By Ashley Materi
With the Winterstart Festival quickly approaching, it’s the most wonderful time of the year here in the Bow Valley. From November 12 to December 12, events around Banff National Park will have you looking forward to the falling snow and magical atmosphere.
By Where Staff
Canadian Rockies’ ski resorts have been drawing crowds for nearly a century. If skiing or boarding isn’t for you, or if you just want to try something different, there’s still plenty of fun to be had on and off the slopes.
Photo: Banff Lake Louise Tourism / Paul Zizka Photography
Tube Park Fun
The whole family can delight in speeding down the slopes on an inflatable tube. Groomed lanes ensure safe, smooth sliding. At Lake Louise Sunny Tube Park, slide for $22 (yth $20, ch $15, -5 free). Norquay’s Tube Town (night-lit Fri/Sat) has six chutes, two lifts and a play zone with a small sliding area ($35, yth/sr $25, ch $20). Nakiska Tube Park ($19, ch $15) has an additional lane this year.
By Afton Aikens
The final part of this four-week post series will introduce you to cross-country skiing, brought to Canada at the turn of the 20th century by Scandinavian immigrants. At first, skeptical locals thought snowshoeing to be a more practical means of winter transportation. But with the advent of ski lodges, things began to change.
Photo: Travel Alberta
By RACHAEL FREY
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.
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…)
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
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.
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…)
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.
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.
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
Here’s a sample of Whistler’s many winter events.
Telus World Ski & Snowboard Festival. Photo by Mike Crane courtesy Tourism Whistler
- Nov. 28 to Dec. 2 Whistler Film Festival
- Dec. 31 First Night Whistler
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…)