The frosty madness of Red Bull Crashed Ice (photo: Jeorg Mitter/Red Bull Content Pool)

Things to Do in Alberta: Spring 2018

By AMA Staff

This season, get a taste of ice cross, a church café and historic carriages.

Dubbed the world’s fastest sport on skates, Ice Cross Downhill is a thrilling combination of hockey, boardercross and downhill skiing. Get a firsthand glimpse of the action when the Red Bull Crashed Ice series returns to Edmonton for the first time in three years. Alberta’s capital is the only Canadian Crashed Ice stop—and the last race in this year’s series, following events in Minnesota, Finland and France. Expect a rollicking spectacle as skaters from around the world showcase their skills and endurance while racing down a one-of-a-kind ice track. First one to the bottom wins! March 9 & 10

In 1887, a wagon train of Mormon pioneers came to a stop in southern Alberta and founded the town of Cardston. Today, it’s home to the Remington Carriage Museum, where you can discover what life on the road used to be like. North America’s largest public display of historical wagons, buggies, sleighs and carriages includes prominent pieces, such as a New York City-made Barouche carriage used by Queen Elizabeth II, the oldest remaining Concord Stage Coach in the world, and a homemade caboose from Saskatchewan, used for taking kids to school in winter. After exploring the 350-vehicle collection, follow the Mormon settlers’ path to Magrath, Raymond and Stirling. The communities comprise Canada’s Mormon Trail, and feature a number of national and provincial historic sites.

things to do in alberta rolling stones mobile studio bell
The Stones’ famous mobile studio (photo: Brandon Wallis)

From Led Zeppelin to Deep Purple to Fleetwood Mac, the roster of rock legends who’ve recorded major albums using the Rolling Stones Mobile Studio is long indeed. (Mick, Keith and the crew used it too, of course.) But you no longer have to be a guitar god to check out the famed space, which was built in 1968 to allow hard-touring musicians to record whenever and wherever they wanted. Following two years of restoration work, the first-ever mobile recording studio is once again functional—and parked at Calgary’s Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre. Its primary use will be as a commercial recording studio for the creation of new music, but public tours are also offered. You’ll see where musical magic was (and is) made and hear the stories behind this and other treasured artifacts. Call 403-543-5115 to book a tour

Did you know that you can explore a one-of-a-kind section of the 24,000-kilometre Trans Canada Trail (recently renamed the Great Trail) right in central Alberta? Blackfalds, a community situated between Lacombe and Red Deer, boasts the trail’s only indoor segment; it traverses the second floor of the town’s recreation centre, the Abbey Centre. While there’s no charge to stroll this indoor stretch of trail and browse its murals of Canadian landscapes, paying a small admission fee will get you access to the centre’s other amenities, including a multi-level indoor playground, aquatic centre and running track that overlooks games and tournaments ongoing in the field house below. 

things to do in alberta holy ghost cafe
Cozy environs of the Holy Ghost Café

Though no longer a place of worship, the Holy Ghost Catholic Church near downtown Coleman was revived last June. Re-christened as the Holy Ghost Cafe & Music Hall, the long-time Crowsnest Pass community hub, built in 1905, now has a fresh focus: great coffee, tasty food, live music and good vibes. Beneath the original ceiling fresco, you can nosh on homemade soups, salads and sandwiches—while sipping Holy Roast coffee, a café-exclusive blend by local Crowsnest Coffee Company, and Steep Peak kombucha tea. True to its name, the venue also hosts live performances a few times a month. It also has a marketplace with works by local artisans, plus a cross section of antiques and vinyl records.

It’s now possible to do sun salutations just a little closer to the actual sun—by hitching a ride on the Banff Gondola. The cable car ascends to Sulphur Mountain’s renovated summit building, where visitors can partake in an hour-long mountaintop yoga session. Hosted by Lululemon and enhanced with Alchemy Crystal Singing Bowls, the popular mountaintop yoga class is designed to appeal to all levels of yogi, from first-timers to chakra-aligned experts. Held on the last Sunday of every month in the upper terminal building (and outside, weekly, in summer). Advance registration online is recommended.