Friday, May 10, 2013
Mike Mueller of Regina, Saskatchewan, submitted this shot called "Moraine Lake, Banff National Park, Alberta".
Mike won a portable campfire courtesy of Campfire In A Can with an approximate retail value of $330.
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Monday, April 29, 2013
Are you a boomer interested in connecting with the outdoors in comfort? Is your young family looking for camping convenience? Are you thinking of camping for the first time? This summer, Parks Canada is making your camping experience in Banff National Park easier!
Exclusive to Canada’s national parks, oTENTiks
are coming to Banff National Park in July. A cross between an A-frame cabin and a prospector tent mounted on a raised wooden floor, this new visitor experience seeks to attract and connect with key target markets including urbanites, youth and new Canadians. oTENTiks is designed to modernize and diversify the traditional camping experience in the park.
The ten oTENTiks will be clustered together and embraced by Douglas fir, white spruce and pine trees along one of the most intimate shorelines in the park – Two Jack Lake. Set within Two Jack Lakeside Campground for easy access to site and town amenities, and as one of best locations for stunning views of the majestic mountain ranges.
A few oTENTik features:
An outdoor deck overlooking Two Jack Lake presents an ideal location for relaxation,
19 x 24 ft wide tent provides plenty of room for families or groups up to six,
Sleeping area accommodates two-queen sized and one double-sized bunk bed with high density
foammattresses for a restful night’s sleep - $145/night (includes GST),
A spacious living room, with a table for six, offers a great activity area for inclement weather,
A replica cast iron fireplace ensures extra warmth for cool mountain nights and mornings,
Lighting and electrical outlets offers the convenience of night time reading or charging electronics,
An outdoor fire pit and a Weber BBQ guarantees the tradition of camp-style cooking,
Windows that unzip and mosquito screens allows fresh air movement and fibreglass doors that lock.
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Thursday, February 14, 2013
Forty years ago, during the record snow years of the early 70s, I stood outside all winter at Sunshine Village Ski Resort loading the Strawberry T-Bar. Clifford J. White, President of the organization, often rode my lift, as did his children, Cliffy, Brad and Tristan. Little did we think that someday I would be writing their family history.
▲ Peter and Catharine Whyte in front of their house
- image V683 I c 3 - Courtesy of the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies
“Is it White or is it Whyte?
” is the question I always get when I tell people that I am writing this book. “It’s both
”, I say. Dave and Annie, the founders of the dynasty, spelled their name with an i, but their son Peter, in 1927, while studying at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, began signing his drawings with a y, perhaps feeling that this had more class or cachet. Since then different members of the family have used both spellings: Catharine and her nephew Jon used a y, Clifford J. who with his wife Bev created modern Sunshine Village, always used an i. And his father Cliff Sr. and Uncle Jackie spelled their names both ways at different times.
◄ Dave White arrived in Banff in 1886 and
with his wife Annie Curren founded the family - image V377-pa-117-10 - Courtesy of the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies
One thing is certain, however, the Whyte/White family has had an immense impact on the Banff community. Their legacy is
everywhere - Mount Norquay, Lake Louise and Sunshine Village ski resorts are their creations, as are the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies, the Margaret Greenham Theatre at the Banff Centre, the Banff Recreation Centre and the Banff Public Library. The oldest commercial property on Banff Avenue is the Dave White Block, completed in 1913.
Patriarch Dave arrived in Banff in 1886 from New Brunswick and his wife-to-be, Annie Curren arrived not long after from Scotland. Married in 1901, they built up one of the most successful businesses in town, a dry goods store. The wealth that this pair
amassed gave their children freedom to express themselves in other creative ways.
Cliff fell in love with skiing and became the first person in the Canadian Rockies to devote his life to promoting the fledgling ski industry. In 1928 he was a leading member of the group of Banff locals who built the first cabin on Mount Norquay. Two years later he and Cyril Paris were the prime movers in the construction of Skoki Lodge and for almost a decade Cliff ran nearby Temple Lodge. These two ski lodges form the core of what was to become the Lake Louise Ski Resort. Cliff also pioneered ski adventure, skiing from Jasper to Banff in 1932 and along the way, made the first ski ascent of Snow Dome on the Columbia Icefield.
Cliff White was one of the first to promote the ski industry in the Banff area ►
- image V683-I c 2 b-pa 139-112 - Courtesy of the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies
Cliff’s brother, Peter, was a talented artist and while studying in Boston fell in love with Catharine Robb, a wealthy and cultured young woman from nearby Concord, Mass. He regaled her with tales of romance and adventure in the Canadian Rockies and they were married in 1930, settling in Banff. They both were excellent artists, perhaps the best to emerge from this area. Later, with family money that Catharine brought from the USA and property that Dave (and later Peter and Catharine) had amassed, they founded what is today the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies. Their love of the human and natural history of Banff and the Rocky Mountains forms the core and the spirit of this organization. Peter died in 1966 but Catharine lived another
13 years. Her life is marked by great generosity to the Banff community - she donated money to build the Margaret Greenham
Theatre at the Banff Centre and she paid a significant amount towards the original Banff Recreation Centre. In the early sixties she donated a building for the Banff Public Library and later the land on which the present library stands. Her support for the Stoney people from Morley is legendary and, over the years, dozens of individuals in Banff also benefited from the generosity of this remarkable woman. In 1969 she received an honourary doctorate from the University of Calgary and in 1978 she was awarded the Order of Canada.
◄ Jon Whyte blossomed as a student at the University of Alberta
- image V690-IV.c.f1.08 - Courtesy of the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies
When Cliff’s son, Clifford J., and his wife Bev, bought Sunshine Village in 1960, it consisted of three log cabins and a rope tow. When Cliff retired in 1977, Sunshine had five lifts, a day lodge and a hotel. In addition, Goat’s Eye and the gondola had been approved. Without a doubt, modern Sunshine Village Ski Resort is their creation.
One of the most interesting of the clan is Jon Whyte. Growing up in Banff, this ultra intelligent and nerdy child did not fit in well with his more athletic schoolmates, but when he went to the University of Alberta in Edmonton, during the creative years of the early 60s, Jon found his milieu. In 1967, Jon received a master’s degree in Old English. He followed that up with a master’s degree in Communications from Stanford University in California, before returning to to Banff. Here he rediscovered his home and for the next 25 years was the intellectual heart of the town. He reminded us over and over again of the special place where we live and of the rich history we have inherited. Jon died of cancer in 1992, at the age of 51, but his effect on our community was profound.
Clifford J. White and his wife Bev created modern Sunshine Ski Resort ▲
- image Cliff_Bev at Sunshine - Courtesy of the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies
▼The Dave White block, completed in 1913, is the oldest commercial building on Banff Avenue
- image V688-pd1-20 - Courtesy of the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies
Clifford J. White and Bev’s children are still active in Banff. As a National Park Warden, the oldest son, Cliffy, has played
a pivotal role in creating the modern approach to ‘managing’ national parks. Perhaps his biggest legacy will be the development of a controlled burning program that is now practiced in parks across Canada. Today he is very active in the effort to bring bison back to Banff National Park. His brother Brad is also a park warden, specializing in mountain rescue. So if you get in trouble out there in the hills, it may be Brad that comes flying in under a helicopter to pluck you to safety. And the baby of the family, Tristan, is now all grown up and the Chair of the Board at the Whyte Museum. Responsible for the overall direction of the organization, she can feel very proud of what it has to offer. The Gateway to the Rockies Exhibit in the main gallery takes the visitor on a wonderful tour through the Rocky Mountains over the ages. I urge you all to visit the museum and to enjoy the great legacy bequeathed to us by Peter and Catharine and all the other members of the family.
~ By Chic Scott
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Thursday, January 31, 2013
In 1961, Peter Fuhrmann, a German climber working in
Banff, arranged to take his professional mountain guide’s
exam with Walter Perren, the Swiss mountain guide heading
Parks Canada’s public safety program.
At the appointed rendez-vous, Fuhrmann learned Perren
was conducting a rescue. Driving to Castle Mountain, he
scrambled to where he could see Perren climbing solo up
“He yelled down, ‘come up, give me a hand and bring
my pack,’” Fuhrmann, now 80, recalled. “So I put his
pack on top of my pack and then I climbed up the right
hand ridge of Eisenhower Tower.”
Reaching the summit, he found Perren with three
climbers who, although uninjured, lacked the skills to descend.
Perren suggested that Fuhrmann descend with one of the climbers
as an examination exercise. That task completed, the following
day Fuhrmann climbed Mount Victoria, backdrop to Lake
Louise, with Perren, who declared him certified.
Today, candidates hoping to earn professional certification
follow a more structured and rigorous program through the
Association of Canadian Mountain Guides
outdoor experience is required to gain acceptance; on average
the multiple exams take seven years to complete. This year, now
850 members strong, the association formed by Fuhrmann and
eight other guides in 1963 celebrates its 50th
Among those founding members was Hans Gmoser
who had established
himself as western Canada’s preeminent guide since
emigrating from Austria in 1951. Like Perren, who certified
him in 1956, Gmoser advocated for a Canadian association.
The group—the majority Europeans —
elected Fuhrmann as the
ACMG’s first president. Those already holding licences were
In Europe’s alpine nations, the guiding profession is long-established
and highly respected. Historically, people feared the alpine
as home to evil dragons, but by the first ascent of the Alps’
highest, Mont Blanc, in 1786, attitudes began changing. Rail
travel brought tourists eager to view peaks, glaciers and wildflower
meadows. Among them, wealthy Brits and Americans hired
locals to lead them safely to claim virgin summits. Chamonix,
France claims guiding’s oldest professional association, established
In Canada, the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway
(CP) in 1885 lured mountaineers west. In 1897, friends of Phillip
Stanley Abbot, who died climbing Mount Lefroy the previous
summer, hired Switzerland’s Peter Sarbach—the first professional
guide to work in Canada. In 1899, CP began employing
Swiss guides to lead its hotel guests to summits in the Rockies
and Selkirks, a program that continued until the early 1950s. Perren
was one of CP’s last guides.
As chair of the ACMG’s technical standards committee, Gmoser
set the qualification bar high. As his helicopter skiing business,
Canadian Mountain Holidays (CMH) flourished through the
1970s and ’80s, demand for professional guides increased. While
the ACMG certified a growing number of Canadians, dozens of
European guides eagerly worked in the exciting new industry.
Many of them stayed.
In 1973, two of those Swiss guides, Hans Peter Stettler and Rudi
Gertsch (a second-generation guide) attended the annual meeting
of the International Federation of Mountain Guides Associations
(IFMGA) in Liechtenstein, intent on demonstrating that
Canadian standards matched Europe’s. In 1974, the ACMG became
the IFMGA’s first non-European member.
Since then, the ACMG has steadily evolved, expanding to encompass
mountain, hiking and climbing gym programs. In addition
to safely guiding mountaineers around the world, today’s
ACMG guides work as highway safety technicians, avalanche
experts, coroner’s consultants, army instructors and as riggers for
Hollywood productions. Under the direction of Fuhrmann (who
succeeded Perren) and Jasper’s Willi Pfisterer, they also developed
Parks Canada’s world-class public safety program.
“Standards are usually minimums, and in Canada we had the
chance to set higher standards from the beginning,” said Gertsch,
whose own son, Jeff, is an ACMG ski guide. “We can be proud.
Canadian guides are leaders, some of the best in the world.”
While climbing for a living might appear glamorous, mountaineering
days can easily last upwards of 12 hours demanding that
guides evaluate rockfall and avalanche hazards at every step;
glacier traverses involve consecutive nights in tents eating dehydrated
dinners. Seasonal employment means irregular schedules
and incomes. Injuries are costly; physiotherapy visits essential.
Still, for those who pass the gruelling and expensive examination
process, few imagine doing anything else.
A Calgary native, Jen Olson earned her ACMG mountain guide
certification in 2008, one of eight women in Canada with that
qualification. She’s guided clients in Italy’s Dolomites and Argentinean
Patagonia as well as her backyard Rockies and Selkirks.
Internationally recognized certification allows her to explore
new wilderness areas while providing her clients an adventure
far beyond what they could manage on their own.
“I like teaching, I like to travel and I like introducing people to
a lifestyle I value,” Olson said. “To travel as a guide really makes
Even at 70, when Ferdl Taxbock is not hiking, backcountry skiing
or rock climbing recreationally, he guides part-time. Every
summer he runs the Alpine Club of Canada’s 55 Plus Summer
Trekking and Climbing Camp out of Stanley Mitchell Hut in
Yoho National Park.
“I still really enjoy guiding,” said Taxbock, who emigrated from
Austria in 1967. “It’s fun to be with other people who also love
the mountains and to help them enjoy the scenery or to help
them move on exposed rock safely.
“And,” he added, “It gets me out too!”
From traversing the Wapta Icefields to backpacking in Jasper to
climbing in Mongolia, ACMG guides are trained and eager to
make your adventure dreams reality.
~By Lynn Martel
Top photo from the 1967 ACMG guides course includes, back row, from left, Don Vockeroth, Ottmar Setzer, Bob Geber, John Gow, Charlie Locke and Bernie Royle. Seated in the front row, from left, are Leo Grillmair, Lloyd Gallagher, Hans Gmoser, Peter Fuhrmann and Hans Schwartz. Credit: Chic Scott collection.
Bottom photo: ACMG Hiking and Ski Guide, Félix Camiré (front left) leads two Alpine Club of Canada amateur trip leaders on a backcountry ski touring skills course in the popular Rogers Pass area of BC’s Glacier National Park. Photo by Lynn Martel.
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Tuesday, January 08, 2013
Summer 2013 will see great additions to our family of publications.
- A new magazine called Experience Kananaskis Country & the Cowboy Trail.
Our goal is to lure visitors to the eastern slopes of the Canadian Rockies to experience the mountain parks and the rich authentic cowboy culture, while they explore the many unique Alberta communities that serve this region.
The focus of our editorial is shared between the vast areas known as Kananaskis Country and The Cowboy Trail. Readers will appreciate the descriptions of summer trails, the maps, images and campground grids. The information provided on western and ranch activities, communities and culture will make this guide a ‘keeper’. The specific parks, ranches and communities covered from year to year will change, so don’t be surprised if readers collect the issues for future reference.
Readers refer to it regularly. Our guide becomes their travelling companion, so you can be confident that your marketing message will be noticed! This magazine will be read by an estimated 130,000 people – both residents of and visitors to Alberta. Many more will view our digital versions on-line.
- The second publication to come to a rack near you is called Experience Fish Creek Provincial Park.
Our goal is to lure people to Fish Creek – one of the largest urban provincial parks in Canada. Located in south Calgary, Fish Creek serves an estimated population of half a million (and growing). Most residents in the area know that a park is “down there”. Lots of folks who live in the lovely neighbourhoods surrounding the park stroll along the ridge, but few appreciate the rich history of the area and take full advantage of all that Fish Creek Provincial Park has to offer.
The focus of our editorial is on the long list of outdoor activities that families can enjoy “in their own backyard”. We also profile the neighbourhoods that surround it.
You will appreciate the maps, images, and descriptions of the many unique hubs in the park: from Mallard Point to Sikome Lake and from the Bow Valley Ranch to Shannon Terrace.
Readers will refer to it regularly. Our guides become their travelling companion, so you can be confident that your marketing message will be noticed! This magazine will be read by an estimated 65,000 people – both residents of and visitors to south Calgary.
- Our third publication slated to be appearing this 2013 year is our brand new Banff Visitor Map.
The Banff Visitor Map will be modelled after our highly successful Jasper Visitor Map, a guide we have published for the past three years, and a map that was printed by the Jasper Booster for 18 years prior to us taking it over. The Banff Map features highlights of the southern half of Banff National Park, on one side, and highlights of the northern half of Banff National Park on the other side.
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