At the tail end of an Alberta winter as it rolls over into spring, the sun comes out, the sky turns blue and the birds start singing while snow still clings to the ground. In fact, you could even ski in the morning, golf or mountain bike in the afternoon and go horseback riding in the evening. Or the reverse if the resort has night skiing.
So shed a layer and check out these great ideas for great ways to enjoy the finer aspects of the "warm" part of winter.
Ski Marmot Basin
Alberta boasts one of the world's longest ski seasons with hills across the province kept open well past winter and Banff’s Sunshine Village offering carvable runs right up to the May long weekend.
If you've never gone spring skiing, it's a life-changing experience to race downhill in a t-shirt and no gloves while the sun shines warm and bright. Just don't forget your sunscreen. (Seriously, you'll look like a raccoon.)
If you're searching for a slightly more authentic experience, there’s nothing quite like the thrill of dogsledding
. After all, having a team of huskies pull you through the forest is about as Canadian as it gets.
There are several dogsled tour operators in the Canmore/Banff region, as well as one further north in Rocky Mountain House.
Get a head start to the summer with a camping adventure in one of Alberta’s great provincial parks. With the right gear, sunny spring days in the wilderness are hard to beat.
The park service has a list of campgrounds open year round
with winter-meets-spring activities ranging from ice fishing and snow shoeing to hiking depending on when you visit.
For two-wheel enthusiasts who just can't get enough saddle time, fat biking offers the best of both worlds. Enjoy the freedom of a bicycle with really wide tires that keep you floating on top of the snow during the winter.
The Canmore Nordic Centre
offers dedicated fat bike trails and bikes can be rented in town.
If you're not near Canmore, fat bikes are great on just about any cross country mountain bike trail you can find. Check in with a local bike shop to learn where you find the best winter riding.
Travel aboard a specifically designed transport bus with extra wide tires and smile as you drive out into the Columbia Icefields. Step out onto the surface of the magnificent Athabaska Glacier
and rejoice in this 10,000 year-old wonder of nature.
If you're interested in getting a little more adventurous, guided ice walks
are available, too. The season starts in mid-April and runs until mid-October. It’s an easy way to get into the mountains.
These are the experiences that dreams are made of. At a time when winter has largely left its mark and gone from the valley bottom, snow still lurks up high. Toss a pair of snowshoes into the back of a helicopter
and head for the hills in southern Alberta’s Kananaskis Country.
After an incredible 10-minute flight, you’re plunked into a breathtaking winter oasis where you set off for an hour-long snowshoe tour led by the pilot, who doubles as your guide. Fortify yourself with a thermos of spiked hot chocolate (supplied) before flying back.
Even after you land, you'll still be on cloud nine.
Ski Banff-Lake Louise-Sunshine
Speaking of the May long weekend. Long after Alberta lakes have thawed, daffodils have bloomed and lawns have been cut for the first time each spring, Sunshine Village hosts its annual season wrap-up party
It features beer gardens, an outdoor concert and the ever-popular Pond Skimming World Cup – formerly known as the Slush Cup – where many costumed skiers and boarders attempt to skim across a slushy pond. This year will mark the 88th annual spring tradition on May 23.