What to Do in the Mountains in March
A new spa, a sugar shack, cheap skiing and more, this is what's going down in the mountains near Calgary this month.
The new Nordic Spa in Kananaskis combines traditional European spa elements like a Finnish sauna with a cozy Canadiana aesthetic.
Photo by Shelley Arnusch
The Delta hotel in Kananaskis Village has undergone a multi-million-dollar renovation since its purchase by Alberta-based lodging company Pomeroy. The hotel is still part of Marriott International, but will be shifting from the Delta portfolio to Marriott’s Autograph Collection of hotels — basically the company's "un-brand" portfolio of unique, one-of-a-kind properties. The most exciting update is the new outdoor Nordic Spa on the premises, which opens to the public this month. The spa is the first of its kind in the province and is a unique fusion of classic Euro-spa elements and laid-back Canadiana style (the laid-back description also applies to the fact that, unlike some Nordic spas, this one doesn’t enforce a no-talking rule). Though the building that will eventually house the yoga studios and treatment rooms is still under construction, Nordic Spa goers can currently enjoy hot pools and cold-plunge pools, dry saunas, steam saunas and infrared saunas as well as wood-burning fire features, all in an incredible alpine setting.
1 Centennial Dr., Kananaskis, knordicspa.com
The Banff Gondola is offering a promotion for families on Fridays and Saturdays until March 25 — kids receive free admission for the gondola if you show up before noon. Up at the top, there’s a Junior Explorer Program in the interpretive centre that includes a field journal activity and cookies. You can also take part in stargazing sessions on Friday and Saturday nights until March 9 on Level 4 of the Summit building.
100 Mountain Ave., Banff, 1-866-756-1904
Après-ski snacking doesn’t have to mean nachos and fries. Lake Louise Ski Resort’s Kuma Yama ramen and sushi restaurant is now offering an après-ski menu starting at 3 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, featuring steamed pork buns, gyoza, spring rolls and soft-shell crab (a.k.a. “spider”) rolls, which you can enjoy with a cold beer (or a Jagermeister shot-ski).
If you can make it out to Jasper, you’ll be able to catch Devour! The Canadian Rockies Food Film Fest. Hosted by the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, the fest runs Friday, March 2 to Sunday, March 4 and includes a culinary cabin crawl, chili cook-off and a five-course gala dinner where each dish is paired with a wine and a short film.
Old Lodge Road, Jasper, 780-852-3301, fairmont.com/jasper
Where else can you buy a ski lift ticket for pocket change these days? Spending $2 to ski at Mt. Norquay on one of the monthly Toonie Days justifies splurging on dinner afterwards. Head to the hill for the next Toonie day on Tuesday, March 7, then dine like kings on the game duo for two ($75) at the Juniper Hotel Bistro, which is conveniently located further down on the road that leads to the resort.
Women who are seasoned skiers and snowboarders can tell you about the good vibes that come from riding with an all-girl group. See for yourself at the upcoming Ladies Days at Nakiska Ski Resort. The $144.99 cost includes bus transportation to and from the resort (from the Bowness location of Ski Cellar Snowboard) as well as a lift ticket, guided instruction and a gourmet lunch. The next Ladies Days are Wednesday March 7 and Thursday, March 15.
Lake Louise Ski Resort is hosting a mini craft beer festival and party on Friday, March 16 in the Lodge of Ten Peaks at the resort base. The Beerski Festival runs from 6 to 11 p.m. and features craft beer from Canadian breweries and music by Freak Motif. The event is 18-plus and the $25 admission includes a plastic Beerski cup and free shuttles to and from the resort from Banff and Lake Louise. If you’re planning to do some skiing that weekend as well, the Beerski Festival Package gets you a 20 per cent discount on your adult lift ticket.
photograph courtesy of kicking horse mountain resort
Kicking Horse Mountain Resort in Golden, B.C. is offering a taste of Quebecois culture with a cabane à sucre (sugar shack) in the main plaza on Saturday, March 24 and Sunday, March 25. Visitors can stop by for traditional maple-sugar-on-snow treats and brush up on their French between the hours of 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Panorama Resort is hosting the High Notes Music Festival over the weekend of Friday, March 23 to Sunday, March 25. The all-Canadian lineup includes everything from roots and reggae to throat-singing and dance bands, with Edmonton’s Scenic Route To Alaska playing the Saturday night. The festival includes free, ticketed and pay-at-the-door events.
If you’re a solid skier or snowboarder, you’ll no doubt want to tackle the new expert runs (a.k.a. The Monsters) at Panorama Resort while you're out there. Since the expanded terrain isn’t yet serviced by a chairlift, you either have to hike in, or you can pay $5 (per person, per ride) to get towed in behind a snowcat on Saturdays and Sundays.