Up your thrills with summer activities at Alberta, BC mountain resorts

above: lift-accessed hiking at Lake Louise / Shannon Martin

You might think we’re all about skiing and snowboarding, and largely you’d be right. But when summer comes, there’s other things us skiers and boarders can do to get that fix of speed, adrenaline and adventure.

Alberta and BC mountain resorts have been upping their summer game of late, with downhill mountain biking, go karting (aka skyline luge), mountain coasters and via ferrata, to ramp up your summer thrills, in addition to alpine chairlift-hiking and wildlife viewing.

Summer activities at BC, AB mountain resorts

Sometimes you just need to spike the ol’ heart rate, and these adventures fit the bill. I’ve personally tested many of these and can tell you: good times will be had. So add one of these to your travel itinerary, or plan a day outing, this summer.

Aerial Parks: Snow Valley, Kinosoo Ridge

Several new aerial parks have opened in Alberta in recent years. Snow Valley in Edmonton has been open for several years. 

Three stories of aerial fun at Kinosoo Ridge Resort in MD Bonnyville, AB.

Pro tip: if you enjoy activity and apres, go for their Thirsty Thursday night series, climb for the last two hours and enjoy a beer above the tree canopy, with rotating brewery taps each week.

Kinosoo Ridge just opened its aerial park in summer 2022. Pretty awesome place, plus you can camp on site and enjoy brunch at the resort, with a menu designed by their Red Seal chef.

Via Ferrata

For the hardcore mountain climbers, this is a cakewalk; for the rest of us, it’s a rush and offers high alpine access and experience without having to be a full-on alpinist.

Climbers use the via ferrata at Norquay to scale the mountain.

All the fun without the heightened risk exposure. You’ll find courses at Norquay and Kicking Horse, with half and full day trips that will rock your world—100 per cent pun intended.

Mountain Coasters

Launched in summer 2022, the new mountain coaster at Canyon Ski Area in Red Deer is a blast. 

Whipping through the trees, dropping down pitch after pitch, I challenge you not to have a gleeful grin pasted on your face top to bottom.

Paired with local brews on the patio with Blindman Brewing, you’ve got yourself a fun outing in central Alberta. Canyon’s coaster is one of only a few out there, with others in Revelstoke and Kimberley.

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Winsport Skyline Luge

This is basically gravity-propelled go-karting and I love it, totally turned me into a kid again. The paved track winds down the hill at Winsport, winding and rolling faster and faster until you hit the bottom—and head back up again!

Alpine hiking

Purists may argue that you need to earn your summit but sometimes you just want to get up into the alpine quickly, and stay up.

Many resorts now offer lift-accessed hiking. You can jump on the chairlifts for summer hiking at most of the bigger Western Canada ski resorts for jawdropping peak views, glimpses of wildlife and that pure alpine air.

Hikers in the alpine at SilverStar Mountain Resort in Vernon, BC.

One piece of good news for those who enjoy this kind of hiking (and mountain enthusiasts generally) is that the Lake Louise Ski Resort has returned to summer operations, after a fire at its main staff residence back in early July 2023 caused some disruptions. (Thankfully, no one was injured, and arrangements were quickly made to provide shelter and assistance to the displaced workers.) 

Downhill mountain biking

You down with mtb? Yeah you know we are, and we have a rundown on lift-accessed mountain biking here, which will connect you to the goods for downhill biking at mountain resorts in AB and BC.

If you’re new to downhill riding, don’t let it intimidate you: today’s downhill biking at mountain resorts is graded by degree of difficulty like ski runs, so you can progress gradually from beginner up, same as you would at the ski hill.

If you haven’t explored the sport yet, I personally endorse it, having ridden bike parks from Whistler to Fernie, Sun Peaks, SilverStar and WinSport, to name a few.

Still looking for that skiing fix?

Read up on where you can still ski during the months of June through September…

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