Sleigh Bells Ring, Are you Listening….

It is with heavy hearts, that our friends at Rafter Six will be closing their doors for good January 1st  2014. For the millions of us that have visited the ranch, we will remember the kindness of the Cowley Family and staff that have entertained us, welcomed us into their ranch and gave us a ride of a lifetime in the foothills of the Rockies for over 38 years.

For those who have not shared in this amazing experience, the doors will be open, the sleigh bells will be ringing and the hot chocolate will be brewing until the moment they close.

Rafter Six is truly a real cowboy western lifestyle, and is a great stop for families and friends of all ages.

Be prepared to get a little dirty as all of their horses, miniature horses and donkey roam free and are eager for snuggles, petting and sniffing, along with the numerous furry friends (cats and dogs) that man the inside of the lodge and outside all yearn for a scratch behind the ear.

Hop on a horse, jump in a sleigh or Getty Up and take the fast route on a toboggan behind a horse, just get out there and see for yourself what an amazing place Rafter Six really is.

For more information, or to book a package visit


Our Big Day

The sunglasses are vital to the look!

The sunglasses are vital to the look!

It was September 24, 2011 and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. As I pulled myself out of bed and looked out the window towards the Three Sisters range I realized today was the day that would change my life. What a perfect day to get married… No clouds in the sky… All my friends and family in Canmore at one time… and an expected high of 29 degrees… What more could we ask for.

As the morning crept by I started to get an excited nervousness that I had never experienced before. So at about 11am I decided to put some jogging pants on, walk down to FasGas, and get myself a pair of sunglasses and a smoke. At that point I needed to do anything I could to pass time, and it really felt like 2:30pm couldn’t come fast enough. By the time I came back to my room and got ready to go it was 1:30ish which meant time to round up my groomsmen and head down to the Canmore Ranch for our ceremony.

As we stood around waiting for Lindsey to arrive in the Bentley, once again it felt like time was standing still. The clock struck 2:30pm and on cue the Highland Executive Bentley pulled into the parking lot and out came Lindsey Anne. As she walked towards me and reached the alter, that excited nervousness that I had felt during the day was gone! The thought that kept running through my head now was, she’s here!!! she’s here!!! I can’t believe she’s here!!! And for some reason, even after we said our I do’s, I kept thinking she’s here!!! she’s here!!! I can’t believe she’s here!!!

As the ceremony came to a close everyone was buzzing with excitement to get up to the Stewart Creek Golf course for the real fun to start. And the real fun definitely started. As the Brewster bus shuttles started to run from the hotel to the golf course the crowds grew larger and larger at the Clubhouse. With all of our friends and family present, we started the party. The dinner was served… the speeches started flying (some planned, some impromptu)… and the dancing and drinking started to take over the clubhouse.  By midnight, the masses had had enough excitement for one night, and the party was starting to slow down. So rather than calling it a night, Lindsey and I decided to round up the remaining troops and head back to our house for an “after party.” Thanks to Brewsters we made a pit stop at Macs to get some firewood and snacks… and another pit stop at the local liquor store… and off we went to the Bell household for even more partying.

By 3:30am we had all had enough, and it was time to call it a day. With a few beers in hand, Lindsey and I called a cab and headed to the Georgetown Inn to cap off the most amazing day ever.  To our surprise we walked into our room to find a bottle of champagne accompanied by a plate of chocolate covered strawberries! And of course, we couldn’t go to bed with an unopened bottle of champagne and tasty treats everywhere… so we cracked the bottle and enjoyed a nice relaxing drink by the fire.

Looking back in hindsight I wouldn’t change a thing that day. The weather was perfect. The company was perfect. The ceremony was perfect. The reception was perfect. Needless to say, EVERYTHING WAS PERFECT!!!

Can I keep her?

Nice shoes!

The Town That Shaped My Life


We had the most amazing day at the Engine Bridge in Canmore. What a perfect location to have our engagement photos taken.

Canmore, Alberta was a long shot from Ottawa, but at 18 years old my drive to get to the “big resorts” grew from a crazy idea to an out of control beast that I couldn’t tame any longer. So one October night I decided to book my flight, pack my back and pursue my dream of moving to the mountains of Alberta. Somewhere between booking my flight and packing the most random bag ever, I told my parents what I was going to do, and let’s just say they weren’t as excited and enthusiastic as I was. I had no place to live… I had no money in my pocket… BUT I HAD A DREAM AND A SNOWBOARD…  So deep down I knew everything else would work itself out.  And who would have known that Canmore, Alberta would shape the very person I am today.

Ten years have passed since that cold October night, and let me tell you… Life would not be the same for me if I hadn’t followed my gut and moved across the country. During my 8 1/2 years living, working and playing in Canmore I had the opportunity to pursue my passion for travel through working in one of the most beautiful destinations in the world, while at the same time completing my Bachelors degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management.  From a very fulfilling and exciting career, to creating lifelong friendships, to meeting and marrying the woman of my dreams, Canmore will always own a very big piece of my heart and soul.

As I continue to draw the map that I call my life, I invite you to come on my journey and experience the many adventures that I continue to go on.  And who knows, you might just unfold a hidden passion of your own!

My wife and I laughing away at The Canmore Ranch as we signed our papers to legally become one!

My wife and I laughing away at The Canmore Ranch as we signed our papers to legally become one!

The Canmore Christmas Festival Is Coming This Weekend!!

Bundle up the Family and Experience a true Rocky Mountain Christmas Extravaganza!

Starting November 28th, downtown Canmore will light-up and look and feel like a Rocky Mountain Christmas Wonderland. The festivities continue through the holiday season until January 1st. 

For 5 weeks everyone can enjoy extended Christmas Shopping hours on weekends, outdoor movie nights, and skating on our downtown pond.

Bring the little ones to enjoy their own unique shopping experience, with a village build only for four-foot and under tikes. Gifts will be available to buy for mom, dad and grandma and grandpa with the help of shopping elves.

For more information and a detailed calendar of events, visit Tourism Canmore website.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!!!


It’s the most wonderful time of the year!!!

For those who are ski and snowboard enthusiasts

The hills are alive with the sound of screams of joy, the air is filled with excitement and anticipation as the last of our local ski hills open.

Whether you are a downhill skier, cross-country skier or just want to enjoy a leisurely tube ride down the hill, Canmore Kananaskis is the dream place to stay and play. We hold 2 of the ’88 Olympic venues, Nakiska Mountain Resort, for downhill skiing, and the Canmore Nordic Centre for Nordic skiing. Lake Louise Ski Resort is the home to the Annual Men’s and Women’s downhill World Cup.

If you’re a fan of Canadian and US Olympian’s, you’d be surprised how many you can bump into on the tracks or on the hills!

Just a note, only a select green and blue runs are currently open at each ski resort until further notice or until it snows a great deal more here in the Rockies. A great opportunity for beginners to get out there and get some mid-week lessons in before the season really kicks off.

Enjoy yourselves out there!
And for more information on our current local conditions, live cams and weather report, visit these great websites for Lake Louise Ski Resort for Sunshine Village for Banff Norquay for Nakiska for Canmore Nordic Centre

Nakiska Ski Area

Nakiska Ski Area Courtesy of TCK/John Everly

The Triple Crown of Canmore – Open for Business

Thanks to the tireless efforts and generous contributions of many, most of the areas around Canmore and the Kananaskis region have been re-opened to the public.  This means that it is time to issue the Triple Crown of Canmore challenge to all Canmore visitors and residents. The Triple Crown challenges hikers to reach the summits of South Rundle, Ha Ling Peak, and Lady MacDonald within a single hiking season. To conquer the challenge, hikers need to receive a Punch Card from The Georgetown Inn, have a photo taken at each summit, post those photos to The Georgetown’s Facebook page, and bring in their Triple Crown Punch Card to be redeemed for their prizes. Conquerors win a beer mug that gets you discounts on refills at The Georgetown, a Triple Crown shirt, and a place on the Glory Board.

The Hikes

Mt. Rundle, South

A moderate three-hour hike leading you to the South Summit of Mt. Rundle. Several of the routes will require attention to footing as loose rocks and steep inclines may bring some unsteadiness. Just below the summit is a nearly level area at 2300 m (7544 ft) known as “The Bench”.  At this point, have a rest and a snack while taking in the incredible scenery; grab a photo to submit to The Georgetown’s Facebook page before heading back down.

Mt. Lady Macdonald

This hike is best attempted starting in April. The hike will take anywhere from four and a half to seven hours to reach the Shoulder at 2300 m (7544 ft); here you will have the opportunity to view the foundations and helipad of what would have been a tourist tea-house which was abandoned due to the noise-pollution it would have created for the town of Canmore. After another thirty minutes of trail, you will be able to see the neighbouring peaks as well as the Cougar Creek Canyon below.

Mt. Ha Ling Peak

Ha Ling has become one of the more popular trail-heads in Canmore due to less laborious inclines and can take anywhere from ninety minutes to four hours. The hike meanders through the forest and then leads to steeper territory. Once you reach the summit, you will gain a stunning bird’s eye view of Canmore and the Canadian Rockies.

Triple Crown of Canmore – Update

The Triple Crown of Canmore, hosted by The Georgetown Inn, dares hikers to reach the summits of South Rundle, Ha Ling Peak, and Lady MacDonald all in a single hiking season. To complete the challenge, hikers must receive a Punch Card from The Georgetown, have a photo taken on the top of each summit, post those photos to The Georgetown’s Facebook page and bring in their Triple Crown Punch Card to be redeemed for their prizes. Conquerors of the Triple Crown will win a beer mug that gets you discounts on refills at The Georgetown, a fantastic Triple Crown shirt, a place on the Glory Board and bragging rights amongst your friends.

Unfortunately, due to the recent flooding, many of the hiking trails around Canmore have been temporarily closed, Mt. Rundle among them; Lady Mac was also affected and the status of the trail is undetermined at this point. These trails are under repair but it is difficult to predict when they will reopen. With two of the three hikes closed, the Triple Crown has been forced to take a bit of a hiatus this year but not to worry, the following are a few fantastic hikes in the Canmore/Banff area that are open for adventurers.

Ha Ling Peak

Ha Ling has become one of the more popular trail-heads in Canmore due to less laborious inclines and can take anywhere from ninety minutes to four hours. The hike meanders through the forest and then leads to steeper territory. Once you reach the summit, you will gain a stunning bird’s eye view of Canmore and the Canadian Rockies.

Rockbound Lake

This moderate hike is approximately 17 km long and leads to Tower and Rockbound Lake. The hike will provide you with great views of Castle Mountain and the Bow Valley. The hike is well marked and just a short drive from Banff and Canmore.

Larch Valley-Sentinel Pass

Larch Valley-Sentinel Pass is a moderate to difficult hike averaging around six hours round trip. It is recommended that you travel with four or more people as Grizzly’s can frequent the area. The trail winds through a number of switchbacks before reaching the Larch Valley. Continuing down the trail, you will reach the summit of Sentinel Pass where you can gain some spectacular views of the Paradise Valley.

Make sure to check this site often as updates about the Triple Crown and hiking in Canmore will be posted as details become available.

For more information about the status of other hiking trails, and other attractions, in the Canmore area please check out the following link.

Our Quick Trip out to Canmore, AB for Relaxation, Visiting and a Great Game of Golf

Driving out to Canmore this past weekend was, as always, a mental memory postcard shot in time with so many green vistas and views to look at, as well as the changes from the floods to see for the first time. Our favourite hikes will be an all-new adventure this summer given the alterations to the terrain and contours of the trails caused by good old Mother Nature and the recent flooding in the area; I cannot wait to see all the changes.

Sunshine and blue skies.

Sunshine and blue skies.

We were welcomed to Canmore by the shining sun and were so happy to note all the signs of affirmation and positivity that Canmore and its residents were intact and thriving.

The boil water advisory had just been lifted and the town was thrilled; it just makes life so much easier.


We enjoyed a great game of golf at the Canmore Golf and Country Club; the course has never looked better. It was obvious that the staff worked very hard to protect and service the course as there was no visual damage to fairways or greens.


The town was beautiful and the golfing was superb; we will definitely be back soon.

Happy tee offs,


Elevation Place: Just one more amazing thing Canmore has to offer!

Elevation Place officially opens its doors on Saturday, April 27, 2013.  With a free BBQ, live music and entertainment, fireworks and live demonstrations within the facility, the event is sure to be a great way to spend a Saturday night in Canmore.

Since the 15th of April, Elevation Place has allowed the public to use the facility pro bono; this was a great way to promote all the incredible amenities Elevation Place has to offer. The facility is continuing this promotion until the grand opening this weekend so, if you get a chance, head down to Elevation and check it out for yourself for free.

The facility features:

  • An aquatics centre with a 25 metre pool, water-slides, a leisure pool simulating a beach, steam room, lazy river, a 25-person hot tub, as well as viewing areas and an on-deck  multi-purpose room.
  • A climbing gym offering 10,000 square feet of climbing surface, 1,500 square feet of bouldering, a cave area connecting the climbing walls, and a speed wall.
  • A cardio and weight room.
  • Child care facilities.
  • Community art gallery celebrating local artisans.
  • Quiet spaces which can be used for relaxing or performing.
  • Various multi-purpose rooms.
  • The Canmore public library.

Photo Credits to Luke Raymond with Tourism Canmore Kananaskis.

When Elevation officially opens, it will offer the public a huge range of classes from swimming to juggling lessons and parenting courses to circus day camps; check out their website for a listing of all their classes. The centre has designed a variety of membership and admission pricing packages to accommodate all types of users. To top it all off, Elevation has, and will continue, to implement and abide by various sustainability programs and procedures.

Photo Credits to Luke Raymond with Tourism Canmore Kananaskis.

Overall, Elevation Place is a great new addition to Canmore and will be an excellent facility for visitors and the Canmore public.


Canmore State of Mind

My first real trip to Canmore took place on a clear and sunny Monday morning; I had driven through the town numerous times on my way to Banff or BC but had never taken the time to stop and explore. Although I was excited to actually see some of the town, this trip was work related and I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to get the full Canmore experience this time around either.

Driving into the mountains from Calgary has always been a form of therapy for me. Even if it’s just a day trip, the act driving towards the Rockies is like letting go of the city life and getting ready to delve into nature and serenity.

As we pulled into Canmore, I was introduced to the surrounding mountain range by my guide/boss. He pointed out some of the best places to hike, the three sisters, the directions of the closest lakes, and named and described just about every mountain within sight.  It was at this point that I started to understand the local pride that Canmore has towards their environment and the important role that these mountains play not just in tourism, business, and resources but in shaping the identity of this town.

We drove through the residential areas and I admired the rustic, cabin feel of the architecture. All the neighbourhoods were so quiet, beautiful, and well kept that I started to think about how I could fit a vacation home in Canmore into my budget. As we pulled into down-town I realized that Canmore truly had something for everyone; with the surrounding majestic mountains, the peaceful residential areas, and a bustling down-town offering everything you could possibly want or need, I couldn’t figure out why I hadn’t come here before.

The purpose of the trip was a lunch meeting which we held at The Georgetown Inn. I instantly fell in love with the welcoming atmosphere of The Georgetown. The hotel and restaurant are adorned with tales of local heroes and the rich history of Canmore. I spent much of the lunch scanning the pub and reading about all the incredible artefacts.  After tasting my lunch, I was hooked. I have gone back to The Georgetown a few times now, always bringing new people to show the restaurant off to and I boast about its charm and delicious food to anyone who will listen.

Our final stop was at the Silver Creek Lodge. I have stayed in lots of beautiful hotels in my time and the Silver Creek Lodge could compete with the best of them. From the gorgeous water fountain in the front entrance and the smiling and friendly staff, the lodge makes an impressive first impression. I toured the lodge’s variety of rooms from hotel style to two bedroom suites; each room was luxurious and inviting. I also got to tour the hotel’s fantastic Bodhi Tree spa and the three open air hot pools.

Before we left I spent a moment sitting at the hot pools by myself. I looked over the steam rising from the pools onto the snow covered peaks in the distance and took a deep breath of the crisp mountain air. In that moment I thought two things to myself. First, my job rocks and second, this was only a taste of the Canmore experience and I knew I would be back for more.