Monday, 18 December 2017 03:49

Crowsnest Pass celebrated culture with inaugural Mountain Spirit Festival

Written by  Demi Knight
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A new event has been introduced to the Crowsnest Pass this December to celebrate the unique mountain culture that this scenic area of southern Alberta has to offer. From Dec. 8-11 various places and organizations throughout the area were home to a festival of events that were free to attend.

“This event was inspired by the Mountain Festival hosted by the Canadian Mountain Network in celebration of International Mountain Day, a UN-designed day (Dec. 11) to celebrate mountain communities and cultures across the globe,” says Community Relations Manager, Claire Rogers.
The Crowsnest - Mountain Spirit Festival “The intention of the event is to celebrate the unique mountain culture of the Crowsnest Pass where we live, work and play,” added Rogers.
Over the four days, the festival took a journey through the mountainous area to offer events to the community and visitors alike, and with only a small time for planning, the first Mountain Spirit Festival is hoping to start off strong this year and continue to grow in the years to come to encompass more history and as recognition and support from the community evolves.
“Our organizing committee wanted to celebrate the unique mountain culture, recreational opportunities, history and arts community that exists in the Pass,” says Rogers of the scheduled events.
“As we only started planning a month ago, we are very happy with the activities we've been able to organize!”
Kicking off the festival, Friday see’s a night of skiing at the Pass Powderkeg before Saturday rolls around offering a full day of gear checking for avid skiers and snowboarders. Hosted by the Crowsnest Nordic Ski Club, everyone was invited out to dust off their old equipment and get a free wax and test run.
Club members were to be on site to offer advice to riders of all skill levels the best trails and routes to maximize their fun on the mountains, whilst hot chocolates are offered around to keep visitors toasty in the winters cold weather.
There was Nighttime Snowshoe Adventure scheduled, which gives participants the opportunity of watching the meteor shower set to make an appearance that night in the uniquely beautiful landscape of the mountains.
Sunday participants could spend the day hiking the fifteen kilometres (round trip) to Big Bear/Saddle Ridge and observe the mesmerizing views that the top of the climb provides of the Crowsnest mountains and the Great Divide.
However, not all the events are for the actively inclined, as the Bellecrest Community Association hosted a festival of lights on Dec. 10 that includes hours of fun from a Santa party, outside bonfire, and marshmallow roasting to entertainment, Christmas carolling and fire truck rides.
The festival wrapped up Dec. 11 in recognition of international Mountain Day by hosted a ‘The Birds and the Bee’s’ lecture, with guest speakers Peter Sherrington and Megan Evans at the Frank Slide interpretive centre. With many partnerships, the Mountain Spirit Festival formed quickly for its breakout event this December and is ready to take the community by storm and offer free and fun winter themed activities for everyone able to attend to enjoy.
“We would also like to give thanks to the amazing groups that are part of the organizing committee: Crowsnest Outdoors, Crowsnest Nordic Ski Club, Crowsnest Conservation Society, Pass Powderkeg Ski Area, Crowsnest Heritage Initiative Society and others. We've had an incredible response!” added Rogers of the partnerships that made the first ever Mountain Spirit Festival possible this December in the Crowsnest Pass.

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