Bow Valley rockers Elk Run & Riot inside Rat's Nest Cave last year for an underground concert.
December is here, so, naturally, it's the time of year to squeeze, crawl and climb your way 100 feet underground.
That's because deep inside Rat's Nest Cave, ‘Spirit in the Mountain' Christmas concerts return over three nights (Dec. 15-17) featuring the musical talents of three local acts.
“It's something special down there,” said Max Koether, experience manager and guide at Canmore Cave Tours.
“There aren't any amps or mics down there ... the cave itself is such a wonder itself and on top of that, there's a music concert inside of a mountain. It's hair-raising, something so connective, with such amazing local talent.”
Headlining the trio of evenings inside the intimate Grand Gallery space are Canmore's Valley Winds Choir (Dec. 15), folk rock band Elk Run & Riot (Dec. 16), and a capella group In The Pink.
Only 24 spots are available for each event.
Spirit in the Mountain concerts are part of Canmore Cave Tours' unEarthed series, which opens up the cave inside Grotto Mountain for live performances, a speaker series and exploring, all deep inside a cave east of Canmore.
“Were moving away from the idea that (Rat's Nest Cave) is just a place for adventure, it's also a classroom to teach about the natural world, a music venue, a photographers' challenge – we're taking the cave out of the mountain and bringing it to the community,” said Koether.
Canmore Cave Tours provides all caving equipment visitors need, they just ask that you wear appropriate shoes and warm layers for the experience and to also be prepared to get a little dirty.
It is winter, but inside the cave the temperature is always five degrees Celsius.
“It's the equivalent to being inside the fridge and listening to the concert for an hour,” said Koether. “We will be providing blankets and hot beverages for guests.”
It's an uphill hike for about 30-40 minutes on a mountain trail along Highway 1A near Canmore to reach Rat's Nest Cave, which got its name because of the nests of bushy-tailed wood rats at the entrance.
Tickets for Spirit in the Mountain are $130 per night. The experience is for ages 10 and up.