The Legend of the Canmore Newbie

By Stefan Grecu


This was the “joke” I found myself tackled with at a recent gathering back in my hometown across the border in Pennsylvania.

“So why did you move to… where again?”

“Canmore, Alberta.”

“Yeah, that’’s right, so why did you move there? Skiing, hiking, mountain biking, the outdoors maybe?”

“Nope,it was for… love.”

“Really? So, do you have a job?”

Stefan runnin’ against the wind. Photo thanks to Stefan Grecu.

Well, I have a lot of ideas, but I thought I’d start by writing a ‘newbie to Canmore’ piece for my friends at Highline. The ol’ job search will just have to wait until I can walk again.

Yes, after my first week in Canmore, I now sit at my computer with quivering quads, cowering calves and an overall soreness that can only be brought about by living and playing in the mountains. There is certainly a higher level of fitness required to live an ‘average’ life here: up in the mountains, all activities are magnified in intensity. Thankfully I have good lungs from road cycling, but my muscles are definitely playing catch-up! Recreation is clearly an integral part of life here in the Bow Valley. It’s a connection between mountain people and their home… and as soon as I reconnect to my legs I look forward to feeling that connection too!

A Bit About Me

I grew up in a sort of ‘no-man’’s-land’ area of Pennsylvania in between Amish country and the Pennsylvania Dutch region. Pret-ty hostile. Naturally, I was fond of meatloaf and mashed potatoes, but had a diverse family background that encouraged trying flavors of the world. Athletics were looked upon in a similar way, and I was lucky enough to play and explore all kinds of sports growing up. Though I never stood out in any particular team sport, I was pretty comfortable in individual activities (except for skating, but we’ll get back to that later).

I eventually discovered the sport of cycling and was hooked. Luckily for this kid, love of travel and the passion for cycling were fused when I was hired as a cycling tour guide in Europe where I was trained by a cycling guide from Canmore. And thus the seed was planted… but I did not know it yet.

Autumn Larches. Photo courtesy of Stefan Grecu.

So how did this sprout of possibility grow? Well, another Canmore cycling guide named Sabrina had also jumped the pond to Mallorca, Spain, for a spring break cycle tour, which was recommended to her by my original mentor from Canmore. Our paths crossed and it wasn’t long before we fell in love. Her parents visited shortly after to verify her findings (I hold an anthropology degree, so I can talk like that), and yada yada, I find myself living here in Canmore.

A New Life in the Mountains

For both Sabrina and me, being in the outdoors is a priority, so we have been road and mountain biking, running and hiking A LOT since I arrived in town. I’m looking forward to experiencing winter sports here, too, as the morning mountains become a fiery cinnamon, the air temperature cools and snow begins to accumulate. You could say I have been “riding the east coast ice” for years, so am definitely in need of some quality powder lessons. Skating is a different story and I will need a secret place to work on that.

Possibly the most difficult task at hand now will be to find boots and ice skates in a size 14!

Looking forward to getting acquainted with you, Canmore. Feel free to wave or say hi to me, the friendly giant pushing around a wooden chair on the pond this winter.

Guest Contributor

Highline Magazine is stoked to feature the stories of contributors from throughout the Canadian Rockies and the surrounding regions, even if only on a one-time or occasional basis. Keen to contribute? Drop us a line.

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