A group of four British women, ranging in age from 59 to 72, have been ticking off the world’s most famous adventure travel destinations. The foursome, who call themselves the “Ladies with Altitude” are featured on the BBC program - Fast:track - and are part of what is statistically our culture’s traveling-est age group.
People over 50 now account for more than half of tourism spending. As one of the ladies explains, “When you reach a certain age, I think you suddenly feel like you need to cram a few things in.”
The financial success many of the the baby boomer generation have enjoyed is part of the reason for the explosion of older travelers, but on BBC correspondent explains that another reason is that the baby boomer generation didn’t travel as much when they were younger as people do today. Taking time off before college, or traveling after college before settling down is accepted today as normal, even encouraged by many parents and educators.
One of the Ladies with Altitude said, “Everywhere we go, we meet people our age, and it’s absolutely brilliant!”
And another added, “I want to see as much of it as I can, while I can, while I’m still fit.”
The correspondent explained, “They don’t just do sun and sand holidays, they really want to go places, to explore and see the world.”
Here at CMH Summer Adventures, the enthusiasm many older travelers have for adventure is no surprise, nor is it really new. Since the 70s, we’ve been hosting adventure travelers of all ages, but older travelers are the ones who encouraged us to begin heli-hiking and develop a comfortable and relaxing mountain adventure program that is not available anywhere else in the world.
In recent years we’ve tailored our programs to appeal to younger Generation-X travelers, with via ferratas, glacier treks, and adventure trails that include ziplines and other safe but adrenaline-inducing fun, but the core of CMH Summer Adventures has always been perfectly suited for older travelers who want the adventure without the discomfort.
The surprising thing at CMH Summer Advenures is not so much that older travelers like adventure, but that the adventures we design for younger travelers, like the via ferrata, end up being a highlight for older travelers as well. And the adventures we designed for older travelers, like heli-hiking, have become popular among younger travelers thanks to the helicopter providing complete immersion in alpine beauty without the crowds, dusty trails, parking lots, and tourist towns.
In many ways, CMH Summer Adventures is where the generation gap disappears. It’s where grandparents and grandchildren, parents and kids, can - and do - share common adventures and return home with common memories of the best times of their lives.
You and your partner want the ultimate remote getaway?
You and your family want to share a bonding experience of the most powerful, lasting kind?
You and your friends or group want to craft the perfect mountain retreat, tailored precisely for your level of fitness and enthusiasm for adventure?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, a Private Summer Adventure Trip with CMH could be your ticket to the best holiday of your life.
Here’s how it works:
By booking a Private Summer Adventure Trip, CMH will reserve a private guide just for you. This means the plethora of CMH Summer Adventures will be yours for the choosing, with helicopter access, at your pace, your level of difficulty, and with only the people you want to be with. Daily options include:
- Easy hikes on across the tundra in the most spectacular alpine terrain imaginable.
- Deluxe picnics in impossibly beautiful locations.
- Simply relaxing in a postcard-perfect setting.
- Playing on cool snowfields during the heat of summer.
- Taking photographs of an alpine paradise at your pace with a helicopter to get your lenses up there.
- Challenging all day treks to summits looking down on glaciers and a sea of mountains stretching as far as the eye can see in every direction.
- An airy via ferrata climb near the world-famous Bugaboo Spires.
- Mountaineering and rock climbing adventures at your choice of difficulty and commitment.
- Glacier treks across ancient ice caps and between huge granite walls.
- Ziplines across a wilderness canyon.
- Design your own adventure!
CMH Private Summer Adventure Trips are a holiday that can be the most relaxing, easy, beautiful days you’ve ever had - or the wildest, most breathtaking, exciting but safe adventure you can imagine.
What do you want your holiday to be?
Thinking of bringing your family to the Canadian Rockies this summer but not sure you can come up with enough to keep the kids happy, active and safe? No problem, we're here to help with a list of great outdoor family-friendly activities.
1) Canoe Rentals: Truly Canadian, Truly Fun and Truly Safe. Blue Canoe has a rental location in Banff on the Bow River and can outfit all of you in lifejackets and provide some basic instruction. If your crew is bigger than four you might want to look at their guided Voyageur Canoe trip for parties of 6 or more.
2) White Water Rafting: Sticking with the water theme, there are some great options for river rafting ranging from gentle float trips with Rocky Mountain Raft Tours to class four rapids on the Kicking Horse River for those aged 16 and up with Hydra River Guides.
3) Horseback Riding: From one hour trail rides to multi-day backcountry trips, Holiday on Horseback has some great ways to make you feel like a cowboy!
4) Hiking at Sunshine Meadows: Guided above-the-world hiking for all ages by the team at White Mountain Adventures. A unique perspective of the mountains around Banff.
5) Fly Fishing: If you fell in love with the movie "A River Runs Through It" then you've come to the right place to try out fly fishing. The movie was filmed in near-by Kananaskis and a number of operators, including Banff Fly Fishing Guides run family-friendly fishing trips.
6) Hiking the local trails: Banff and the surrounding Rocky Mountains have no shortage of hiking trails that are suited for families. Most three and four year olds can easily make it up local Tunnel Mountain and older kids can challenge themselves on other trails in the area like Dolomite Pass or the Big Beehive in Lake Louise. No guides required, just a map and a car to get to the trailhead. And a lot of snacks.
7) Bike Riding: Rent a bike from any of the ski shops downtown, grab a map and hit the local trails. Or, if you're more into bike touring the guides at CANUSA Cycle tours provide fully-supported day and multi-day bike trips. They even have trailer-bikes for tykes wanting to tag along to Mom or Dad's bike.
8) Heli-Hiking: Sounds extreme, but it's not. Think ziplines, mountain hide-and-seek, glacier walks and dress-up parties. From day trips to multi-day family heli-hiking trips, at CMH Summer Adventures we can tailor a trip specifically to your family's interests, age groups and abilities either at our remote backcountry lodges or through our local Canmore partner, Alpine Helicopters.
Want to learn more about family travel vacation ideas in the Canadian Rockies? Call our Vacation Planners at CMH Summer Adventures at 1.800.661.0252. In addition to setting you up on one of the best family vacation trips ever, we can help you create a full itinerary of great activities in Banff National Park. After all, we're your local experts!
Photo: Family Fun with CMH Summer Adventures by Andrea Johnson. For more, watch this Family Adventure video by CMH.
In late July, 2011, Brandy Yanchyk found herself in the Bobbie Burns Range about to set out on a 3 day Heli-Hiking trip in the Canadian Rockies. As she travelled through the high reaches of the Columbia Mountains south of Golden, ziplined across the Vowell Creek and summitted the Mt. Nimbus Via Ferrata with CMH Guides JF Lacombe, Carl Trescher and Matt Dellow she documented her journey in this video for BBC Fast:Track:
To learn more about Heli-Hiking in the remote Canadian Rockies, contact CMH Summer Adventures at 1.800.661.0252 or visit CMH online.
In over 20 years of adventure photography, three days in the Columbia Mountains last weekend had to be about the most beautiful photo shoot I’ve ever done.
The beauty wasn’t just the mountains, weather, and resulting images, but the interaction of humanity and the wilderness that made it so exceptional.
“Wow, this Grizzly dig is really fresh.” Exclaimed JF LaCombe, our guide, with this concerned look on his face. We were hiking along just above tree line in International Basin, a remote, vast and uninhabited valley at the northern edge of the CMH Bobbie Burns heli-hiking area.
The dirt and grass clumps scattered across the tundra were still moist, and the grass flipped upside down by the hungry bear digging for ground squirrels was still green like a golfer’s divot left by a massive club.
“Wow, it’s a really big bear.” Said JF, when a hundred metres later we found another fresh dig, this one a 5-metre long trench. JF began yodeling with extra enthusiasm and we discussed the wind direction being not in our favor – meaning it was blowing towards us so our scent would not warn the bear of our presence, increasing our chances of startling the big bruin.
JF radioed ahead to the group 15 minutes in front of us. They had not seen the digs, but the other guide, Paul Lazarski, scouted ahead to see if he could locate the bear and prevent an accidental close encounter.
“I see the bears.” Came the radio call from Paul, “It’s a mother and two cubs about half a kilometer ahead of us heading into the trees.”
The whole tone of the day changed. We were in a group, so it wasn’t exactly fear that we felt, but more a heightened awareness of the wildness surrounding us. Everyone walked quietly, looking around more than at any time in the previous days of hiking.
The shelf we were hiking along in International Basin was dotted with small snowfields, wildflowers, and stone slabs. Part of the beauty enhanced by a sadness: we may have been some of the last hikers to see the International Basin (shown above) before the area is developed for extensive mining. For a couple of hours we traversed the valley, but soon the bench we were walking along would join the lower bench where Paul had seen the bears.
Paul's voice came on the radio, confirming that all the guides were thinking the same thing: Let’s get out of here. JF explained their thinking, “It’s not so much because of the risk to us,” he said, “but for her - she doesn’t need us hiking around here while she’s trying to feed her cubs.” 15 minutes later we found a suitable place for the helicopter to land, and Alex, our pilot, flew in and gave us a scenic flight to Valley of the Lakes were we spent the afternoon far from the mother Grizzly and her cubs.
As we hiked, far from Mrs. Griz and her family, I thought about the wild beauty of their terrain, and how lucky we are to be able to visit their home, and depart without leaving a trace.
The rest of the shoot was a shocking juxtaposition between the easy access provided by the helicopter and the sublime off-trail hiking after the steady rhythm of our high-tech ride receded into the distance.
Then, as if the alpine hiking wasn't spectacular enough, we spent an afternoon on the Bobbie Burns adventure trail, where I snapped this photo as I crossed a suspension bridge over raging white water tinted blue with glacial silt at the same time as another adventurer whipped under the bridge on a 100-metre zipline.
In the end, I was reminded of why I became a photographer: because making beautiful places look as beautiful as they feel is an endlessly inspiring challenge.
by Kendall Hunter
“The absolutely best part of the trip” This is what my daughter’s said about zip lining at CMH's Bobbie Burns Lodge. My ten year-old then surprisingly added, “I thought it was relaxing!” Probably not the adjective normally attributed to zip lining but. . . I kinda get it.
We’d chosen the final afternoon of our 3 day Short Escape to zip-line. Most of the other guests had opted for the higher heights of the via farrata. After a discussion with the kids over breakfast about whether to try out the Mt. Nimbus via farrata, we opted out. Admittedly, I was feeling a bit aggravated about our decision, wondering if we’d made the right choice. I wanted us to get the maximum experience out of our CMH Summer Adventure and the via ferrata seemed like one of those once in a lifetime opportunities that should be grabbed hold of. My kids age 10 and 12, were a bit uneasy with the notion of being committed to such dizzying heights for an entire day, so I followed their lead. Once the sound of the chopper faded into the distance I truly began to accept our decision. Although kids much younger than they have easily navigated the via feratta I didn’t pressure them. This trip was about us enjoying things together, enjoying some quality time as the ink dried on my divorce papers. Pushing our limits could wait for another day.
After a morning at the rope park we enjoyed a lunch of delicious wraps on the sunny deck of the lodge. We then jumped into a truck, were driven a short distance to an unsuspecting point on the road. We emerged from the vehicle, the roar of the rapids reaching our ears; setting our hearts a flutter.
What followed was a series of exhilarating flights over river rapids, punctuated with short walks on narrow trails through alpine forest. My daughter’s voices, drowned by the roar of the water, were quickly replaced with smiles and shining eyes as they were harnessed and secured onto the zip-lines. They sat suspended in the seconds before being launched; gave me an excited glance before launching over the precipice, arms spread, free as the birds. So caught up in my kids display of sheer abandon, I was rapidly brought back to myself by the snap of the Karabiners on my own harness. With a momentous whiz in my ears, the misty spray of the river on my cheeks I soared downward toward my grinning daughters. The zip-line opening the layer I unwittingly had pulled so tightly over me to ward off the unexpected. I had myself some fun.
The trips we took, crisscrossing the rapids was just enough to make the afternoon complete. The helicopter that came to collect us gave my daughter, the one who hadn’t yet been given the opportunity to sit in front with Gordy the pilot, the chance to do so. The day had fallen into place perfectly and oddly enough, ended up being a very relaxing experience - the memory tempting us to return, this time ready to take it to new heights.
This summer, why not try your hand on the zipline,or the via ferrate, or just some awesome, above-the-world hiking with CMH Summer Adventures. You never know what you'll find - inside or out. Contact CMH Reservations at 1.800.661.0252.