Climbers scale Banff's Mount Yamnuska (photo: John Price)

Things to Do in Alberta: November 2019

By Sandra Sperounes

Lights, camera … action!

November is about all three, including dazzling displays of Christmas decorations, a festival of mountain movies, and the thrills and spills of men tackling each other for Canadian football supremacy.

Scale new cinematic and literary heights at the Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival (Oct. 26–Nov. 3). Screen 70-plus movies, such as the world premiere of The Trilogy, which follows Sasha DiGuilian’s attempt to climb the big walls of three Banff-area mountains, including Mount Yamnuska. Meet legends such as Polish ski mountaineer Andrzej Bargiel and Canmore’s Sharon Wood, the first North American woman to ascend Mt. Everest. Or get movin’—join sunrise hikes, take climbing or photography workshops, or jump on Banff’s art bus and enjoy the local art galleries. AMA members save $10 on family annual Parks Canada Discovery Passes.

Witness the future of the NHL at the World U17 Hockey Challenge in Medicine Hat (Nov. 2–9). The tournament, co-hosted by Swift Current, includes the usual powerhouses: U.S., Russia, Sweden, Finland, Czech Republic and Canada. More than 250 former tournament players are now in the NHL, including Alex Ovechkin, Taylor Hall, Mitch Marner and Joe Thornton.

Experience the ultimate in holiday entertaining. Get tips from chefs Susur Lee and Vikram Vij, decor specialist Cory Christopher, and Duchess Bake Shop co-owner Giselle Courteau as part of Christmas in November at the Jasper Park Lodge. The 10-day wine and food festival (Nov. 1–10), now in its 31st year, also includes festive cocktails, a holiday market and a gala.

Tubing at Nitehawk Adventure Park (photo: Travel Alberta)

Can you taste the anticipation? Another ski season is almost here. Slopes across Alberta open in November—including Nitehawk Year-Round Adventure Park. The ski hill, 10 minutes south of Grande Prairie, features 18 runs and the Aquatera Tube Zone. (Nov. 16 is the park’s targeted soft opening. Snow dependent, of course.) AMA members save 10% on regular priced Tube Zone lift tickets and 15% on three-week lesson programs.

‘Tis the season to glow. Ignite your holiday spirit with holiday lights across Alberta, including the Enjoy Light Festival at St. Albert’s Enjoy Centre (November 21 to January 5). Drive through Rad Torque Raceway’s Magic of Lights (Nov. 22–Jan. 5) just south of Edmonton. For a truly unique experience, check out the light displays at the Atlas Coal Mine’s Christmas in the Coulee (Nov. 30 and Dec. 6 & 7) outside Drumheller.

Maps, paper or digital, are essential to get around in our day-to-day lives. They also help us navigate fictional worlds, like Middle-earth, Narnia, Wakanda, and Hogwarts. Explore these lands in Worlds Imagined: The Maps of Imaginary Places Collections at Lethbridge’s Galt Museum & Archives. (Until Jan. 5, 2020). More than 50 maps are on display, including Harry Potter’s Marauder’s Map, and Westeros from George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones series.

Get ready, Frozen freaks! The sequel, aptly titled Frozen 2, hits theatres on November 22. Join Elsa and the gang—including Anna, Kristoff and Olaf—as they sing and journey through an enchanted forest to protect their kingdom. AMA members save on movie tickets at Cineplex or Landmark when purchased at AMA centres.

Cheer on country star (and honorary Albertan) Keith Urban during this year’s Grey Cup (Nov. 24) at Calgary’s McMahon Stadium. He’s the half-time performer; the teams have yet to be decided. Will the Calgary Stampeders, last year’s champs, get a chance to hoist the Grey Cup in their hometown? Could the Hamilton Tiger Cats play for their first title this century? (They last won in 1999.) What we do know: Expect four days of football, revelry and music leading up to the big game.