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Top 10 of 2015: Our Most-Read Articles of the Year

January 1, 2016

THE TOP 10 OF 2015:
OUR MOST-READ ARTICLES OF THE YEAR

Compiled by Tera Swanson

Call it our ‘best of’ if you like, but what this list really represents is the collection of stories that resonated the most with our community this past year. They are the most-read on the website and the most-shared on social media, but more importantly, in these articles we are proud to have featured the people, places and projects that are truly elevating mountain culture here in the Canadian Rockies. Read them now or bookmark them for later when you need a good dose of mountain inspiration. 

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Floe Lake, Kootenay National Park. Photo: Paul Zizka Photography

Floe Lake, Kootenay National Park. Photo: Paul Zizka Photography

1/ 8 Larch Hikes in the Canadian Rockies

Words by Meghan J. Ward, Photos by Paul Zizka

Larch trees have risen to celebrity status here in the Canadian Rockies, and there’s little wonder why. These coniferous trees shed their needles, but before tucking in for the winter they turn so vibrantly yellow that they light up the landscape. If you’re keen to trek amongst the fall’s golden glow, branch out with this select list of larch hikes in the Canadian Rockies.

Abby Cooper. Photo by Jesse Millen.

Abby Cooper. Photo by Jesse Millen.

2/ Understanding, Underneath: An Avalanche Survival Story

Words and Photos by Abby Cooper 

We all hope we’ll adventure furiously in the mountains for years and years without incident. But each and every time we take part in the enjoyment nature has to offer, we also agree to take on the risk that something will go wrong. For Abby Cooper, getting caught in an avalanche was a wake-up call to trust her gut feelings.

Ice climbing at Johnston Canyon, Banff National Park. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

Ice climbing at Johnston Canyon, Banff National Park. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

3/ 12 Remarkable Canadian Rockies Photographs

Photos by Paul Zizka 

The Canadian Rockies are among the most photographed mountains in the world, and for good reason. But some photographers go the extra mile to capture them in new ways, whether it’s from up high, at night or by visiting rarely explored locations. Crowfoot Media’s Photo Editor, Paul Zizka, is a Banff-based photographer who has produced a vast collection of cutting-edge work from the Canadian Rockies. Here are some of his best.

Garrett Capel. Photo by Dan Evans Photography

Garrett Capel. Photo by Dan Evans Photography

4/ Grounded, Humble, Badass Skiers: The Capel Family

Words by Kevin Hjertaas

Banff attracts flocks of tourists and the local ski scene is bright and robust. It is thanks, in part, to the families that form the backbone of the ski culture, who work at the resorts, and lend a hand to ski clubs and programs. Writer Kevin Hjertaas profiles one such family, whose modesty is as impressive as their accomplishments on the slopes.

Burstall Pass on the border of Peter Lougheed Provincial Park and Banff. Ken and Ian stop to admire Mt. Birdwood. Photo by Andrew Hardingham

Burstall Pass on the border of Peter Lougheed Provincial Park and Banff. Ken and Ian stop to admire Mt. Birdwood. Photo by Andrew Hardingham

5/ Go Wild: 4 Reasons to Explore Banff’s Backcountry 

Words and Photos by Andrew Hardingham 

It’s no secret that in the Canadian Rockies we find one of lower Canada’s largest and unfettered wilderness areas. It’s also right at our fingertips. Outdoor aficionado, Andrew Hardingham, gives us four great reasons to lace up our hiking boots, and his best recommendations for wilderness experiences in Banff National Park.

Photo by Central Queensland University

Photo by Central Queensland University

6/ Bear Aware Everywhere

Words by Sarah Elmeligi 

What are the chances that bears and people are on the same trail at the same time? And what are the conditions that lead to a higher chance of encounter? These are just some of the questions that Canmore-based researcher, Sarah Elmeligi, is studying as part of her PhD. In this article, she walks us through the preliminary results of her research, and tells us why people should be prepared for a bear encounter – especially when you’re close to a road or town.

Sarah Hutchison. Photo by Larry Kwan.

Sarah Hutchison. Photo by Larry Kwan.

7/ What You Need to Know About Lyme Disease

Words by Sean McIntyre

A 2013 Alberta Health study revealed 20 per cent of black-legged ticks sampled in Alberta carried the Lyme-causing Borrellia bacteria. Yet, diagnosis and treatment of the disease continue to be mired in uncertainty, leading to significant discord among many Lyme disease advocates and medical professionals. Sean McIntyre reports on prevention of the disease, and where to turn in the case of a suspicious tick bite.

Photo Abby Dell Photography

Photo Abby Dell Photography

8/ Christine Feleki and the Path to Splitboard Mountain Guiding

Words and Photos by Abby Cooper

Christine Feleki is a Canmore native who is about to push some serious boundaries. Contributor Abby Cooper caught up with Christine to hear about her current venture to become one of the first female splitboarding guides to take the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides (ACMG) test. Turns out, she is one of those incredibly humble and driven human beings that make you want to live a better life, love more, and be a better person. She must be from Canmore…

Photograph by Jon Griffith, courtesy the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival.

Photograph by Jon Griffith, courtesy the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival.

9/ 8 Mountain Culture Books to Add to Your Reading List

Words by Tera Swanson 

While gripping films and skilled speakers attract the die-hard adventurers and inspiration-seekers to the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival, it is also the stories expressed through the written word that carry this spirit beyond the end of the fest. This year, 139 books were entered into the Banff Mountain Book Competition, and 26 made it to the list of category finalists. Here are this year’s winners, which are sure to  keep your mountain soul satiated well into the new year.

The President and Isolated Peak form a spectacular backdrop during the construction phase of the 18-person Louise and Richard Guy Hut near the base of Mont des Poilus, Yoho National Park, B.C., Canada. Photo by Pat Morrow.

The President and Isolated Peak form a spectacular backdrop during the construction phase of the 18-person Louise and Richard Guy Hut near the base of Mont des Poilus, Yoho National Park, B.C., Canada. Photo by Pat Morrow.

10/ High Elevation Construction: The Making of an Alpine Club Hut

Photos by Pat Morrow

For decades, the Wapta and Waputik Icefields have provided world-class ski terrain for backcountry skiers. And for decades the Bow-Yoho Traverse has possessed a missing link – until now. After years of proposals, assessments and planning, The Louise and Richard Guy Hut is being constructed by the Alpine Club of Canada at Mont des Poilus, and will provide winter accommodations for 18 skiers. Photographer Pat Morrow recently ventured up to the construction site to capture footage for a film produced by Wilhelm Schmidt and Roger Vernon, which follows the prodigious efforts by ACC volunteers and tradespeople to build the hut.

Looking for more great mountain culture stories? Peruse our archives and/or subscribe to our print magazine, the Canadian Rockies Annual (lands in your mailbox May 2016!)

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