Expand your experiences in the Canadian Rockies
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By Abby Cooper
Cranbrook, B.C. – I was glued to the plane’s window as it started its descent into the Canadian Rockies International Airport in Cranbrook. The vistas, equally beautiful and mysterious, gave a hint of what the valley has to offer. Soon we’d be on the ground and experiencing it all for the first time. A short flight from Vancouver via Pacific Coastal Airlines was about to unleash a new world of possibilities. (See discount code below & fly to Cranbrook today!)
Cranbrook is known as the sunniest city in B.C., making it the perfect launch pad to seize the day and fill it with outdoor activities. With the Canadian Rockies to the east and the Purcell Mountains to the west, Cranbrook is stunning in all directions and offers endless opportunities to partake in its wild side, while taking advantage of its established amenities. Aware of its friendly atmosphere and long list of possible activities, our crew decided to go for it all, a proper “Cranbrook Sampler” if you will. Read on to see what we did in Cranbrook and why it’s the perfect place to learn something new!
Have you ever enjoyed a sunrise from a green? Newbie, Amanda Romanchuk hadn’t and she was smitten with her first experience. “The ambiance of driving into Wildstone Golf Course and heartfelt welcome by the staff was exceptional. With minimal golf experience, I instantly felt comfortable and excited to learn from a PGA professional. We were quickly escorted to the greens, where the real experience happened. Within the short period of learning tips and tricks with Trevor, our instructor, I was already impressed with my performance. It was contagious to see his passion and knowledge for the sport.”
Chris Andrews the general manager of Wildstone, claims that, “Golf is a game that can be enjoyed for life.” and Amanda agreed. “I am certainly inspired and feeling more confident to get back on the greens!”
Known as a select fishing destination by established fishing fans, Cranbrook is also the perfect place for learners. Kelly Laatsch of St Mary Angler explains, “It’s probably one of the most all-encompassing sports for all abilities and it’s very relaxing. Every river has fish in it here. Invest in lessons and gear one time and you’ll have a lifetime of enjoyment.” After spending a morning on the St. Mary’s River in a secluded canyon, it was easy to agree with his testimony about how relaxing and enjoyable the sport is.
Amanda relished iher fishing experience. “I was intimated at first, having zero experience fly fishing, but with Kelly by my side, that feeling quickly vanished. I learned so much in a short period of time – his patience, attitude, encouragement, passion and expression of knowledge has me really stoked to pick up a new sport.” She claims that there’s no luck in her catching two fish her first time out, it was surely the doings of Kelly's instruction. Beaming with a high from a new sport, she said, “It was easy to lose focus of everyday life and be at one with nature.” In her zen like state, we headed to Fisher Peak Brewery to celebrate her casting success and soak in another uniquely Cranbrook experience.
Fisher Peak is probably the most iconic peak in the plethora of mountain views seen from Cranbrook, and the craft beer created at Fisher Peak Brewery is also a stand out. Passionate duo, Jordan Aasland and Heidi Romich, run Fisher Peak Brewing and The Hide Out restaurant out of the same location; is there any better combination than tasty local eats and freshly brewed beer?
Learn more about Cranbrook by reading these stories:
- Cranbrook on the rails
- How spending a night in a teepee makes you a better Canadian
After devouring our scrumptious lunches, Jordan took us through the brewing process. It was a hands-on experience – unlike any other brewery tour we’d ever experienced before. “I’ve never had the experience to physically touch, smell and learn about the hops and the procedure of brewing different types of beer,” said Amanda. From sampling raw ingredients to mixing and performing taste tastes, Jordan had us thoroughly engaged as we learnt about his unique process. A whole new insight and appreciation was gained from the experience.
Stand Up Paddle Boarding
An open invite from Just Liquid’s owner, Rob Porter to the Cranbrook Community Paddle Evenings is not to be missed on your next Cranbrook trip. Pop into the store, sign up and one of the staff members will provide you with a meeting place and time to learn to paddle. The Just Liquid crew will bring the supplies; just bring your sense of humour, willingness to learn and a waterproof camera if you have.
If you’ve been craving some improvements in your photography skills, look no further. Janice Strong is Cranbrook’s best! She knows the region so well, she has written guidebooks and you’ll surely spot her name in town on some remarkable photos. A few short hours with Janice and you’ll be seeing a difference in your skill set. Her friendly and excited demeanour will relay to fast improvements using your own camera. Pro tip, if this is high on your priority list, do it on your first day in town, so you can capture your whole Cranbrook experience with excellent photographs!
If You Go
Visit the Cranbrook Tourism Website for any pre-trip research and to connect with the businesses listed in this story or stop by the in-town visitor centre for more details on the region.
Custom photography lessons can be made through resident adventure photographer, Janice Strong. Pre-book lessons by visiting Janice Strong Photography.
Fisher Peak Brewery not only has the amazing brewery tours, but also has beer to go and some of the best eats in town!