Looking for Love on the Slopes of the Canadian Rockies

by Ashley Meller

Alberta’s Canadian Rockies are arguably one of the most romantic vacation destinations on earth, especially in the winter. But while it’s hard to avoid the crowds of couples who’ve flocked here with their significant others to canoodle in hot springs, cozy up in cabins, stroll hand-in-hand down Banff Avenue, or just marvel at the majestic beauty of the Rocky Mountains, finding yourself single in the face of all this coupled bliss can pose its own challenge. It’s with this in mind that local resident Heather Hendrie created Lifts of Love, a slope-side singles event held on Valentine’s Day, which is now going into its 3rd year.

“I was thinking about running a singles event in Canmore and explaining this to my friend Jeff as we stood in the singles line for the chairlift at Sunshine Village and the idea was born!” says Hendrie.

Here’s how it works: participants sign up online in advance of the event, and upon arrival at the Mount Norquay ski resort those seeking men are given a blue glow necklace and participants seeking women are given a pink one. They are then paired at the base of the chairlift by the friendly ski attendant (dressed as Cupid) and given a conversation starter for the ride up the mountain. Each 5 minute ride is considered a ‘date’, and then depending how the conversation goes the pair can choose to ski down together if they’re interested in their partner, or on their own if not. This is then repeated with as many partners as the time allows. Afterwards, those who felt a connection can continue to explore their feelings at an après-ski bash at the resort’s Lone Pine Pub.

“We have a great range of people who participate, mostly Bow Valley or Calgary residents ranging from ages 25 to 55 and about an even distribution of men and women, though the bulk of the participants are between 25 to 35,” Hendrie explains. “We had 100 people out to each of the last two years' events. This year we are excited to see whether more tourists participate given that it’s taking place on a long weekend.”

Hendrie believes that the participants’ shared interest in skiing and the outdoors increases the likelihood that they’ll make a successful match, noting that, “sharing something as special as skiing in a setting as spectacular as the Rockies is a really fun way to build intimacy. Plus it makes for a really unique story about how you met.”

And there’s been some proof that her formula is a winning one: “I bumped into a couple on the street in Canmore this summer who had met and fallen deeply in love at Lifts of love 2014," says Hendrie. "They thanked us for bringing them together. We are still waiting for our first slope-side marriage, though.”

Heather’s tips for success: “Be open, have fun, and dress up if you dare, (though that’s totally optional!)”
Best overheard pick-up line: Man touching the material of the sleeve of woman’s coat: “What is this? Girlfriend material?”

Lifts of Love 2015
Date: Saturday, February 14
Time: 6:30 PM
Location: Mount Norquay, 2 Mt Norquay Rd, Banff, Alberta
Cost: $25 / $15 (in advance) $30 (at the door)
Sign up online at liftsoflove.eventbrite.ca