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  1. #1
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    2 Weeks in Calgary Area

    Hello, we are trying to put a trip together with a few mountain bike destinations around Calgary. We are thinking of time in Fernie, Jasper, and Banff. We ride cross country mixed with all mountain. We love bermed, buff singletrack and the occasional table top, but are not big park riders or big downhillers--although we could rent downhill bikes and ride chairlifts. The Whistler area is one of our favorite spots but we are exploring a different location. We will have a car.

    Here are the questions:

    Jasper and Banff are super expensive destinations. Are they worth the money?
    How long should we stay in Fernie out of 2 weeks?
    Any cheaper towns that have great riding within driving distance?

    Thanks for any advice! Jason

  2. #2
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    hey jason - my family vacay'd in calgary/banff/lake louise for about 4 straight years when my kids did a hockey camp in banff.

    cranmore olympic park (just outside of banff) is a good park for a few hours - lots of good trails and rooling/fast terrian. nothing is too technical, but its fun.

    banff has the areas around the ski areas - sulpher mountain and the downtown gondola areas. i've only driven thru jasper. so i cannot give you any info on that.

    lake louise area and lake morain are nice as well - lake morain is the better as the road to it have more offshoot trails than LL proper.

    it is expensive, but worth it - some of the best scenary around.

    if you like to hike, the hike up to the base of the glacier from LL is one of the best i've ever done - the fresh smell of the pine trees is fabulous.

    a few days in banff, 1 in LL and 2 in jasper are perfect.

    sorry, i've never heard of fermie.

  3. #3
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    First off, you'll get a bunch more ideas if you come post this thread in the Western Canada forum. We're a friendly bunch, and are usually glad to help as long as the post is detailed enough to give a good idea of the type of rides you're looking for.

    That being said...
    - Camping while on your trip or staying in hotels / motels / hostels?
    - What's the average ride length that you're comfortable riding in a day? It makes a difference for how many days to suggest per area.

    - I personally haven't done much riding in the Jasper area, but I'd imagine that most people would tell you to spend around 2-3 days there to get in most of their major rides. As a note, Jasper is ~5hr drive from Calgary

    - Canmore may be a better alternative for you than Banff. It's about 15min S of Banff along the highway, but is not actually in the park so you can save the daily park fees and it'll likely be a touch cheaper than Banff. There's quite a few trails in the Canmore area including the Canmore Nordic Center which holds a bunch of races throughout the year on their singletrack as well as the 24 hours of adrenaline in July. Also, Canmore is a bit closer to both Bragg Creek and Kananaskis (both within ~30min drive) which hold a LOT of excellent XC trails (although they aren't really what I would consider either bermed or buff).
    - Canmore is just under an hours drive from Calgary, Banff is 15 minutes further
    - If you do end up staying in Canmore, plan to either drive into Banff and spend an afternoon wandering around or to ride into Banff (there's a few trails that go between the two) to do the same. Definately worth at least a day trip.

    - Fernie's got a lot of good in city riding as well as a ski hill that runs lifts for riding in the summer. Check their web page as I don't think they run the lifts during the week. Depending on how much you usually ride in a day you could either spend 4 days to cross off the bulk of the rides there (including 1 day on the lifts) or you could spend a week and a half there to do the same.
    - Fernie is about 3-3.5 hrs SW drive from Calgary

    - Panorama and Golden are both N of Fernie and W of Banff. Both of these towns are more known for their DH offerings, but you could likely spend a few days in each to do some of their mellower XC/AM rides. Both have ski hills that run lifts in the summer. Both are about 3-3.5 hrs drive from Calgary and about 2hrs from Banff. There's also a highway that runs N from Fernie that would probably take about 2hrs to drive to Panorama and an additional 1hr to get to Golden.

    I should probably get back to work, but I'll drop some more ideas if you've got some questions or if anyone else chimes in.
    Everypony loves riding bikes

  4. #4
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    for ride info
    www.bikepirate.com has lots. banff, canmore, etc...
    good ski/bike deals at www.mntlion.com

    My life is better than your vacation.

  5. #5
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    thanks for the responses! We really appreciate the help. Yes, a little more info about us. We are staying in hotels, but would consider nice hostels as a cheaper option--we are a little sticker shocked at the hotel prices! Should we camp?? Are there nice camping areas in that area? Also, after many discussions and consideration, we have decided to rent bikes instead traveling with our own. I wince when I write that, but it will make travel so much easier. So, any recs on good hostels, bike shops who rent or camping vs not camping?? Thanks for the help thus far! Jason

    Also, this is who we are:

    www.poisonoakproductions.com

    I just posted the movie for free, so if you are interested, enjoy!

  6. #6
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    Gotta go ride jumping pound summit and cox hill in K country

  7. #7
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    BTW, this bikepirate site is great!!

  8. #8
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    banffadventures.com (ask for Sam) for hotel rates, info, etc. and ALL other booking stuff in town.

    soulskiandbike is great for bike rentals. Jason, or Jr.
    good ski/bike deals at www.mntlion.com

    My life is better than your vacation.

  9. #9
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    Buy the book, Backcountry Biking in the Canandian Rockies. It covers the area you're interested in. Written by a Canadian national park ranger it contains 228 rides with variations on each ride, light conditions, whether the rides are dog friendly and much more in a small packable book. You'll simply end up wanting more time it gives you so many choices. Rides include national parks! The author, Doug Eastcott is now retired so you might be able to get a personal tour around Canmore. Trails abound around that town.
    The Icefields Parkway, thru Banff and Jasper, is beautiful.
    agmtb

  10. #10
    Shuttles R 4 Pussies
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    Quote Originally Posted by nosaj View Post
    we are a little sticker shocked at the hotel prices! Should we camp??
    Banff is one of the world's foremost outdoor tourist destinations, and summer is high season, so you can expect insane hotel prices during the summer. If you stroll down Banff Avenue you will probably hear just about every language imaginable being spoken by people walking down the street.

    You'll be much better off staying 15 minutes away in Canmore, where accommodation is not only cheaper but the riding is much much better and more accessible. The Canmore Nordic Centre regularly hosts the Canadian mountain bike championships and has close to 200 kms of trails. There is lots of technical riding to choose from at the Nordic Centre, if you know where it is (but most people posting on this forum only ride the main trails, and haven't got a clue where the good riding is). Kananaskis Country (a group of connected parks surrounding Canmore) offers amazing options for back country riding as well. As recommended by others, buy the book "Backcountry Biking in the Canadian Rockies" (what we call "The Bible") and plan your adventures accordingly.

    Any way you slice it, you will have the best riding experience of your life.
    Last edited by BrentP; 08-17-2011 at 12:28 AM.
    Screw the shuttle, I'm riding to the top. You're all worthless and weak!!!

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