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skiing

Discover Winter Activities in Calgary

By RACHAEL FREY

Family winter activities Calgary

Take the kids and head to the nearby ski hills! Photo courtesy WinSport’s Canada Olympic Park

Calgary is known as the gateway to the Rockies, but there’s no need to leave the city to find outdoor activities in the winter. World-class Olympic sports facilities and a keen sense of seasonal nostalgia combine to create a variety of family-friendly cold weather fun.

OLD-FASHIONED ICE
Ice-skating is an integral part of Canadian cold-weather life, and while indoor rinks may be practical, nothing beats gliding across outdoor ice under the vast Prairie sky. (more…)

Hot Entertainment: Summer Skiing

Can't wait for winter? Ski the Horstman Glacier on Blackcomb Mountain. Photo by Mike Crane courtesy Tourism Whistler

Can’t wait for winter? Ski the Horstman Glacier on Blackcomb Mountain. Photo by Mike Crane courtesy Tourism Whistler

Bypass the golf course and leave mountain biking behind. Instead, carve and slalom your way down Horstman Glacier on Blackcomb Mountain during the summer skiing season (Jun. 22 to Jul. 28). The impatient-for-winter and adventurous alike converge on the glacier for blue-sky days and soft snow. End the day with a patio après-ski for the best of both seasons. But don’t forget your sunscreen.—Jill Von Sprecken

7 Father’s Day Gift Ideas For Calgary Dads

 

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Hanson’s Fishing Outfitters is the shopping destination for dads who love the outdoors. Photo: Adele Brunnhofer.

Dads are notoriously difficult to shop for, but these seven papa-approved local shops offer something more than the standard “zany” necktie or drab coffee mug.

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Family Fun at Whistler

Photo by Amy McDermid

This mountain playground has something in store for kids young and old

By Louise Phillips

Eek! The kids are hopping up and down because you’re all going to Whistler—but you don’t want to worry about watching them while you’re regaining your own ski legs, and you could really enjoy some quality time with your other half. Your skiwear no longer fits, and the kids want snowboards. (more…)

Hot Entertainment: Adventure Seekers Try Heli-Skiing in Whistler

Once the chopper pulls away, you’re left to ski down the hill. Talk about an adrenaline rush! Photo by Neil Brown

Crowded lift line-ups, screaming children, clumsy beginners holding up the advanced runs—who needs it? Hop on a helicopter and escape to the serenity of untracked powder and endless terrain with Whistler Heli-Skiing. Intermediate to expert skiers have more than 175,000 hectares (432,000 acres) of possibilities in the mountains and glaciers surrounding Whistler, and a day of heli-skiing involves around 10 runs varying from 400 to 1,500 vertical metres (1,400 to 5,000 vertical feet). It’s a wilderness adventure, but with the advantage of a return to civilization immediately after.—Sheri Radford

The best heli-skiing is in Feb. and Mar., and the season ends Apr. 21. Call 1-888-435-4754 or visit www.whistlerheliskiing.com for more info.

Whistler By the Numbers

However you do the math, Whistler adds up to one unforgettable experience

By Sheri Radford

Skiing photo by Chad Chomlack courtesy Tourism Whistler

We’re number one! Whistler Blackcomb is consistently named the best ski resort in North America by publications such as Skiing Magazine and Freeskier.

For 11 minutes, you can enjoy the world’s most breathtaking view as the Peak 2 Peak Gondola whisks passengers on a 4.4-km (2.73-mi) ride between the peaks of Whistler and Blackcomb mountains.

Whistler Mountain’s ski season runs from Nov. 22, 2012 to Apr. 21, 2013, which equals 151 days of great skiing.  Blackcomb Mountain stays open into the summer months, depending on weather conditions.

Snow bunnies can’t resist the 1,192 cm (39 ft) of snow that Whistler Blackcomb averages each year.

Blackcomb’s peak elevation of 2,284 m (7,494 ft) is a bit taller than Whistler Mountain’s 2,182 m (7,160 ft).

With 3,307 hectares (8,171 acres) of ski terrain, Whistler Blackcomb has something for every skier and snowboarder.

Hot Entertainment: An Old-Fashined Christmas at Harrison Mills

Snow bunnies hope the new ski season matches the 1998-99 season, when Hemlock Valley Resort received a record snowfall of more than 26 m (85 ft). Photo by Sheri Radford

For seasonal activities that hark back to the days of yore, visit the nearby Harrison Mills area. A guaranteed white Christmas is the star attraction at Hemlock Valley Resort (pictured), with its skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing and tubing. The season opens Dec. 7, weather permitting. When off the mountain, the mild weather doesn’t often allow for horse-drawn sleigh rides, but a carriage ride is just as fun. Contact the Veinotte Horse Farm to arrange an excursion. Step back in time at Kilby Historic Site: wander through the 1906 general store, visit the farm animals, stock up on local crafts and homemade jams in the gift shop, and nibble on a turkey and cranberry sandwich in the restaurant. The site is open Dec. 6 to 17, with special visits by Santa Dec. 8 and 9. Throughout the month, bring your appetite to the Rivers Edge Restaurant and feast on a three-course holiday dinner, complete with turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes and pie. It tastes like the Christmases of yesteryear, only better.—Sheri Radford

Hot Entertainment: Winter Events in Whistler

Here’s a sample of Whistler’s many winter events.

Telus World Ski & Snowboard Festival. Photo by Mike Crane courtesy Tourism Whistler

Sheri Radford

Three Days at Banff’s “Big Three” Ski Resorts

By PAMELA MACNAUGHTAN

Lake Louise ski resort (Photo: Drew Douglas)

Spring may be around the corner, but the ski season in the Canadian Rockies lasts until May, so you’ve got plenty of time to hit the slopes! (more…)

Staff Picks: 10 Shops for Skiers and Boarders

Photo by Skistar Trysil

Whether you ski downhill or cross-country, or if you prefer to slide the slopes on a single plank, these ski and board shops will outfit you with the equipment, outerwear and accessories you need for a day of dashing through the snow.

Bikes & Boards
When you want to carve up a snowy mountainside and look good doing it, this Sporting Life-branded store is the place to gear up. Find snowboards, boots and bindings, as well as stylish jackets and goggles from brands like Burton, Volcom and Salomon. 2454 Yonge St., 416-485-4440.

Boardsports
Thanks to a staff that’s knowledgeable and passionate about all sports involving a board of some kind, you’re sure to find the right snowboard to suit your riding style and skill level. Arbor, Drake and Flow are just a few of the cool brands kept in stock. 2010 Yonge St., 416-485-9463.

Hogtown Extreme Sports
Everything you need to snowboard—aside from the slanted, snow-swept plot of land—is available at this store. Naturally, there are snowboards aplenty, as well as a fine selection of boots, jackets, pants, helmets and board bags. Waxing and sharpening services are also offered. 401 King St. W., 416-598-4192.

Kenmark Snowsports
The jaunt north to Richmond Hill is worth it to reach this 6,000-square-foot repository for skis, snowboards and more. Since 1980 is winter-loving staff have been recommending all the right equipment for your slippery escapades, from brands like Dakine, Spyder, Rossignol and Marmot. 10720 Yonge St., 905-883-5586.

Mountain Equipment Co-Op
Recreational and expert cross-country skiers alike head to this venerable outdoor store to find all the equipment they need for a day in the snow—from skis and poles to jackets and backpacks, and even sleeping bags if you’re planning a longer backcountry journey. If you’re wary of commitment, MEC offers ski and snowshoe rentals, too. 400 King St. W., 416-340-2667.

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Hot Dining: Restaurants on Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains

Roundhouse Lodge photo by Toshi Kawano courtesy Tourism British Columbia

Peak-to-Peak Eats

Looking to satisfy hunger cravings between runs? Find fabulous fare—and to-die-for views—on top of both mountains. On Whistler, savour West Coast cuisine at Steep’s Grill or head to the spacious Roundhouse Lodge (pictured). On Blackcomb, Christine’s boasts a full-service menu at 1,859 m (6,100 ft), while at the cozy Crystal Hut log cabin, comfort food arrives straight from the wood-burning oven.—Jennifer Patterson

15 Extreme Canadian Winter Activities

By Meghan Wilson-Smith

It doesn’t take long for Canadians to feel the doldrums of winter start to take hold. But, being the clever Canucks that we are, we’ve figured out exciting ways to make winter full of exploration and adventure. From cave exploration to kite boarding (on ice) to dog sledding, winter can be a time when your best vacation memories are made. Let’s stop hibernating! It’s time to appreciate Canada for the winter wonderland it is. (more…)