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One of the Best Winters in Norquay History! 2017/18 Season Highlights

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With 403cm of snowfall from November 2017 to mid-April 2018, this season has been one the snowiest in 92 years of Norquay history.

From opening first in Canada for 2017/18, to reunions with Norquay-trained Olympians, and hosting more than 20 epic events, it’s been a pretty special winter at Norquay. Check out the highlights of the season below!

Powder turns and iconic Mt Rundle views on December 23, 2017

403cm of Powder! Winter 2017/18 at Norquay: Snowfall by Month

  • November: 83cm
  • December: 77cm
  • January: 56cm
  • February: 82cm
  • March: 80cm
  • April (as at April 13): 25cm

First in Canada for winter 2017/18, Norquay opened with 45cm of fresh snow

November: First in Canada & Norquay 92

When skiers and riders hit the slopes on opening day (November 3, 2017) this season, they weren’t just the first at Norquay – they were the first across the country. Norquay was Canada’s first ski resort to open for winter 2017/18 – and with 45cm of fresh snowfall in the 48 hours leading up to opening day, it was an epic start to the season. Celebrating 92 years as of Norquay, we also launched our latest local-made custom beer: Norquay 92 saison.

Thanks to exceptional early-season conditions, Snow School kicked off the fun early this winter, in December 2017

December: Slope-Side Festivities & Plenty of Powder

Celebrating our first Toonie Day of the season, slope-side festivities at the annual Santa Shreds for Free Day and Torchlight Parade, and the return of night skiing and tubing and our renowned Snow School programs, December was a whole lot of fun – with a whole lot of snow (77cm to be precise).

Downhill thrills: Norquay’s Tube Town offers the longest, fastest snow tubing lanes in Alberta

January: Starlight Dinner, Cardboard Sled Derby & NEW Tube Town Lane

From sliding to victory in DIY tractors, firetrucks and school buses at the annual Cardboard Sled Derby, to a very special evening of alpine dining at the Starlight Dinner, and the launch of our brand-new snowtubing lane, January kicked off the New Year with a bang this season at Norquay.

This season’s conditions were among the best in Norquay’s 92-year history

February: Lifts of Love, Vans Hi-Standard & Return of Norquay-Trained Olympians

With the fun of chairlift speed dating at Lifts of Love, and serious snowboarding style on show at Vans Hi-Standard, February brought plenty of snow and plenty of action.

As the world turned its gaze to the 2018 Winter Games, we were stoked to have Olympians Trevor Philp and Erik Read visit for training at Norquay, just before they competed amongst the world’s best ski racers in PyeongChang. Philp and Read grew up on the Norquay slopes with Banff Alpine Racers, and their iconic racing club is marking its 40-year anniversary in 2018.

No words👌🏼 ---- #PressOn #Norquay #Banff

A post shared by Phil Brown (@philbrown77) on

March: Season’s Best Snowfall & Downhill Action with Ski Celebrities

Known as the best month of the season, March lived up to the hype once again, totalling some of the highest snowfall (80cm) this winter. Conditions were perfect for an array of action-packed events with Banff Alpine Racers, with highlights including Bruno Engler Memorial Race and Caribou Cup, as well as Bozo Cup Memorial Weekend, honouring local ski legend Rob Bosinger.

Among the guests at Bozo Cup were ski celebrities including PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games gold medallist Brady Leman and 2014 Sochi bronze medalist Jan Hudec. Famously nicknamed “The Panda”, Hudec wore his classic panda suit and raced head to head amongst friends, before officially announcing his retirement from racing.

2018 Olympic gold medallist Brady Leman hits the slopes at Bozo Cup. Photo: www.pamdoylephoto.com

April: Norquazy Banked Slalom & Ending an Unforgettable Season on a High

While calendars flipped to April, exceptional March snow conditions raged on. Following an excellent start to the season, Mother Nature gifted us with consistent snowfall all winter long, adding up to some of the best late-season conditions in Norquay history.

As we enter our final weekend, we’re stoked for our final event of the season: the Norquazy Banked Slalom (Saturday April 14), before wrapping up winter operations on Sunday April 15.

Whether you’re a visitor or local, a skier or rider, a worker or volunteer, a diner or sightseer, thank you for being part of the Norquay family and one of our best-ever seasons!

Cheers to an incredible winter!

Passion, Community & Olympic Heroes: Banff Alpine Racers Celebrates 40 Years

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Pete Bosinger hits the Norquay slopes in 2017 for Bozo Cup, held each spring in honour of his late brother, Olympic ski legend Rob Bosinger. Photo by John Evely.

If you’re a skier who loves watching your sport at an elite level, you probably saw Canadian ski racing stars Jan Hudec, Trevor Philp and Erik Read in action amongst the world’s top competitors at the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics.

But did you know these Olympic athletes started out with Banff Alpine Racers, right here at Norquay?

While the club’s members continue to make their mark on the world stage, in 2018 Banff Alpine Racers also celebrates its 40th anniversary as Banff’s renowned local ski club.

As we mark this milestone at Norquay, we caught up with Pete Bosinger—Executive Director at Banff Alpine Racers, and a former Olympic competitor himself.

What’s the “secret sauce” behind the club’s success? What separates a talented skier from an Olympian? Why is Norquay the ideal training ground for the next generation of racers? For these insights and more, check out our chat with Pete below!

Smiles all round at Bozo Cup 2017 at Norquay, with Pete Bosinger leading the way. A celebration of skiing, Bozo Cup welcomes skiers of all levels. Photo by John Evely.

Q&A with Pete Bosinger, Executive Director at Banff Alpine Racers

NORQUAY: You’ve dedicated your life to your love for skiing—what drives that passion?

PETE: As long as I’m healthy and fit enough, I’ll never stop chasing that adrenaline rush of skiing down a mountain out of my comfort zone. It’s that sense of exhilaration, independence, and the ability to connect with others. There’s nothing in my life that makes me happier than skiing with people who share the same passion, and I’ll be doing it for the rest of my life. You see people out there skiing into their 70s, 80s, and 90s, and it’s for the same reason. Whether you’re on a mountain here with your friends and family at Norquay, or skiing anywhere else in the world, there’s so many ways to enjoy the sport. You have to be grateful for that freedom.

NORQUAY: Could you share with us some of your highlights of your own career as an athlete?

PETE: A lot of what I’ve done in my own racing career ties into my current role. I moved to Banff at age 16 and was on the Alberta Provincial Team. While I wasn’t a member of Banff Alpine Racers, I grew up here and represented Banff from an early age. As my career progressed, I had the opportunity to compete at the Calgary 1988 Winter Olympics. It was an honour to represent our country and our town, and a fantastic learning opportunity.

I also raced on the Continental Cup level, NorAm, Europa Cups, and a few World Cups, and a couple of seasons in the US and Japan on what was known as the Pro Tour—it was a different format, similar to the parallel format team event at the Olympics today. Looking back on what I gained in my own time as an athlete, it’s the knowledge of the sport, learning what it takes to progress to the next level, and the lifelong friends and memories that are the biggest highlights.

Canadian Men’s National Alpine Ski Team 1987-88 (top row): Felix Belczyk, Peter Bosinger, Rob Bosinger, Rob Boyd (bottom row): Mike Carney, Rob Crossan, Greg Grossman, Dan Moar.

NORQUAY: From coaching the Canadian and US National Teams, to managing venues for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games, you’ve worked in the industry in many capacities since 1994. When you started this leadership role with Banff Alpine Racers in 2014, it was a change in direction. Could you tell us about your experience transitioning to a local club system?

PETE: It’s been a great learning experience. When I coached the Canadian and US National Teams, it was a different model of coaching. Your entire focus is on striving for excellence and competing at an elite level. Now, with Banff Alpine Racers, we focus on the fundamentals: it’s teaching kids to ski, instilling that passion for the sport, and the importance of teamwork, commitment, and life skills. We provide a pathway for kids to achieve excellence based on their own goals—whether they ski recreationally, or progress to the Provincial Team and beyond.

NORQUAY: What inspires you and the team about leading the next generation of racers and seeing them flourish?

PETE: It always comes back to the passion for the sport. That’s what gets me out of bed every day, excited about my work. Seeing six-year-old kids having a blast while learning to ski, watching kids making that next step to the provincial level, or seeing our top athletes racing at a national level and achieving a career best. It’s rewarding in so many ways.

We have a lot of great role models who have excelled through our club. Our athletes like Jan Hudec, Trevor Philp, Erik Read on Canadian National Team, and now Jeffrey Read, a top NorAm and Continental Cup contender, all started out as Banff Alpine Racers. They’re more than “alumni”—they’re ongoing members of our club, and they’re an inspiration to all of us.

Banff Alpine Racers alumni Trevor Philp (left) and Erik Read (centre right) hold up signs for the Silver Legacy run at Norquay in 2016. The run was named after the silver medals received by local skiers Jan Hudec, Trevor Philp and Erik Read at world championship events. Pictured with Pete Bosinger, and Andre Quenneville, Norquay GM. Photo by Rocky Mountain Outlook.

NORQUAY: And on the flip-side, what are some challenges faced by Banff Alpine Racers?

PETE: Today, we have fewer members who live in the Bow Valley, especially in Banff. It’s a missed opportunity for locals who live only minutes away. There may be a perception of cost challenges with ski racing, but for an entry-level skier at a young age, it’s no more expensive than other local sports. One great initiative supporting local access to skiing is the free Caribou Kids Pass at Norquay, funded by Caribou Properties. We want to encourage more locals to join us, and welcome anyone who’s interested to get in touch with us to find out more.

NORQUAY: With the club’s history of Olympic-level alumni (or rather, continuing members), Banff Alpine Racers is renowned for producing generations of top skiers. What’s the secret?

PETE: It’s the culture, our exceptional coaches and partnership with Norquay. Our mission is to provide a pathway of excellence for kids to reach their goals, instilling passion and commitment for the sport. We do that by focusing on a strong entry-level system (Bow Valley Quikies), where we introduce kids to the sport, and families become part of that culture. It’s also important that we have a program at the elite-level club program. We promote integration between age groups, so younger kids can ski with older kids and aspire to that top level.

For kids who choose to go to university after high school, we’ve also created a program allowing them to return as coaches while studying. This creates a cycle of members mentoring the next generation. Our club grows in strength because of the knowledge that comes back.

Phil Brown (centre left), Trevor Philp (centre) and Erik Read (far right) training at Norquay on a powder day in February, ahead of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games. Pictured with Norquay’s Simon Moffatt, and Banff freeskiing star Tatum Monod. Philp, Read and Monod returned to their old stomping grounds, as Banff Alpine Racers alumni.

NORQUAY: You’ve competed amongst the world’s top athletes, and coached some of the best up-and-coming racers. What is it that separates a talented skier from an Olympian?

PETE: There’s talent, and then there’s commitment. Talent only gets you so far. You have to be able to work hard, take what you learn and push yourself independently. We instill that work ethic as our kids grow within our club. They have to embrace the process in the work they do off the snow, in the gym, in their conditioning program, during the off season, and in their mental preparation. But they always need to keep it fun and have that passion. Whether they want to pursue their sport professionally, or to further their education at university, the skills we work on are life skills they can apply to any path they choose.

NORQUAY: 40 years of Banff Alpine Racers at Norquay, and still going strong! What makes this an ideal location for racers to train and compete? 

PETE: We have what I believe is one of the best training and racing environments almost anywhere in the world—and our partnership with Norquay has helped us build and maintain that. We’re a big club in a family ski resort, so there’s a very strong community component with how our club operates. That’s harder to accomplish in a bigger ski resort, and I can honestly say there aren’t many ski clubs that offer the kind of training environment that we do.

We have access to great conditions and terrain, and we have priority on certain runs, so we can stay focused on our mission: building kids’ skills and passion for skiing. Families come up with their kids, kids go and ski with the program, parents go and ski together, then everyone comes back to the Lone Pine at the end of the day for a beverage and a plate of nachos. Volunteerism created by this kind of club environment is so crucial, especially with hosting races and fund raising. Parents are out there working together to deliver safe, fair ski races for these kids.

Banff Alpine Racers’ 2017/18 FIS Team, the club’s top U19 athletes, gear up for an exciting winter season, pictured at Norquay in early winter 2017/18.

NORQUAY: It’s safe to say you’re quite familiar with these slopes. On a personal level, what do you like about skiing at Norquay?

PETE: The fall-line. There’s nothing better than a sunny day and fresh snow on the Big Chair. Skiing all the great lines, lapping on that chair… it’s Banff. There’s nothing more exhilarating than getting off that chair and looking down at the town you grew up in, and skiing down one of the most iconic runs in the Canadian Rockies. It challenges you every time you get off that chairlift, and I love it. We’re pretty lucky to have this place right here in our own backyard. The accessibility of getting from my doorstep to the base of the lift in 15 minutes is hard to beat.

It’s also incredible to have a team and GM [Andre Quenneville, Norquay General Manager] like they do here, who are so passionate about skiing, racing and everything related to the industry. Andre still comes out and foreruns—every race you have to run a few people down the race course to check timing and safety, and he’s always there if he has time. I can’t name a GM at another ski resort in this country who would do what he does at every opportunity. That kind of leadership makes a difference. We’ll race each other at Bozo Cup this year. I always look forward to racing him—we’ve had our battles over the years!

Pete’s brother, Rob Bosinger, pictured with the Canadian Ski Team in the early 1990s, during summer training in Portillo, Chile (top row): Felix Belczyk, Mike Carney, Darren Thorburn, Rob Bosinger, Rob Boyd (bottom row): Cary Mullin, Brian Stemmell.

NORQUAY: What makes ski racing ideal for families? How can they enjoy it together?

PETE: It’s one of the few family sports where you can truly be a part of it with your kids. Our club hosts around seven events each year, with two of our biggest competitions each spring.

Caribou Cup (March 24th-25th, 2018) is one of our high-profile U12 provincial races, with around 250 kids racing in slalom and giant slalom formats. The week after, the Rob Bosinger Memorial Weekend includes Bozo Cup (March 31st, 2018) and Kinder Cup (April 1st, 2018).

Bozo Cup is a celebration of skiing, not just ski racing, where we welcome the whole community to participate, even if they’ve never raced before. There are amateur categories for both men and women, and it’s a great way for families to experience the sport.

Kinder Cup is the season favourite for many kids. It’s a chance to dress up and celebrate, and it fills up every year. Kids don’t often get to race head-to-head like they do in this event. It’s a fun format of racing—you see more of it now in the sport, even happening at the Olympic level.

We’ll have families come along for the Rob Bosinger Memorial Weekend where the parents race in the Bozo Cup, then their kids race in the Kinder Cup the next day. While the kids are competing, the parents are out there themselves at Norquay, watching, volunteering or skiing. There aren’t many sports like that for families to share together.

Andre Quenneville, General Manager at Norquay, and Pete Bosinger, Director of Banff Alpine Racers, celebrate after some friendly competition at Bozo Cup 2017. Photo by John Evely.

NORQUAY: Your family name is synonymous with ski racing, thanks to your successes and those of your late brother [Rob “Bozo” Bosinger, World Cup downhill racer/coach with Alpine Canada] and father [Fred Bosinger, Canadian Rockies Ski Racing Hall of Fame: 2016 Honoured Lifetime Builder]. What does your family’s connection to the sport mean to you today?

PETE: As we celebrate our club’s biggest events, it’s a bittersweet time as we remember people who are no longer with us. We hold the Rob Bosinger Memorial Weekend in honour of my brother, who passed away in 2005. Our family only recently lost our father, too, in late 2017. Dad used to compete in Bozo Cup, and was there just last year. Along with initiatives like the Rob Bosinger Scholarship, [funding two up-and-coming U16 Alberta Alpine racers], these events will always be close to our hearts.

To find out more about Banff ski racing programs here at Norquay with Banff Alpine Racers and the Bow Valley Quikies, visit https://banffalpineracers.com

Monod’s Legacy: freeskiing star Tatum Monod reflects on home-mountain memories

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Freeskiing star Tatum Monod returns to her roots at Norquay, visiting in February 2018.

The Monod name is synonymous with Canadian winter adventure—and while 26-year-old freeskier Tatum Monod is continuing her family’s skiing legacy, she’s firmly carving a name for herself in her own right.

Tatum’s parents met through skiing, her dad was a racer on the Canadian Ski Team, and her grandfather was a Swiss Mountain Guide who founded one of North America’s earliest outdoor gear shops, Monod Sports in Banff, which her family has operated since 1949.

Growing up in Banff, and learning to ski and ride at Norquay, Tatum has go on to compete in the Freeskiing World Tour, winning the qualifiers and scoring second place overall at the Revelstoke, BC event—her first ever big-mountain contest.

Today, she has redirected her focus from competitions towards ski films, following a breakout, award-winning performance in the film, Less, by Level 1 Productions in 2014. And while Tatum is no longer based here in Banff, she says there’s no place quite like home. This month, we were stoked to have her back on the Norquay slopes once again, filming a news feature with CNN Travel, and sharing her early skiing memories with us.

Check out our Q&A with Tatum below, where she shares her inside scoop on the best runs at Norquay, how she ignited her own passion for skiing, her advice for the next generation of powder chasers, and more.

10 Questions with Tatum Monod

NORQUAY: Your family’s name has been synonymous with the ski world (and Banff) for generations now—but you didn’t actually start skiing until you were 12. Can you explain what it was that made you want to follow in your family’s footsteps and embrace skiing?

TATUM: While skiing is a huge part of my family, it was never something that was forced on me. I started out snowboarding at Norquay, and then when I turned 12 and decided to try skiing. Something just clicked. By age 15, I qualified for the Alberta Alpine Ski Team and was traveling internationally on the race circuit. My parents waited for me to decide for myself that I wanted to ski—and I think that’s how my love of the sport remains so strong.

NORQUAY: What are your memories from the early years of learning to ski and getting a feel for the sport? Who taught you or showed you the way?

TATUM: Skiing the “Big Chair” at Norquay (the North American Chair) are some of my first memories of skiing. It didn’t matter the conditions, being out there and smashing the moguls down the Lone Pine with my friends was the most fun in the world for me.

From the first day I clipped on my skis, I remember just being able to go down the hill. I was never really taught how to ski, it was something that just felt very natural to me. But learning the technical aspects of racing was another story. I had some amazing coaches with Banff Alpine Racers at Norquay, including Momo Kagitani, Richard Jaggar, Duane Baird, and the late Rob Bosinger.

Tatum enjoys a bluebird ski day, fresh powder, and reflects on her early days at Norquay.

NORQUAY: Do you think that being based in Banff and close to Norquay helped as you were learning, and then later progressing in the sport?

TATUM: When I started with the Banff Alpine Racers program, we skied and trained up at Norquay. We had some of the best access to steep and technical terrain—and I think that is what truly built me as a skier.

NORQUAY: Can you tell us what you like most about Norquay? What makes this place special for you?

TATUM: Norquay has so much steep terrain to offer, and I have so many great memories here. I love going up and ripping groomers off the Mystic Chair. My favorite runs are Monod’s Legacy and Giver Grandi.

CNN Travel films a feature story with Tatum at Norquay in February 2018.

NORQUAY: Can you describe the moment you realised that you wanted to take your skiing to the next level, and when you took the leap to make that happen?

TATUM: For me, qualifying for the Alberta Alpine Ski Team at a young age really motivated me to follow my passion for skiing. I switched to freeskiing and signed my first two pro contracts with Orage outerwear and Rossignol skis. I love what I do, and it’s been a blast.

NORQUAY: Freeskier Magazine has named you “freeskiing’s next it girl”, and your career is soaring. What are your main goals for where you want to take your skiing next?

TATUM: When you’re filming for 99% of the winter, trying to fulfill various sponsor obligations, and overcoming injuries, it’s really easy to get burnt out on skiing. My main goal is to just have fun, and never lose my love for skiing.

NORQUAY: You’ve got some pretty impressive achievements under your belt. What are your career highlights to date?

TATUM: I was honoured to be voted Skier of the Year by Freeskier Magazine in 2014/15 and 2016/17, and to win Best Female Performance at this year’s Powder Awards for my role in Habit, by Level 1 Productions.

NORQUAY: As you’re often travelling, how often are you home in Banff? What do you usually do when you’re back in town?

TATUM: I come home to Banff three or four times a year. For me, coming home is a great way to hit the reset button. I love having some down time with my family and seeing some of my best friends.

NORQUAY: For much of 2017, you were recovering from a knee reconstruction after a skiing accident in Alaska. How did it feel to be back at Norquay recently (with the CNN crew) following your recovery?

TATUM: It was an incredible opportunity to have CNN share my story here in Banff. I’m so proud of my hometown roots, and Norquay holds so many memories for me. I celebrate that connection whenever I can.

Fresh tracks, mountains of powder, and plenty of nostalgia, Tatum rips it at Norquay.

NORQUAY: What advice would you give to young skiers who want to take their sport to the next level—any tips?

TATUM: Having fun is the most important reason to ski, and your skills will come naturally the more time you spend on the mountain. Ski because you love it!

To stay in the loop with Tatum, join her 77k-strong following on Instagram @tatummonod—and watch out for some steep shots snapped at @mtnorquay!

Party shred! Tatum hits the slopes with the Norquay team.

Chairlift speed dating success: Couple celebrates 2nd anniversary after meeting at Lifts of Love event

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Afsheen and David are celebrating two years as a couple, after meeting at Lifts of Love at Norquay on Valentine’s Day in 2016.

The couple hit it off right away at the event, pictured here at the Cascade Lodge at Norquay during Lifts of Love in 2016. 

They say that the best things happen when you step outside your comfort zone. And love is no exception – just ask Afsheen Javid and David Jager.

This Valentine’s Day, the couple celebrate their second anniversary after meeting in a very unique way in 2016: Norquay’s annual chairlift speed dating event, Lifts of Love, for skiers and riders to meet single strangers on the slopes.

When Afsheen and David attended, they expected to come away from the event with a funny story or two – instead they found instant connection and a highly compatible relationship.

“I was volunteering, so I wasn’t really intending to meet anyone myself,” Afsheen says.

But her friends had other ideas.

“My friend saw David in the lodge and thought we might be interested in each other. She approached him, pointed me out, and then he walked over to say hi. We started chatting and hit it off right away, and ended up hanging out for the rest of the night,” Afsheen says.

Afsheen lives in Banff and works in retail, while David lives in Calgary and works in construction – and he’s visited her every weekend since they met in 2016.

“It was very cool. The night after the event, he drove back out from Calgary for our first date. We had dinner at Coyote’s and it was really nice to get to know each other more,” Afsheen says.

Two years later, the couple is still going strong.

“We’re pretty thrilled. There’s an intellectual attraction between us, and we love hearing what each other has to say. He’s very sweet, he’s attractive, he has depth, he’s into volunteer work, and he’s an amazing guy,” Afsheen says.

So what does the couple have to say about the friend who brought them together?

“Whenever we hang out, she always makes a little joke and asks how we’re going,” Afsheen says. “I think I’ll buy her some Valentine’s flowers this year to thank her for the introduction.”

Speed dating, mountain style: Lifts of Love returns to Norquay (February 10, 2018)

Lifts of Love is a fresh take on speed dating where single strangers can take a chairlift ride, mingle and spend the evening on the slopes. Each ride on the chairlift is a speed date. Riding the lift in pairs, guests have just two or three minutes to see if there is a spark between them.

When the lift reaches the top, guests can choose to continue the conversation, or head back to the bottom and find someone new. The fun then continues with an Après Ski Mixer with live DJ at Norquay’s Lone Pine Pub.

So get ready to practise those powder day pick-up lines. Like Afsheen and David, you might meet someone special. Either way, you’ll have a great story to tell your friends the next day!

On the night of the event, check in starts at 6pm, speed dating kicks off at 7pm, and the après ski mixer gets underway at 9pm.

Tickets are available online at winter.banffnorquay.com/event/liftsoflove/ or at the door, priced at $35 (including lift ticket). Please note: season passes are not valid for this event.

Specials will be available on food and beverages. Leave your car at home – FREE shuttle bus transportation is available between Banff and Norquay for event guests!

Lifts of Love 2018: Event Details

Date: Wednesday February 10th, 2018
Location: Mt Norquay, Banff
Registration / Check-In Time: 6:00pm
Speed Dating Start Time: 7:00pm
Après Ski Mixer: 9:00pm (with live DJ in The Lone Pine Pub)

Two years later, the couple are still going strong. David has driven from Calgary to Banff to visit Afsheen every weekend since they met.

Bon appétit at 7,000ft: Starlight Dinner special events return for winter 2018

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The Starlight Dinner illuminates Norquay after dark at the Cliffhouse Bistro.

This winter, Norquay’s Starlight Dinner events return for two very special Saturday nights (January 27th and February 24th) – serving up an intimate, alpine-inspired dining experience, high above the town of Banff at 7,000ft elevation.

Guests will take a scenic starlight ride aboard the North American Chairlift, to reach the cozy Cliffhouse Bistro, perched high on the side of the mountain.

With starlit views across Banff National Park, a decadent five-course meal with wine pairings, and the laidback acoustic sounds of Banff folk musician Alanna J. Brown, it’s the perfect way to enjoy a unique, romantic evening.

Meet Morne: Executive Chef at Norquay

We caught up with Morne Burger, Executive Chef at Norquay, to chat about the “secret ingredients” that make the Starlight Dinner a success.

“I have made it my goal to make on-hill dining the best it can be. I want Norquay to be known not just as a great place to ski, but also a great place to eat,” Morne says.

Whether you’re a Starlight Dinner-devotee who snaps up tickets the moment they go live, or if you’ve never dined at Norquay before, Morne says these special events are unique experience.

“I want these events to be fun and casual, because that’s who we are at Norquay. The night starts off with a sightseeing chairlift ride, so dress warm in comfortable clothes. The stretchier the pants the better, because I’m known for my generous portions!” Morne says, with a grin.

Elevating On-Mountain Dining with a Family-Style Feast

For Morne and his team, the Starlight Dinners are an opportunity to cook for an extended family – Norquay’s friendly community of snow-seekers and visitors.

“Nothing makes me happier than watching people relax and enjoy themselves in good company. I want to encourage our guests to share in conversation, and to help that along I love creating dishes that are served family-style,” he says.

Morne Burger, Executive Chef, looks forward to delighting guests at Norquay’s Starlight Dinner events.

When darkness falls, the unique ambiance and stunning views from the Cliffhouse come alive in a whole new way – creating a very special atmosphere for Starlight Dinner guests.

“Looking down on the town all lit up at night time, it gives you an amazing sense of place. Seeing the mountains in all their glory with the stars above can be really transforming,” Morne says.

Complementing the views and cuisine, Alanna J. Brown, local Banff folk musician and former Norquay employee, will light up the night with an intimate acoustic performance.

“We call Alanna ‘Norquay’s own’ because we’re honoured to have hosted her first-ever gigs, right here at the resort. Her music brings another touch of mountain flavour,” Morne says.

Starlight Dinner guests will enjoy great food and wine, starlit views, and live music by Alanna J. Brown.

A Venue That Inspires Creativity

Constructed in 1948, the same year as the famed North American Chairlift, the Cliffhouse Bistro is an iconic piece of Banff’s history. While its elevated location has presented a challenge with the amount of power available to the building, the Cliffhouse kitchen has been specially designed with equipment to suit.

For Morne and the team, it’s a unique venue that inspires them to be even more creative –especially for the Starlight Dinner.

“It’s one of the big reasons I was drawn to work at Norquay – this opportunity to create food in such a cool venue. Working up here means I need to think outside the box, but this type of thinking keeps me sharp!” Morne says.

Happy Guests, Inspired Team

Although Morne is the head of the kitchen, he is the first to share the credit for the Starlight Dinner’s ongoing success, extending particular kudos to Chef Ina Osorio, and Chef Matt Ward.

“My team is equally important in making these events special. I’m not a one-man-show. At the end of each night, we like to gather together over a pint and share inspiration. We want to make these events better every time,” Morne says.

“I’m not a big fan of attention, but I was caught off guard at a past event when a guest asked me to autograph the menu – it was really humbling. I love seeing our guests’ faces when they are about to leave. Their smiles show that our efforts have paid off, and it’s a great feeling.”

A Special Date Night, or the Perfect Valentine’s Gift

Starlight Dinner tickets are limited, priced at $169 per person. Held on Saturday January 27th and Saturday February 24 in 2018, the event starts at 7pm, concluding at 11pm.

The Cliffhouse Bistro’s famous views over Banff are extra special after dark.

On behalf of Chef Morne, and all of us here at Norquay, we look forward to sharing this special event with you! To find out more and purchase tickets, visit: http://winter.banffnorquay.com/event/starlight-dinner/

Winter Fresh (And a Little Fruity): The ‘Norquay 92’ Local Brew Is Now On Tap

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Head Brewer Miranda takes some time out from brewing, in the brewery at Banff Ave Brewing Co.

This week, we visit our friends at Banff Ave Brewing Co. as they uncap their seasonal cask of Norquay anniversary ale, a deliciously refreshing way to mark our 92nd season.  Here’s what happened when we went ‘behind the brew’ with Head Brewer Miranda Batterink. 

Ever tasted a Saison?  Ever even heard of one?  We hadn’t either.  But, let us tell you: it’s hella tasty.  Prepare to have your thirst seriously quenched, as the limited-edition, Norquay 92 cranberry and citrus Saison is now fresh on tap and ready to be savoured – available at select Banff locations during Norquay’s winter season.

Locals and loyal Alberta brew enthusiasts will know, that this Banff collaboration has been in the hopper for a few years now.  Starting with the Norquay team approaching their favourite watering hole to ask what it would take to create a locally-brewed variety to mark 90 years of ski in Banff National Park, plans for a special brew were quickly in the works.

“That was really where it all started,” says Kent Patterson, Community Beer Guy at Banff Ave. Brewing Co.

“It made complete sense.  The first – and only – brewery in Banff National Park, and the first ski resort in Banff National Park teaming up to create a new beer that told a local story, and had some real community heart to it,” Kent continues.

“It was a huge year for Banff and the deep-rooted ski culture we have here, so we just had to create a tasty Norquay 90 – and we did,” adds Kent with a grin.

For Norquay’s 90th year [back in 2016 – Norquay was established in 1926, as the very first ski resort in the Canadian Rockies], the brewery team produced a nice Kolsch; light and crisp.

It proved to be a popular choice, and the Norquay 90 flowed through the taps and satisfied thirsty Banff dwellers throughout the season.  Then came the Norquay 91.

“For Norquay’s 91st year, we started to get creative,” says Kent.

“We brewed an Alberta Wheat Ale, using wheat that had been harvested from a farm just outside of Calgary – it was a real Alberta beer.”

He continues: “Since we started the collab, our signature Norquay brews have really built momentum, becoming somewhat of a tradition in our brewery.  Each year we want to do something different, original; invent something that both locals and visitors to town are going to want to try.  We like to be creative and keep our Norquay blends interesting, that’s for sure.”

Creative brewing you say?  Enter Miranda, Banff Ave. Brewing Co.’s sassy, meticulous, and “beer-nerdy” [her words not ours] Head Brewer.

A Grad of the Brew Master’s Program at Niagara College, this Ontario resident has settled into Banff life nicely, having been in her role as Head Brewer since October 2016.  Excited by the industry, armed with brewing know-how, and keen to be a part of the Alberta’s craft beer explosion [or Albeerta as the folks at Banff Ave. Brewing Co would have you say], Miranda packed her bags and moved out West – and hasn’t looked back.

For Norquay’s 92 brew, it was over to Miranda to write the seasonal recipe – and her thirst for experimentation and adding a little flair to the mix led her to try a first for Banff Ave Brewing Co. [this is where the Saison comes in].

“I had to get the creative juices flowing,” Miranda says.

“I wanted to do justice to the 92nd year, and I see so much local pride for Norquay.  It was important for me to create a blend that was going to get the thumbs up from the local crowd,” she adds.

Miranda placed her bets on adding fruit flavours to this edition of the Norquay collaboration – and it certainly passed our taste test.

“The Saison is a French-Belgian style of beer,” explains Miranda.

She continues: “It has lots of yeast-derived, spicy, fruity complexities to it.  To create those flavours, we added orange rind at the boil stage of the brewing process, and then cranberries at the secondary fermentation, giving a citrusy, fruity finish.”

Well, we’re confident that the Norquay 92 brew is going to be as, if not more, popular than its beer predecessors.

“There’s really been a great demand for the Norquay seasonal in previous years,” says Kent.

“Restaurants in Banff and Canmore have requested it for their winter menus, and we think the Saison could be another bestseller.  It’s fresh and different, and our brew community always respond well to that,” Kent adds.

First brewed in early November, and having been perfecting in the conditioning rooms [where it was resting when we visited the brewery], the Norquay 92 cranberry and citrus Saison is now available on draft – available at Banff Ave Brewing Co., Mt. Norquay’s Lone Pine Pub in the Cascade Lodge, and a select number of local restaurants and bars.

So, cheers to supporting local!

Head Brewer Miranda Batterink enjoying the Norquay 92 Saison with the locals, at Banff Ave Brewing Co.