1. Do you get a lot of bears in the campground?
No, we don't, although it is 'Bear Country' and there are definitely bears in the area. We rarely see one in the campground and when we have, it has usually been going through to somewhere else, not staying to cause problems. Kananaskis Country is mainly wilderness- bears are not fed by people or open garbage dumps, so they have not become 'garbage bears'; they move up and down the valley feeding on the berries and roots and prefer NOT to run into people. We know that many animals, including bears, move through the valley (and probably our campground) at night - so, if there is nothing to tempt them, they keep going and avoid the people. Therefore, there are very strict food and garbage rules here at Sundance and all over the Kananaskis Valley. We provide our campers with the rules at check-in:
Absolutely no food/garbage in the tipis or trapper's tents (this includes coolers)
No cooking inside tipis or trapper's tents
All food must be kept in a locked vehicle at night or when not in use (this includes coolers)
Garbage must go into the bear proof bins - don't leave it sitting around
If you don't keep a clean camp, you are also inviting the mice and the squirrels
2. Can we cook in the tipis/trapper's tents?
No. You don't want any food smells on the canvas or inside to attract any animals. Common sense says, don't have food smells where you sleep. Cooking may include: cooking over the open fire, using a BBQ or bringing a camp stove. We carry basic grocery items in the Trading Post, snack foods, and ice. Please remember that your coolers must also go back into the vehicles at night.
3. Where do we wash our dishes?
Wash your dishes ONLY at your campsite, NOT at the water wells. Please bring a water jug to carry water from the well to your campsite, a pot or kettle in which to heat water and a tub for washing the dishes. Detailed instructions are given at check-in. We do not have a central/outside gray water pit/sink.
4. How far is the tipi/trapper's tent from where I park?
Not far. With some units, you can park right at your site in the designated parking spot along the road. Some people prefer their units to be farther back in the trees away from the road. They park in the designated parking area and then walk down the path, possibly past one or two other units tucked away in the trees, to their own "walk-in" unit - a walk of between 10 and 50 seconds. We will try to accommodate your preferences but we can't promise what's going to be available when you book. We consider these to be "walk-in" sites: trapper's tents: #30, 31, 32 and #23, 24, 25, 44 and 45.
5. How close to the Kananaskis River are you?
The Kananaskis River is our western boundary. Some of the "walk-in" sites described above are only a few minutes walk through the trees to the riverbank where you will have an incredible view of the river and mountains, including Mt. Allan ('88 Olympics) and Mt. Lorette (bald and golden eagle migration route). Due to environmental setback rules, none of the units are located right on the bank.
6. How private are your campsites?
We are regularly complemented on the spacing and trees between the sites. All sites are good for individual families/couples, but some are in clusters, well suited for two or three families coming together.
7. Are the tipis in one area, trapper's tents in another and tent/RV sites in another?
The first two loops are mainly tipis and trapper's tents intermixed. A few tent/RV sites are also located in these loops for those family groups where one family stays in a tipi/trapper's tent and the other wants to stay in their own tent/trailer on a campsite nearby. The third loop has tent/RV sites only.
8. Are your tent/RV sites serviced? Do you have a dump station?
No, they are not serviced. However there are washrooms and showers in the Trading Post. Water pumps, outdoor toilets and bear proof garbage bins are found in each of the loops. We are too close to the river to have a dump station but stations are available about 10 minutes drive north on HWY 40 at Barrier Information Center and 10 minutes drive south at Mt. Kidd RV Park.
9. What should we do if we are going to be late for check-in?
Please call if you will be later than 8 p.m.. If no one will be in the office when you arrive, we put a map on the door of the Trading Post with your name and site number on the front and the campground rules on the back. We ask that you set up quietly and register at the office the next morning before 11 a.m..
10. We have a group of teenagers looking for a campsite. Can we book them here? What about Family Reunions?
Sundance Lodges is a family campground with quiet time from 10:30 p.m. at night to 8 a.m. in the morning. Many families return year after year because they like the peace and quiet. Therefore, we would not be suitable for a group of teenagers, or anyone else for that matter, who plan to 'party' and want the freedom to make some noise. Teenagers with supervisors, such as church groups, schools or Scouts are welcome. All other teenagers under 18 must have a parent supervising at all times.
We have had many successful Family Reunions over the years; however, if a group is large or wishes to 'party', we usually recommend they check into one of the Group Camps in the Kananaskis area. We only take large groups during the week. On weekends, the size of groups and the overall number of groups is limited to make room for individual customers. The Family Reunions that suit our campground are small and agree to the Quiet Hours. Noise carries at night due to the clear mountain air and the quiet in other parts of the campground. Guests are still welcome to visit quietly around their campfires in the evening.
11. Are the tipis and trapper's tents waterproof?
Tipis were developed by North American native people over hundreds of years. They were a shelter that was easily transportable, stable in the wind, and comfortable in both good and poor weather. They aren't completely waterproof but much better than regular tents. Our tipis have a rain catcher at the top, headroom to move around in, and a wooden floor, all of which make a big difference in poor weather. Tipis naturally shed moisture down the inside of their poles, so if it rains very hard or for a long time, moisture not caught by the rain catcher starts to move down the poles. If it hits a knot in the wood and isn't moving fast enough to get over it, it may start to drip. To re-track the drip over the knot: lick your finger, rub the knot up and down and pull your finger down the pole 8 to 10 inches (old native trick): "If it's raining hard, some plastic over your bedding will also help. Many people also put up a tarp over their eating area outside for shade or shelter."
Trapper's Tents have an extra fly over the sleeping area so they are usually very dry. As well, the deck has an awning over it that provides shelter when it's raining and shade when it's hot - a great place for your picnic table!
12. What time is check-in and check-out?
Check-in is between 3:00 p.m. and 8 p.m. If you're going to be late, please call ahead.
Check-out is by 11 a.m. for tipis and trapper's tents; by 12 noon for campsites.
We thank you for adhering to these times as our staff have a lot of ground to cover between check-out and check-in. They want to do a great job so that all the sites are clean and welcoming when our guests arrive.
13. Can we request specific sites?
If you wish to make a request, we ask that you give us three or four sites that are NOT together. We do our best to give you one of these sites; however, we reserve the right to make changes before check-in without notification for several reasons:
There may be a problem with the site requested such as a fallen tree that cannot be taken out in time.
We allow campers with tents to book and request RV sites; however, for the odd time that we need that RV site to accommodate an RV at the last moment, we may need to move them back to a tent site.
We try to keep individual families from ending up in the middle of groups; therefore, we may need to shift your site to do this. This is when having three or four other sites listed on your reservation helps but again, we can't promise these particular ones will be open.
This doesn't happen very often but we hope this explains why it's sometimes necessary.
14. Can I book any site I want?
There are several clusters of trapper's tents and/ tipis that work best for groups, usually the "walk-in" sites. These are held for booking by groups of three or more families on the weekends. During the week, however, these sites can be booked by individual families. We allow tenters to book longer sites usually occupied by RVs; however, if we end up needing an RV site, the tenters may be moved to a tenting site.
15. Can I run my generator during the night?
During Quiet Hours of 10:30 p.m. to 8 a.m., we ask that music be turned off completely and that you don't run your generator.
During the day, we ask that you run your generator sparingly as most campers sitting outside, whether staying in tents or RVs, don't enjoy listening to one for very long . Please do not bring the older noisy type of generator..
16. Where does the word "Lodges" in your name come from?
"Lodge" is an old word for tipi.
The word "lodging" today indicates a variety of accommodation, thus including the trapper's tents as well as the tipis.
17. Why isn't there a garbage bin at every site?
Sundance is located in the mountains where the opportunity to see wildlife is a major draw for visitors. However, attracting wildlife, especially bears, to your campsite with food / garbage sitting around is dangerous for you, other campers and for the animals. These items must always be stored in a closed vehicle when not being used or put in bear-proof garbage bins. Other such items with a strong scent include candles, toothpaste, pet food, etc..
As regular garbage cans are obviously not suitable and it's not possible to have a bear-proof garbage bin at every campsite, it is your responsibility to put all garbage in bags and to deposit these bags in the larger bear-proof bins, thereby keeping your campsite clean & safe for you and for other campers. And for the animals. A bear that gets used to eating food/garbage in campgrounds often becomes habituated to this and may have to be destroyed.
18. How do I apply to work at Sundance Lodges?
Detailed information and the opportunity to apply for the Reservations & Campground Attendant positions and the Maintenance position can be found at www.cooljobscanada.com later in January. You can also apply directly on our Careers page that is live between January and April.