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Letter From the Editor, Canadian Rockies Annual (Vol. 2)

I recently came across a photograph taken by Byron Harmon in 1920 of a ski jump built on the lower flanks of Tunnel Mountain. In it, a skier is flying midair above a landing slope – a residential street lined by spectators. As I looked more closely at the image, it dawned on me that the building on that street is none other than Mary Schäffer’s historic home. Opposite that home the photograph shows a vacant lot, where today stands another home: the one I live in. [...]

The Unsquare Cellar: Banff’s Hangout for Hippies

In Volume 2 of the Canadian Rockies Annual, we flash back over forty years to explore a decade of change and innovation in our largest feature article, Rockies Life in the '70s. In this companion web piece, historian Ben Bradley uncovers the story of the Unsquare Cellar and how it came to be closely associated with Banff’s burgeoning counterculture. [...]

The Tentless Transients: The History of Echo Creek

In June 1970, Parks Canada established the Echo Creek campground as an experimental response to the thousands of “tentless transients” expected to pass through Banff that summer. In this companion web piece to Rockies Life in the '70s, featured in Volume 2 of the Canadian Rockies Annual, Ben Bradley explores the rise and fall of the short-lived, long-haired crowd at Echo Creek. [...]

The Bold and Cold: Excerpt and Interview with Brandon Pullan

Perfect for the armchair traveller or devoted mountaineer, The Bold and Cold: A History of 25 Classic Climbs in the Canadian Rockies has been in the works for decades. It began in the late 60s as a brainchild of Urs Kallen, who later collaborated with Dave Cheesmond to select the 25 routes and compile them into a book. The project was abandoned following Cheesmond's death on Mt. Logan in 1987, but not before the pair decided to name it ‘The Bold and Cold.’ Here, Tera Swanson interviews Brandon Pullan, who took over the project in 2005 and saw it through to publication with Rocky Mountain Books more than ten years later. [...]

3 Ways to “Do” Winter at Skoki Lodge

Drop "Skoki" into a conversation around these parts, and you'll be met with some predictable reactions, usually a reminiscent sigh or a sense of deep longing for this near mythical mountain experience. Everybody wants to go to Skoki Lodge and anyone who has been wants to go back. [...]

The Ultimate Timeline of Ski History in Banff National Park

From its first introduction to the Banff area by Scandinavian Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) workers and Swiss mountaineering guides, skiing has grown to be the very heartbeat and pulse of Canadian Rockies culture. Skiers may have traded in their pea coats and wooden skis for Gore Tex shells and the perfect camber, but the spirit of the sport remains in Canada’s first national park. [...]

In the News: 10 Fascinating Clips from Banff’s History

Start clicking around in the Encyclopedia of Banff History and you'll quickly get lost in a sea of fascinating clips and images that cover the intriguing history of Banff National Park. Mostly chronicled from the Crag and Canyon and any materials available in the public domain, the Encyclopedia provides a window into our heritage, reminds us of pivotal moments in the development of this region, and highlights fascinating snapshots of a bygone era. Here are ten such moments we've handpicked from the lot. [...]

The Encyclopedia of Banff History: Interview with Founder David Fleming

History is easily forgotten unless we can find creative ways of keeping it fresh, accessible and interesting for people. With the Encyclopedia of Banff History, old stories are brought to life in a modern-day format. Founder David Fleming has created a Facebook Group, where he is archiving digitized newspaper clippings and images from Banff's history into categorized albums. In this Q&A, Tera Swanson finds out what compelled him to start this project, and what he's learned through the process. [...]

20 Years of Classic Hikes: Graeme Pole

Few guidebooks truly stand the test of time. Even fewer call the industry to new models of guidebook publishing. Yet, Classic Hikes in the Canadian Rockies, by Graeme Pole, has done both of these things. Celebrating more than two decades in print, this guidebook does more than just point eager hikers in the right direction. In this review we tell you why we think it deserves a spot on your bookshelf. [...]