Our Story

It all began in 2010 when we bought a used bus on Kijiji to start offering day trips from Red Deer to the mountain ski resorts, including Sunshine Village, Lake Louise, Castle Mountain and Kicking Horse. Our background was in ski racing so this felt like a natural fit for our new adventure, starting a tour company.

A lot has changed since those days: we’re now based in Nordegg, skiing is no longer our main focus and our operations have grown to include the Nordegg Canteen. What hasn’t changed is our goal 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.

That’s part of the reason why we’ve chosen to change our name, after operating as Pursuit Adventures from 2010 to 2021, to Nordegg Adventures. The new name better reflects what we do and brings together the tours, food and other adventures we’re dreaming up in the Nordegg & Abraham Lake region.

The Red Deer Years: 2010-2020

Red Deer was our base of operation for our first decade as a tour company. It’s where we got our start as a ski bus to the mountains and was a central location in the early years of offering tours in the Nordegg & Abraham Lake region. During those years we saw a lot of changes to our tours and guests as we grew from a ski trip provider to an adventure travel company.

Summer 2010

We bought a bus! Our first day trips were mountain biking at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort.

Summer 2010

The Red Deer Market was a major part of our summers from our start in 2010 until 2019. It was our main “sales office” in the early years.

Fall 2010

Red Deer SnowFest was a big part of our falls from 2010 to 2017 and we met many of our long-term ski bus guests there.

Winter 2011

We launched the Red Deer Ski Bus with day trips to Sunshine Village, Lake Louise, Castle Mountain Resort, Nakiska, Norquay and Kicking Horse Mountain Resort along with multi-day trips to Whitefish, Montana.

Summer 2011

The start of our adventures in the Nordegg & Abraham Lake region with guided hikes offered as day trips from Red Deer.

Winter 2012

Norquay launched their Toonie Days with $2 lift tickets. We started offering day trips to Norquay from Red Deer once a month for only $35 per person.

Summer 2012

We wanted food to be part of our adventures from the beginning. In 2012 we built on the snacks we offered on the ski bus to include food from local restaurants and producers on all our tours.

Summer 2012

We realized that the only way we could grow our business was by growing our destination. We launched explorecentralalberta.ca to bring together trail guides, itineraries and stories about things to do from Red Deer.

Fall 2012

Pursuit Film Fest

Two nights of ski movies hosted in Red Deer in each of the falls of 2012 and 2013.

Winter 2013

We expanded our winter operations to the Nordegg & Abraham Lake region. Our first tours focused on winter hikes and snowshoeing since the ice bubbles were still relatively unknown at the time.

Fall 2013

Our first office, a 100-square-foot cabin we built in downtown Red Deer next to the double-decker coffee bus (Traptow’s Cool Beans).

Summer 2014

We worked with Tourism Red Deer to offer the Red Deer Experience Experts program, a full-day tour to help front-line staff learn about things to do in the Red Deer Region.

Summer 2014

The launch of our ladies-only hiking series and a smoky summer thanks to the Spreading Creek Fire between Whirlpool Point and Saskatchewan River Crossing.

Winter 2015

The launch of Snowshoe in the City, an introductory tour that combined snowshoeing with craft beer and wings at Heritage Ranch. This tour was only available and Tuesdays and sold out on most dates.

Winter 2015

A warm winter with little snow meant that our summer guided hikes were offered starting in early March. Abraham Lake was mostly free of ice by March 31 that year. The next year had enough snow to run snowshoe tours until the end of April…

Summer 2015

The launch of our raft float tours on the Red Deer River in collaboration with the Kerry Wood Nature Centre.

Summer 2015

We obtained the permits to start making the food for our tours in-house. This allowed us to sell the ice pops we served on our hikes at markets and events throughout Central Alberta. We regularly attended the markets in Red Deer, Bentley, Rocky Mountain House, Lacombe and Innisfail until 2019.

Fall 2015

As our tours expanded, our guests started to come from outside of Central Alberta. We became more involved on the board of Tourism Red Deer and in Travel Alberta events.

Summer 2016

Over the years we facilitated some “weirder” tours including driving on the new runway at the Red Deer Airport, a tour of potholes for municipal councillors and a visit to a dozen gas stations for a corporate client.

Summer 2016

We took part in a number of events organized by the Friends of David Thompson Corridor, a group based in Rocky Mountain House that worked with Alberta Parks to promote this area. Unfortunately, their organization only existed for two seasons.

Fall 2016

We moved our office to the visitor information centre while looking for a new location.

Winter 2017

Based on the success of Snowshoe in the City we launched new partnership tours like Frosty Nose & Toasty Toes with a yoga studio and Raft + Craft Beer float tours with a local brewery.

Winter 2017

While some, like Aurum Lodge, had been offering winter photo tours on the lake for a number of years by that point, it wasn’t until around 2016 that we saw the ice bubbles gain popularity when the New York Times, National Geographic and others wrote stories about the area. These stories combined with the growth of Instagram and the appeal of ice bubble photos on social media changed our operations with Abraham Lake ice walks becoming our most popular tours by 2017.

Winter 2017

We won first place at the Entrepreneurship Challenge at the Growing Rural Tourism Conference based on our new tours combining adventures with local food.

Summer 2017

The Red Deer Expert tours, in partnership with Tourism Red Deer, are expanded to include longer stops and cover a larger selection of activities in Central Alberta and the Nordegg & Abraham Lake region.

Summer 2017

Danielle won the Red Deer Experience Award from Tourism Red Deer for individuals in the tours and activity sector.

Fall 2017

The opening of Basecamp + Cafe, our base in the Captstone neighbourhood of Red Deer, where we brought together our commercial kitchen, office, booking desk and gear rentals.

Fall 2017

We took part in Travel Alberta’s Scholar Program and started attending Canada’s West Marketplace to promote our tours and the region to international travel resellers.

Winter 2018

As Abraham Lake continued to grow in popularity we saw a steady increase in media visits to the region.

Winter 2018

As our tours continued to evolve we expanded our lunches to feature a hot soup along with regional products.

Winter 2018

By 2018 the majority of our operations were in the Nordegg & Abraham Lake region, making it more challenging to operate from Red Deer.

Winter 2018

Travel Alberta’s SHiFT program in Banff was a great opportunity to get together with other operators and to pick up some new ideas to take our tours to the next level.

Winter 2018

We became more active in advocating for solutions to the lack of infrastructure, like toilets, signage, garbage bins and parking lots, that were having a negative impact on the visitor experience.

Winter 2019

We had the privilege of working with a number of Japanese media to promote the region, including Vogue Japan, ItteQ and many other projects.

Winter 2019

We participated in Travel Albert’as SHiFT Sylvan Lake program, both as an experience provider and a member of the community host team.

Winter 2019

We were honoured to win the David Thompson Country Tourism Business of the Year Award.

Summer 2019

Prior to the pandemic we developed new tours celebrating Central Alberta’s agriculture and food, including a chef-led market tour and canola colours sightseeing adventures. Unfortunately, we moved before they could be brought to market.

Winter 2020

Media and film productions continued to grow until the pandemic. You can see some of the projects we worked on here.

Winter 2020

Over the years we saw a change in our operations and, by 2020, we had more tours departing from Lake Louise and Nordegg than from Central Alberta.

Spring 2020

In early 2020 we started seeing cancellations from our international guests due to COVID-19, a sign of what was to come in March when restrictions were implemented. At that time we made the difficult decision to stop our operations in Central Alberta and to relocate to Nordegg as a business and family. The move allowed us to focus on a smaller region, simplify our operations and offer new adventures in the Nordegg & Abraham Lake region.

Our Adventure in Nordegg: 2020 – today

The pandemic and the move to Nordegg allowed us to take some time to look at our adventures with a fresh set of eyes, considering what was working and what we could change now that we are based in the region.

Spring 2020

After a decade in Red Deer we relocated to Nordegg. The pandemic left us unsure as to what would be next as we purchased the ice cream shop, literally a garden shed with a freezer, and an old food truck on the main street. Little did we know that it was the start of the Nordegg Canteen.

Winter 2020

Media and film productions continued to grow until the pandemic. You can see some of the projects we worked on here.

Winter 2020

Over the years we saw a change in our operations and, by 2020, we had more tours departing from Lake Louise and Nordegg than from Central Alberta.

Spring 2020

In early 2020 we started seeing cancellations from our international guests due to COVID-19, a sign of what was to come in March when restrictions were implemented. At that time we made the difficult decision to stop our operations in Central Alberta and to relocate to Nordegg as a business and family. The move allowed us to focus on a smaller region, simplify our operations and offer new adventures in the Nordegg & Abraham Lake region.

Explore Nordegg & Abraham Lake

As we expanded our tours in 2012 we found that finding information about the region that went beyond business listings was difficult. We created a separate site to share trail guides, self-guided itineraries and adventure inspiration for visitors to the region under the Explore Central Alberta brand.

In 2020 we decided to focus the project on the Nordegg & Abraham Lake region, relaunching the site as explorenordegg.ca.

Starting with the winter of 2020/21 we worked with industry partners like Expanse Cottages, Girth Hitch Guiding, Rockies Heli Canada and David Thompson Country to promote the region. Thanks to the support of Travel Alberta’s Cooperative Investment Program – Partnership Marketing we have been able to work with MODERNSPEAK to develop content and a marketing campaign for Explore Nordegg & Abraham Lake.

In the fall of 2021 we registered Explore Nordegg & Abraham Lake as a nonprofit corporation focused on developing and promoting our region as a corporation.

Nordegg Canteen

Food has always been part of our adventures, from the hot chocolate on the ski bus to the hiking lunches featuring local food. Since 2015 we have operated our own commercial kitchen to make lunches and snacks for our tours. Making our own food from scratch, using some of our favourite ingredients and featuring local products whenever possible allowed us to have better control over the experiences we create for our guests. Between 2015 and 2019 we also sold our ice pops, hot chocolate mix and handmade marshmallows that are featured on our tours at markets throughout Central Alberta.

The move to Nordegg meant that we needed to find a new commercial kitchen, something that is not easy in a town with very limited commercial space. We took over the ice cream shop and food truck on the main street in April 2020, re-opening them as the Nordegg Canteen. The ice cream shop wasn’t much more than a garden shed with an ice cream freezer in it but we figured that if COVID-19 prevented us from offering our tours we could at least sell ice cream.

That first summer turned out to be a busy one and by the fall of 2020 we took over the hair salon next door and converted those ATCO trailers into a year-round take-out restaurant with a yard offering great views of the mountains. As the COVID restrictions eased in the summer of 2021 we were able to bring live music back to Nordegg with a series of evening concerts in the yard.

The Nordegg Canteen now offers a full menu, craft beer and live music on weekends throughout the summer.