WHEN YOU'RE SURROUNDED BY AWE-INSPIRING PEAKS & wilderness, THE OPPORTUNITY FOR ADVENTURE, entertainment & culture IS NATURALLY ELEVATED.
INTRODUCING THE BOW VALLEY LIFESTYLE:
It's powder season 7 months of the year in the Bow Valley. Starting in November and running right until the 3rd week of May, it's the longest non-glacial ski season in the Rockies. Take your pick from the 4 local resorts of Nakiska, Mt. Norquay, Sunshine Village & Lake Louise. Or venture further down the road to Panorama, Kicking Horse or Revelstoke for cat-skiing & heli-ski adventures. Not a skier? Check out the Ice Magic International Ice Carving Festival in Lake Louise.
The Canmore Winter Carnival is a celebration of the season and a popular community tradition for more than 20 years. The 2016 event was the biggest and best yet. Featuring two World Cup events and 45 days of activities including ice carving, snow sculpting and the popular Snowy Owl Kid 'N' Mutt dogsled race. In Banff, check out the hottest snowboarders and skiers as they lay down all their tricks at SnowDays The Big Bear.
Whether X-C skiing, snowshoeing, or fat-biking is your passion, get out there and enjoy the longer days, warmer temperatures and the pristine alpine. Not that adventurous? Sign up for an art gallery tour or visit Canmore's ArtsPlace for local pottery, painting and other inspired classes.
It's time to taste, sample and savour at one of the 2 local gourmet events of the year. Featuring 12 days of special set-price menus, incredible culinary events, signature experiences, progressive dinners and cooking classes, Canmore Uncorked is an annual foodie event happening in April every year.
It's never too early to hit the links at one of the four local golf courses. The stunning Stewart Creek course is just a 4 minute drive from River's Bend. Still can't get winter out of your mind? Hit the slopes for a few last runs at Sunshine Village and take in the 88th Slush Cup & Pond Skimming World Championship, too.
Mountain meadows start to bloom and so do the bistros, cafés and boutiques in the Bow Valley as they spill out onto the umbrella'd sidewalks and streets. In Banff, check out the summertime Bear Street Woonerff where local dining establishments expand via wooden patios onto Bear Street. Be sure to visit both of the local Farmers' Markets as farm-fresh bounty makes its appearance in the Bow Valley.
As the Valley really heats up, it's time to grab your fly fishing rod or canoe and head down to the Bow River for some adventure on the water. Don't forget to take in the Canada Day Parades and fireworks on July 1st as the peaks of the Rundle range provide an unforgettable backdrop. If music is on your radar, you won't want to miss out on the multi-day Performance in the Park as Cascade Gardens in Banff turns into one huge concert venue.
It might be warm in the valley bottom, but there is nothing cooler than a wander through a mountain meadow to a glacial lake. So pack a picnic basket with some gourmet goodies and head for the trailhead. Breathtaking trails for all abilities abound in Kananaskis Country, around Lake Louise and in nearby Yoho National Park. Now is also a prime time to take in a weekend getaway along the glacier-filled Icefield Parkway to Jasper National Park -- ranked as one of the Top 10 Drives in the World by National Geographic.
As the larch starts to turn in the Bow Valley, the brilliant yellow provides a breathtaking visual display. Pick up a cruiser, mountain or road bike for a variety of tours in the area. Try the popular Legacy Trail to Banff, Goat Creek Trail from Spray Lakes Road to the Fairmont Banff Springs or coast around on the 1A Hwy to Exshaw for some jaw-dropping views.
For 9 days each fall, the Banff Centre Mountain Film & Book Festival features renowned authors, adventurers, photographers and filmmakers. Grab a ticket to experience their journeys, adventures and expeditions as fellow citizens of mountain culture from around the globe share their stories. Want to try climbing first-hand? Drop in at Elevation Place for some time on the beginner to advanced climbing walls.
As the snow starts to fall (and stay!) in the Valley, it's time to get your ski gear waxed before the Canmore Nordic Centre and local ski & snowboard resorts open. Don't forget to take in Bon Appétit Banff, and sample the 10 days of hand-crafted prix-fixe gourmet found on and around Banff Avenue.
Winter is when the Bow Valley really comes alive. From Santa Parades to Christmas Markets to World Cup Downhill races (featuring the likes of Lindsay Vonn!), River's Bend is a place where you can have a completely authentic Rocky Mountain Christmas. So grab your toque and a hot cocoa then jump on a sleigh ride or après-ski next to a roaring fire. Don't miss out on the fun!