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Jasper & Area

7 Ideas for Winter Fun in the Mountains

Dec. 10, 2015
By Afton Aikens

We talked to local extreme sports athlete Will Gadd in our winter feature Big Mountain Adventure about some of his favourite places to ice climb and backcountry ski. But if the suggestions in that article are a little too adventurous for you, Gadd has more ideas for fun:

Grotto Mountain Ice Walk, Canmore Kananaskis

Grotto Mountain Ice Walk, Canmore Kananaskis

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Big Mountain Adventure

Local pros suggest exhilarating winter excursions

Dec. 7, 2015
By Afton Aikens

Eisenhower Tower on Castle Mountain, John Price, Travel Alberta

Eisenhower Tower on Castle Mountain, John Price, Travel Alberta

Massive. Rugged. Incredible. Whatever your interpretation, there’s no denying that the Canadian Rockies leave an impression.

In winter, peaks and valleys draped in snow and ice create a magical outdoor playground that entices adventurers into its wilderness.

For professional climber, paraglider and kayaker Will Gadd, growing up here shaped his identity and sparked a lifetime of legendary exploits.

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Banff & Jasper Wildlife Tours

By Afton Aikens & John Strugnell

This summer, check spotting wildlife in the Canadian Rockies off your bucket list on these guided tours. (If you’re wildlife watching on your own, just make sure it’s from a safe distance!)

Photo: Courtesy of Discover Banff Tours

Photo: Courtesy of Discover Banff Tours

Wildlife Safari

Grab your camera and join Discover Banff Tours’ Evening Wildlife Safari—their most popular excursion. This two-hour small group experience visits multiple Banff National Park locations; over 95% of trips spot wildlife. You’ll learn lots too, like how bighorn sheep horns are formed. (Spoiler alert: tiny hairs grow tightly together).

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A Photographer’s Take on Jasper National Park

Where Canadian Rockies social media fan and Spruce Grove, Alberta based photographer Tegan Thompson (blownawayphoto.com) shares why she loves Jasper National Park.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and tag your experiences and photos with #whererockies for a chance to be featured on our blog!

Photo by Tegan Thompson

Photo by Tegan Thompson

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4 Favourite Jasper Restaurants

Photo: Courtesy of Jasper's Earls in the Rockies

Photo: Courtesy of Jasper’s Earls in the Rockies

By Afton Aikens

Daily Brunch

Every day is like a weekend at Jasper’s Earls in the Rockies, the only local restaurant to offer a brunch menu alongside the regular menu seven days a week (10:30 am to 2 pm). “The top seller is chorizo mushroom hash,” says owner Rob Olson. Skip the coffee for one of three brunch drinks, including a Baesar with beer, clamato juice and signature Caesar spices.

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6 Ways to Stay Warm in Style

By Where Staff

Wherever you’re shopping in the Canadian Rockies this winter, we’ve got you covered for cold weather style.

Photo: Courtesy of Hudson's Bay Banff

Photo: Courtesy of Hudson’s Bay Banff

Banff Shops

Stay cozy with a luxurious fitted down-filled jacket. This new design from Snowflake has a belted rouched waist and zipper details—the perfect mix of elegance and edginess. Soft fur frames the face, but can be removed for a different look.

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Jasper’s Stunning Sights

Photo: Courtesy of SunDog Tours

Photo: Courtesy of SunDog Tours

By Afton Aikens & Jack Newton

Mountain Connector

SunDog Tours’ daily winter bus (to May) offers hassle-free travel to and from Jasper National Park. The Edmonton service accesses West Edmonton Mall or the International Airport. The Calgary/Banff/Lake Louise service cruises the famous Icefields Parkway, which offers spectacular views. Some highlights of this world renowned drive include:

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4 Rejuvenating Canadian Rockies Spas

Photo: iStock

Photo: iStock

By Where Staff

Spa Treatments

The Stay Active Rx deep-tissue massage at the Fairmont Banff Springs’ Willow Stream Spa targets sore muscles with a warm Indonesian ginger-oil blend and uses cooling elements to soothe inflammation. Soak in the relaxing mineral pools before and after for ultimate restoration.

The 60-minute Tropical Escape Wrap is a Rimrock Resort Hotel Spa  favourite. Certified therapists (your choice of male or female) exfoliate with a salt scrub, then hydrate with a papaya and pineapple infused wrap. Warm waters applied by the six-showerhead Vichy bar further soothe winter-stressed skin. Add a mini facial or a scalp massage with warm conditioning argan oil.

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Jasper’s Ski Shops: Cutting-Edge Winter Wear & Gear

Photo: Ian McIntosh via Edge Control

Photo: Ian McIntosh via Edge Control

By Jack Newton & Afton Aikens

Thinner, Lighter, Stronger Skis

“They ski remarkably well, yet weigh nothing,” enthuses Edge Control owner Blair Timmins after taking Völkl’s 2015 V-Werks Katana for a test drive. Cutting edge composites, multi-layered wood cores and full carbon jackets are combined with rocker construction and innovative taper shapes. These new generation skis are stable at speed, and easy to turn and control in all snow conditions.

Not ready to commit? All local ski shops rent skis and snowboards. Competition means that novice packages are priced low, the world’s best gear is available for demo rental and services like hotel pick-ups are offered. If you rent from the downtown Marmot Basin Sales Centre or their website your gear will be waiting when you arrive at the ski area. Plus, “we’ll store your rentals overnight,” says Erin Reade of Marmot.

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Wine & Game Pairings

By Afton Aikens

Beef-to-bison converts love the latter’s leanness, while elk is popular with visitors who want to taste ranch-raised cousins of the game animals that adorn our mountain landscapes.

These hoofed fauna are among many types of game you can sample in the Canadian Rockies—but be sure to add a glass of wine. We talked to three restaurants in the region about their favourite wine and game pairings. We hope you brought your appetite!

Elk, Eden

Elk, Eden

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6 Best Ice Walks & Falls from Canmore to Jasper

Athabasca Falls. Photo: Chris Stubbs / Wikimedia

Athabasca Falls. Photo: Chris Stubbs / Wikimedia

By Afton Aikens & Jack Newton

Enchanting Ice Walks

An ice walk at Johnston Canyon reveals a magical frozen blue world (access the canyon via Bow Valley Parkway). Another top rated icy trek is at Grotto Canyon, just east of Canmore. Watch in fascination as climbers set routes on icefalls suspended from gorge walls. You can go alone, but guides provide safety gear like ice cleats and hiking poles, and point out easy-to-miss canyon features such as fossils and historic Native rock paintings.

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Hiking Canada’s 5 Highest Trails

By KAT TANCOCK

Hiking Canada

Hiking Canada’s highest trails: a couple strolls near Whistler Summit (Photo: Paul Morrison)

Hiking Canada’s high-altitude trails has loads of advantages over trekking at sea level: the terrain is unusual, the views are spectacular and the thin air is refreshing. For adventurers interested in the extra challenge of mountain hike, we offer this visual tour of the best high-altitude trails in British Columbia and Alberta.

Start the slideshow “Hiking Canada’s 5 Highest Trails” »