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Archive for April, 2010

Banff Horseback Rides Spring 2010

15 Apr
Thanks to this beautiful Spring weather the 2 hour Sundance Loop Ride will open tomorrow, April 16th 2010.

Banff Horseback Tour
With weather and temperatures like this, the 3 hour Bow Valley Loop ride should open before the end of the month. Cookouts and day rides are scheduled to open May 15th and the Spray River Corrals located by the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel should be open for the 1 hour Spray River Ride on May 1st 2010.

This 2 hour Sundance Loop trail ride travels through the woodland, along the Bow River, climbs the backside of Sulphur Mountain over Windy Knoll and loops around the marsh.  This ride will depart at 10am, 12pm, 2pm and 4pm daily.

The cost for the 2 hour Sundance Loop trail ride is $72 per rider and payment can be made using your credit card.  Jeans and a close-toed shoe, like a sneaker or light-hiking boot, are best to wear while riding.

Reservations are recommended for this ride and guests can call 1-888-747-6259 (in North America), 0800-567-7542 (in U.K.) or  +1 403-609-0286 direct to speak with a Canadian Rockies based reservations agent or contact us here at Banff Blog.
 

More snow in Banff National Park – Spring 2010

10 Apr

Mother Nature has been kind to us once again and we have received more fresh snow in Banff National Park over the last 24 hours.

Lake Louise received 18cm (7.01in), Sunshine Village 6cm (2.4in) and Banff Norquay 1cm (0.4in). There is still some last minute hotel availability in Banff.

Banff’s Sunshine Village opens until May 24 2010, Lake Louise May 2 2010 and Banff Norquay (due to it’s elevation) will be closing April 18 2010.

With fresh powder and the sun shining, spring skiing doesn’t get much better than this!

 

Banff Spring Powder 2010

09 Apr

As predicted by weather experts, after our milder El Niño winter this year, the snow has kept coming in the spring making for great spring powder days at the Banff ski resorts.

The ski resorts in Banff National Park are in excellent shape. Today, Banff National Park is enjoying another POWDER DAY!

Sunshine Village Banff received 25cm in the last 24 hours

In the last 24 hours, Sunshine Village received 25cm (9.8in), Banff Norquay 20+cm (+7.9in) and  Lake Louise 13cm (5.1in). These ski resorts are all included in your Tri-Area Ski Lift Pass which includes the frequent ski shuttles to and from Banff.

With extended spring lift opening, you now have more time to play in the powder. At Sunshine Village, lift times have been extended to run until 4:30pm (Jackrabbit 5pm) until season close (May 24 2010).

Contact us at Banff Blog if you require more information!

 

Bow Falls Photos, Banff

07 Apr

The Bow Falls in Banff are a must for a photo stop. They are located just below the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel and can be easily found when you drive up on Spray Avenue towards the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. You turn left on Rundle Avenue at the traffic lights. Most group tours include the Bow Falls in their sights, but if you are driving yourself, you may want to use the Gypsy Guide for guidance.

I like stopping at the Bow Falls in Banff as they look so different at different times of the year. Here are a few pictures below to give you a idea of what to expect!

This photo was taken November 28 2006. This was a particularly cold start to the winter season so they almost froze over completely.Bow Falls, Banff - November 2006

The photo below was taken in June 2007 when a sudden increase in temperature caused a large amount of snowmelt to drain into the Bow River.

Bow Falls, Banff - June 2007 Flood

The photo below was taken on June 26 2006 when there was a lot of meltwater from the glaciers and snowmelt.

June 2006

This photo was taken on June 15 2008 for comparison. At this time of year, the Bow Falls always have a good volume of water.

Bow Falls, Banff, June 2008

This photo below was taken on November 26 2006. This was a very cold day and you can see the “steam” rising from the cold waters of the Bow River.

Bow Falls in Winter - December 2006

This is a typical photo in the fall / autumn time. With the colder nights, the glaciers start to release less meltwater causing the Bow River levels to be low.

Bow Falls in the summer, Banff

 

Bear safety in Banff National Park

06 Apr

Banff is in the wild and beautiful Banff National Park and so there may be a chance that you are lucky enough to see a bear.

There are two types of bears here: the black bear and the grizzly (or brown) bear. Don’t let the names fool you, you may see a brown or cinnamon coloured “black bear” like the cub with her mother photographed below:

Black Bear, Brown Cub photo

Black Bear

A Black Bear in Banff National Park

Grizzly Bear

Grizzly Bear in Banff National ParkThe grizzly bear can be identified by it’s distinctive hump on the back of it’s neck.

A grizzly bear is also larger than a black bear.

Each year, people get too close to wildlife especially bears. I personally have seen families stand in front of a bear cub on the side of the road to take pictures. This is not fair for the bear, especially the mother who is watching and may decide to protect her cub at anytime.

Please don’t put bears, or any other wildlife, in this position, it simply isn’t fair.

The bear safety information below has been sourced through Parks Canada:


What should I do if I see a BEAR?

If you are driving: stay in your car, and consider not stopping.

If you are not in a vehicle:

  • Stay calm. If a bear rears on its hind legs and waves its nose about, it is trying to identify you. Remain still and talk calmly so that it knows you are human and not a prey animal. Bears may also bluff charge: run toward you and turn away at the last moment. A scream or sudden movement may trigger an attack.
  • Pick up children, stay in a group.
  • Back away slowly, don’t run.
  • Leave the area. If this is impossible, wait until the bear leaves; make sure it has an escape route.

To reduce your risk of a surprise encounter:

  • Make noise. Clap, sing or yell to announce your presence, especially where a bear might not otherwise smell, hear or see you coming. (Bear bells are not very effective.)
  • Travel in groups, on established trails, and during daylight hours.
  • Minimize odours by proper storage of food, garbage and toiletries.
  • Leave the area if you see a bear or fresh tracks, droppings, diggings; or if you come across a large dead animal (a bear may be nearby).

If you surprise a bear and it defends itself:

Use bear spray if you have it. PLAY DEAD, let it know you are not a threat: lie on stomach with legs apart, cover back of head and neck with hands, keep pack on to protect your back.

If a bear stalks you and then attacks, or attacks at night:

Try to escape, use bear spray if you have it. FIGHT BACK, let it know that you are not easy prey. (This kind of predatory attack is very rare.)


After many on-foot bear encounters myself with both black and grizzly bears, the best form of defence is avoidance. If you make lots of noise by talking loudly to your hiking friends, you are very likely not going to see a bear. Be aware of bear presence (scat/faeces), damage to vegetation etc. and leave the area. If you are unable to leave the area, make lots of noise.

Guides are easily available so if you are not comfortable hiking in the wilderness then local experts can certainly take good care of you.

rocky-peak Holidays is a local company based in Canmore, just 5 minutes outside of Banff National Park and can help you find a suitable guide. There are also group hiking tours available.

Have you had a bear encounter you would like to share with us and our readers? Please post it below!

 

Banff Horseback Rides

01 Apr
The sun is out and the horses are back in town! Time to saddle up and head out for the Bow River Ride!

Banff Horseback Tour

Opening tomorrow! (April 2nd 2010)

This 1-hour trail ride travels through the woodland, along the Bow River and loops around the marsh.  This ride will depart hourly daily starting at 10am with the last one departing at 5pm.

Reservations are recommended for this ride and you can call +1-403-609-0286 (1-888-747-6259 North America / 0800-567-7542 U.K.) to speak with a local reservations agent.  The cost is $40 per rider and payment can be made by Visa, MasterCard or American Express.

Please check in at Warner Stables 10 minutes before your ride’s scheduled departure time.  The stables are located at the end of Sundance Road just off Cave Avenue. No shuttle service provided.  Gloves and hats are highly recommended for this time of year!

For more Banff Horseback Riding Tours, contact us at Banff Holidays.

 
 
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