Monday, June 18, 2018

Calgary's Newest Family Climb Park, Calgary Climbing Centre, Rocky Mountain

We had the opportunity to visit Calgary's newest climb park at the Calgary Climbing Centre (CCC) Rocky Mountain location. Debate is up on whether it's better than the original climb park at the Hanger in the NE or if it's equally awesome.

Climb Park at the Calgary Climbing Centre, Rocky Mountain Location  (Featured: Blobs of Doom)

Climb Parks - A Fun Way to Try Climbing for the Whole Family 

All equipment is provided (Featured: Ball and Socket)
Climb Parks have auto belay walls so you don't have to be a rock climber to take the kids to the climbing gym. This is an activity that everybody can do.

You won't need climbing shoes, a harness, or any special gear either to participate in a climb park experience. Show up with clean indoor shoes and you're good to go. (They actually encourage regular shoes because you can't use climbing shoes on the park walls if they leave marks.)

The other great thing for families who might not have the most experience with climbing is that there is staff on hand in the park at all times to make sure you're kept safe and that you're clipped into the routes correctly. They will also offer help and suggestions for mastering each wall.

Finally, a climb park experience only lasts an hour (you pay for a one-hour session) so there's no big commitment if you discover you're scared of heights, that you actually don't like climbing, or if you get tired after trying a few walls.

Read more about the Calgary Climbing Centre Climb Parks here

Kids climbing the walls? It's ok in a climb park! (Features: Labyrinth, Castle, and Blobs of Doom)

Details on cost, who can climb, and how to register for a session

Straight from the Calgary Climbing Centre website:

"Sessions start on the hour. Participants must weigh between 40 and 265 lbs., have signed a waiver form and be wearing clean, non-marking shoes and socks. We recommend this activity for ages 6 and up but do permit 5 year olds when appropriate."

It's recommended that you reserve a spot via the online booking form but you can just drop in too and they will try to accommodate you if the park isn't busy.

Climb parks are fun for both adults and kids together! (Featured: Wobbly Blocks)

And, Climb Parks are fun for adults too!

I was planning on climbing when I was at the gym with my family but alas, I'd just sprained my ankle hiking a few hours earlier. No climbing for me! My friend happily filled in, spending an hour climbing with my son and her two kids - and loved it!

When I asked my friend what she thought of the experience she said she was absolutely exhausted after an hour! (And she's a real rock climber who knows her way around a climbing gym!) I could tell that she had a lot of fun and I loved watching her race her kids up the walls, challenging them to reach the top, and then jumping off the top of the walls together with them.

Next time, I'm climbing too because I've had a lot of fun at the climb park in the NE.

Even adults have fun in a climb park! (Features: Gearhead and Fireman's Wall)

An Introduction to the Walls in the New Climb Park 

I counted 20 different walls and fun features while I was at the climb park. Most of the park consists of fun theme walls, but there are also a few larger features as well that really stand out.

Below were our favourite walls and features:

  • Blobs of doom - climb all the faces, and hurry up, they're watching you

  • Castle - Conquer the castle and climb its walls like a brave knight

  • Labyrinth - Move a special hold around the labyrinth and try to get it towards one of the exits while climbing

  • Ball and socket - You need balance rather than brute strength, as you precariously bridge up the corner using the rounded blobs

  • Cannon balls - Climb with the help of the hanging cannon balls, which are in place of the regular hand holds

The Cannon Balls wall was extremely hard to climb (Ball and Socket in the corner behind)

  • Dino - Have you ever wondered what it's like to climb a dinosaur Try reaching the top and touching dino's nose

  • Fireman's Wall - Reach the top of the wall while putting out each fire, just like a real fireman

  • Gearhead - Rotating gears make it harder to reach the top. Show no fear and find your balance to complete the game

  • Speed Wall - You and your rival, plus two walls with identical routes, holds, starts, and finish buttons, and timers to measure your speed. 1, 2, 3...Go!

  • Steering Wheels - These attractive discs provide you with large and positive holds. The challenge however, is that they spin.

Climbing up the "Steering Wheels" Feature (Giraffe and gearhead in the background)

  • Molecules - Master the elements and discover chemistry of the fun of climbing

  • Reflective Chimney - Go all the way to the top by using both sides of the chimney

  • The Climbing Net - Always fun!

  • The Wobbly Blocks - Very challenging to reach the top!

  • The Hotdog - Shown below, a large red tube you get to climb up

Climbing the Hotdog at the Calgary Climbing Centre, Rocky Mountain Location

Major Differences between the Two Calgary Climb Parks 

You can read all about the other climb park in Calgary at the Hanger location in the NE here: Calgary's New Climb Park - the Hanger. 

Both parks are extremely fun (and unique.)

The biggest differences are in the large features. The Hanger Park has a slide, a giant tower that you can jump off of, soft pillars to climb, and a beanstalk that's super fun to climb. Meanwhile the Rocky Mountain Park has the hot dog, the climbing net, and the wobbly blocks. It also has a cool chimney (shown below.)

Climbing the Reflective Chimney at the Rocky Mountain Climb Park 

Other Things to Know about the CCC Rocky Mountain Location

The Calgary Climbing Centre is a great location for birthday parties with party rooms located beside the climb park. Children don't need to know how to climb and all gear is provided - making it an excellent party option.

The Centre is also a great place to visit if you already know how to climb (with the tallest climbing walls in Calgary.) It's quite impressive actually to come watch the other climbers doing their thing.

Climbing the "Molecules" Wall with one of the regular climbing walls in the background

For complete information please visit the Calgary Climbing Centre's website

My family is very excited to go back to the climb park again in the future and my husband is already talking about buying an annual pass for the regular climbing area.

Climbing the giant net at the Rocky Mountain Climb Park

Disclaimer: My family received complimentary passes to climb in the park at the Rocky Mountain location for this review. As always, all words and opinions are my own. 

Friday, June 15, 2018

High on Adventure at Fernie and Kicking Horse Mountain Resorts

It's no secret that my family loves ski resorts and if you were following our adventures last summer, you might remember seeing a lot of photos from our resort-touring across Alberta and BC - where we discovered how awesome ski resorts are all year long!

High on Adventure! Gondola-accessed hiking at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort in BC 

5 Resort Adventures to Launch Your Summer Season

Sightseeing and Mountain Top Dining

Visit the Grizzly Bear Refuge at Kicking Horse
We just visited Kicking Horse Mountain Resort in Golden last weekend and enjoyed our adventure passes for the hill. With these passes we got to ride up the Catamount Chair to visit Boo, the resident grizzly bear.

After that we got to ride up the gondola to the top of the mountain (where we could have had lunch at the Eagle's Eye Restaurant or gone for a hike - most trails were still closed when we were there.)

Kicking Horse Grizzly Bear Refuge 

The Grizzly Bear Refuge at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort is unique in that it is "the largest enclosed and protected grizzly bear habitat in the world. The 20-acre area is the home of our resident grizzly bear, Boo. Within this natural mountainside habitat, Boo hunts, plays, forages, and explores just like his wild cousins."  - Kicking Horse Mountain Resort

Meet Boo in his Grizzly Bear Refuge (photo credit: Kicking Horse Mountain Resort)

Ride the Catamount Chair up to visit Boo in his refuge and receive a free ticket to come back later if you can't find him in his enclosure on your official tour. Tours begin on the hour through the day but your best chance of seeing Boo close up to the fence is at 10am. We didn't get any "photo-worthy" shots of Boo but we definitely watched him walking around his enclosure (and saw him playing in his pond as we rode up the gondola after.)

Boo in his pond (as seen from the gondola)
We enjoyed our tour and found the interpretive talk to be quite interesting. I also appreciated the signs around the enclosure where we could read more about Boo and his hunting habits. (He once took down a moose that got into his protected area!)

Riding the Catamount Chair up to meet Boo 

Sightseeing and Mountain Top Dining at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort 

You don't have to go far from the top of the gondola to get good views at Kicking Horse. It's a great way to achieve a mountain top experience for those with young children or for those touring with family members who need a more "accessible" way to climb a mountain.

Read more about sightseeing at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort here.

AND, NEW FOR 2018 - Kicking Horse Mountain Resort has created a disc golf course off the top of the mid-mountain station of the Catamount Chair. Ride the chair up, visit Boo, and then play a round of golf as you hike back down the mountain. More information will be available on the website soon. Prices will be in effect for the chairlift ride to access the course.

Scenic Views from the top of the gondola at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort 

We decided to have a more casual lunch at the bottom of the mountain but I hope to visit the Eagle's Eye Restaurant on a nice sunny day in the future where lunch on the patio would be incredible!

Eagle's Eye Restaurant, Kicking Horse

Sightseeing and Mountain Top Dining at Fernie Alpine Resort

Fernie Alpine Resort is another favourite resort we've enjoyed in summer for an alpine sightseeing experience.

Guests can enjoy a ride up the Elk Chair, take a short walk around the top of the lift, visit the Lizard Bowl Observation Deck, and visit Nature Bob’s Interpretive Centre.

On weekends, the resort also runs the Timber Chair, which goes much higher up the mountain. From the top there are several hiking trails available and you can also pop into the Lost Boys CafĂ© for lunch (or even just for snacks and drinks.)

Top of the Timber Chair with the Lost Boys Cafe (Photo Credit: RCR and Robin Siggers) 

We visited Fernie Alpine Resort several years ago and you can read about that experience below under lift accessed hiking.

Read more about sightseeing at Fernie Alpine Resort here.

Ski hills look very different in summer! They're fun to explore for a unique perspective

Lift Accessed Downhill Mountain Biking 

This is something we haven't tried at either Fernie or Kicking Horse (yet) but it's on the list of things to try next time we visit either resort.

Fernie Alpine Resort opens for the summer on June 23rd (for hiking and biking,) and Kicking Horse Mountain Resort officially opens on the 23rd as well for biking and hiking (though the grizzly bear refuge and gondola are already open along with several of the hiking trails.)

Kicking Horse is also offering a preview weekend of their bike park (runs accessed off the lower chair)  over the June 15th weekend.

Lift accessed mountain biking at Fernie Alpine Resort (photo credit: RCR and Nick Nault)

And in case you think that downhill mountain biking is only something that experienced adults can do, both resorts offer rental bikes (and gear,) lessons, summer camps, and beginner trails. You don't have to ride the slabs down from the top of the mountain!

More info. on downhill mountain biking can be found on the Kicking Horse website or on the Fernie website.

Something  for every ability of riders at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort (Photo credit: RCR and Dave Best)

Lift Accessed Hiking, Ridge Walking, and Summits

Hiking at Fernie Alpine Resort

We visited Fernie Alpine Resort back in 2015 with a 6-year old and high enthusiasm for completing the Polar Peak Traverse, one of the most advanced hikes on the hill (probably the most advanced actually.)

The Polar Peak Traverse climbs up and over 5 separate peaks, over Elephant Head, down an exposed cliff with chains, and to the top of the Polar Peak Chairlift. Add the time requirement (5-6 hours,) that we were doing it as a family, and that it was 37 degrees Celsius - and we knew we had one heck of a challenge ahead of us.

Polar Peak summit looking back on the long ridge walk we'd tackled

In the end, we crushed the hike, totally made it back in time to catch the last chair back down, and had a blast. And the chains were awesome!!

You can read all about the hike here: First Summits: Polar Peak, Fernie Alpine Resort

Down climbing at the chains on the Polar Peak Traverse

Fortunately, there are plenty of other easier options at Fernie for a day hike with the kids. You can also sign up for a guided hike if you want a bit of extra support to make sure you don't get lost or run into a bear while you're alone with the kids.

Hiking at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort

There are several options for hikes at Kicking Horse but my recommended hike is the one that takes you to the summit of Terminator Peak (the same mountain adults will reach when doing the Via Ferrata climb.)

I climbed to the top of Terminator Peak last summer on the Via Ferrata and the views were spectacular (smoky skies from forest fires aside.)

Hiking down from the summit of Terminator Peak (Eagle's Eye Restaurant in the background) 

Aerial Parks and Via Ferrata Climbing Adventures 

Kicking Horse Via Ferrata

Last summer my girlfriend and I tried the Via Ferrata climb at Kicking Horse and it can still be summed up in these words I wrote on instagram immediately following the adventure:

"Climbed a mountain today!! And I mean "climbed" a mountain! Absolutely epic with delicious exposure and vertical cliff faces we got to scale! This is the second Via Ferrata Climb I've done in the Canadian Rockies and it made my first one seem like a walk in an alpine meadow. Kicking Horse really knows how to kick everything up a notch!!! I've never been so terrified and happy at the same time."

The most fun you will ever have with a helmet on!

It was probably the most fun I had all last summer and I encourage every adult without a deathly fear of heights to take the tour this summer.

And if you're a little scared of heights, you can always start on the Pioneer Route or try the Discovery Route before jumping in to the full Ascension Route that I did.

And if you're not entirely sure what a via ferrata climbing system is, visit the Kicking Horse website for a full description. And note participants have to be at least 12 years old for this adventure.

Climbing metal rungs on the Via Ferrata at Kicking Horse

Fernie Alpine Resort Aerial Park 

This is an adventure we haven't done yet - purely because my son has never met the height and weight restrictions on previous visits to Fernie. (Though he's probably very close this summer.) Minimum weight for participants is 70 lbs, and minimum height is 4’7.″

We've done other aerial parks and I confess that I'm a bit addicted to them. (Might have to sneak in some time by myself in Fernie this summer to try the park, even if my son isn't quite tall enough.)

Fernie Aerial Park Adventure (Photo Credit: RCR and Cali Sammel)

Guests can pay for a 3-hour aerial park adventure, upgrade to an adventure pass (aerial park + lift accessed sightseeing,) or even add lunch on to their adventure pass for a full day experience at Fernie Alpine Resort.

Visit the Fernie Alpine Resort website for more information on restrictions, rates, and what to expect.

Life high up in the trees at Fernie Alpine Resort  (Photo Credit: RCR and Cali Sammel)

Mountain Top Camping in Fernie 

This final adventure is one that's unique to Fernie Alpine Resort, and I know of no other resort in the Canadian Rockies that offers this kind of experience. It's another activity that my family hasn't tried yet, but that I've got on my list to try one of these summers.

Ride up the Timber Chair late in the afternoon and head to your camping area to set up your campsite. Enjoy a guided hike, dinner at the Lost Boys Cafe, and then spend the night in your cozy tent while you gaze up at the stars above you. By this time the tourists have long gone home and you'll feel like you have your own private mountain all to yourselves.

The next morning starts with breakfast at the cafe before riding back down the chairlift. Guests are also welcome to enjoy more hiking before heading down.

The camping package includes lift tickets, guided hike, dinner, and breakfast. Top quality tents and sleeping pads are also included in the package (or you can bring your own if you prefer.) The camping experience is offered on Saturday nights throughout the summer season.

To read more, please go to the Fernie Alpine Resort website

Mountain top camping at Fernie Alpine Resort (Photo Credit: RCR and Nicole Matei)

With all of these activities, the only question you need to ask yourself is "which one are you going to try first with your family this summer?"

Disclaimer: This story was written in partnership with Resorts of the Canadian Rockies. Where possible I wrote about my own experiences at both Fernie and Kicking Horse Mountain Resorts. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

How to Choose a Family Season Ski Pass for Next Winter

Every winter the questions begin as families try to figure out how to make downhill skiing more affordable. The problem though is that if you wait until October to start planning for the upcoming ski season, you're already 4 months behind.

It's time to think about season ski passes for next winter

Spring is when you need to make plans for the upcoming winter (before summer vacation has even begun) and when you'll want to figure out which hill you're going to commit to for another ski season.

Frequent skiing is only possible if you have a season pass - and they are on sale at crazy early bird prices NOW! Wait too long and you'll be paying $1000+ more for the same pass in the fall.

My family has chosen to ski at our local Nakiska Ski Area for another winter and we've also secured season passes for WinSport's Canada Olympic Park, 5 minutes away from our house in Calgary, for those super "close to home" days.

We used the factors below when choosing which season pass(es) we'd invest in.

Which ski resort will you choose for next winter's skiing?

Factors to Look at When Choosing a Family Season Ski Pass 

1. Cost 

Let's be honest, if cost were not a factor, most of us would be driving out to Banff (or beyond) every weekend to go skiing. The reality though is that the big mountain resorts aren't in the budget for many families (mine included.)

We love to spend a few weekends at the big resorts each winter, but for our regular "weekend hill" we have to be practical. And when it comes down to the most important factor, there's only one thing that truly matters:

The BEST hill is the one you can afford, and the perfect resort is the one you can easily get to (often and regularly.)

Our "Perfect" Resort is close enough for first runs of the day!

Below is a quick summary of the current season pass pricing for resorts near Calgary (that you can easily visit as a day trip.)

Note that these are the extreme early bird prices (with deadlines approaching quickly.)

WinSport, Calgary -  $669.99 for a family season ski pass. - Deadline to purchase: July 1st. (Or upgrade to a Family Max Pass for  $949.98 which includes summer mountain biking and winter skiing.

Nakiska Ski Area, Kananaskis - $669.00 for a family season ski pass. - Deadline to purchase: June 23rd.

Mount Norquay, Banff -  $1299.00 for a family season ski pass (with no blackout dates.) - Deadline to purchase: June 17th. (Or save money on a Norquay 90 Family Pass at $559.00 for mid-week skiing and some bonus weekends.)

Sunshine Village, Banff - Seasons pass sale coming soon. Was approximately $2300.00 for a family pass for the 2017/2018 season.

Lake Louise, Banff - Seasons pass sale coming soon. It will be at least $2000.00 for a family pass for the upcoming season.

For my family, the decision was easy. We can't afford $2000.00 for a family ski pass, we don't want blackout dates (so goodbye to the cheap pass at Norquay,) and we want to spend more time skiing (less time driving.)

Our "best" ski hill is affordable and close to home

2. Distance

The questions below should help you decide which hill is ideal for your family (and hence, which pass you want to buy.)

  • Do you want to take the kids skiing on PD days? - Yes? How far are you willing to drive?

  •  Would you like go to skiing on a Friday afternoon when the kids get out of school early? If yes, you might want a hill that's less than an hour away (or right in the city.)

  • Would you like to go skiing in the morning or afternoon with a child who's in half-day preschool or kindergarten? (Hello, WinSport's Canada Olympic Park)

  • Do you ever go skiing mid-week by yourself after dropping the kids off at school? (With Nakiska, I can make school drop off and pick up, and still spend 3 hours skiing.)

  • Do you take the kids skiing for a day over school holidays while your partner is working? - If yes, how far do you want to drive for a solo ski day with the kids?

  • Do you want to take the kids skiing after school or in the evening? (Only WinSport in Calgary will allow you to do this.)

  • Do you plan to put the kids in weekly ski lessons or in a ski club? (If yes, do you want to commit to traveling out of town every weekend and spending two nights near the ski hill, or do you want a hill that's closer to Calgary for day trips?)

  • Is your chosen hill doable for day trips (or do you have to commit to spending a full weekend with accommodations added on?)

My favourite ski days last winter were the ones where we got out mid-week, close to home, and without crowded slopes. This will only happen again this winter if I choose a hill that's easy to reach on PD days, school holidays, afternoons, and even for an occasional "skip school" day.

WinSport's Canada Olympic Park is 5 minutes from my house!

3. Other Factors to Consider when Choosing a Ski Resort (and Ski Passes)

What are weekends like at the ski hill? It may be worth spending extra money on a larger hill if your "close to home" hill is crazy busy every weekend (and not enjoyable.)

Is there something at the hill for every member of your family? We decided to get season passes for WinSport's Canada Olympic Park this coming winter (in addition to our regular Nakiska passes) because my son fell in love with the half pipe, the jumps, the terrain parks, and the slopestyle course last winter.

Reciprocal deals at other hills - Buy a Nakiska season pass and add two days on at another RCR resort in British Columbia. (Hello Fernie!)

Add two days at Fernie Alpine Resort to your Nakiska season pass

Could you buy a discount card instead and just go a few times/season without committing to a season pass? - something we're considering for the bigger mountain resorts that we'll only visit a couple of times/season.

Will you visit the resort often? Could you go to your fav. hill for a long weekend or do you plan to spend at least one weekend there per month? It's only worth buying season passes if you plan to ski at the hill regularly.

Does the season pass get you other benefits (tubing, discounts on food or ski lessons, etc.) - One reason we wanted a Max Pass for WinSport in Calgary so that we could enjoy both mountain biking and skiing.

Our WinSport Max Pass gets us free tubing along with skiing 

Does the hill offer activities in the summer as well? And do you get discounts for those? (Some hills offer free sightseeing and gondola rides in the summer for season pass holders.)

How many times per month will you have to ski at the resort to get your value for having a season pass? (I confess that I have had season passes in the past where I definitely didn't get my value.)

What is the parking like at the hill? Is it something you're willing to deal with at least once/twice a month (hopefully more?) I know for me this was a deal breaker for at least one local hill where I knew I didn't want to face this challenge every weekend.

Where are your friends skiing? It's fun to ski with friends.

Skiing with friends is always a lot of fun!

Are there blackout dates or restrictions? Some hills offer better pricing on season passes if you're able to ski mid-week. For us though, we need weekend access so we can ski as an entire family.

Do your children get any special deals this winter? Grade 2 students get to ski for $20 all winter long at RCR resorts (Nakiska, Fernie, Kicking Horse, and Kimberley.) Lake Louise also offers a grade 2 pass for the same price and I believe Sunshine Village does as well.

Which hill feels like home? I've tried to convince a friend of mine to switch to Nakiska for years now but she insists that another hill feels more like home - and fair enough. This should always be an important consideration. You'll always ski more at a hill that feels more comfortable.

Find a hill you like and buy your season passes now 

Disclaimer: My family has chosen to partner with WinSport and with RCR for the upcoming winter. As always, all opinions and words are my own. 

Monday, June 11, 2018

The BEST of Summer in the Canadian Rockies (Gotta do THIS!)

Continuing with my "Gotta do THIS" seasonal series, here is my "BEST of Summer Guide" for the Canadian Rockies (and beyond.) I encourage you to save this post because I will be updating it every time we find something new and awesome that I want to share with you.

Summer at Sunshine Village, Banff

As with my other guides, this list is in no particular order. Follow the links to read stories I've already written on the topic.

Beach Time at Kokanee Creek Provincial Park, BC

The BEST of Summer in the Canadian Rockies 

1. Go camping! Bonus points if it's somewhere new. 

- Read my Camping Super Guide here with campground reviews across Alberta and BC and guides on "family camping made easy."

Camping at Red Streak Campground, Radium Hot Springs, BC

2. Take a family road trip (and find a new favourite family beach.)

Read: The Importance of Summer Vacations (and the BEST of the Okanagan Valley)

Read: The Best of the Columbia Valley (Radium Hot Springs to Invermere - and beyond)

Read: Family Touring around Nelson and the West Kootenays, British Columbia 

Beach time in the Okanagan, Peachland, BC 

3. Find a new favourite bike trail! 

Read: 5 Steps to Crushing Local Mountain Bike Trails as a Family (with links to all of my popular biking stories)

Biking in the Columbia Valley near Invermere, BC

4. Visit a mountain bike skills park with the kids 

Read: Kids on Wheels: Pump Tracks and Mountain Bike Parks - with information on all of the mountain bike skills parks we've visited across Alberta and BC.

Bike Park in Blackfalds, Central Alberta

5. Try downhill mountain biking at WinSport's Canada Olympic Park in Calgary. 

And buy a Max Pass to enjoy both biking and skiing at WinSport. You'll get two seasons of fun for one great price!

Mountain biking at WinSport's Canada Olympic Park in Calgary

6. Bike a rail trail as a family 

Converted railway lines make excellent bike trails!

Read: Biking the Kettle Valley Railway from Kelowna to Osoyoos

Biking on the Kettle Valley Railway, above Naramata, BC

7. Climb a mountain as a family (Or try a gondola-accessed hiking!!)

Read: First Summits for Families in the Canadian Rockies - a resource guide with links to all of my family's first summits.

Climb a mountain as a family and get views like this!

8. Conquer five summits in one day - with the kids! 

Yes, it is possible! And you'll only do one big climb - with five summits accessible from the same pass.

Read: 5 Summit Day in Canmore (Kid-friendly)

5 Summit Day in Canmore with a group of Mighty Kids!

9. Explore the BEST of the Canadian Rockies - as a local

Enjoy the best hikes, take a boat tour, ride a gondola or walk on a glacier!

Read: Local's Guide to Exploring the Best of Banff and Jasper

Read: Family Guide to Banff National Park - Top Ten Places to Explore with the Kids 

Read: Our Top Ten Favourite Things to do in Jasper 

Premier scenery in Jasper National Park on top of Whistlers Mountain

10. Enjoy a picnic or a short day hike in the mountains

Read: Best Day Trips and Picnic Sites with links to all of my best picks for picnic sites and short day trips near Calgary.

Bow Valley Provincial Park in Kananaskis has many beautiful picnic areas

11. Enjoy a short day hike with the family

Read: Best Toddler and Preschool Hikes near Calgary

Hiking the Many Springs Trail in Bow Valley Provincial Park, Kananaskis

12. Visit a ski resort for lift-accessed day hiking 

Read: Sunshine Village in Summer! (Premier Lift Accessed Hiking in Banff National Park)

Read: Memorable Hiking and Sightseeing at the Lake Louise Gondola

Read: First Summits - Polar Peak, Fernie Alpine Resort 

Easy scenic hiking in Sunshine Meadows, Sunshine Village Resort

13. Ride a rollercoaster down a mountain!

Read: Summer Fun at Revelstoke Mountain Resort, BC 

An awesome way to get down a mountain! 

14. Plan an adventure weekend away in Golden, BC 

Read: Epic Climbing on the Kicking Horse Via Ferrata in Golden, BC 

And for the kids, ride the gondola at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, take a hike, and visit Boo, the resident grizzly bear at his wildlife refuge. Story coming soon. In the meantime, check out the resort website

Adventure awaits on the Kicking Horse Via Ferrata in Golden 

15. Travel north to Edmonton to check out Alberta's coolest aerial park!

Read: Family Review of Edmonton's Snow Valley Aerial Park

Snow Valley Aerial Park, Edmonton

16. Try backcountry cabin camping

Read: Family Backcountry Cabin Camping in the Canadian Rockies

Read: Backcountry Cabin Camping with Kids - Stanley Mitchell Hut, BC

Read: Backpacking in the Bugaboos, Conrad Kain Hut (and our first family glacier traverse)

Read: Summer Backpacking Trip to the Asulkan Cabin, Rogers Pass

Read: Backcountry Cabin Camping with Kids - Elk Lakes Cabin, BC

Backcountry Cabin Adventure in Yoho National Park, BC 

17. Try comfort camping with the kids

Read: Moms' Comfort Camping Adventure at Sundance Lodges

Read: Alberta Comfort Camping Destination Guide 

Comfort camping at Sundance Lodges, Kananaskis 

18. Try outdoor rock climbing as a family 

Read: Gym to Crag: How to Transition to Outdoor Rock Climbing

Outdoor rock climbing in Kananaskis

19. Try stand up paddle boarding as a family

Read: Touring the Canadian Rockies on a Stand up Paddle Board 

Read: 5 Reasons to Introduce Stand up Paddleboarding to the Family 

20. Spend a day (or a weekend) floating down a river with the family

Read: Campsite to River! Camping and Floating across Southern Alberta

Read: Find us in the River - Camp Life at Writing on Stone Provincial Park 

Read: Paddling and Camping on the Columbia River with Kids 

Read: Paddling the Alberta Badlands 

Read: Easy Overnight Paddling Trips for the Whole Family

Read: Paddling the Bow River in Banff with Kids 

Read: Family Canoeing and Kayaking in the Canadian Rockies 

Paddling down the Milk River in Southern Alberta