren’t prepared for? Stop in at Löle, Jasper Source for Sports, Totem Ski Shop, Everest Outdoor Store, Edge Control Ski Shop, Gravity Gear, Wild Mountain, or On-Line Sport for some last-minute layers.


5. Sweet dreams are made of heat


Photo by Ryan Bray courtesy of Tourism Jasper


The only thing worse than feeling cold is feeling cold when you are trying to sleep. To prevent a night of tossing, turning and shivering, you will need:

The right tent – the only tent for winter camping is a 4-season tent.

The right sleeping pad – those super comfortable, air-filled camping mattresses create a cold layer of air between you and the ground. For winter camping choose a sleeping pad with an R-value of 4 or more.

The right sleeping bag – you will need a sleeping bag that’s rated for the cold temperatures that you expect while camping. Brian notes to keep in mind that the accuracy of these ratings will vary from person to person. If you are the type of person who gets cold in September and stays that way until May, you’ll want to be prepared with some comfortable layers you can wear to bed.


6. Get Active


Photo by Ryan Bray courtesy of Tourism Jasper


If you are going to brave cold nights, make the most of your sunny days! There are tons of great activities in Jasper National Park that will let you explore and get your heart pumping, including cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, snowshoeing, and fat-tire biking.


Photo by Jeff Bartlett courtesy of Tourism Jasper


If you don’t have your own equipment for an activity that you want to try, you can rent!

Edge Control Ski Shop (cross-country skis, skis/snowboards)

Everest Outdoor Store (snowshoes)

FreeWheel (fat bikes, skis/snowboards)

Gravity Gear (skis/snowboards, snowshoes)

Jasper Source for Sports (cross-country skis, fat bikes, skis/snowboards, snowshoes)

Totem Ski Shop (skis/snowboards, snowshoes)


7. More than Marshmallows


Photo by Chris Hendrickson courtesy of Tourism Jasper


Sitting around a fire and roasting marshmallows might be the most iconic camping scene of all time, but winter weather takes round-the-fire moments from quintessential to essential. Fires are perfect for drying out your ski socks and warming up before calling it a night. Check out Leave No Trace for campfire guidelines and make sure that you are prepared with fire starters, paper, kindling, and an extra lighter.


Once you’ve built a roaring fire, throw on some fire resistant apparel before settling in for campfire stories; you don’t want to find holes in your GORE-TEX ski jacket in the morning. Wool is naturally fire-retardant so it’s a good time to pull out that oversized itchy wool sweater from grandma.


8. Don’t be Hangry


Cold weather and active days are going to leave you hungry, and making meals in mittens isn’t an easy task. Quick and easy meals will help you avoid hanger-fuelled moments that you might regret later. Single pot entrées, freeze-dried meals and no-cook eats are great options for winter camping meals. Plus there is no better way to wake up on a wintery morning than with a warm bowl of instant oatmeal and a hot cup of coffee.


If your campsite does not have water, don’t worry! You are surrounded by an abundance of it and, since you will likely need boiling water for much of your cooking, melting snow won’t even add a step. However, it’s important to remember that melted snow and clean drinking water are not the same thing. Boil snow for at least 10 minutes and consider using water treatment methods before drinking.


9. Let there be Light (and Power)!


It gets dark early in the winter, which means if you aren’t prepared for nightfall you will be setting up your camp stove, lighting your fire, and making your dinner in the dark. Although accomplishing all this sans light would be highly impressive and would likely earn you a nod from Bear Grylls, it is going to be worth your while to have a few extra flashlights and headlamps kicking around to light up your nights.


We all know that nothing kills a cellphone battery faster than cold weather. And while you might pride yourself on your lack of iPhone reliance, it is important to be able to call for help in case of emergency. Plus you will want to take pictures while you are out exploring. A portable power pack is small, packable and will keep your phone functioning long enough to snap a few shots of the winter wildlife and National Park scenery between selfies.


10. Turn up the Heat


You’ve probably noticed that the general theme of these tips has to do with keeping warm. Really this is the best advice anyone can give you when it comes to spending your days and nights outside in the cold Canadian winter. Here are a few additional notes on keeping your body temp up while you are accessing your rugged winter side:


Hand/foot warmers – instant warmth for frigid toes

Hot water bottles – pour a little of that boiled snow into a hot water bottle for added heat when you snuggle into your sleeping bag

Sleep with your boots – there is nothing worse than putting your warm feet into cold boots. Take the liners out of your boots and wear them while you sleep or put your boots in a waterproof bag in the bottom of your sleeping bag.




Camp on Campers!



Photo by Nicole Gaboury courtesy of Tourism Jasper




Wapiti Campground

Location: 5.6 km South of Jasper just off of Highway 93


Camping Style: RV/Tent


Suitable For: New campers


This frontcountry campground is a great place for those who are new to winter camping as it is close to town and has all the amenities of home including electrical, washrooms (with showers), and potable water. Each site has a fire pit, and firewood is included with your daily fire permit (just grab it from the pile). It’s also great for those looking to get out skiing as it is on the way to Marmot Basin, so you can be first on the road and first on the hill!



Whirlpool Winter Hub

Location: 21.4 km south of Jasper, just south of Marmot Road on Highway 93A


Camping Style: RV/Tent


Suitable For: Active families


A frontcountry campground great for active families because of the 25 km of groomed cross-country ski trails that begin from this location! The campground is also home to the Whirlpool Winter Hub where Parks Canada hosts a variety of interpretive activities on Family Day weekend. This campground is further from town than Wapiti and does not have electrical, potable water or flush toilets, making the winter camping experience a little more rustic. However, the sites do have fire pits and firewood is provided with your daily fire permit.


Note: Sites at Wapiti and Whirlpool Campgrounds are available on a first-come, first-serve basis, so it is recommended that you arrive early! These winter campgrounds are self-registration and daily fire permits are required.



Hidden Cove

Location: 4 km down Maligne Lake, 48 km from Jasper at the end of Maligne Lake Road (cross-country ski or snowshoe access only)


Camping Style: Tent


Suitable For: Experienced campers with prior cross-country ski/snowshoe experience


This is a great backcountry campground for small groups or families with older kids who are able to manage the trek in. The site has 4 tent pads, a fire pit, a grey water pit, a cook shelter, picnic tables and food storage lockers. Access to this site requires travelling over the frozen Maligne Lake so only plan to winter camp here between mid-January and early April. And make sure you read these guidelines on safe ice travel before heading out.



Big Bend

Location: 7.8 km south of Sunwapta Falls, 55 km south of Jasper on Highway 93 (access by cross-country ski or snowshoe)


Camping Style: Tent


Suitable For: Experienced campers with prior cross-country ski/snowshoe experience


Another great backcountry option for experienced cross-country skiers in small groups. The site has 4 tent pads, a fire pit, food storage cables and picnic tables. The trail follows a wide fire road and the campground is close to the Athabasca River with views of Dragon Peak.


Note: A permit is required for backcountry camping. You can obtain a permit online or by calling 1-877-737-3783.



Wilcox Winter Campground

Location: 107 km south of Jasper just off Highway 93


Camping Style: Tent


Suitable For: Experienced campers who are comfortable accessing the location by snowshoe (when conditions require)


Staying at the Wilcox Winter Campground allows hardy campers to stay in the Columbia Icefields (Parks experience the icefields parkway in winter). Wilcox Creek Campground is a frontcountry campground during the summer months, but is considered backcountry in the winter as camping is only permitted at the Wilcox Pass Trailhead. There are no amenities available at this location.


Note: A bivy/camping permit is required to camp at the Wilcox Winter site call 780-852-6176 for more information.



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



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.

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.

Olympic Legacy

Photo credits: Glen Crawford and the IOC Olympic Report











30 years after 88, the Olympic spirit is still strong in the Canadian Rockies

As 2018 welcomes another Winter Olympic cycle, this time in Pyeongchang, South Korea, a celebratory mood of athletics and nationhood is in the air. The Winter Olympics honour the best of snow and ice, and they remind us what incredible feats the human body can accomplish in sub-zero temperatures.

The Canadian Rockies has a rich history and relationship with the Olympics. In 1988 Canmore and Kananaskis Country played host to the Nordic and Alpine Skiing events for the Calgary Winter Olympics. With the Canmore Nordic Centre and Nakiska built specifically for the ’88 Games (the 15th Winter Olympics and Canada’s first as host), the legacy of the Games continues to live and thrive in the Rockies as those venues are open to the public and to high-performance athletes, teams, and competitions.

An impressive number of winter athletes and Olympians call the Rockies home. Ryan Smyth, who was born in Banff, had a successful 19-season career in the NHL; in 2010, Brian McKeever became the first Canadian athlete named to both the Olympic and Paralympic teams; and Mike Robertson won the silver medal in snowboard cross at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics.

To honour the XXIII Winter Olympiad in PyeongChang, and to fête the season of snow and ice, here are four profiles of winter Olympians with close ties to the Rockies.

Thomas Grandi, Alpine Skier (1994, 1998, 2002, and 2006 Olympian)







Born in Italy, but raised in Banff, Grandi is one of the Rockies’ most recognizable and admired athletes (he even has a run named after him at Norquay!). At 15, Grandi was chosen to be a forerunner for the Giant Slalom and Slalom events held at Nakiska for the ’88 Games. Unfortunately, an injury prevented Grandi from forerunning and left him watching from the sidelines on crutches. But the experience wasn’t all bad. Watching the events with special attention on the Canadian and Italian athletes is what Grandi explains as the catalyst to solidifying his dream to be an Olympic Skier.

You can now find Grandi running the Paintbox Lodge, a boutique hotel in Canmore that he owns with Sara Renner, a four-time Olympian and medal winner, and a longtime member of the Canmore Nordic Ski Club, who happens to be his wife. When he’s not at the hotel, you can find him on the slopes of Norquay, where he runs Giv’er Grandi, a program for Bow Valley kids looking to learn the elements of racing in a fun environment.

Rosanna Crawford, Biathlete
(2010, 2014, and 2018 Olympian)







Born in Canmore, Crawford describes her hometown as a playground. With endless opportunities from her front door, she has been preparing for her third Winter Games on the trails she’s been familiar with since childhood. In fact, Crawford notes that the Cross Country World Cup trails at the Canmore Nordic Centre are similar to the trails she’ll be racing on in PyeongChang. Though she wasn’t born in time to take in the ’88 Olympics, she explains that without them, she wouldn’t be where she is today.

Jennifer Heil, Freestyle Skier
(2002, 2006, and 2010 Olympian; 2006 Olympic Champion)

When Jennifer was young, her family spent family ski days at Jasper’s Marmot Basin because of its close proximity to her childhood home in Spruce Grove, Alberta, where she was born. Heil’s father, Randy, explains that Jennifer showed an interest and natural talent for skiing at an early age: when she was about five years old, Randy lost sight of Jennifer while waiting for the Poma lift at Panorama. To his amazement, when he looked halfway up the hill, he found her riding the Poma to the top all on her own!

It’s no surprise that Heil was quickly dubbed “the Phenom” by her coaches and peers. The Alberta Ski Team had to lower its age restrictions so that Heil could join. Before she was on the team, the Heil family split its time between Fortress Mountain, where Jennifer’s older sister trained with the Ski Team, and Sunshine Village, where Jennifer would spend her days on the slope.

Chandra Crawford, Cross Country Skier
(2006, 2010, and 2014 Olympian; 2006 Olympic Champion)










Chandra, the older sister of Rosanna, was born in Canmore and learned to ski on the same trails where she later won a World Cup medal. She is one of Canada’s most influential athletes, having founded an empowerment through sport program to keep girls in sport through their teenage years.

In 2006, Chandra won the hearts of people around the world for her passionate singing of the national anthem from atop the podium at the 2006 Torino Olympics. But she didn’t stop winning hearts then; she won the heart of her husband (or perhaps more accurately, he won her heart) when she tested his “date-ability” by taking him down Delirium Dive, Sunshine Village’s most challenging off-piste terrain.

While dreaming of standing on top of a podium and singing the nation’s anthem is as close as most of us will ever get to becoming an Olympic Champion, you can rest assured that you don’t have to be an Olympian to train like one. And the best part is, you don’t have to limit the post-recovery pints for calorie counting if you don’t want to.

Train like an Alpine Skier:

Wake up early to beat the crowds at the ski hill and work on your speed as you race down freshly groomed runs. If you are in Lake Louise, ski the same courses used by Downhill and Super-G athletes during the Audi FIS Ski World Cup; the faint blue lines marking the course are visible long after the world’s best are racing elsewhere. Grandi recommends the runs off the Summit Platter on the front side of Lake Louise where there is steep, fall line skiing—it’s a showoff run, and “when it’s good, it’s super fun.”

After skiing, make sure that you replenish expended calories with food that fills you up, because you’re going to have to hit the gym later in the afternoon to work on strength and balance. Then, get a massage. Sage advice from recovery guru, Jodi Perras, explains the benefits of massage here.

–> Want to read about ski hills in the area? Check out our Ski Guide

Train like a Cross Country Skier:

Credit: John Gibson











When it comes to cross country skiing, technique work is essential. Chandra recommends that you book a ski lesson with a certified instructor from Trail Sports so that you feel as comfortable as possible on your skis.

After your lesson, head out on the ski trails at the Canmore Nordic Centre and ski to the Chandra Crawford Hut where you can eat your packed lunch in a warm space. The Bagel Co. can make you a hearty lunch for ski days, and Beamer’s Coffee (120, 737 – 7th Ave, Canmore) makes muffins large enough to feed an entire family.

Train like a Biathlete:

Credit: John Gibson








Europeans love watching biathlon in the same way that Canadians love watching hockey. Train for adoring fans by getting a lesson on the shooting range with Try Biathlon before you put in time on your skis. Want to get some practice at home? Try doing 30 pushups as fast as you can before you successfully thread a needle five times in a row. Controlling your heart rate and breathing is something you will put into practice on the range.

Make sure that you punctuate your workouts with coffee. Biathletes have an affinity for good brew (it’s the perfect pre-workout beverage) and you’re likely to rub shoulders with a few of Canada’s best in one of the local coffee shops.

Train for Curling:

We didn’t interview any Olympic curlers, but that doesn’t mean you can’t rent a sheet of ice at the Fenlands Rec Centre  or at the Canmore Golf & Curling Club, and train to win. In Jasper, Pyramid Lake Resort clears the ice on the lake so you can practice curling in the most Canadian way possible: with logs. See our other suggestions for Pyramid Lake activities on p xxx.

Reward yourself with a good meal or drink post-workout. The new Folding Mountain Brewing can replenish your calories in liquid form and with solid fare from their kitchen. If you’re in the mood for seafood, make sure to visit Fiddle River to fuel up on healthy Omega-fats from fish.

However you choose to ring in the new Olympic cycle, be it by your own athleticism or by raising a glass to your favourite athletes, do it with pride and cheer. Dust off your party shoes and give Hidy and Howdy (the Calgary ’88 mascots) a run for their square dancing money as you celebrate the excitement of PyeongChang.

Author: Nicky Pacas

Fire + Ice

By Calli Naish

Each year as the larch trees yellow and summer fades to fall, we wait in patient anticipation for the temperature to dip below zero so that we can warm up by an open hearth. In honour of this tradition, here are some suggestions for this winter’s hottest ice activities and coolest fireplaces.

Embrace The Ice

Climb it. When asked, “what is ice climbing?” Kris Irwin, owner and lead guide of Rockies Ice and Alpine Specialists, gives a slight chuckle before providing the obvious answer: “The act of climbing frozen water with ice axes and crampons.” But this is just the beginning of his insights on the “low impact, high intensity” sport many people are eager to try. The fact that outfitters offer ice climbing instruction (complete with equipment) for beginners and experts alike is one of many reasons Irwin sees so much interest in the sport. People often come to the Rockies for the intensity associated with skiing, but not everyone is able to ski. The nature of ice climbing offers the heights and exhilaration visitors are searching for, without the same stress on the joints. With the age of climbers ranging from eight to eighty, it is a sport that most anyone can try. And unlike skiing, where your lift pass determines your location, climbing will have you following a guide to the best spot for the day. When temperatures are severe, south-facing falls at lower elevations make for a warmer experience; north-facing climbs at higher elevations are perfect for days when we find ourselves welcoming a warm Chinook wind. Other great outfitters offering ice-climbing instruction by experienced guides include Yamnuska Mountain Adventures and Rockaboo Mountain Adventures.

Photo courtesy of Kris Irwin Collection

Layer you can’t live without:

For ice climbing, Irwin suggests a seriously insulated coat with a hood as a must have.

Walk it. If heights seem daunting, appreciate the icy topography of the mountains (and the brave climbers who tackle them) with both feet planted firmly on flat ground. While many people come to the mountains for adventure, we can’t really blame others who visit simply for the landscape. The Canadian Rockies offer unparalleled visuals with snow-covered trees, winter wildlife, endless views, and of course, impressive ice formations. From that first glimpse of ice on Cascade Mountain to the awe you feel looking over Athabasca Falls, the towering masses of ice are fascinating whether you find them around Banff  or Jasper. Get up close and personal during an ice walk. Admire natural ice sculptures from the steel catwalks of Johnston Canyon, search the icy rock walls of Grotto Canyon for native pictographs, and discover the secret behind Medicine Lake’s disappearing act at Maligne Canyon. Though you can explore these canyons on your own, a guided tour will provide you with ice cleats (an ice walk essential) and a guide to offer insights on the area. Discover Banff Tours, White Mountain Adventures, Banff Jasper Collection by Pursuit, and Maligne Adventures provide guided tours.

Photo courtesy of maligneadventures.com

Layers you can’t live without:

For ice walks, dress for a day of skiing complete with snow pants. The guides at Maligne Adventures insist you don’t forget your gloves because the “look, but don’t touch” rule doesn’t apply to ice.

Fish it. If your understanding of ice fishing involves a solitary man shivering over a hole in the ice, then you might be stuck in the past. The sport has evolved to be a social event that is fun for all ages. With heated huts, it might be icy, but it’s not freezing. Head out with Banff Fishing Unlimited onto the beautiful frozen Spray Lakes surrounded by towering mountains. Take a moment to appreciate the serenity before crawling into your fishing hut with a couple of friends. Spend the morning immersed in conversation, and by the afternoon, you’ll be feasting on your fresh catch. Those looking to head into the parks and surrounding areas with their own gear can visit local information centres in Banff or Jasper  to find details on fishing permits and where to get their hooks under the ice.

Layer you can’t live without:

For ice fishing, no one should head out without a toque; however, this item is so essential to Canadian winter warmth that it should probably never leave your head.

Skate on it. Against the backdrop of the towering Victoria Glacier, join together in cold camaraderie on Lake Louise where hockey enthusiasts of all ages and skill levels can lace up their skates and get their sticks on the ice. If you want to join in without a puck, don’t worry: there is plenty of room on what has been considered the “World’s Best Skating Rink.” While it’s certainly the most impressive rink in the mountains, it’s not the only one. In fact, you could probably plan a whole trip skating the natural rinks of the Rockies making your way from The Pond in Canmore, all the way up to Lac Beauvert and Pyramid Lake in Jasper.

Photo by Jake Dyson

Layer you can’t live without:

For ice skating, skates are kind of a must. If you don’t have your own you can rent a pair in Banff or Jasper. Be sure to rent a helmet for the smaller skater-tots out there.

Find Your Fireside

Indulge in a meal that will warm you from the inside out. Boasting menu items like Alberta game meatloaf and a full roast chicken dinner, the floor-to-ceiling stonework of the hearth may not be the most impressive thing at The Iron Goat in Canmore.

Photo courtesy of The Iron Goat

Charcuter-eat at Canmore’s Table Food + Drink, where you can melt into the sofas on the lounge side of their double-sided fireplace. Order big knowing that the extra calories are helping you add a layer of warmth for your next day out on the ice.

One-up the candlelit dinner and curl up close to someone you love for a romantic fireside evening. After dinner at their heritage dining room, find quiet intimacy by spending the night in a cabin at Emerald Lake Lodge west of Lake Louise. The tranquility and seclusion of the area offer a winter getaway and the welcome hug of a comfortable armchair.

Photo of Emerald Lake Lodge by Kendal & Kevin Photography

Heat up on skates at Baker Creek Mountain Resort between Banff and Lake Louise. If there was an award for the most fire, they’d win. With two fireplaces inside their bistro and three fire pits outside, you’ll be begging to go out in the icy cold. Thankfully, they’ve obliged with a free skating rink (and rentals on-site) to enjoy before you head in for dinner.

Relax by the fire in style after an icy day in Jasper. Take in the views from the Skyline Lounge at the Lobstick Lodge or head to the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge and settle in with a local brew in the lakeside Emerald Lounge.

Start your day when the sun goes down and have your fire on the rocks where the only thing hotter than the fireplace is the cocktail menu. Though Park Distillery is located on busy Banff Ave, once you walk upstairs you’ll find yourself transported to a back-country cabin. The drink menu is nearly endless and it features concoctions shaken with Park’s own spirits, making it an ideal place for a fiery sip. 

Wherever you choose to take off your toque, you’ll find that cozying up to an open fire is the best way to recount the icy adventures of the day.

Building 93 North

By: Nicky Pacas

Think of the coolest thing you’ve ever made. Maybe it’s the Christmas decoration you crafted in kindergarten that your mom still hangs on the tree. Maybe you’ve brewed some drinkable beer out of containers stored in your basement. Maybe you built a shelf that from afar, doesn’t look too crooked.

Yeah, your cool creations are pretty legit. But your cool creations are nowhere near as cool as what Max Flowerday and Sam McEwen are making.

Sam McEwen (L) and Max Flowerday (R) at their shop in Canmore, AB. Photo: Mikey Stevenson

Building 93 North

Highway 93 North is one of the most scenic highways in the world. It navigates through two national parks and connects Lake Louise with Jasper. It’s as infamous for its breathtaking views as it is for suboptimal driving conditions in the winter. It took 600 men ten years to build the road (most of it was completed by horse and hand because there was only one tractor per crew). And since its completion in 1940, the highway, also known as the Icefields Parkway, has been a hotspot for sightseeing, wildlife encounters, and as the starting point for some of the best mountain adventures the Canadian Rockies offer.

It’s also the inspiration for the name of Flowerday’s and McEwen’s burgeoning business, 93 North Skis.

Operating out of a small shop in Canmore, AB, Flowerday and McEwen are handcrafting skis. Both are mechanical engineering graduates from Queen’s University with backgrounds in ski racing. To say they’re still passionate about skiing would be an understatement.

The seed for 93 North Skis was planted when Flowerday and McEwen would go backcountry skiing together: conversations on the up-track about what makes a good ski became the catalyst to McEwen’s research on actually building skis. Then, as Flowerday puts it, “we met for a beer and we made a list of everything that we would need [to make our own skis].” A partnership was built.

Constructing skis initially began as a hobby. Working together in the evenings and on weekends, the pair would develop plans for building skis; they’d talk about it, and then they’d do some work. But, like with most hobbies, work and life would take over and the project would get dropped for a little while before its seductive charm would woo them back into production.

In July 2015, the first prototype was made and they tested it on glaciers before refining and reworking their ideas into other prototypes. Cut to a year later, and McEwen and Flowerday made the executive decision to leave their engineering jobs to pursue ski production fulltime. Originally, they planned to work in Calgary, but after considering the best fit for their business, a serendipitous opening of a shop space in Canmore pulled them westward. In September 2016, the team behind 93 North Skis had moved to Canmore, and by December, the products they made as hobbyists were transforming into something professional.

With the transformation from hobby to profession now complete, Flowerday and McEwen are building some seriously good skis. The Andromeda and Andromeda 166 are versatile skis designed for the variable conditions of the Rocky Mountains. Primarily off-piste skis with the capability to hold an edge on-piste, the Andromedas handle ice, wind-swept slopes, and powder—they’re durable, but they perform well. In other words, you can have your Andromeda cake and eat it, too.

It’s not by chance that the skis work so well in the Rocky Mountains; Flowerday and McEwen tested different materials in their prototypes and ultimately decided on constructing a ski with a maple core. The maple is durable, but lively. It is a consistent wood with minimal defects and a dense grain structure that ensures strong binding retention. The p-tex used as the sidewall material was specifically chosen because of its performance in cold weather (ABS plastic gets brittle in the cold), and poplar has been added to complement the maple. And though it doesn’t take 600 men 10 years to complete a pair of 93 North skis, it does take Flowerday and McEwen about ten man-hours to handcraft each set.

Sam McEwen and Max Flowerday working on a pair of skis.
Photo: Mikey Stevenson

Max Flowerday at work on a pair of 93 North skis.
Photo: Mikey Stevenson

The thoughtfulness in the construction and design of the Andromedas isn’t something you can easily see (it is something you can feel). But if you had to look for something indicative of precision and expertise, look no further than the artwork on the skis. Local artist Emily Beaudoin (@emily.beaudoin) was chosen by McEwen and Flowerday to create the top sheet designs for the Andromeda and the Andromeda 166. Her precise line drawings and integrated watercolours are a callback to artwork from a contemporary world of minimalist designs. Even if you’re not a skier, you could take a pair of skis home just to hang on the wall.

A pair of 93 North skis with art by Emily Beaudoin. Photo: Mikey Stevenson

Working with Beaudoin is only one of the ways that 93 North Skis is keeping things local. By establishing relationships with local guides and athletes, McEwen and Flowerday have set themselves up to be in Canmore long term. And like most locals, they’re super friendly and want you to pay a visit to their shop; they’ll show you their process and let you know how you can demo a pair of skis. You can even sign up for one of their ski workshops and build your own set of skis (just watch your cool factor increase when you replace your shoddy shelf with some sweet boards).

Visit 93NorthSkis.com to get in touch with Flowerday and McEwen or to read more about their hand crafted skis. You can also visit one (or all) of the retailers selling 93 North skis so that you can take advantage of the winter that has finally graced us with its presence.

93 North Retailers:

Ski West in Calgary
Vertical Addiction in Canmore
Pure Outdoors in Jasper
Soul Ski and Bike in Banff
Ernie’s Sports Experts in Grand Prairie

The photos in this story were taken by Mikey Stevenson. To see more of his photography, visit his website here.

Take a look at the Canadian Rockies

Our first ever magazine cover contest was a smashing success! We received an incredible 239 submissions from 29 photographers. After we chose our cover (and our Last Look on the final page by Bryce Brown –see below), we reached out to everyone who submitted to the contest and asked if they would allow us to showcase some of their work. Read on to see a few of our favourite entries and you’ll understand just how hard our selection for the cover photo really was!

Bryce Brown



Kahli Hindmarsh




Pam Jenks



Elnaz Mansouri




Leslie Price




Brad Orr



Tyler Parker


Kyla Black




Mike Hopkins





Of course this list only scratches the surface of the work of these photographers and all of the incredible photography here in the Canadian Rockies. If you are dying to see more mountains, sunsets, skies and wildlife (who isn’t?) we’ve got you covered online (@whererockies)!

Thank you to everyone who submitted and keep an eye out for future contests!

Photographing Winter: an Interview with Cai Priestley

In October Where Canadian Rockies held a photo contest for our Winter magazine cover. For several weeks, we were overwhelmed by the number of quality submissions sent to us by photographers from all over the world. After much deliberation and debate, we chose Cai Priestley’s photograph of a red fox, taken on the Bow Valley Parkway, as our winner. The fox captured our attention because we couldn’t help but think it was looking right at us, demanding that it become our selection (we hope you feel the same way)!

Cai’s skills as a photographer extend well-beyond the fiery fox in the snowy landscape; his website (www.caipriestley.co.uk) offers stunning wildlife photography from Asia, North America, Europe, and Africa—we really think you should buy one of his calendars (!)

We wanted to know more about Cai, and he took the time to answer our questions about his bucket list, his training as a photographer, and the craziest thing he’s ever experienced while out photographing. Have a read below to learn more about the man behind the Winter 2017/18 cover:

WHERE ROCKIES: You are from Wales, but you specialize in Canadian wildlife photography; what brought you to Canada?

CAI PRIESTLEY: Back in 2008 I decided to do some traveling, with the intention of finding and photographing some wildlife along the way. I spent a couple of months in Africa and then came to Canada to meet some friends who were living in Banff.

My plan was to keep traveling around Canada for six months, but after seeing the mountains and some local wildlife, I decided to stay in Bow Valley for as long as I could. I’ve run out of work visas now, but I was able to live and work in Banff for five of the last ten years, and I hope to call it home again someday soon.

WR: You capture what seem to be really intimate moments with animals (a bear cub looking back at you while walking with her mom and siblings, the peek from a pine marten, the fox…!); how are you able to capture them so perfectly?

CP: I put in a lot of time looking for wildlife. I try to get out as often as I can, and by doing so, I’m always increasing my chances of having an incredible encounter with something really cool. When it comes to capturing an image that I’m happy with, it’s a whole other story. It’s not always glorious wildlife and great photos. There are a lot more failed attempts and missed opportunities.

WR: Were you formally trained in photography or are you mostly self-taught?

CP: I’m mostly self-taught, but I did do a short photography course as part of my art foundation in college. That was mainly working in the darkroom learning film processing and developing though. I’ve also had some great mentors along the way who have taught me lots, especially since arriving in Canada. John Marriott and Peter Dettling were both instrumental in helping me learn the ropes when it came to Canadian wildlife.

WR: On your website, you note that you came home because you’d reached the end of your working visa; do you want to come back to the Canadian Rockies anytime soon?

CP: I’d love to make the Rockies my permanent home someday, but in the meantime I’m visiting for a couple of months every year. It’s not ideal, but it’s the best I can do at the moment until I’m in a better position to be able to move back for good.

WR: Is there anything that you haven’t captured on camera that still remains on your bucket list?

CP: The holy grail of Canadian wildlife for me would be a wolverine, a cougar or a fisher. I’ve spent a lot of time looking for wolverine but the chances of ever seeing one let alone photographing one, are incredibly small.

WR: How do you describe your photography style?

CP: I’ve never really pinned down a particular style as far as I can tell. I like shooting very wide scenes that show a subject in its environment or habitat, but I equally like a nice intimate portrait where fur or feather detail can be easily seen.

WR: Where is your favourite non-Canadian place to shoot?

CP: I love photographing on home soil here in Wales, but most of my photography is done abroad these days. I visited Alaska very briefly a few years ago and it’s somewhere I’d love to return to someday.

WR: In a landscape with sublime mountains (the Rockies), why animal photographs?

CP: I love the mountains, and I can’t say no to a good sunrise or sunset, but I’ve been obsessed with wildlife from a very young age, so wild animals will always take priority over landscape images for me. Every time I stop to shoot a sunrise, I can’t help but thinking there could be a pack of wolves waiting patiently for me in a meadow somewhere, and that’s all it takes for me to turn my back on the scene and keep searching.

WR: Can you tell me about some of your Rocky Mountain Favourites (best places to dine, visit, etc.)?

CP: I used to be a huge Barpa Bill’s fan, and I still recommend it to anyone looking for the best burger in town, but since turning vegetarian my favourite dining experience has got to be Nourish.
When it comes to my favourite places to visit or spend time at in Banff, I’d have to say the Cave and Basin or the Banff Springs Golf Course. Both places are seriously beautiful and great for a stroll close to town.

WR: What is the craziest thing that’s happened to you while photographing?

CP: Luckily I’ve not had many crazy moments when I’m out taking photos. I try my best not to put myself in those situations, or in scenarios that could potentially turn ‘crazy’. Sometimes though, things happen that are unforeseen, and there’s been a couple of times where things could have turned sour.
One that comes to mind was not long after I moved to Canada, and I got fairly close to a cow moose in a meadow in Kananaskis. I had made quite a long silent approach towards her, and I was fully visible so that I didn’t spook her. She was comfortable enough with me to carry on doing what she was doing, as I’d shown her that I wasn’t a threat.

What I hadn’t seen though, was the big bull moose that had emerged from the trees behind me and was making his way towards her. I got quite a shock when I eventually heard him thrashing his antlers in the willows just a few yards away. My exit was now blocked, and I had a river to my right that was way too deep and fast flowing to try and cross, especially with my tripod and camera. What ensued was a very intense twenty minutes where I stood still right in between the cow and bull, as the bull slowly closed the gap with his approach. Luckily, I didn’t have to get wet to make my escape in the end, as the cow decided to walk off in a different direction, which drew the bull away from my exit. As soon as I had enough room, I snuck out of there with a huge sigh of relief, and let him continue his advances alone.

Do yourself a favour and follow Cai on social media, @caipriestleyphotography + Cai Priestley Photography, you’ll be happy that you did.

The Winter 2017/18 issue of Where Canadian Rockies can be read here: http://rmvpublications.com/whererockiesdigital/

The Winter Issue of Where Canadian Rockies, featuring the photography of Cai Priestley