Why We Do It: Authentic Adventures

Authenticity is a fairly simple concept. It means being true to one’s own character: the things we say and the things we do are what we actually believe. It starts with knowing who we are, what makes our region special and understanding our guests.

Authentic adventures happen at the intersection where our motivations and those of our guests align with our destination’s sense of place. It’s an essential element of any intentional adventure and part of everything we do. This section provides an overview of who we are, how we define our region and our ideal guests.

Who We Are

Our goal is to inspire our guests to play outside and help them experience their adventure so that they can discover the culture, people and natural beauty of the region.

We’re an adventure tourism company, a loosely defined term that refers to the moments that happen when we combine outdoor recreation and the local culture with the beauty of our natural landscape.

We believe that adventures are about doing things that are new and different for each of us, doing things that can be a little bit scary but that also make us curious to explore further. We find that the unique qualities of a destination are most easily found through the local arts and culture. Whether it’s the food, the traditions, the music or the galleries, each experience offers unique insights into the world of the local communities that enhance the visitor’s experience.

We do this in a few different ways, from guided tours to delicious food, but across all of these it comes down to one thing: crafting goosebumps moments to take our guests out of their ordinary world, making them feel present and in awe.

Our Vision: Nordegg & Abraham Lake will be Alberta’s premier adventure tourism destination for curious adventurers by 2035.

Nordegg Adventures

Our Mission: We offer guided tours in the Nordegg & Abraham Lake region that create goosebumps moments for our guests.

Nordegg Canteen

Our Mission: We provide a hub for adventures by combining food, culture, gear and visitor information.

Explore Nordegg & Abraham Lake

Our Mission: We work with our community and industry partners to responsibly grow our destination and inspire visitors by celebrating the adventures that make the Nordegg & Abraham Lake region special.

We Do

  • Talk about adventures in a way that celebrates the journey and the beauty all around us rather than conquering summits or checking off our bucket list.
  • Integrate people, food and culture into our adventures.

We Don’t

  • Present ourselves as experts or gurus. Instead, we demonstrate our knowledge by helping others.
  • Make the story about us or our partners. The adventure is about the hero, our guests. We play a supporting role.

The Destination’s Sense of Place

Nordegg & Abraham Lake is a different kind of Rockies experience where nightlife means campfires and starry skies, where the best trails are often unmarked and sometimes even missing from the maps.

Adventures off the beaten path take a little more effort, but the rewards are well worth it: stunning canyons, incredible peaks, glaciers, amazing rivers and the ice bubbles of Abraham Lake. Our mountain setting is what draws our guests to the region and keeps them coming back. It provides the backdrop for the activities they love, and the ones they are discovering, whether that’s taking in the sights, hiking, snowshoeing, or capturing those moments through art or photography.

The natural history of our dramatic landscape helps explain what draws us here in the first place while the human history connects us with the past, present and future of the Nordegg & Abraham Lake region.

Yes, our region is a little more rugged than the nearby National Parks or Central Alberta, but that’s part of the charm for those who love an adventure. After all, it’s a place for adventurers, for those that love playing outside.

Nordegg & Abraham Lake Region

The Location

Defining a region’s boundary is always a little suggestive. In our case, it’s about the feeling you get when you first see the mountains as you come over the hill at Jackfish Lake or that moment heading east from the Icefields Parkway when you get the sense that you’re now in a different place. In both cases you just know that you’ve arrived.

In a more practical way, the Nordegg & Abraham Lake Region is the area from:

  • Alexo/Saunders to the Banff National Park boundary along Highway 11; and
  • Ram Falls to the Blackstone River along the Forestry Trunk Road.

On the tours and activities side, we include the section of the Icefields Parkway between Bow Lake and the Columbia Icefields, an area that is easily accessed from our region and that complements nicely what we have to offer locally.

We’ll go into more details about the region in our upcoming destination courses.

We Do

  • Embrace that our destination is less developed than the nearby national parks. It provides a unique opportunity to find ourselves within the grandeur of the mountain scenery.
  • Emphasize a deeper connection with the region’s natural beauty, people and culture in everything we do.
  • Celebrate the characters who make the region a special place.
  • Incorporate food from regional producers whenever possible, focusing on our connection to Central Alberta and the Mountain Parks.

We Don’t

  • Offer contrived or trendy experiences that aren’t true to the region or could be built anywhere.
  • Create moments designed to be shared rather than experienced. Instead of fabricating “Instagram moments”, we offer experiences where they happen organically.

When it comes to food we use a slightly different definition of what regional means. We have very few local food products at the moment and, as a result, we have to look a little further to feature regional products on our menu.

We typically start by looking for producers within the Bow Valley or Clearwater County, expanding our reach from there to the rest of Alberta.

Our Guests

Our Curious Adventurer Guests

Our guests love to explore and immerse themselves in the places they visit. They enjoy doing things that are new and different, a little challenging and a whole lot of fun. Travel Alberta refers to them as Curious Adventurers, summing them up as visitors who like to “immerse themselves in the places they travel – leaving time for unplanned encounters and activities that allow them to truly know a destination”.

Our guests like to slow down and prefer to enjoy the views rather than push their limits. They appreciate quality over trends and are comfortable in a wide variety of settings. Like us, they believe that the journey is the destination and is best enjoyed with like-minded people. After all, adventure is found wherever you look…

Immersing themselves in breathtaking landscapes and connecting with amazing people is well worth the effort for them. The raw beauty of nature allows them to escape from the day-to-day and enjoy the moment. While they love to plan and want to see the iconic attractions, they want to understand the destination and explore the lesser-known locations. Their itinerary is a guideline, meant to be changed as they discover new options for adventure. They choose a guided adventure so that they can be free to enjoy the moment rather than having to think about the logistics.

They are typically 45 to 70+ with a smaller segment of 25 to 35 year olds. They come from Calgary, Edmonton, BC’s Lower Mainland, southern Ontario, the US, Asia and Europe. Their travels have often taken them to other remote regions like Newfoundland, Lake Baikal in Siberia, Iceland, Scandinavia or Antarctica.

In the winter, Abraham Lake is one of the main reasons they chose to travel to Alberta. In the summer they tend to already be in Alberta, looking for a different kind of Rockies experience than the nearby mountain parks.

Their motivations are primarily to explore a new region, from the iconic spots to the lesser-known locations, and to try new activities.

When talking about their adventures, they most often mention:

  1. getting lost in the moment in places with breathtaking natural landscapes and interesting characters;
  2. the local knowledge of their guides
  3. the connection to the region through photography, arts and food; and
  4. being free to enjoy the moment while we take care of the logistics.

We’ll go into more detail about our target markets and various types of guests in our upcoming Guest Service and Personalization course.

We Do

  • Focus on our target markets even though our region appeals to a wide range of visitors.
  • Offer options from guided tours to providing assistance (visitor information, trail guides, rentals, food, etc) to support the varied needs of our guests.

Our ideal guests are the same across all our brands and products. That might seem counterintuitive at first, given how different our full-day tours seem to be from our Canteen menu or trail guides on explorenordegg.ca. 

If you take a step back you’ll notice that they’re all here for the same reason: they want to get lost in the moment as they explore our region. What’s different is the level of engagement they’re looking for. Some prefer the full service where we take care of the details while others are looking for some guidance or support to create their own adventure.

Our Industry Partners

We collaborate with residents, business owners, tourism staff, user groups, government staff and elected officials to grow our community and local visitor economy.

This group covers a broader range of interests than our visitor markets, each with their own motivations. The common thread is a desire to see the destination grow in a way that benefits the community.

We Do

  • Focus on shared goals that align with our target markets.
  • Embrace the various backgrounds that brought people here.
  • Take the time to look at the region through various perspectives.

    We Don’t

    • Aim to include everyone but instead focus on industry partners who share a desire to collaborate.