KOOTE­NAY ROCK­IES

Op­por­tu­ni­ties for fun west of Banff Na­tional Park.

Where Canadian Rockies - - CONTENTS -

The Koote­nay Rock­ies moun­tain ranges—ma­jes­tic, in­spir­ing and un­sur­passed in their beauty—beckon with in­com­pa­ra­ble ski­ing, snow­board­ing, snow­mo­bil­ing and ex­plo­ration. The rush of stand­ing atop of a moun­tain peak. The deaf­en­ing quiet of mag­i­cal snow-cov­ered ter­rain. The heart-rac­ing ex­hil­a­ra­tion of soar­ing through dry, cham­pagne pow­der. The wild breath­ing life back into the wild within.

BANFF TO REVEL­STOKE 283 km/176 mi

YOHO NA­TIONAL PARK Take the Tran­sCanada Hwy west of Lake Louise. Crest the Con­ti­nen­tal Di­vide and de­scend into Yoho Na­tional Park wilder­ness (1-888-773-8888).

SIGHTS TO SEE • The Town of Field, 30 km/19 mi from Lake Louise, of­fers food, lodg­ing and other travel ser­vices.

• Emer­ald Lake is ac­cessed via Emer­ald Lake Rd. Stop en route at the Nat­u­ral Rock Bridge. Ski or snow­shoe the 5-km/3-mi lake trail, and have a meal at Emer­ald Lake Lodge (p 58).

• Wapta Falls with Ot­ter­tail Range back­drop, 100 foot drop is 23 km/14 mi west of Field. Ac­cess is by an 8.6-km/5.3-mi re­turn ski or snow­shoe trail.

TOWN OF GOLDEN Amidst Cana­dian Rock­ies, Selkirk and Pur­cell moun­tains at the con­flu­ence of the Kick­ing Horse and Columbia rivers, Golden (1-800-622-4653) is 83 km/52 mi west of Lake Louise. Dis­cover a his­tory steeped in the rail­way, log­ging and the Swiss Guides who pi­o­neered tourist for­ays up peaks. With full ameni­ties, and prox­im­ity to Yoho and Glacier na­tional parks, Golden is a great stag­ing area for ski­ing, sight­see­ing, back­coun­try ad­ven­ture and fam­ily ac­tiv­i­ties. The BC Vis­i­tor Cen­tre, 111 Golden Don­ald Up­per Rd, north of Hwy 1, is open 9 am-4 pm.

SIGHTS TO SEE

• Kick­ing Horse Pedes­trian Bridge is North Amer­ica’s long­est tim­ber-frame span.

• Edel­weiss Swiss Vil­lage is a his­toric area where Swiss guides’ fam­i­lies lived 100 years ago.

• Golden Mu­seum & Archives (1-250-344-5169; Mon-Fri 9 am-5 pm) has ex­hibits on Swiss guides, Sikh her­itage and ge­og­ra­pher David Thomp­son.

• North­ern Lights Wildlife Wolf Cen­tre See nine res­i­dent wolves. Tours are of­fered year-round; Walk with the Wolves photo tour is a favourite.

• The World’s Largest Pad­dle (1-888-244-7117), 26 km south of town, stands over 60 feet.

OUT­DOOR AC­TIV­I­TIES

• At Kick­ing Horse Moun­tain Re­sort (1-866754-5425), 13 km/8 mi from town, Golden Ea­gle Ex­press Gon­dola rises to an up­per ridge and al­lows a thrilling 1,260-m/4,133-ft run down. Four other lifts ac­cess open and tree-lined runs; Feuz Bowl is for­mer heli-ski ter­rain. Both adult lift tick­ets and the Banff/Lake Louise Pow­der Ex­press Ski Bus (1-877-565-9372) with lift pass are $90. New is a

Pony Fam­ily Zone ex­pan­sion, a snow sport Learn­ing Cen­tre and child­care fa­cil­ity ren­o­va­tion. Ea­gle’s Eye with tim­ber decor and great views is Canada’s high­est restau­rant; ride the gon­dola to lunch daily and din­ner Fri­day and Satur­day (re­serve). The re­sort boasts the Tube Zone and on-site lodg­ing.

• Cross-country ski Dawn Moun­tain Nordic Cen­tre’s 35 km/22 mi of groomed clas­sic and skate trails; there’s a chalet. Golden Golf & Country Club has 6 km/4 mi of clas­sic groomed trails. At Moon­raker Trails, ski or snow­shoe by Cedar Lake.

• Heli- and cat-ski com­pa­nies, and back­coun­try lodges, of­fer wilder­ness pow­der ski­ing and tour­ing.

• Snow­mo­bil­ers de­light in 240 km/150 mi of groomed trails. Fam­ily-friendly West Bench Trail con­nects to Quartz Creek and Gor­man Lake where ad­vanced sled­ders tackle steep ter­rain. Rocky Moun­tain Riders (1-877-950-7533, p 63) of­fers snow­mo­bile and snow­cat tours and rentals with free Lake Louise/Banff/Can­more shut­tle.

• Dog sled­ding is of­fered by Golden Dogsled Ad­ven­tures (1-250-272-6874).

• Ice fish­ers snag trout at back­coun­try lakes.

• Skate or play shinny at Golden Arena. There’s bas­ket­ball, bad­minton and vol­ley­ball at Mount 7 Rec Plex (both 1-250-344-2271 ext 225). Curl at Golden Curl­ing Club (1-250-344-7457). Climb at Dog­tooth Climb­ing Gym (1-250-344-6444).

EVENTS

Banff Moun­tain Film Fes­ti­val screen­ings (Dec 11); Golden Farm­ers’ Mar­ket (Dec 19); Film Kicks: A Bril­liant Young Mind (Jan 14), Tim­buktu (Feb 4), Brook­lyn (Mar 3). Wran­gle the Chute Freeride (Mar 25-27), Sun Splash Funk Fest (Apr 2-3). GLACIER NA­TIONAL PARK Con­tinue west on Hwy 1 to Glacier Na­tional Park and Rogers Pass, named for Al­bert Bowman Rogers’ ex­pe­di­tion to find pas­sage through the “im­pen­e­tra­ble peaks” of the Selkirk Moun­tains.

SIGHTS & AC­TIV­I­TIES

• Rogers Pass Dis­cov­ery Cen­tre (1-250-8377500) of­fers ex­hibits, films and a fire­place. Get back­coun­try ski per­mits here. • Tour to Il­le­cille­waet Glacier and ski pow­der.

• Back­coun­try A.O. Wheeler Hut and Asulkan Cabin are op­er­ated by the Alpine Club of Canada (403-678-3200 ext 0). CITY OF REVEL­STOKE Nes­tled be­tween the Selkirk and Monashee ranges, Revel­stoke (1-800-487-1493) is 150 km/93 mi west of Golden. The town has rich rail­way and ski her­itage, full vis­i­tor ameni­ties and a his­toric, pedes­trian-friendly down­town. It is easy ac­cess to Revel­stoke Moun­tain Re­sort ski area, and Mt. Revel­stoke and Glacier na­tional parks. The Vis­i­tor Cen­tre (301 Vic­to­ria Rd W) is open daily.

SIGHTS TO SEE

• Alpine ski­ing at Revel­stoke Moun­tain Re­sort (1-866-373-4754) boasts North Amer­ica’s high­est ver­ti­cal rise (5,620 ft/1,713 m), 3,000+ acres of open fall lines and glades, Revel­stoke Gon­dola (and four other lifts), Tur­tle Creek Tube Park, cat- and heli-ski­ing, and on-site lodg­ing. There is a new ter­rain park and ex­panded glades.

• Revel­stoke Mu­seum & Archives (1-250-8373067; closed Sun), of­fers a ski his­tory ex­hibit. Visit the Rail­way Mu­seum (1-250-837-6060) and lo­ca­tion of The Last Spike at Craigel­lachie.

• His­toric Roxy Theatre (1-250-837-5540) hosts movies, com­edy and out­door film nights.

• Heli- and cat-ski com­pa­nies of­fer phe­nom­e­nal back­coun­try ex­pe­ri­ences.

• Revel­stoke Snow­mo­bil­ing Club grooms Boul­der Moun­tain and Frisby Ridge trails, and main­tains day-use warm-up cab­ins.

• Scenic heli-tours of Mt. Beg­bie are hosted by Glacier He­li­copters (1-250-837-9569).

• Mt Macpher­son Nordic Trails are 25 km/16 mi groomed for clas­sic and skate; some are night-lit.

• Revel­stoke Aquatic Cen­tre (1-250-837-9351) has pools, lazy river, slide, hot tub, steam, sauna.

• Revel­stoke Fo­rum has skat­ing and shinny. Curl

at Revel­stoke Curl­ing Club (1-250-837-4356); bowl at The Cabin (1-250-837-2144). Soc­cer, bas­ket­ball, bad­minton and vol­ley­ball are in town.

EVENTS

In­door Farm & Craft Mar­ket (Ev­ery 2nd Thurs to May), The Nau­ti­cal Miles Live (Jan 16), Snowed in Com­edy (Jan 26), Corb Lund and The Hurtin’ Al­ber­tans (Feb 3), Mo­tus O Dance Theatre Clas­sics & Alice in Won­der­land (Feb 13), Bal­let Kelowna (Mar 3).

BANFF TO IN­VER­MERE (152 km/94 mi)

KOOTE­NAY NA­TIONAL PARK South off Hwy 1 be­tween Banff and Lake Louise, the Banf­fWin­der­mere Hwy 93S rises to the BC bor­der, and de­scends into Koote­nay Park (1-888-773-8888).

SIGHTS TO SEE

• Mar­ble Canyon 1.6-km/1-mi re­turn trail in­cludes seven foot­bridges over the 40-m/131-ft deep gorge.

• Koote­nay Val­ley View­point at the height-of-land south of Set­tler Rd has im­pres­sive vistas. RA­DIUM & IN­VER­MERE Exit Koote­nay Na­tional Park through the red rocks of Sin­clair Canyon to the Vil­lage of Ra­dium Hot Springs (Vis­i­tor Cen­tre 1-888-347-9331), 139 km/86 mi from Banff. Lodg­ing, shops and restau­rants (and of­ten bighorn sheep) line Ra­dium’s streets. Four­teen km/9 mi south of via Hwy 93/95 is In­ver­mere-on-the-Lake (Vis­i­tor Cen­tre 1-250342-2844). By Lake Win­der­mere, In­ver­mere has a vi­brant down­town with shops, gal­leries and restau­rants. Both Ra­dium and In­ver­mere al­low ac­cess to ski­ing at Panorama Moun­tain Re­sort.

SEE & STAY

• Ra­dium Hot Springs Min­eral Pools (1-250-3479485, p 61) are set amongst cliffs and of­fer a huge hot pool, 25-me­tre cool pool (open even in win­ter), plunge pool, steam rooms and day spa.

• Queen of Peace sta­tions of the cross sculp­tures are be­hind Ra­dium’s Cana­dian Mar­tyrs Church.

• The Ra­dium Wood­carver (250-347-9208) Rolf Heer op­er­ates “the home of a thou­sand faces.”

• Win­der­mere Val­ley Mu­seum (1-250-342-9769) has her­itage build­ings (win­ter: open Tues noon-4).

• Bighorn Mead­ows Re­sort (Ra­dium, 1-877-3442323) one- to three-bed­room va­ca­tion con­dos of­fer moun­tain views, fire­places, kitchens and decks with BBQ. There’s a hot tub and free Wi-Fi.

OUT­DOOR AC­TIV­I­TIES

• Panorama Moun­tain Re­sort (1-800-663-2929), 18 km/11 mi west of In­ver­mere, is a 2,847-acre ski area with 1,225-m/4,019-ft ver­ti­cal rise and 10 lifts. There is lodg­ing, a ter­rain park, Nordic Cen­tre trails, fat tire bik­ing and mas­sage stu­dio. New are a Demo Cen­tre, Bur­ton Riglet Park for novice kids, Dis­cov­ery Zone kids’ trail and ex­panded glades. Adult lift passes are $88, $99 with Banff/ Can­more Daily Shut­tle (1-866-416-2034).

• Snow­mo­bile Forester Creek Mead­ows, Cata­mount Glacier, Thun­der­wa­ter and Whirlpool Lakes. Toby Creek Ad­ven­tures (1-888-357-4449, p 63) snow­mo­bile tours near Panorama ac­cess Par­adise Moun­tain trails, pow­der bowls, ice­falls, trap­per’s cabin (lunch spot) and sil­ver min­ing ghost town. They of­fer free Banff/Can­more trans­porta­tion.

• Daily heli-ski­ing pack­ages of­fered by RK Heliski (1-800-661-6060, p 52) at Panorama for in­ter­me­di­ate to ex­pert skiers and board­ers in­clude a guide, fat skis, trans­ceiver, hot heli-plex breakfast and pic­nic lunch. A Banff shut­tle is avail­able.

• Hike or snow­shoe from Ra­dium to Red­streak Camp­ground on 1.8-km/1.1-mi tree-lined Val­ley View trail, or south to Dry Gulch on 9-km/5.6-mi Old Coach trail with Columbia Wet­lands views.

• Win­ter Whiteway on Lake Win­der­mere is the long­est skat­ing path in the world; folks can cross­coun­try ski or walk the 34-km/21-mi trail too. There is also ice skat­ing on Lake Lil­lian.

• Ice fish on lo­cal lakes; huts can be rented at Reel Axe Ad­ven­tures (250-409-4276).

• Skate or play hockey at In­ver­mere’s Ed­die Moun­tain Me­mo­rial Arena (1-250-342-6712); the town has a Curl­ing Cen­tre (1-250-342-3315).

EVENTS

Horsethief Creek Pub Live Mu­sic (Mon­days), Win­ter in Mo­tion Fes­ti­val (Dec 1-Mar 30). Panorama: Nor-Am Cup (Dec 12-18), Dragon Tail Lop­pet (Jan 9), Win­ter Yoga Re­treat (Jan 22-24).

Dream Come True: Heli-ski­ing is for strong in­ter­me­di­ates as well as ex­perts

Snow­mo­bile Safely: Go with a guide

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