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Canadian Rockies

Food and Fun in the Canadian Rockies

By Keili Bartlett

You probably grew up hearing, “Don’t play with your food!” But in the Canadian Rockies, we recommend it! Satisfy your appetite for food served with a side of fun at these hot spots.

 

Let the good times roll at High Rollers.

A new addition to Banff Ave, High Rollers has stepped up the (bowling) game.

Let the Good Times Roll

Swap your ski boots for bowling shoes at High Rollers. Once the site of Aurora nightclub, co-manager Mai Yamagishi says: “It’s a completely different vibe. We’re family-friendly, but after 10 pm we have a DJ and nighttime crowd.”

Pizza, Pins and Pints

Serving up a good time, High Rollers offers weekly drink and dinner deals.

High Rollers has daily food and drink deals and a constant flow of free popcorn. The perfect piece of pizza hits the spot while you hit the pins. “Try the Canadian pizza,” suggests Yamagishi. “Drizzle maple syrup on top; it’s lovely.” Pair your pizza with beer; there are 48 varieties on tap.

Banff entertainment, Banff nightlife

You’re in for a wild ride at Wild Bill’s Legendary Saloon!

When in the West

Find fun at Banff’s saloon, live music venue and smokehouse. Wild Bill’s Legendary Saloon is the place to be Tuesday nights for karaoke and mechanical bull rides. Half the delight is watching others try to hold on!

After building your appetite, delve into a Cow Puncher’s Platter with ribs, brisket and sausage. Cocktails bring a taste of the south to the north, while Wild Bill’s all-Canadian Caesar is served with a strip of bacon.

Bands play often and DJs take to the stage Sunday nights. Two-step routines are honed to perfection at country performances.

Sidelines at Stoney Nakoda Casino

Put your money (and some chicken wings) where your mouth is!

Place Your Bets

Saddle up and ride to Sidelines Lounge; then put your money where your mouth is. The bar at Stoney Nakoda Casino has 12 big screens that stream live horse races from around the world. “It’s just like being at a track,” says events manager Chris Grimes. “You can bet on multiple races at the same time.”

With your wins (or remaining cash) invest in nightly food and drink specials every night; 35¢ wings on Wednesdays are the most popular. Or, continue to try your luck on the video lottery terminals. A 100-inch projection screen that shows live sports means you don’t have to leave your seat (or your wings) to get the score.

While the Sidelines Lounge is a smoker-friendly venue for ages 18+, the resort’s Ridge Buffet is non-smoking, open to all ages, and popular for Friday and Saturday rib and lobster buffets. The casino floor features 250 slot machines and classic games such as blackjack, roulette and poker.

Wet Your Whistle

Live like a local at the Whistle Stop Pub in Jasper. “It’s a great hangout with a laidback vibe,” says the bar’s Jeff Smith.

At The Stop you don’t have to blow the budget. Find $4.75 pints and $7 cheeseburgers anytime, free pool on Tuesdays and daily happy hours 4:30 to 7 pm. Catch the game on nine big TVs. Add live acoustic jams Saturdays from 3:30 pm to 6 pm, and it’s no wonder this is amongst Jasper’s favourite watering holes.

See more Banff, Canmore and Jasper restaurants.

>> 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

The Canadian Rockies From Above: A Helicopter Tour

By Naomi Witherick

Nursing half a cup of coffee in a heliport felt weird. Here I was doing something I did every day, minutes before a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

My stomach was full of butterflies and complimentary coffee as I boarded a helicopter for the first time. Photo by: Naomi Witherick

My stomach was full of butterflies and complimentary coffee as I boarded a helicopter for the first time. Photo by: Naomi Witherick

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Classy Keepsakes from Banff

By Where Writers

From the local crafts to the world renown coats, we’ve written your shopping list for souvenirs from Banff.

Banff Soap

Be transported back to Banff with the scents of organic soaps from Tanglewood.

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Treat Yourself at the Spas in Banff

By Where Writers

Originally founded for it’s healing hot springs, there’s no better place to escape the cold and pamper yourself after a day on the slopes than in Banff’s renown spas.

Swedish Inspiration Spa

Meadow Spa is Banff’s newest spa, and features a view of Cascade Mountain.

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Indoor Activities in the Canadian Rockies

By Where Writers

Too cold outside? Need a break from skiing? There’s another frontier to discover in the Canadian Rockies: the great indoors. Wind down or rope up with these favourite indoor activities in Canmore, Banff and Jasper.

indoor activities in the Canadian Rockies, things to do in the Canadian Rockies

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Beginner’s Luck: Ice Fishing in the Canadian Rockies

By Keili Bartlett

It’s Saturday morning, but we’re up before the sun. It’s tempting to sleep in, but a weekend spent outside in the Canadian Rockies is nearly impossible to pass up, so I find myself bundling up for cold winter weather.

My roommate Devaan has been raving for weeks about his newest hobby, and his excitement is contagious. Last summer it was fly fishing. This winter, it’s evolved to keep up with the change of seasons: we’re going ice fishing.

Fishing huts are set up on an early morning in Spray Lakes. Photo by: Banff Lake Louise Tourism

Fishing huts are set up on an early morning in Spray Lakes. Photo by: Banff Lake Louise Tourism

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Bow Valley’s Best Après Ski Entertainment

By Naomi Witherick & Keili Bartlett

There’s nothing better than ending a perfect day on the hill with some après ski antics. Start with live music at Bow Valley ski resorts, then catch indie film screenings or hang out with the locals at themed pub nights.

Banff Entertainment

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Canmore Souvenirs for Everyone on Your List

By Where Writers

The Canadian Rockies are known for their unparalleled beauty. Take a token home with you to share your trip with your friends and family (or keep for yourself!). We’ve checked out local keepsakes so you can spend less time shopping, and more time in the mountains!

While we were researching this list, our editor bought this postcard to send to her family back home. There are plenty more at Sunny Ravens Gallery!

While we were researching this list, our editor bought this postcard to send to her family back home. There are plenty more at Sunny Raven Gallery!

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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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