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Jasper & Area

Canadian Rockies Farm to Table

Surviving the Mountains on High-Quality, Locally-Grown Food

By Ken Wetherell

Illustrations by Lyuba Kirkova

You are strolling down scenic Banff Avenue; rugged, snow-capped mountain peaks ascend on all sides and you are taking your first breaths of fresh, crisp mountain air. You have arrived. But suddenly you are hungry — the fresh air of the Rockies has given you a voracious appetite for some locallly-grown food. Luckily, the prairies  of  Alberta, just east of the mountains, and the lush mountain valleys and river deltas of British Columbia are local farm havens. For example:

Beef and Pork
Benchmark Angus is a family-run ranch where premium, hormone-free Angus cattle graze the wide-open prairies.

Blue Ridge Farms produces grass-fed Angus beef, pasture raised poultry and purebred pastured pork.

At Broek Pork Acres, free-range Berkshire hogs, known for outstanding quality, texture and flavour, are raised on natural hay and grains without antibiotics, growth stimulants or animal by-products.

Redtail Farms is a third generation family farm that produces grass fed and finished beef, pastured pork, and natural honey. Their Scottish Luing cattle and Berkshire pigs are hormone- and antibiotic-free.

Bison
Carmen Creek raises bison that are free of additives, antibiotics, hormones and stimulants. The bison are raised on three local ranches.

Photo courtesy of Carmen Creek

Chicken, Turkey and Eggs
Mans Eggs produces organic and free-range eggs from small hen flocks on sixteen local farms.

Maple Hill Farms produces specialty chicken that is grain-fed (no animal by-products), antibiotic-free and humanely raised. They also produce free-range and certified organic eggs.

Ridge Valley Farm raises free-range chickens and turkeys in a humane environment using natural, locally-grown feed containing no artificial hormones or antibiotic growth promoters.

Stonepost Farms produces free-range eggs, chickens and turkeys, naturally grown produce, unpasteurized honey, and humanely raised grass-fed beef and pork.

Honey

Greidanus Honey Farms produces unprocessed honey, without blending or pasteurizing, collected from hives located in clover-rich fields.

Milk and Cheese

Fairwinds Farm produces organic milk, yogurt and cheese from goats that are fed an organic whole grain treat when they are being milked, and spend the rest of their summer days roaming the fields and eating fresh grass, which is converted to organic hay for their winter dining pleasure.

Sylvan Star Cheese produces lactose-free Gouda, Swiss and Edam cheeses from heat- treated milk containing no additives or antibiotics.

Vegetables

Broxburn Farm grows organic greenhouse peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers, as well as outdoor berries, vegetables and herbs.

Photo courtesy of Broxburn Farm

Mans Organics grows certified organic onions, shallots and garlic outdoors, and tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers in a half-acre greenhouse.

Photo Courtesy of Mans Organics

Poplar Bluff Organics grows speciality organic potatoes, beets, carrots and parsnips.

 

Now that you’ve got the low-down on locally farmed food, how can you sink your pearly whites into some of it? Here are some of the ways:

 

In Banff, The Bison Restaurant and Terrace’s menu features a map indicating where ingredients are regionally and provincially sourced. For example, you can enjoy a roasted Broxburn cauliflower salad with your Benchmark beef.

At the Rimrock Resort Hotel in Banff, you can reserve a table at Eden and enjoy fresh organic Alberta vegetables, caviar from Northern British Columbia and aged Gouda cheese from Sylvan Star. Or try the Maple Hill chicken from the Primrose Restaurant menu.

Todd Kunst, the owner of Canmore’s Sage Bistro, notes that he and his team “source quality ingredients from local purveyors and producers of fine foods to bring the best taste to your palate.” Vegetables from Broxburn Farms, Broek pork, Sylvan Star cheese and Fairwinds goat products are all on the menu.

The Fairmont Banff Springs hotel is unrivalled in its fine dining choices. Vegetables from Poplar Bluff or Mans Organics can be found in most of the hotel’s restaurants, along with Mans eggs and Greidanas honey. As well, you can find goat milk and goat cheese from Fairwinds Farms at the hotel’s 1888 Chophouse. Down the hill at the Waldhaus, enjoy cured sausages from Valbella or Ridge Valley chicken.

Photo courtesy of the Fairmont Banff Springs

At Olive Bistro in Jasper, chef and owner Darryl Huculak sources food locally because he wants his “restaurant to have a smaller ecological footprint, and because fresher food simply tastes better.” While much of his produce is from the Jasper Community Garden and his own small greenhouse, Darryl also sources poultry and pork from Blue Ridge Farms, and beef, eggs and produce from Stonepost Farms.

There is no shortage of farm-fresh foods to fuel your adventures in the Rockies. So eat well, burn o those delicious calories in one of the most popular mountain destinations in the world, and repeat.

The Rockies are Rough

YOUR SKIN DOESN’T HAVE TO BE

Words by Nicky Pacas

Photos by Rachel Boekel Photography

1

Being a ‘Mountain Man’ isn’t just about growing a beard; it’s about the skin, too. The Rocky Mountain Soap Company has made a collection of Men’s Stuff to help the roughest lumberjacks smooth things out after a day outdoors. Try the Soothing Face Cream, Energizing Face Scrub and Restorative Eye Cream to moisturize, exfoliate and prevent premature aging.

2

Do you have dry skin? Stop in at the Willow Stream Spa or the Spa at the Jasper Park Lodge and find relief using products by Kerstin Florian. The Rescue Cream was engineered specifically for Banff’s climate, the Neroli Water is perfect for use during or after air travel, and the Brightening Eye Cream instantly hydrates and smooths fine lines.

3

Stress stinks. Literally. But the ‘Tranquility’ line by [comfort zone] is a holistic relaxation treatment system with essential oils selected for their anti-stress properties. Try the Tranquility Body Lotion, Shower Gel/Cream, or Roll-on Fragrance for scents of sweet orange, Damascus, rose and cedar wood. Find [comfort zone] products at the Kananaskis Nordic Spa and at the Rimrock Resort Hotel Spa.

4

With a name like Achy Muscle Bath Bomb in a Bag by Simply Soak, need we say anything more? Find the powdery bath bomb at Project A in Canmore and bask in the anti-inflammatory properties of white willow bark and comfrey.

5

Break off a square from Field Kit Co.’s Travel Soap and clean up with scents like “The Lumberjack” (wood + smoke) or “The Explorer” (bergamot + ginger). If it’s your hair and skin that needs some extra love, add moisture with Dry Skin Facial Oil and Premium Hair Oil by Velvette Organics. All available at Project A.

Keep your skin feeling hydrated with essential oils from The Rocky Mountain Soap Co.’s Hydrating Outdoor Spray. Even though it’s not a bug spray, you can use it as a natural alternative to keep bugs at a distance.

6

Protect your peepers with a pair of Smith Sunglasses. Going out on the water? Opt for a pair of polarized glasses so that you can see through the glare. Available at The North Face, Helly Hansen and at Valhalla Pure Outfitters.

Find extra protection with a ball cap from The North Face, available in-store or at Wild Mountain and at Sports Experts.

Choose sunscreens made with zinc for protection and shea butter for moisture.

Try Éminence OrganicsTropical Vanilla Day Cream, an organic, natural, biodynamic and sustainable moisturizer with an SPF of 32, or the Sunscreen from the Rocky Mountain Soap Co., which uses a non-nano zinc oxide to provide broad-spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays. Find Éminence products at Mountain Wellness Day Spa and at Verde Day Spa.

The Breakout Buster from RMS can be used for bug bites and acne spots, but the moisturizing and soothing elements of this stick also work wonders on sunburnt lips.

 

Survival of the Fittest

Art by Colleen Campbell

Words by Nicky Pacas with help from Dieter Regett of Jasper Discovery Tours

Each year, after the harsh and inhospitable winter climate begins to soften into spring, the wildflowers (arguably the most resilient survivors of mountain weather) emerge alongside snowy and jagged trails, adding pops of colour to a grey landscape. As summer draws nearer, each major vegetative zone of the Canadian Rockies —Montane, Subalpine, and Alpine—plays host to a wide range of flora. In this issue, we’ve given you an illustrated guide to six varietals that bloom or change from the early spring until the end of September, each one playing an important role in its ecosystem.

Share your photos of these species in their natural habitat and use the hashtag #WhereRockiesWild for a chance to be featured in an upcoming issue.


CUTLEAF ANEMONE; PRAIRIE CROCUS

 

Pulsatilla patens

A harbinger of early spring, the Prairie Crocus often begins to emerge from the ground before the snow has melted.

Blooming Period: as early as March, but often seen from late-April through June

Location: Blooms in the Montane Zone; find the Prairie Crocus in the Saskatchewan River Crossing area, on the north shore of Johnson Lake, on the Bow Valley Parkway, and on the trails starting from 5th Bridge.


GLACIER LILY

Erythronium grandiflorium

Another harbinger of spring, the Glacier Lily grows at the edges of melting snow drifts.

Blooming Period: Late-April through June

Location: Find Glacier Lilies in the Alpine Zone at Bow Summit, Sunshine Meadows, and at Parker Ridge.


PAINTBRUSH

Castilleja species

The flowers on a Paintbrush can vary significantly in colour; from red to orange, light pink to white, even purple.

Blooming Period: April-September

Location: Blooms across all mountain zones. Find Paintbrushes on the Opal Hills Loop in Jasper (look for the trail kiosk in the upper parking lot at Maligne Lake), the Flower Loop/Overlander Trail, and at Sunshine Meadows.


TWINFLOWER

Linnaea borealis

A sweet-scented and trumpet-like flower.

Blooming Period: June and July

Location: Find Twinflowers in the Subalpine Zone locations of Stewart Canyon (follow the Lake Minnewanka shoreline to the Stewart Canyon trailhead kiosk), Bourgeau Lake Trail (approx. 13km west of the Mount Norquay interchange), the lower falls of Johnston Canyon, and many trails around Lake Louise.


WESTERN WOOD LILY

Lilium philadelphicum

Generally a solitary plant, the Western Wood Lily is a strikingly beautiful flower. Because of its beauty, it is often picked by admirers, resulting in its disappearance from some areas.

Blooming Period: June and July

Location: the Wood Lily blooms in the Montane Zone and is often found in grasslands and woodlands. Look for lilies on the north shore of Johnson Lake, on the Bow Valley Parkway, and on the Montane Traverse Trail.


LARCH TREE

Larix

Although Larches are conifers, they lose their needles in the fall. Before the needles fall, however, they turn from a bright green to a brilliant yellow, adding one last burst of colour to the landscape before winter’s arrival.

Notable Change: the needles often change colour in mid to late September

Location: Look for larches in the Subalpine Zones of Larch Valley, Chester Lake/Chester Creek, and Healy Pass (leave from Sunshine Village, behind the main gondola station)


For a list of tours and guides who can help you access some of the locations mentioned here (in addition to many others), see pages 73 and 144 of our online magazine.

National Indigenous Peoples Day 2018

It’s National Indigenous Peoples Day and the unique heritage and significant contributions of First Nations, Metis and Inuit Peoples are being celebrated throughout Canada!

 

Here are some ways you can join the celebrations in the Canadian Rockies

 

Canmore

Visit the Chiniki Cultural Centre and participate in the free events they are hosting. From 10 am-1 pm one of the Chiniki Elders will be dressed in full regalia and giving tours of the cultural exhibits and tipis. At 1 pm dancers and singers will be hosting a mini pow wow outside, performing traditional dances and answering questions. The Pow Wow will conclude with a special friendship dance. Throughout the day you can enjoy First Nations inspired cuisine from Stones Restaurant and they will be providing bite-sized bannock to visitors!

Photo by Bob Hawkesworth, courtesy of the Chiniki Cultural Centre

Head to the Canmore Market where Lifeways has been welcomed as a vendor. You can check out the work of local First Nations artists and say hi to some of the Nakoda artisans!

Photo courtesy of Lifeways

Hang out in Canmore for the day! Not only is there a lot of great stuff to check out at the market, there is a parade at 11 am and events at Centennial Park during the afternoon. You’ll have a chance to experience dancing, drumming, storytelling and Indigenous food. There will also be an artist market. After you’ve visited the park head to artsPlace and check out the Indigenous Art Exhibit.

 

Banff

Visit the Banff Centre where Brenda Holder will be leading two medicine walks at 5 and 7 pm. At 5:30 pm you can take a tour of the Walter Phillips Gallery followed by a tour of the library where there will be displays featuring indigenous artists contributions. After the tours attendees will be lead to the Max Bell Building for Film Screenings curated by Jade Nasogaluak Carpenter and at 7:30 pm Dale Mac will be performing a free concert!

Jasper

Head to the Jasper Information Centre Lawn. In Jasper,  National Indigenous Peoples Day is hosted by a different Nation each year. This year the Sunchild Cree First Nation will be hosting events including music starting at 11 am and a demonstration Pow Wow at 2 pm.

 

Kootenay Rockies

Stay at St. Eugene where they will be hosting a Pow Wow with the Ktunaxa Nation on June 24th. Resort staff will be wearing shirts that celebrate the resort’s Ktunaxa culture and ownership. Across from the resort the ʔaq̓am (St. Mary’s Indian Band) will be hosting celebrations from 1-7 pm with beading, hide tanning, drum making, traditional games and a BBQ.

 

Photo by Chris Istace, courtesy of St. Eugene

 

Celebrate in Fernie with outdoor storytelling with Ktunaxa legends and Metis stories. Make sure to bring an item for the potluck lunch.

 

Outside the Canadian Rockies

Visit Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump and learn about its vibrant and unique heritage at the award-winning interpretive centre.

Stay at the Stoney Nakoda Resort and you will have the perfect basecamp for experiencing all of the events taking place in Canmore and Banff.

Photo courtesy of the Stoney Nakoda Resort & Casino

Dine at the Grey Eagle Resort where Chief Chiniki is preparing some incredible meals.

 

We encourage everyone to participate in the celebrations today and we hope you will share your experiences with us  and let us know about any other events taking place today and throughout the year!

 

 

 

 

How to Survive a Vacation with Your Family

By: Nicky Pacas

If no one has a temper tantrum or slams a car door, did a family vacation even happen?

Photo Credit: Park Canada/Ryan Bray

We’ve all been there: excited for a family trip. The bags are packed, the hotel or campsite is booked, the car is gassed up — what could go wrong? It turns out, a lot! As much as we love our families, sometimes it seems impossible to survive a vacation with them. Luckily, we’ve compiled some tips and suggestions to help you maximize your trip and minimize your stress. Surviving a family vacation? Piece of cake.

1. Don’t Over-plan: Don’t plan on doing everything during your vacation; give yourself time to enjoy each activity and leave a little wiggle room in case you want to linger on a hike or on a canoe ride. Planning too many activities can make you feel frantic and leave you feeling like you might need a vacation after your vacation.

Using a tour company can alleviate the stress of dealing with details on your holiday. Because tour companies know the Canadian Rockies like no one else, you can trust that your adventures will be well-planned and organized. You might even be able to try something you wouldn’t have access to without a guide.

For early risers, book a Morning Wildlife Tour with Maligne Adventures in Jasper. Since most wildlife sightings occur early in the morning or later in the evening, depend on the expertise of the guides to get you to the right places to see mountain fauna (they have a 95% success rate) during a three-hour tour by vehicle.

Photo Credit: Ross Pugh, Maligne Adventures Wildlife Guide

For rock lovers, book an experience with Canmore Cave Tours and explore water-worn passageways and the beauty that hides beneath the mountainous landscape. A guide and the right equipment gives you access to the places that go unseen by most. Cave Tours typically have a minimum age requirement of 10 years old, but some educational offerings are accessible to all ages.

If you aren’t sure what hike best suits the abilities of your family members, get in touch with White Mountain Adventures for guidance on their hiking packages. Don’t see anything you like? Book a private or custom tour for an expertly arranged experience.

2.Know your Limits: if you have never climbed a mountain before, don’t plan on summiting the highest peak for your first activity. Start with reasonable activities that allow you to test your comfort level and skills before trying something bigger.

Whenever possible, pick an experience that offers variation so as to accommodate everyone’s abilities. Banff Trail Riders hosts two different (but equally fun) ways of getting to their Cowboy Cookout at 3 Mile Cabin: by wagon or by horseback. For family members aged 8 and older, the horseback ride is a guided tour along the base of Sulphur Mountain. For family members younger than 8, or for those who aren’t as keen to ride a horse, the wagon ride gets guests to the cookout after a scenic tour along the Bow River. No matter how you get there, you’ll all be eating together.

Not everyone can hike to great heights. For the best alternative to hiking, see our hot tip on gondolas and chairlifts.

Photo Credit: Banff Trail Riders

3. Pack your Snacks:  Don’t rely on eating a big breakfast or a big lunch to get you through your activities in the Rockies; nothing ruins a great day like being hangry. Packing small, easy-to-eat snacks can be a life-saver when you’re out on the trail and still far away from the parking lot. Visit the bulk section of the grocery store to stock up on nuts and dried fruit to put in your backpack. Energy bars, beef jerky and bananas also make good trailside treats. Remember to pack out your wrappers and peels so that you don’t leave attractants for the wildlife in the area.

For a family-friendly restaurant that is perfect for pre- and post-adventure fueling, visit Communitea in Canmore. With a friendly and healthy menu for kids (and a play area to keep them occupied), adults can indulge in a meal for themselves. Bonus: Communitea opens early (8am) and celebrates Friday with cupcakes!

Photo Credit: Orange Girl Photo

For other family-friendly eating options that can satisfy even the pickiest eaters, visit Craigs’ family restaurant in Canmore, Earls in Banff, or O’Shea’s Restaurant in Jasper.

If you’re looking for places to buy your snacks, find a list of grocery stores in our magazine on pages 92, 102 and 156.

4. Pack your Clothes: The weather in the Canadian Rockies is predictably unpredictable; it can be hot and sunny at the base of a mountain, but windy up top. Make sure that you bring layers so that you can plan for sudden changes in weather. Having extra clothes also makes it easy to move between activities without having to first stop at your hotel room or campsite.

For a list of shops that will outfit you for the mountain weather, see pages 91, 98, 104 and 156 of our magazine. Don’t forget your sunscreen! On page 26, see some of our favourite products to keep your skin protected from the elements.

Photo Credit: Jade Wetherell

5. Think about Interests: Do you love water activities? Do your kids love water activities? Sometimes the things we’re interested in doing are very different from the things the rest of the family enjoys. Make sure that you balance everyone’s interests, even if that means going to a museum for an afternoon instead of riding bikes. Chances are that you will be able to persuade your family members to do the things you enjoy if you show the same interest in their desires.

If you are up for adventure but the rest of your family wants to cool down in the water, why not make the best of both worlds and go whitewater rafting? Jasper’s Whitewater Rafting takes clients (kids must be at least 6 years old) through exciting rapids for speedy adventure. Jasper Raft Tours offers a gentler alternative to whitewater rafting through their tours designed for the entire family. With local guides who have grown up in Jasper or lived in the town for a long time, visitors are led on a sightseeing adventure down the Athabasca River.

Photo Credit: Jasper Raft Tours

6. Have a Plan B: In Lynda Pianosi’s book, Take a Hike with Your Children, all of the hikes that Pianosi recommends have a “Plan B”—each hike is close to a playground or interpretive centre so that if your kids won’t budge beyond the trailhead, you can still make the most of your location.

Pick up a copy of Lynda’s book at Café Books in Canmore. Some of our favourite hikes include the Fenland Trail in Banff, Cougar Creek in Canmore, and Morraine Lake Shoreline in Lake Louise. The Red Squirrel Trail in Jasper is close to the townsite and accessible for all walking abilities.

Try turning your adventures into a treasure hunt by finding as many of Parks Canada’s Red Chairs as you can. The Red Chairs have been placed in special locations around Banff and Jasper National Parks, and are meant to encourage people to connect with each other and with nature. Some are easy to find, others require a little more effort, but all of them are worth the views they provide. There are 13 Red Chairs locations in Banff National Park, and 7 locations in Jasper National Park. Visit the Parks Canada website for the exact Red Chair locations.

Bonus: youth (17 and under) receive free admission to Parks Canada places this year. That means free admission to all national parks, national historic sites, and national marine conservation areas operated by Parks Canada!

7. Find Time for Yourself: this is your vacation, too! Make sure that you set some time aside so that you can get some exercise, some alone time, or maybe even a meal at a restaurant that you’ve been eyeing. Take advantage of locations that have childminding or hotels that offer babysitting services.

If you need to take a little time for yourself but you aren’t travelling with a babysitter (let’s be honest, most of us don’t), there are still ways to keep your kid(s) occupied while you try some exploring or activities of your own.

Take advantage of the child daycare services at Lake Louise while you enjoy the Lake Louise Summer Gondola or an open chairlift. The daycare is fully licensed and will take kids as young as 18 days! Full day and half-day rates are available.

At Elevation Place in Canmore, get a workout in at the pool, in the gym or at the climbing wall while your little one enjoys the “Lil’ Bears Den” childminding services. A maximum stay is two hours and children must be between 6 months and 7 years old. If your workout lasts under two hours, take advantage of the Good Earth Coffeehouse on site and relax for a while—you’ve earned it.

In the Canadian Rockies, survival isn’t about being the fittest; survival (especially on a holiday with your family) is all about planning. But once you’ve made the plans, don’t forget to relax and enjoy yourself!

Keep reading through the magazine for hot tips on sightseeing, entertainment, food and more.

Photo Credit: Ross Pugh, Maligne Adventures Wildlife Guide

Surviving the Sights

By Calli Naish

One glimpse of a turquoise-blue glacial lake peeking out from between the peaks is enough to remind you that the Rocky Mountains offer more wonder than one could ever hope to uncover in a lifetime. For over one hundred years, visitors from across the globe have come to discover the secrets that linger atop the summits and within the valleys.

Fishing near Banff, Byron Harmon/photographer, Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies, Byron Harmon fond (V263/na-448)

Mountain Rivers

Known as the “greatest land geographer that ever lived,” David Thompson mapped 3.9 million square km of North America and went blind in one eye from constantly staring at the sun and the stars while navigating. He travelled from the Bow River Foothills to British Columbia by way of the mountain river systems to extend the fur trade routes to the Pacific. Accompanied by his wife and three young children (see our magazine for tips on surviving your own family road trip) he navigated the Columbia River and established Kootenae House outside of Kootenay National Park.

The many rivers, lakes and streams surrounding the Columbia River are known for having an abundance of trout, and the East Kootenays have become world renowned for fly fishing. Kootenay Troutfitters and Kimberley Fly Fishing offer tours for beginner and experienced anglers. If you won’t be travelling as far west as Thompson did, you can fish the Rockies on your own, or with Banff Fishing Unlimited. No matter where you cast your line, you’re guaranteed to be surrounded by the timeless beauty of the mountains.

Mountain Guides

As tales of the early Rocky Mountain explorers and surveyors made their way east, the Canadian Pacific Railway moved west across the Great Divide into British Columbia, bringing curious travellers with it. Seizing entrepreneurial opportunity, Tom Wilson (known for his rediscovery of Lake Louise and Emerald Lake) started a guiding and packing outfit in Banff, providing guides to accompany surveyors, mountaineers and climbers on their expeditions. Two of his most notable guides were Bill Peyto and Jimmy Simpson.


The town of Field, BC, was first established in 1880 and it quickly attracted visitors who wanted to explore the natural wonders of the area now known as Yoho National Park. Experience the allure for yourself by hiking around Emerald Lake  or by renting a canoe from Emerald Sports to paddle on the emerald-coloured water.



Bill Peyto was one of the foremost guides of the early days of tourism in the Rockies. He wore two pairs of pants, slept with a pistol under his pillow, and is rumoured to have once brought a wild lynx into a bar. He crossed Bow Summit to find an oddly shaped lake that would later become his namesake, and he was one of the first Park Wardens in Banff. He also guided the early climbers who dreamed of completing first ascents of Rocky Mountain peaks. In 1901 he guided one such climber, James Outram, to Mount Assiniboine where Outram became the first climber to summit the “Matterhorn of the Rockies.”

Bill Peyto bringing live lynx to zoo [Banff], ca. 1915, Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies, Don Harmon fond (V265/123/na66-467)

If you’ve come to the Rockies for the heights that Outram sought, head to Kicking Horse Mountain Resort or Mount Norquay for a guided via Ferrata climb. At Kicking Horse, experienced climbers can tackle “465 m of pure bliss,” and newcomers can try a more progressive route. If you find the climbing daunting, opt for a walk across the suspension bridge instead. The via Ferrata routes at Norquay range from beginner to advanced, accommodating all types of adventurers.


If you’d rather sightsee than climb, take the short hike to the Peyto Lake Lookout, north of Lake Lousie on the west side of the Icefields Parkway, and see the same sights that Bill Peyto witnessed over a century ago. Adept hikers can explore the surrounding trails or scramble up higher for an even better view of the famous wolf-shaped lake. 


After covering most of Canada and the western United States as a railcar stowaway, Jimmy Simpson eventually settled in the Rockies. He had been inspired by a brief encounter with Bill Peyto and was “determined to emulate [him] or die trying.” Originally hired for his cooking skills, Simpson joined Tom Wilson’s guiding outfit and soon learned how to expertly ride and pack cayuses (mountain ponies). He became a revered packer and guide, leading scientists and big game hunters, as well as famous climbers and mountaineers. Simpson traversed so much of the Rockies that Mary Shäffer wrote of him, “Jim’s axe in this country has done more to make the old trails passable for future comers than any other…”

Jimmy Simpson, ca. 1908, Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies, Jim Simpson family fond (V577/5/pg63/na66-265)


Stretching between Banff and Jasper National Parks, and crossing the Continental Divide, the Columbia Icefield  has been fascinating visitors for centuries. You can experience the marvel for yourself by booking an icefield tour or by walking the Glacier Skywalk, which overlooks part of the largest field of ice in the Rocky Mountains.


Simpson’s mountain exploits would not have been possible without his pack horses, and although there are now many ways to explore the Rockies, doing so by horseback still offers an experience unlike any other. Tour the Bow Valley with Banff Trail Riders and you can catch a glimpse of the Cave and Basin while you ride along the Bow River. In Lake Louise you can head out with Brewster Adventures and ride to the Lake Agnes Teahouse, or to the Plain of the Six Glaciers. And if you are in Jasper you can ride along the Athabasca River with Jasper Park Stables.


When Jimmy Simpson first saw Bow Lake in 1898, he regarded it as the most beautiful place he had seen in Canada and vowed that he’d “build a shack” there someday. Visit Num-Ti-Jah Lodge, his “shack” on Bow Lake, and appreciate the same beauty he was inspired by over a century ago.


Mountain Secrets

Mary Schäffer studied flower painting and began her Rocky Mountain adventures around Banff, Laggan (now Lake Louise) and Field, examining the flora of the mountains with her husband, who studied botany. Although her early travels did not take her far from the railway tracks, she ventured further into the wilderness with each return trip, ultimately setting her sights on finding an elusive lake. In July of 1908, after two summers of exploration, her party finally found itself on the shores of Chaba Imne, the fabled lake that had previously been known only to the Cree and Stoney People. And on a shaky, hand-crafted raft that they called the “HMS Chaba,” they sailed out on Chaba Imne, or as it is now known, Maligne Lake.


Though most people now come to Jasper by car, you can still explore the area in the same way the first tourists did: by train. Sundog Tours offers rail tours along the Fraser River with views of Rearguard Falls, Mount Robson (the highest peak in the Rockies), and the Cariboo Mountains.


While, the HMS Chaba had to be abandoned on the shores of the lake, there are thankfully a number of different (and more reliable) ways to discover Maligne Lake. You can rent a canoe from the Maligne Lake Boathouse or book a cruise and tour down the lake to Spirit Island, one of the most iconic locations in Jasper National Park. If you’d rather explore from the shore, visit the Maligne Lake Chalet or hike the Mary Shäffer Loop. By boat or by boot, be sure you keep your eyes peeled for the wildflowers that brought Mary Shäffer to the Rockies.

Travel has come a long way from canoes and pack trains, but the mountains still offer the same mysterious wilderness that drew the earliest visitors to the Canadian Rockies at a time when travelling the mountains was as much about survival as it was about exploration.

 

The historical photos in this story have been generously provided by the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies.
The Whyte Museum is celebrating 50 years of sharing the history and culture of the Rocky Mountains.

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

Music

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!

 

Slush

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.

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.