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Banff, Canmore & Area

Get Creative in the Canadian Rockies

March 25, 2016
By Afton Aikens & Ashley Materi

Express your inner artist indoors and outdoors in the mountains this winter.

Silver Tree Studio, by Ashley Materi

Silver Tree Studio, by Ashley Materi

Community artsPlace
At Canmore’s new arts centre, all ages and skill levels get to be creative “in ways that will inspire and maybe surprise them,” says artsPlace director Jeremy Elbourne. One-day performing and visual arts workshops are tourist-friendly. Our glass-fusing workshop provided instruction, materials and space we otherwise wouldn’t have been able to access; and we made six pretty plates!

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Indoor Fun in Banff & Canmore

March 15, 2016
By Where Writers

Read on for some of our favourite places to escape chilly weather.

FenlandsDSC_8950

The Fenlands Banff Recreation Centre: Get your ice time in at public skates Sunday to Thursday. The $20 drop-in learn-to-curl class (Wednesdays, 6:30 to 8:30 pm) includes gear.

The Banff Centre: See top international talent at a music, dance or theatre performance. Coming up soon (March 26), Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s Going Home Star: Truth & Reconciliation portrays a First Nations woman in a life of youthful excess.

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Spring Skiing in the Canadian Rockies

March 11, 2016
By Naomi Witherick

Stay and ski for a few days at Sunshine Mountain Lodge (background), Banff's only on-hill accommodation. Image: Banff & Lake Louise Tourism / Paul Zizka

Stay and ski for a few days at Sunshine Mountain Lodge (background), Banff’s only on-hill accommodation. Image: Banff & Lake Louise Tourism / Paul Zizka

Spring skiing in Banff and Jasper is about BBQs, music and spring passes at killer prices. Expect great conditions too, with sunshine and late winter snowfall. Here are the deals and events not to miss.

The Annual Slush Cup Competition at Sunshine Village, Banff.

Sunshine Village’s Annual Slush Cup will be making a splash May 23. Image: Sunshine Village

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Fitness & Spas in Banff & Canmore

Feb. 28, 2016
By Where Writers

Elevation Place

Elevation Place

Drop in to Get Fit
Start your day in Banff with an invigorating Early Bird Yoga vinyasa flow class at Sally Borden Fitness & Recreation, Wednesdays 6:45 to 7:45 am. Dynamic instructor (and local yogis’ favourite) Erin Evans leads. In Canmore, the Wednesday Sweat & Sculpt class, 6:45 to 7:30 pm at Elevation Place, is challenging, results-focused and fun. Rotating instructors put their own spin on sessions. Fees ($13/$15) include gym and pool use.

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Stunning Sightseeing in Banff National Park

Feb. 24, 2016
By Afton Aikens, Ashley Materi & Ally McConnell

Travel Alberta / Paul Zizka

Travel Alberta / Paul Zizka

Nighttime Light Show
On clear nights, dark skies provide pristine conditions for stargazing and viewing the northern lights. Local photographer Paul Zizka recommends Lake Minnewanka near Banff and Bow Lake north of Lake Louise as prime roadside spots. Download the Star Tracker Mobile Sky Map app to help identify constellations; track northern light forecasts on aurorawatch.com.

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Cross-Country Skiing the Goat Creek Trail: Great For Beginners & Families

Feb. 12, 2016
By Morgan Kwan

Winter always seems to pass by faster when you’re busy with activities. Don’t let the season get you down; there are plenty of winter activities to warm up to in the Canadian Rockies. Cross-country skiing is a great low impact sport that the whole family can do. If you’re looking for something a little different, I highly recommend the Goat Creek Trail that runs from Canmore to Banff through the Spray Valley.

Goat-Creek-3

A popular summer mountain biking trail, Goat Creek also makes a fantastic cross-country ski trail, even for beginners. Track set for the full 18 km, you pop out at the Fairmont Banff Springs hotel where you can take advantage of the scrumptious Sunday brunch or go for a dip at the nearby Banff Upper Hot Springs before heading back to Canmore. (See my note about transportation at the end of this article). (more…)

Canadian Rockies Art & Science

Feb. 8, 2016
By Afton Aikens & Ashley Materi

While there’s plenty of outdoor adventure to be found in the Canadian Rockies, you can get your arts, culture and science fix here, too!

Banff Upper Hot Springs, Sylvia Plachy

Banff Upper Hot Springs, Sylvia Plachy

Inspired Images
Works of 20 international photographers that cover the diverse spectrum of the medium are showcased at the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies exhibit Point of View: Photographs Inspired by the Canadian Rockies (in Banff, to March 27). Photos ranging from classic early 1900s Ansel Adams images to sculpture-based works by Diana Thorneycroft reflect both landscapes and emotional interpretations of mountain life.

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Banff’s Backcountry Lodges

Jan. 25, 2016
Afton Aikens & Jack Wennot

Travel Alberta

Skoki Lodge, Travel Alberta

Snowshoe or ski tour to these rustic, log-built wilderness cabins that serve home-cooked meals and offer access to many fantastic trails. Reservations are a must.

Skoki Lodge, built by local residents in 1931, is 11 km from the Lake Louise Ski Resort over Boulder and Deception mountain passes. The lodge caters to skiers of all abilities, with ski touring and telemarking slopes, plus cross country routes nearby.

The main lodge and three surrounding cabins can accommodate 22 guests. Skoki does not have electricity or running water, but warm wash water is available. At night, candles and kerosene lamps light the lodge. Skoki is known for its delicious buffet-style breakfasts and dinners. Winter season runs to April 24.

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Insider Tips: Banff National Park Ski Resorts

Enhance Your Experience

Dec. 23, 2015
By Where Writers

Our Canadian Rockies paradise has beckoned those who crave incredible skiing for nearly a century. We boast an enviable combination of deep dry snow, tree-lined and open bowl terrain, high-speed lifts and on-hill amenities. Peaks outnumber people, and the ski season is the longest in the country.

Canada’s Mountain Parks (UNESCO World Heritage sites Banff and Jasper national parks, plus Kananaskis Country) are home to five Alberta ski areas. Read on for our insider insights.

Banff National Park
Mount Norquay, Sunshine Village and Lake Louise are Banff’s ‘Big 3’. Tri-area multi-day lift passes with ski bus and optional lessons can be purchased at the Banff Ski Hub.

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Style Guide: 3 Favourite Mountain Looks

Dec. 20, 2015
By Ashley Materi
Photos by Colin Ferguson

Whether you’re on Banff Avenue or on the slopes, we’ve got you covered with this season’s best clothing, accessories, outerwear and gear.

Shop_MG_6186
Powder Hound

Stylish snow seekers embrace high-tech gear that’s comfortable on both the chairlift and the descent. (more…)

12 Best Mountain Activities in Winter

By Jack Newton

Banff, Jasper and other Canadian Rockies locales are a winter enthusiast’s paradise. Below are some of our favourite ways to enjoy the great outdoors.

Browse activities in Banff and area

Browse activities in Jasper and area

Image: Grotto Canyon, Tourism Canmore Kananaskis

Image: Grotto Canyon, Tourism Canmore Kananaskis

1. Canyon Ice Walks: Guided tours of Johnston, Grotto and Maligne canyons pass through towering walls of limestone to stunning frozen waterfalls. Ice cleats are provided; headlamp-lit night tours are an option. (more…)

4 Top Alpine Club Backcountry Huts

Dec. 14, 2015
By Afton Aikens

If you want to step outside the comfort zone of a hotel but aren’t keen on winter camping, an Alpine Club of Canada (ACC) backcountry hut may be an ideal choice—and a great base for skiing or snowshoeing. The huts vary from century-old log cabins in meadows to bunker-looking dwellings above treeline.

“The Alpine Club has put a lot of resources into them, so they’re well kept,” says the ACC’s Keith Haberl. “The great thing about (staying at a hut) is you don’t have to carry a tent or a stove, and the sleeping pads are there; just bring a sleeping bag and food,” he adds. “Huts open the door to a lot more terrain for a lot more people.”

Hut accommodation is dormitory-style; sleeping quarters, common areas and kitchens are shared with other guests. Huts can be booked up to 30 days in advance (or six months in advance for ACC members—and anyone can become a member). “There’s a high likelihood of meeting like-minded people who have some recreational objective that’s similar,” Haberl says.

Popular huts in winter include:

Photo by Tanya Koob

Photo by Tanya Koob

  • Elk Lakes Cabin, Elk Lakes Park, BC: This is the ACC’s closest hut to Calgary, accessed from
    Peter Lougheed Park in Kananaskis. The trailhead is 62 km south of Hwy 1 on Hwy 40, and it’s
    a 9-km (three to four hours) cross-country ski to the hut; the trail is track set in Peter Lougheed
    Park. Elk Lakes Cabin is a family favourite, with ski touring ranging from easy to advanced.

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