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Jasper & Area

Insider Guide: Ski Areas of Canada’s Mountain Parks

The region known as Canada’s Mountain Parks includes the UNESCO World Heritage Site that encompasses Banff and Jasper National Parks as well as Kananaskis Provincial Park east of Banff. This majestic wilderness with knock-your-socks-off views and more peaks than people is home to five Alberta ski areas.

Our world-class combination of tree lined and open bowl slopes, abundant snowfalls, high-speed lifts and on-hill amenities beckon skiers and boarders from around the globe. (more…)

More Than Skiing in the Canadian Rockies

You don’t need skis or a snowboard to enjoy these activities and events. By Kirsten Varsek

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Mt Norquay’s Tube Park (Photo: Banff Lake Louise Tourism/Paul Zizka)

Tubing
Speeding down the slopes on an inflatable tube is a delight for the whole family; groomed lanes ensure safe and smooth sliding. Nakiska Tube Park is the latest ($19, child $15), while Mt Norquay’s Tube Town (night-lit Fri and Sat) now boasts six chutes, two dedicated lifts and a kids’ play zone with a small sliding area ($30, child $20). At Lake Louise Sunny Tube Park you slide for $20 (youth $16).

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Marmot Basin’s 50th Anniversary

Marmot-Basin-50th-Anniversary

Historic Marmot Basin

Jasper’s enormous, scenic and almost always crowd-free ski area, Marmot Basin, turns 50 this year. George Andrew—Astoria Hotel owner, former Alberta Ski Team racer and 43 year ski instructor veteran—has skied Marmot Basin since 1962. George recalls riding a surplus Columbia Icefield snowcat to get to the rope tow that was installed in 1961.

Today Marmot’s modern lifts transport 12,060 skiers per hour, a fact that would have amazed cross-country ski guide Joe Weiss who named the area Marmot Basin in the late 1920s. The first trail was ‘cut’ in 1930, and in 1942 the British army trained here; that first rope tow was powered by an army truck engine. (more…)

Staying Warm in the Canadian Rockies

Wool, goose down & high-tech synthetics.  By Kirsten Varsek

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Thermoball Jackets (Photo: The North Face)

 

Shopping for winter sport clothing can be daunting: so many styles have few discernible differences. We suggest attacking the maze of snow suits with the rallying motto: “I just want to stay warm!” (more…)

Canadian Rockies Climbing Walls

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Climbing Hold (Photo: The Banff Centre)

Indoor climbing walls offer active respite from the cold. By Kirsten Varsek

If you want an energetic break from cold weather sports, visit our local indoor climbing walls. “Climbing is good cross-training; the balance and strength required transfer over to activities like skiing and snowboarding,” says Scott McKay at Canmore’s Elevation Place. Chris Neve at The Banff Centre Sally Borden fitness facility agrees: “Climbing builds upper and lower body strength, flexibility and endurance. Best of all, it’s fun!” (more…)

5 Icy Adventures in the Canadian Rockies

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Icy Adventures include Ice Magic Festival (Photo: Banff Lake Louise Tourism/Paul Zizka)

Mountain fun can be served up on ice as well as snow. While skiers give on-slope ice the cold shoulder, frozen surfaces provide opportunities for good times at canyons, waterfalls and rinks. By Twyla Kowalchuk and Jack Wennot (more…)

6 Best Canadian Rockies Brunch Spots

By SARA SAMSON

Canadian Rockies Brunch Spots

Best Canadian Rockies Brunch Spots: (Photo: Chez Francois)

On vacation, a leisurely brunch is a treat and a great way to energize before a day of sightseeing or outdoor adventure. Below are our picks for the best Canadian Rockies brunch spots in Alberta, from hearty buffets to à la carte menus, all photographed to inspire your appetite.

See the best 6 Canadian Rockies brunch spots »

 

Top 10 Luxury Spas of the Canadian Rockies

By SARA SAMSON

Whether you’re looking for therapeutic benefits after a long day of skiing or hiking, or just pure relaxation, our spas have something for you. Here, we present our sampling of the top luxury spas in the Canadian Rockies region, each with their own techniques and strengths. Pick the one that’s perfect for you.

Willow Stream Spa (Photo: Fairmont Hotels & Resorts)

1. Willow Stream Spa at The Fairmont Banff Springs
This award-winning spa (Conde Nast Traveler’s third top spa in Canada) offers the ultimate in mountain luxury. Pulsating waterfalls and a mineral pool are reminiscent of the area’s natural features, while the steam room, outdoor whirlpool and eucalyptus inhalation room encourage relaxation. The spa has many signature treatments such as the Majestic Blue, which features organic mountain lavender (known as “blue magic”) and an invigorating mineral salt exfoliation, massage and luxurious wrap.
• Willow Stream Spa, The Fairmont Banff Springs, 405 Spray Ave., Banff, AB, 403-762-1772, website
Map and reviews

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Top 5 Backcountry Lodges of the Canadian Rockies

By SARA SAMSON

Lodges of the Canadian Rockies

Top Canadian Rockies backcountry lodges: Skoki Lodge (Photo: Banff Lake Louise Tourism/Paul Zizka)

Luxury hotels are in abundance in the Rockies, but for a more rustic—some would say a more authentic—stay try one of our backcountry lodges that serve gourmet meals and are only accessible by hiking, cross-country skiing or (in a few cases) helicopter. Located throughout the region, these accommodations offer some of the greatest views, activities and comforts of the Canadian Rockies.

See the top 5 backcountry lodges of the Canadian Rockies »

 

 

Top 3 Iconic Hotels of the Canadian Rockies

By SARA SAMSON

The Rocky Mountains have plenty to offer in the way of luxury getaways, but the area’s grandest accommodations are original Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) and Canadian National Railway (CN) hotels. Now operated under the Fairmont brand, the Banff Springs, the Chateau Lake Louise and Jasper Park Lodge offer historical significance, luxury and alpine adventure. Here, we offer a brief profile of each for guests looking for memorable stay in an iconic Canadian hotel.

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Best Ski Areas of the Canadian Rockies

Best Ski Areas in the Canadian Rockies

Best Ski Areas in the Canadian Rockies

The best ski areas of the Canadian Rockies are all around the region—we suggest you try them all!—so it is difficult to claim one is better than another. The truth is that some ski areas are best for families and some ski areas are best for hard-core enthusiasts. This handy slideshow guide fills you in on each ski area’s claim to fame, and let’s you pick the best ski areas for you and your travel companions.

Start the slideshow of the best ski areas of the Canadian Rockies »

Jasper National Park: Now & Then

In 1915 Morrison Parson Bridgland began surveying Jasper to produce the first topographical maps of the area. He also took 735 photos that are now a valuable visual record of the state of Jasper National Park in its early years. Those photographs, along with repeat photos taken in the last decade to show how fire has changed the landscape, are part of the Changes to the Land exhibit happening until December 31 at the Jasper-Yellowhead Museum. By Sara Samson