Alberta Adventures In Wellness: Calgary (Part One)

To put it quite simply, 2018 has been a draining year personally and professionally. Don’t get me wrong — I have plenty of things on my gratitude list, but, by the end of a busy summer, I was in serious need of a recharge. So when Travel Alberta mentioned a wellness tour through the Canadian Rockies, I jumped on the chance.

PART ONE: CALGARY

There are two main airports in Alberta — Calgary and Edmonton. Flying into Calgary gave me the same general feeling as flying into Denver: wide flat plains butting up against snowcapped granite mountains. The city sprawls laterally in every direction, surrounded by suburbs sporting large single family homes. Concrete buildings dominates the downtown architecture scene — a bland midwest ho-hum kind of vibe that is gradually giving way to new architectural imaginations like those of Snøhetta and DIALOG who designed the New Central Library atop an existing train line. Boutique shopping and modern dining options are also making inroads into downtown.

After checking into what is arguable the city’s best accommodations at Hotel Le Germain, we kicked off the wellness portion of the trip with a sweat-inducing class at CrushCamp. Founder and CEO Emily Slaneff rolled years of fitness experimentation into her unique combination of a full body workout (think HIIT), energizing environment (think Spin), mindful practices (think Yoga), and supportive community (think CrossFit). The workouts feature an innovative piece of equipment to get those cardio numbers up — the SKILLMILL is like a non-motorized treadmill where the front end curves up. Tension can be adjusted and speed is up to the participant. Moving the feet closer to the curved end increases speed whereas staying further back slows it down. It takes a few minutes to acclimate to the motion, but once we got the hang of it Slaneff showed us all sorts of ways to use the equipment including sprint intervals where she gave me a gold star for blowing past 11 mph on my first go (the studio record for a woman is over 15 mph!) Fifty minutes later, dripping sweat and a little shaky from a great workout, I snapped the post-workout #CrushedIt #CrushCamp #Shoefie — a blue square leading into the bathrooms all set up for Insta-fame.

Back at Hotel Le Germain, I utilized my gigantic rain shower and cushy robe in preparation for dinner out. There was a basket of Wild Tea Kombucha — a 100% female owned and operated company — left on my counter just begging to be unwrapped so I gave my tastebuds and gut some wellness with a Wild Ginger version (the Strawberry Daiquiri and Pineapple Mojito were also awesome).

Dinner that night was at Ten Foot Henry, a restaurant looking to span the gap between what you should be eating and what you want to eat. Named for a 1930’s comic strip character (that’s right, Henry), a literal 10-foot replica of Henry continues his ventures in foodie-land. The seasonal menu features a large vegetable-dish section with fabulous preparations that will make you forget that you usually order steak. Tomatoes with herbs and feta on sourdough toast vanished in about two seconds. Snap and snow peas with crispy potatoes, smoked aioli, and sumac followed suit. Jerk-spiced cauliflower with pineapple mayo and root chips? I’m not sure when cauliflower blossomed into such a sultry scene-stealer, but, good lord, it was working the spotlight like a vixen. Everything is served family-style including proteins like salmon with chanterelles and Filipino-style chicken adobo. Two more must-haves include the Bucatini cacio e pepe pasta dish (try not to lick the bowl, for wellness’ sake) and butterscotch pudding topped with caramel and crunchy sponge toffee (our “fine, we will have a single bite of dessert” quickly went by the wayside).

With the first day of Alberta wellness under my belt, I drifted off to sleep in my dreamy bed ready for some Rocky Mountain adventures in the days to follow.