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Visitors driving from Calgary, Alberta, to Banff National Park have been known to get sidetracked along the way. Located about a 45-minute drive west of Calgary, en route to Banff, is Kananaskis Heli Tours, a worthy diversion in the Canadian Rockies.
Adventurous travelers are rewarded with a number of helicopter excursions that are anything but ordinary, ranging from a 30-minute flight that circles the summit of Mount Sparrowhawk and Mount Allen (the site of the 1988 Winter Olympic Games downhill skiing event) to a heli-snowshoeing adventure along Broken Leg Lake, complete with a half-bottle of sparkling wine.
The tour operator recently introduced a Heli Dog-Sledding adventure, which has proven to be a hit among clients. From $299 per person, the half-day package includes a 12-minute flight over the Rockies, a 90-minute sledding excursion along Bow River and a hot lunch. Another new package, which debuted in the summer of 2011, includes a 12-minute helicopter ride to the Rafter Six Ranch in Kananaskis Country, a two-hour horseback ride led by a wrangler and lunch. From $299 per person, the Heli-Horseback tour operates from May to September, depending on weather conditions.
“We have something for everyone,” said Joseph Macdonald, senior vice president of Kananaskis Heli Tours. “We launched a six-minute Introductory Tour geared toward families with young children for $69 per person, and we even offer a Heli-Yoga adventure.”
Have a client looking for a romantic way to pop the question? Kananaskis has a package for that, too. Along with its joint facility, Icefield Heli Tours, the tour operator facilitates 30 to 40 marriage proposals per year. So far, she’s said “yes” every time.