For 10,000 years, the nomadic Ktunaxa tribe roamed this stretch of the present-day Kootenay region in pursuit of migrant game and seasonal vegetation. Today, St. Eugene Golf Resort & Casino pays tribute to the Ktunaxa with a cultural center featuring exhibits on the tribe's renowned canoe-making, horsemanship, and woodworking skills. Ktunaxa-inspired accents can be found throughout the resort, such as in the the golf course, where each hole is given an indigenous name.
At the onsite Casino of the Rockies, guests can use their daily $10 CAN casino voucher toward blackjack or slot play on any of the 239 slot machines. Three-card and texas hold'em tables are scattered throughout the vibrant gaming floor, enlivened by horse-race and wheelbarrow-race simulcasts for off-track betting. Elsewhere on the property, a full gym, a sauna, a steam room, outdoor hot tubs, and an outdoor heated pool (set to reopen in mid-February) afford plenty of onsite diversion.
Appetites of every flavor are seen to at a quartet of onsite restaurants, ranging from fine dining to delicatessen-style. At the upscale Purcell Grill, chefs employ seasonal ingredients in dishes such as the roasted rack of Alberta lamb ($38 CAN) and crab and lobster cannelloni ($28 CAN). Fisher Peak Lounge serves gastropub fare in a warm, wood-furnished setting, and the casual Fred's Saloon allows diners to kick back with a hearty bowl of soup or freshly baked pizza.
Tucked within a broad basin in British Columbia's East Kootenay region, Cranbrook is framed by the dueling vistas of the Rockies and the Purcell Mountains. This dramatic landscape takes center stage at Cranbrook's Elizabeth Lake Sanctuary, a 15-acre wildlife reserve known for its big-game herds and migratory waterfowl and plastic-flamingo populations. Three short loops wend around the lake through wetlands and a forest, where visitors may glimpse western painted turtles, coyotes, elk, and moose.
The whimsical, Bavarian-style village of Kimberley lies fewer than 20 miles to the northwest. A pedestrian mall known as the Platzl welcomes shoppers to peruse the art galleries, shops, and German-themed cafes that line the street. Every hour on the hour, Kimberley's most famous resident, a freestanding cuckoo clock that is among North America's largest, salutes visitors. At the Kimberley Alpine Resort, downhill skiers and snowboarders zoom down the 80 powdered slopes of North Star Mountain.
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