Making Tracks in Canmore, Canada

by Country Inns & Suites
Wednesday, March 31, 2010

When snow starts falling in December, outdoor enthusiasts in Canmore, 60 miles west of Calgary, get ready for a busy season of winter sports that extends through March. While the famous ski resorts of Banff National Park are within striking distance for day trips from Canmore, this mountain town is better known for recreation that puts you closer to nature. But don’t worry: Even though you’ll be sharing the surrounding wilderness with elk, deer and lynx, there’s plenty of room for everyone.

Developed for the 1988 Winter Olympic Games, the Canmore Nordic Centre (Spray Lakes Road; 403-678-2400) is a world-class cross-country skiing facility with 42 miles of groomed trails radiating from a day lodge, where visitors can pick up a trail map and warm themselves with a hot drink. The trails are geared for every ability level, from an easy riverside loop to an experts-only descent through the wooded lower slopes of Mount Rundle. The staff at Trail Sports will set you up for a day of skiing with rentals for all ages and levels. Rent snowshoes and you can leave the marked trails behind.

If driving a dog team sounds like something you’d like to try, book a trip with Snowy Owl Dog Sled Tours. Guests have the choice of sitting back and letting an experienced guide lead, or taking the reins themselves.

For anglers from southern latitudes, ice fishing is another winter experience to remember. Employing a guide from Wapiti Sports has many advantages—local knowledge, equipment supply and more—but none will be more appreciated than the use of this company’s heated hut that sits atop a private fishing hole drilled through the ice of Spray Lake.

INSIDER’S TIP:

When the sun sets on a day of snowy sports, enjoy a drink in front of the fireplace at the non-smoking Miner’s Lamp Pub (1101 Bow Valley Trail; 403-678-3439), then head to Zona’s http://zonascanmore.com/ for creative cooking in a funky setting. Still feeling energetic? Bands play at the Drake Pub http://www.thedrakepub.com/ most nights.