What To Do in the Mountains in May
From ski resort parties to mathematics lectures, this is what’s going down in the mountains near Calgary this month.
Banff Sunshine Village will send out the ski season with the 90th Slush Cup on May 21.
Photo by Dan Evans, courtesy of Banff Sunshine Village
The annual Canmore Uncorked Food and Drink Festival is running this year from May 3 to 13. There’s a lot packed into those 10 days, but if you want a good overview of the dining scene in Canmore, as well as a taste of the active, outdoorsy culture, sign up for one of the Uncorked Progressive Dinner bike tours. The Olympian-led tours run nightly from Sunday May 6 to Wednesday, May 9 and feature four restaurant stops along a route of approximately 20 kilometres. Festival-goers who have mobility issues that might prevent them from biking (or just prefer not to eat and ride) can do the progressive fine-dining tour in which participants travel by bus.
Jane’s Walks are citizen-led walking tours that happen world-wide on the first Saturday in May. Named after the late, eminent urban planner Jane Jacobs who advocated for walkable neighbourhoods and people-friendly urban design, Jane’s Walks are all about engaging with your surroundings on a deeper level. You can do a Jane’s Walk in the mountain town of Golden, B.C. on Saturday, May 5 with guides from the town office, museum and community foundation. The walk meets at 11 a.m. by the fountain in Golden’s Spirit Square.
Lake Louise Ski Resort will officially close for the season following the weekend of May 5 and 6. If you’re a season pass holder you can get a free lunch (burger, soft drink and chips) on Season Pass Appreciation Day, May 5, between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. In addition to the lunch for season pass holders, the resort is also honouring midweek passes on Appreciation Day. If you don’t have any sort of pass you can still enjoy DJ sets between 12:30 and 5:30 p.m. and sweet late-season turns all day long.
Most people are aware of the arts and film programming up at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, but not too many know that there is also a mathematics institute on campus. The Banff International Research Station for Mathematical Innovation and Discovery (BIRS) was founded in 2003 with the modus operandi of bringing together minds from the mathematical, computational and statistical sciences in a secluded mountain setting and seeing what kind of brilliance would come of it. On Tuesday, May 8, BIRS is presenting a lecture by mathematician Hendrik Lenstra about hidden elements within the “Print Gallery” lithograph by M.C. Escher. The event starts at 7:30 p.m. at the Banff Centre’s Max Bell Auditorium and will include a post-talk reception.
107 Tunnel Mountain Dr., Banff, banffcentre.ca
The Fairmont Banff Springs is debuting a new restaurant on the premises this month. Set to open on Tuesday, May 15, the Vermillion Room will be serving Parisian brasserie-inspired fare in a room designed by Calgary’s Frank Architecture & Interiors (they also designed High Rollers bowling alley/bar and Chuck’s Steakhouse in Banff as well as Alpine Social at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise). The Vermillion menu has been created by Springs’ executive chef jW Foster, who recently won the Cochon555 competition held on April 28 on his home turf. The invitational event saw teams from five restaurants judged on their preparations of heritage-breed pork. Foster and his team put out a to-die-for Scotch egg as well as a rich chocolate truffle that incorporated pig’s blood as an ingredient. It goes to say that Vermillion diners can expect a similar fusion of classic dishes created with an inventive spirit.
405 Spray Ave., Banff, fairmont.com/banffsprings
Banff Sunshine Village is always the last ski resort standing every year, staying open until the end of the May long weekend. Their big send-off event is the Slush Cup, in which crazy skiers and snowboarders get as much speed as possible down a snowy slope and then attempt to skim across a pond of icy water. This year is being heralded as the 90th Slush Cup, meaning this tomfoolery has been taking place since the 1920s. The 2018 event is on Monday, May 21. It’s free to enter, but spots are limited and you have to be there reeeeally early for the honour of dunking yourself in ice-cold water in front of a raucous crowd. Better to go as a spectator, where the biggest danger is inadvertently spilling ice-cold beer on yourself.
Fernie is a preferred destination for many Calgary mountain-bikers. If you’re a regular trail user, you can support the trail-building community there by attending Trail Razr III, a fundraiser hosted by the Fernie Trails Alliance and Fernie Mountain Bike Club on Saturday, May 26 at the Fernie Community Centre (at City Hall). The event starts at 6 p.m. and includes live and silent auctions, games and dancing. Tickets are $40, available through bikefernie.ca. (If you can’t make the event you can also donate online.)
The Dark Sky Dinner in Waterton Lakes National Park is a combination dinner and stargazing tour taking place on May 29. The event starts with a casual three-course dinner (with cash bar), at the Waterton Community Centre followed by a guided excursion in the park with access to stargazing equipment. The Dark Sky Dinner is part of the Taste of Waterton festival which runs May 25 to June 3, 2018.
201 Cameron Falls Dr., Waterton
Though it doesn’t technically happen this month, if you are considering taking in any of the events at this year’s Waterton Wildflower Festival, then you had best get on it. The festival is always popular, though the word on the trails is that last year’s wildfires have set the stage for extraordinary flower growth this season. The 2018 festival runs June 14 to 19.