December 2021

I don’t condone running away from your problems. Really, I don’t. But when it comes to surviving family life with teens through months of a pandemic, muddling through work, school, and online everything, and facing down the long winter nights, I fully support finding a way to escape, even if it’s just for a moment.

On the first weekend of December, we did what many Calgarians do when they need a short getaway: we hit Highway 1 west to Banff. The destination? Nightrise at the Banff Gondola.

Banff Gondola Weekend (Family Fun Calgary)

On top of an icy mountain Photo: Charity Quick

The Banff Gondola is a classic mountain adventure, one that’s suitable for all ages and abilities. This winter, the Gondola has introduced Nightrise, an immersive, multi-sensory winter experience where you can enjoy magic under the stars. Christmas lights always brighten up our long winter nights in December, but while Nightrise opened on December 2, 2021, it goes beyond the holidays for a unique winter activity that merges multimedia and storytelling for a new and inspiring perspective of nature at this iconic Banff location. You can visit until March 2022.

Banff Gondola Weekend (Family Fun Calgary)

Photo: Charity Quick

“But what is it?”

(Teenagers are notoriously skeptical.)

It’s a multimedia winter experience with vibrant lighting, multimedia effects, video projections, and original soundscapes that transform the entire site into a magical world, offering an evening of immersive, interactive and educational experiences that will amaze and inspire you.

Or in the words of my teenagers, “That’s cool, I guess.”

But we weren’t on the gondola for more than a minute before eyes widened and voices went quiet.

Banff Gondola Weekend (Family Fun Calgary)

Photo: Charity Quick

The journey begins in the gondola itself, with lights, music, and storytelling. As Nightrise is in collaboration with the Stoney Nakoda Nation, you can deepen your understanding of Indigenous Peoples through storytelling and drumming, along with our connection to the land. The night comes alive as you travel through the dark, with the lights of Banff twinkling in the valley below.

When you arrive at the Upper Terminal, you step into Nightrise; the atmospheric lighting, combined with calming music and story, offers a magical experience. Dance through the swirling interactive lights and watch the trees come to life. Listen to the sounds of nature outside and relax inside on comfortable pillows while you enjoy diamond lights cascading around you.

“I like everything about Nightrise,” my youngest exclaimed, halfway through.

Banff Gondola Weekend (Family Fun Calgary)

Beauty inside and out Photo: Charity Quick

We were also guests at the Northern Lights Alpine Kitchen and enjoyed a fabulous dinner buffet, the perfect accent for a beautiful event. The food was delicious, the staff was warm and welcoming, and the teenagers were overjoyed.

Banff Gondola Weekend (Family Fun Calgary)

Happy kids Photo: Charity Quick

At the end of the evening, there were big yawns all around as we rode the gondola back down. The experience was remarkably peaceful and everyone loved it. Nightrise is waiting for you to come and experience the Rocky Mountains until March 12, 2022. Experience your own family’s magical escape this winter.

Banff Gondola Weekend (Family Fun Calgary)

Photo: Charity Quick

Read about the rest of our Christmas in Banff weekend here.

Nightrise at the Banff Gondola:

When: December 2, 2021 – March 12, 2022
Time: Evenings
Where: Banff Gondola
Address: 100 Mountain Ave, Banff, AB

Thank you to Pursuit Banff Jasper Collection, Banff Gondola, and Northern Lights Alpine Kitchen for hosting our family; all opinions expressed here are my own. CQ