What to Do in the Mountains in November

Mountain films are screening, mountain sheep are butting heads, wines are being poured and Santa Claus is coming to town: it’s all happening in the mountains near Calgary in the upcoming weeks.

During the late fall, male bighorn sheep bash heads to determine who the big man on campus is. Find out more at the annual Headbanger Festival at Radium Hot Springs, B.C. Photograph by Phototropic/istockphoto.com

Take the Family to the Headbanger Festival

Even folk music fans can appreciate this kind of head-banging. In late fall, the bighorn sheep in the region around Radium Hot Springs, B.C. enter their “rut” (breeding season) and fight each other for dominance so they can get some action with the lady sheep. The fighting is an amazing spectacle that involves the male sheep crashing their heads together. You can learn more about it (and hopefully see it for yourself) at the 2019 Headbanger Festival in Radium Hot Springs. The annual festival launches on Friday, November 1 and runs through Sunday, November 3 with a variety of art workshops, nature talks and guided walks. There’s also a keynote dinner on the Saturday evening featuring speaker Brian Keating, a Calgary-based academic and conservation advisor with three decades of experience as a nature-based travel guide.


Sip and Savour B.C. Wines at Fairmont Hot Springs

Fairmont Hot Springs Resort is hosting the 18th annual East Kootenay Wine Festival on Friday, November 1 and Saturday, November 2. The event will offer more than 140 different wines from upwards of 35 B.C. wineries and a “Back to the ’80s” after-party with live music. Individual tickets are $79 (per day) and available by calling 1-800-663-4979.


Catch Closing Weekend of the Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival

The Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival wraps up on the evening of Sunday, November 3 with simultaneous screenings of the “Best of the Festival” films in five different venues: the four theatre venues up on the Banff Centre campus, plus the Lux Cinema in the heart of town. Tickets for the Best of the Festival films are $35 each. During the day there are also free festival events you can take part in, such as the “sunrise hike” at 7 a.m., the Kid’s Program Family Friendly Films at 3 p.m. and a “Campfire Conversations” talk about diversity in the outdoors hosted by MEC ambassadors at 4 p.m.


See the New Ski and Snowboard Films …

The fall months are premiere season for all the new ski and snowboard films. If you’re in a ski town, there’s usually a screening every week. Some happen in seated movie theatre venues, while others just screen at pubs. Either way, there’s usually sponsor swag giveaways and athlete appearances and you can get all stoked for the season to come by watching people who are way better than you ski and snowboard in places you’ll probably never go. Catch three of the year’s top releases: Teton Gravity Research’s Winterland and Roadless and Matchstick Productions’ Return To Send’er at the Fernie Ski and Board Film Fest on Saturday, November 9 at the Fernie Community Centre. Tickets to all three shows are $25 for adults and $12 for kids, and funds raised go toward the Canadian Ski Patrol.


… including Dream Job

For a twist on the ski-film formula there’s Dream Job, a comedic documentary about female big-mountain skiers. The movie is screening Wednesday, November 6 in Golden, Friday, November 8 in Revelstoke and Sunday, November 10 in Fernie, B.C. The “Dream Job On Tour,” screening events will also feature footage by ski squad The Blondes and stand-up comedy by Katie Burrell, who appears in the film. Tickets are $20.


Embrace Health and Wellness in Canmore

It’s a pleasure just breathing the crisp mountain air in Canmore, so it makes a lot of sense to have a health and wellness event there. The Thrive Health and Wellness Festival runs Friday, November 8 to Sunday, November 10 and features a program of fitness and yoga, cooking classes, indoor and outdoor wellness workshops, an experiential health and wellness expo and an opening night keynote presentation by author Danielle LaPorte. Events take place at the Malcolm Hotel and at various other locations in Canmore.


Indulge in a Seven-Course Winemaker Dinner at the Top of the Banff Gondola

The Banff Gondola’s Sky Bistro mountaintop restaurant is bringing back its Winemakers’ Dinner series this month. The series kicks off Saturday, November 16 with Culmina Family Estate Winery and runs weekly, with Road 13 Vineyards on November 23, Tinhorn Creek Vineyards on November 30 and Summerhill Pyramid Winery on December 7. Each dinner begins with a sparkling wine and canapé reception at 4:30 p.m., then proceeds through seven courses of regionally inspired cuisine created by Sky Bistro’s executive chef Scott Hergott and his team, with wine pairings chosen and presented by the featured winemaker. Hergott has more than two decades of experience working in Banff and, this past April, he took top honours at the Banff edition of Cochon555, a North American culinary competition tour where invited chefs try to impress a panel of judges with dishes made from heritage breed pork. With gondola upload for the winemaker dinners starting at 4 p.m., you’ll be up in time to catch the spectacular sunset over the surrounding peaks before your culinary journey begins.


Watch Old-School Footage of the Calgary Stampede at the Whyte Museum

The Rockywood Reels series at the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies in Banff shows vintage and archival films from the region. Stampede history aficionados won’t want to miss the upcoming screening of The Calgary Stampede, a 1925 silent Western starring world champion cowboy Hoot Gibson that was filmed on location at the Calgary Stampede (look for an appearance by Stampede impresario Guy Weadick himself), as well as E.P. Ranch and the former Buffalo National Park near Wainwright. The screening is on Thursday, November 14 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $5 at the door (free for Whyte Museum members).


See Santa Claus Arrive in Banff

The Christmas season in Banff officially kicks off on Saturday, November 16 with the Santa Claus Parade of Lights down Banff Avenue. The parade starts at 6 p.m. and proceeds to Banff Avenue Square for carol singing from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Seeing Santa outdoors in an alpine setting is the kind of magical experience you just can’t quite get at the mall.


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