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Canadian Rockies

7 Tips for Photographing the Northern Lights

By Naomi Witherick

If you live below a certain latitude, seeing the Northern Lights can be a once in a lifetime experience. No matter where you discover them, those dancing green streaks are awesome. But witnessing them in Canadian Rockies – where majestic snow-capped peaks and frozen lakes lie in the foreground – is the most incredible experience of all.

Get the iconic shot of the Northern Lights over Banff at Vermillion Lakes. Photo by: Banff Lake Louise Tourism / Paul Zizka

Get the iconic shot of the Northern Lights over Banff at Vermillion Lakes. Photo by: Banff Lake Louise Tourism / Paul Zizka

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Heli Skiing is Better than Birthday Cake

By Jack Newton

Sixtieth birthdays demand grand gestures. So I took my kids and nephews heli-skiing. “I’m only 25, and already I’m knocking a top 10 off my bucket list,” said my son Tobiah. I had been heli-skiing before, but I was pretty excited too.

Fresh snow, blue skies, a helicopter ride to the summit and heliskiing with the kids. What more could a guy turning 60 want?

Fresh snow, blue skies, a helicopter ride to the summit and heliskiing with the kids. What more could a guy turning 60 want?

Heli-skiing is the holy grail of our sport. Everyone loves mountains, but real skiers dream of beautiful turns in untracked snow. Self doubt and cost can deter; but not for us, not today. We booked a five-run package with RK Heliski Panorama, located at Panorama Mountain Resort, BC just west of Inveremere and a two-hour drive from Banff.

Preliminaries to our big day increased our anticipation and level of excitement. A buffet breakfast at the heliplex was followed by fittings of our choice of performance Armada and Decosse powder skis, and a backpack with avalanche shovel and probe. We were introduced to our guide Matt who led our avalanche transceiver practice session.

Craggy mountains studded with glaciers — remember to rest between pitches to savour the view.

Craggy mountains studded with glaciers — remember to rest between pitches to savour the view.

The thwap-thwap-thwap of our Bell 204 rotor blades serenaded our foray to a craggy ridge where a 5,000 vertical feet open slope was revealed. The sky was blue. There was fresh snow. I held back and proudly watched as my children elegantly carved turns that mirrored the perfect S-curves made by our guide.

Matt was impressed. Clearly my kids and their cousins were better skiers than his average clients. They more closely mirrored his demographic, too. An easy camaraderie between guide and group was building.

Sarah finding a rhythm to mirror the S-turns of her siblings. At the bottom we looked up to admire our artistic tracks.

Sarah finding a rhythm to mirror the S-turns of her siblings. At the bottom we looked up to admire our artistic tracks.

Then it was my turn to tackle the slope. The relatively gentle grade allowed me to easily fall into a rhythm and create fresh tracks like a pro. I skied slowly and deliberately, savouring every moment. “Your dad, he skis regal,” said our guide to my beaming kids. I took this as a compliment.

Five thousand vertical feet of snow bowls and thinly treed glades — fall line skiing interrupted by the occasional short traverse.

Five thousand vertical feet of snow bowls and thinly treed glades — fall line skiing interrupted by the occasional short traverse.

The helicopter whisked us to summits and long runs of open bowls and sparsely treed glades four more times. We laughed together, reveled in each of our descents and admired the incredible views. The skiing was punctuated by a picnic lunch beside the helicopter on the valley floor.

Heli skiing with my kids and nephews was the birthday party of a lifetime.

Heli skiing with my kids and nephews was the birthday party of a lifetime.

Back at the heliplex, we recounted our experience over appies and beer. My daughter Jenna noted that “heliskiing was even better than  expected” while I reflected that this is as perfect a day with his children as a dad can get.

 

>> For more Canadian Rockies activities, shops, restaurants and entertainment, read our digital magazine.

>> Connect with us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram at whererockies and tag your Canadian Rockies posts and photos with #whererockies

Age-Old Adventures: Night Sky Magic

Before hotels and ski hills, the Canadian Rockies were known, loved and lived in by First Nations. Frozen lakes were their hunting ground, snowy foothills their home. Connect with the mountains like the first inhabitants with unique experiences that resonate Aboriginal heritage.

Be star-struck by the clear skies in Jasper. Photo: Paul Zizka

Be star-struck by the clear skies in Jasper. Photo: Paul Zizka

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Fun February Festivals in Banff and Canmore

By Keili Bartlett

Be wowed by winter in the Bow Valley! February continues the fun festivities at Banff’s annual SnowDays (until Feb 5), and the Canmore Winter Carnival hosts two back-to-back weekends Feb 4 – 12. Check out what spectacles are in store for you with our mini-guide to the season’s must-sees. 

February in Canmore and Banff means fun for everyone. Photo by Pam Doyle.

February in Canmore and Banff means fun for everyone. Photo by Pam Doyle.

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Winter Gear Top Picks

By Keili Bartlett

Whatever the weather, this winter gear has you covered. We’ve perused shops in the Canadian Rockies for the newest and greatest to enjoy the season’s activities.

HHULLRjacket

Don’t let the cold stop you from making the most of winter. ULLR Elevation Shell from Helly Hansen.

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Let it Snow! January Festivals in the Canadian Rockies

By Keili Bartlett

Winter is well underway, but the fun is just getting started! January weather in the Canadian Rockies creates the perfect conditions for winter festivals. Here’s a round-up of all the snow-packed fun at Jasper in January, Jan 12-29 and Banff’s SnowDays, Jan 13 – Feb 5.

Frozen fun is on the agenda at Lake Louise's Ice Magic. Photo by Kelly MacDonald.

Frozen fun is on the agenda at Lake Louise’s Ice Magic. Photo by Kelly MacDonald.

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Fall in Love with Winter in Jasper

By Ashley Materi

This New Year marks Canada’s 150th birthday, and with it, the Discovery Pass that allows entry to national parks from coast to coast is free. This makes 2017 the perfect time to explore more of our beautiful country, and making a stop in Jasper National Park is a must.

Winter in Jasper

Water rushes underneath a layer of ice in Jasper. Photo: Ashley Materi

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Where to Eat in Banff this Winter

By Where Writers

From mountain-top venues with epic snowy views, to cozy patios downtown, Banff is packed with great places to eat. Here’s our round-up of the bars and restaurants to visit this winter.

Mountain-top Meals
Want a meal with a view? Sky Bistro won’t disappoint. Ride the Banff Gondola to the restaurant on Sulphur Mountain’s 2,281-m high ridge for snowy views Banff and delicious tastes of Canada. Choose from regional dishes with upscale twists, including bison burger (Alberta), duck poutine (Quebec), and lobster roll (Nova Scotia). And from the bar, sip locally crafted beers and spirits.

Banff Dining, best Banff restaurants, where to eat in Banff Read more…

5 Places to Discover Bow Valley Art

By Where writers

Add some culture to your Bow Valley vacation with these art galleries, exhibits and displays in Banff and Canmore.

Canmore, Banff, museums, galleries

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Age-Old Adventures: Icy Discoveries

By Naomi Witherick

Before hotels and ski hills, the Canadian Rockies were known, loved and lived in by First Nations. Frozen lakes were their hunting ground, snowy foothills their home. Connect with the mountains like the first inhabitants with unique experiences that resonate Aboriginal heritage.

Indigenous people have traversed Canadian landscapes for centuries. From Inuit nations in the north to the Plains tribes in southern Alberta, each had their own beliefs and traditions that are still alive.

Experience Aboriginal life-ways for yourself. From museum visits and snowshoeing to ice fishing and folklore (below) there are loads of ways to connect with native heritage in the Canadian Rockies.

Canadian Rockies things to do, Canadian Rockies ice walks, what to do in winter in the Canadian Rockies

Image: Parks Canada – Ryan Bray

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Why We Love Jasper Restaurants

By Where writers

From overloaded plates at breakfast buffets to budget-friendly food specials, there are loads of reasons to love Jasper restaurants. Here’s our guide to where to eat in town.

Jasper dining, Jasper places to eat, where to eat in Jasper Read more…

Banff’s Big Taste: January 18 – 22, 2017

By Where Writers

Join the fun at Banff’s Big Taste, a five-day festival designed to boost the culinary profile of Banff. Attend for a day, or schedule an entire vacation during this celebration of food and drink.

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