‘Nightrise’ Is a Light Show in Banff That Celebrates Mountains, Winter, and Indigenous Peoples

by Tuan

The town of Banff in Alberta, Canada, is a place that has long drawn people in search of raw beauty and mountain landscapes. But this winter, once the sun sets, the landscape is turned on its head. A new multimedia show, called Nightrise, uses lights, digital art, and sound to transform perceptions and pay tribute to the mountains. The project was created by the Canadian multimedia studio Moment Factory in partnership with the Stoney Nakoda Nation, who were the first people to live in the Banff area.

The excursion begins in the Banff Gondola as the sun sets and night rises. As the gondola car ascends up Sulphur Mountain (Mînî Rhuwîn in Nakoda), music, narration and original soundscapes fill the cabin — which floats over 2,000 feet above the earth.

Upon arrival at the summit, visitors are met by multisensory art installations that bring the gondola building to life. The four installations, called the Four Wonders — Cosmic Rays (Apenene Garharhagach), Diamond Dust (Wiyapta Ptach), Alpenglow (Aîthîya Eya), and Frosted Waves (Yowatha) — explore Sulphur Mountain through light, sound, and projections. Each wonder provides space to connect to the mountain below your feet and play with family and friends.

Nightrise features two videos produced by Stoney Nakoda creatives, including a video of Charlie Rabbit, a Stoney Nakoda elder who explains the Stoney Nakoda peoples’ connection to Sulphur Mountain, the winter, and the night. 

Nightrise is one of the many initiatives Banff has launched to tell Indigenous stories in creative ways. As part of Banff Lake Louise Tourism’s 10-year vision for Banff National Park, they are partnering with the town of Banff, Parks Canada, and an Indigenous working group to improve many things, including Indigenous cultural awareness and education.

A digital companion guide provides context to Nightvision, including information on the story being shared along with games and trivia.

Following a journey through Nightrise, visitors are encouraged to linger at the top of Sulphur Mountain and enjoy a meal or drink. For the best views, reserve a table at Sky Bistro, which has floor-to-ceiling windows and serves elevated Canadian cuisine. There’s also the Northern Lights Alpine Kitchen, a buffet-style restaurant. For drinks, check out the Belvedere Rooftop Bar and ask for a Nightrise-themed nightcap. On the weekends there is an ice bar. 

Through March 31, 2024, Nightrise is included in the cost of an evening Banff Gondola fare. The first Nightrise gondola departs at 7:10 p.m. The starting rate for a gondola ride with Nightrise is $58 CAN ($43 USD) per adult. For a Nightrise experience that includes a three-course meal at the Sky Bistro, tickets are $142 CAN ($105 USD) per person.

From source: https://www.travelandleisure.com/banff-canada-indigenous-light-show-nightrise-8549227.

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