Don't get me wrong, if I was rich I would definitely splurge on the Fairmont Banff Springs from time to time, but the thing I've realized is that one can walk around the Fairmonts, indulge in a cocktail in the lounge, and almost have the "Fairmont Experience" but for much less. I always love looking in the art galleries in the Fairmonts, and seeing the mostly Canadian artists.
I also like to go on a day hiking adventure every time I go to the mountains, whether it is Maligne Canyon in Jasper (so beautiful in winter when the icicles hang off of it), or the Bow River in Banff. Heck, I just realized there were hoodoos in the mountains on my last trip to Banff. I grew up a southern Alberta girl and was under the impression hoodoos only existed in the badlands. Wrong!
I often hear that people in Alberta don't go to the mountains as often as they want... maybe because Banff and Jasper are so close and it seems like one can go anytime. My plea to you all is - get out there, go! The mountains are magical! When you are there, you can't help but be happy and feel awestruck. You can literally get there in less than half a day from most parts of Alberta, and once there - you are in world class tourist spot, filled with fresh air and beauty! Skiing and snowboarding season is just around the corner, if that's what floats your boat. I personally tend to eat, drink and walk around, ha, but that's the beauty - there is something there for everyone!
Get your Canada Park Pass while you can - it will be good for an extra year since 2017 is free for the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation!
Can you spot the mountain hoodoos in Banff?
The Bow River in Banff - two views
Jasper's Maligne Canyon
On the grounds of the Jasper Park Lodge, and in their art gallery!
Bronze by Camie, below
Wish I knew the two artists below, but I do not.