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Alberta

A Winter Sport Wonderland – Alberta is Awesome!

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Winter is coming back to Canada, and while that means the season of scraping windshields and shoveling driveways upon us – it also means the snow sport season is back!

Located just a couple hours from the city of Calgary, the Rocky Mountains are home to some of Canada’s most breathtaking scenery and wildlife, as well as world-class outdoor activities. Every winter, adventurers and outdoor enthusiasts from all across Canada travel to Alberta to visit the powdery peaks from Jasper down to Waterton.

Ski or snowboard thousands of acres of terrain at some of Alberta’s most popular resorts, including Sunshine Village, Nakiska Ski Area and Lake Louise – who celebrated their earliest ever opening date this year on October 29! 

For summer water sport enthusiasts, the winter equivalent to wind and kite surfing can be found in snowkiting, a modern mix of all the major snow sports: skiing, snowboarding, and skating. “A truly unique way to explore the mountains”, snowkiting transforms inaccessible snow flats and frozen lakes into absolute playgrounds for skiers and boarders. Kiterr.com describes Alberta’s Spray Lakes as 400 square kilometres of “secret heaven”, where snow-kiters of all ages and abilities can go to enjoy the best of what the Rockies have to offer.  

Snowshoe tours are massively popular in the Rocky Mountains, where the backcountry scenery and wildlife is beyond beautiful. However, if snowshoeing is a bit too slow, you can always experience the Alberta winter on the back of a snowmobile! There are thousands of kilometres of groomed snowmobile trails crisscrossing the backcountry, and a number of available options for snowmobile rentals and tours in Banff and Canmore. 

Many of Alberta’s mountain lakes are world-famous in the summer for their beautiful turquoise water, which transforms in the winter into a series of glassy mountain ice rinks. Skate, sled or play the most Canadian game of shinny ever in the heart of the Rocky Mountains at places like Lake Louise, Two Jack Lake, Moraine Lake, and more. 

As winter settles back in, bundle up and beat the blues by exploring Alberta’s beautiful backyard! 

For more stories, visit Todayville Calgary.

Alberta

Positive COVID-19 tests at world men's curling championship deemed “false positives”

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CALGARY — The four positive COVID-19 tests that interrupted the men’s world curling championship are considered “false positives” from potentially contaminated samples, according to the World Curling Federation.

The men’s championship concluded late Sunday night with Sweden’s Niklas Edin winning a record fifth world men’s title.

No games were played Saturday because four participants, including one from a playoff team, tested positive for the virus in “exit” tests before leaving Calgary’s curling bubble. 

None had symptoms of the illness.

All have tested negative in multiple re-tests since then, the WCF said Monday in a statement. All tests were conducted via PCR throat swabs.

“According to Alberta Health, PCR testing remains the gold standard for COVID-19 testing,” the WCF said. “Very rarely, there are occurrences through sampling or testing processes when samples may become contaminated and a false positive may result.

“Following an investigation over the weekend, it appears that this may have occurred in this case and follow-up testing was undertaken.”

All athletes and personnel considered close contacts of the four underwent testing Saturday with all results negative. 

Every playoff team member was tested before and after each game Sunday with those results also negative, the WCF said. Hotel staff were also tested Sunday and cleared.

“With the original four positive test results now deemed as false positives, the integrity of the Calgary bubble remains intact,” the WCF declared.

“The change also allows international athletes who were considered close contacts, and who would have had to remain in isolation in Calgary for 14 days, will now be able to depart Calgary.”

The fifth of seven events in Calgary’s curling hub, the Humpty’s Champions Cup, gets underway Thursday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 12, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Pulling the plug: Edmonton Folk Music Festival cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic

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EDMONTON — Despite Alberta Premier Jason Kenney’s hope that the COVID-19 vaccine will allow summer events like the Calgary Stampede to go ahead, the Edmonton Folk Music Festival has been cancelled

The festival says in a statement that without full vaccination, people won’t be entirely safe from the spread of COVID-19. 

It says that with virus variants and an uncertain vaccine rollout, the impossibility of social distancing at the outdoor festival could lead to community spread.

Kenney has said that two-thirds of the population should have a vaccine shot by the end of June and things should begin to feel back-to-normal.

He says the Stampede, which is held in early July, along with sporting events and other festivals will be possible.

The Edmonton Folk Music Festival says it will continue to offer online content and, if small gatherings are permitted, it hopes to add some community engagement.

“With so many variables at play, the complexity of planning and delivering a festival of our size makes it impossible to move forward in our usual manner,” the statement said Monday.

“As profoundly disappointing as this news is, we believe this is the only safe way forward. The safety of our patrons, volunteers, and artists was of paramount importance in coming to this conclusion.”

The annual four-day festival in the city’s Gallagher Park usually attracts thousands of music fans and boasts approximately 2,700 volunteers.

Alberta introduced new health rules last week, closing restaurants to in-person dining and further reducing customer capacity at retail stores in response to rising COVID-19 numbers.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 12, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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