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Mountain, River, Fairway: The Annual Spring Trifecta


By Meghan J. Ward

Held in Banff each year on the Friday before Victoria Day, the Annual Spring Trifecta has participants skiing every lift at Sunshine Village, paddling the Bow River from 5-Mile Bridge to the Banff Canoe Docks, and playing nine holes at the Banff Springs Golf Club. In this Q&A, The Trifecta’s founders, Alan Hogg and Mark Zanetti, give us the inside scoop on this popular – and usually hilarious – event.


Photo by Dan Evans Photography.

MW/ What inspired you to start the Trifecta?

AH | MZ/ There are only a few places on the planet that can provide the landscape for one to enjoy multiple seasons in one day. This celebration of the seasons came to mind as we watched winter turn to summer, and just before the ski boots went into storage and canoe paddles came out. “Let’s use all the gear in one day” led to the event that is now known as the Spring Trifecta. When asked what keeps us going, the answer is simple: it is the amount of fun we have every year and the tremendous gratitude shown by those who come out.

MW/ The Trifecta isn’t a race. Why is that?

AH | MZ/ Why would it be a race? (Mark fires back.) Boiling the event down to its absolute, we find two main purposes: to enjoy the day and have fun. I mean, we stop for a BBQ half way! Adding a race component is something that has never entered our mind as it goes against the core value of the event. If you want a race, this is definitely not the event for you.

Photo by Dan Evans Photography.

Photo by Dan Evans Photography.

MW/ Why do you think the Trifecta has grown so popular amongst locals?

AH | MZ/ Not only is it a “home grown” event, but it also combines the passion and interests of several walks of life. Maybe you are a hard-core skier who likes to paddle once in a while or perhaps you have a golf membership and enjoy carving a few turns each winter. Adding a hearty helping of fun, we now see even the race enthusiasts leaving the stopwatch at home and enjoying a full day out in the mountains. It’s the enforced leisure theme (the BBQ is a great example of this) that speaks to everyone.

MW/ What’s the funniest thing that has happened during the Trifecta?

AH | MZ/ Oh my, is it seeing everyone skiing with lift jackets and golf clubs or perhaps golfing with your goggles on? Tough to say. The overall ridiculousness of the day trumps everything, however, we both agree that one of the best memories is when one of the participants, dressed in full Captain Morgan regalia, brought his kayak down to the river base. To everyone’s astonishment, this person’s craft was outfitted with a piercing bow and a 4-foot mast with a flag! That was by far the most impressive effort and the most photographed participant to date.


Photo by Dan Evans Photography.

MW/ Which aspect of the Trifecta do participants find to be the most challenging?

AH | MZ/ For one, it is a long day. You need to “pace” yourself (Alan hints). Additionally, the gear…not only having or getting all the necessary equipment, but also handling the logistics behind it. Where are we going to stash the golf clubs in town so that when we paddle back they are waiting for us? Where are we going to put the canoe while we golf? Sorting and organizing the different stages, along with transport, takes a bit of work at the beginning, especially when all the gear gets piled up in the parking lot.

MW/ Is there anything special or new that participants can expect this year?

AH | MZ/ More participants! Each year we see the numbers increase. We hear people talking about it as early as March, and when the initial invite goes out it always surprises us how fast people sign on. As for the actual event…when the formula is right, it’s right. Why fix something that is not broken? We are, however, toying with the idea of an official after party this year. We will test it out as we prepare for next year’s fifth anniversary.

Photo by Cody Ross.

Photo by Cody Ross.

Alan and Mark would like to give a special shout out goes to the Banff Canoe Club and Banff Springs Golf Club for their continued support and partnership.


Alan Hogg arrived from the UK in 2009 and has called Banff home ever since. Season after season, he gets more and more out of our outdoor playground by shredding the gnar (WTF crew!), bagging peaks and then some. Alan maintains that the Trifecta is the best day of the year.

Mark Zanetti headed west from Ontario over ten years ago. From the Rockies to the Pacific and then back to the Rockies, he considers himself an outdoor enthusiast and social butterfly. Without budging, he believes in the core value of the Trifecta – take the day and enjoy it…and leave the race bib at home.

Writer, adventurer, outdoorsy mama and summit cartwheeler. Meghan J. Ward is the editor and co-founder at Crowfoot Media and lives for backcountry getaways.

The views and opinions expressed in the articles on are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the editor, the editorial team or the publishers.

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