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.
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…)
Jan. 18. 2016
By Afton Aikens, Ashley Materi & Olivia Grecu
Visiting Banff or Canmore this winter? Whether you’re the do-it-yourself or take-a-tour type, the Canadian Rockies offer something for everyone. Get outside and explore!
1. Cross-Country Skiing
Banff cross-country skiers can ride Roam Public Transit to the Spray River Loop (by the Fairmont Banff Springs) or Tunnel Mountain Trailer Court loops (search our Banff shopping listings for gear rental shops). Downhill skiers can also ditch the car and take the bus to the resorts.
By Afton Aikens
The final part of this four-week post series will introduce you to cross-country skiing, brought to Canada at the turn of the 20th century by Scandinavian immigrants. At first, skeptical locals thought snowshoeing to be a more practical means of winter transportation. But with the advent of ski lodges, things began to change.
Photo: Travel Alberta
By Afton Aikens
This winter, try out Banff’s new intermediate 5.9-km Castle Mountain Lookout to Protection Mountain Campground trail, which parallels the Bow Valley Parkway and traces part of the original auto-route through Banff National Park. This single-track trail has 15 metres of elevation gain.
Perfect for novice skiers, the 4.4-km Tunnel Mountain Trailer Court trail near the Banff townsite debuted last season and is lit dusk-to-dawn. The trail has minimal elevation.
Gatineau Park makes for a serene skiing destination. Photo credit: National Capital Commission.
Want to get outdoors, but don’t want to go far? Look no further than Gatineau Park. Located just 15 minutes from downtown Ottawa, this conservation park has more than 50 cross-country ski trails ranging in both length (7.9 km- 40 km) and level (beginner to advanced). There’s nothing like gliding over fresh snow on a winter morning. Marvel at the forests and open fields as you fly by, then warm up by a wood burning stove at one of the 10 shelters, which are outfitted with picnic tables so you can enjoy a snack from home.
Photo courtesy of FortWhyte Alive
Embrace the wonder of winter at FortWhyte Alive, a 600-acre urban nature reserve. Breathe in fresh winter air while enjoying myriad activities, from pond skating to tobogganing to Nordic walking to cross-country skiing. Kids will get a thrill from spotting and identifying the animal tracks using a handy FortWhyte guide. Every second Saturday throughout January and February, strap on snow shoes for a two-hour, all-abilities trek around the site. After, warm up inside at Buffalo Stone Café with a bowl of soup.