What to do in the Mountains in August
From stars in the sky to stars on the music festival stages, this is what's going down in the mountains near Calgary in August 2018.
You can watch the Perseid meteor shower from the Eagle's Eye restaurant at the top of Kicking Horse Resort on Sunday, August 12.
Photo courtesy Kicking Horse Mountain Resort
On summer evenings, the Banff Gondola hosts a sunset celebration on its rooftop terrace with craft beer and bites, live music and interpretive storytelling performances and a solar telescope that allows you to look directly at the sun. The Sunset Festival runs nightly between 7 and 10 p.m. (check the gondola's website for nightly sunset times). Access to the sunset festivities is included with gondola admission, though there are charges of $6 for beer (includes a souvenir mug) and $3 for food samples. The events are weather dependent and run nightly through the summer until September 3, with the exception of July 26.
The Cliffhouse Bistro at Mount Norquay Resort in Banff is perched up on the mountain at just under 7,000 feet and only accessible by chair lift. The view is so amazing they could serve you a plate of Hawkins Cheezies up there and you’d still be happy. Luckily, the seasonal summer menu is a bit more diverse than that, ranging from lime chipotle beef gorditas with pico de gallo and fresh avocado to Montreal smoked beef panini served with kettle chips (or corn on the cob) to truffled goat cheese salad with poached pears and heirloom tomatoes. Pair with a tea-infused cocktail (or "tea-tail") such as the wild-blueberry rooibos negroni.
The drive out to the Kootenays is a bit of a long haul, but the annual Kaslo Jazz Etc. Summer Music Festival is a good reason to do it. The hippie enclave of Kaslo has hosted the festival since 1992, with world-class headliners playing its floating stage at Kaslo Bay Park. This year’s event runs August 3 to 5 and the lineup includes Shakey Graves, Mavis Staples, Jill Barber and others.
The Grizzly Beer Festival is a craft-beer-sampling event on the afternoon of Saturday, August 4 at the Bear’s Den Smokehouse & Patio at Lake Louise Ski Resort. There’s no cover to attend; drink-samples are $2 each (register online in advance and you get one free sampling token). The event runs 1 to 6 p.m. and features live music by Daniel Poloni. Ages 18-plus only; and free shuttles to-and-from Lake Louise Village will be available.
She’s not the only performer at the 2018 Canmore Folk Fest, but the legendary Indigenous artist will certainly be one of the highlights of this three-day mountain music festival that has been happening since 1978. The 2018 event runs Saturday, August 4 through Heritage Day-long-weekend-Monday, August 6 at Canmore’s Centennial Park, and features four stages, food vendors and a family area.
Bow Valley SUP is a Canmore-based business that offers stand-up paddleboard (SUP) lessons and rentals. On Fridays from 3 to 6 p.m., you can rent a SUP from them at their pop-up within the Fjallraven store in Banff, then join them afterwards for a sunset SUP tour at Two Jack Lake.
The annual Wapiti Music Festival is a family-friendly showcase of Canadian indie music held annually in August in Fernie. The 2018 event runs Friday, August 10 and Saturday, August 11 with a lineup that includes Wintersleep, Elliott Brood, The Royal Foundry and Fernie locals Shred Kelly, among others. Wapiti is held at Annex park, walking distance from downtown Fernie. Adult passes are $49 for just Friday; $59 for just Saturday, or $79 for the weekend. Teen passes are less and kids 12 and under are admitted free.
Speaking of restaurants with a view: the Eagle's Eye Restaurant at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort near Golden B.C. sits at an elevation of 7,700 feet, making it the ultimate perch for stargazing. You can view the Perseid meteor shower from the Eagle’s Eye on Sunday, August 12. In addition to the stargazing there's a buffet dinner (starting at 6:30 p.m.) and a presentation by Doug Thorpe from the Royal Astronomical Society. Tickets are $69.95 for adults, $34.94 for kids (includes gondola access). Call 250-439-5425 to book.
Castle Mountain Resort’s annual summer Huckleberry Festival serves as a homecoming of sorts for the Castle community, with chairlift-accessed berry picking up on the ski hill, family activities, live music and more. This year’s Huck Fest is happening over the weekend of August 24 to 26. Access to the festival grounds is free, with individual costs for the various dinners and events — or you can purchase a festival pass ($79 adults, $49 kids), which gets you unlimited chair-lift rides, admission to the Saturday pig-roast dinner, one barbecue lunch and buffet breakfasts on both the Saturday and Sunday. Passes can be purchased until August 22.
The Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity is now doing an international string quartet festival in the off years between its biennial international string quartet competition. The three-day festival runs August 31 to September 2 and features competition alumni and special guest performers playing a range of classical and contemporary works. Though the 2018 festival passports are sold out, there are some tickets still available for individual performances.