Backcountry adventures in Alberta’s beautiful Rocky Mountains are both intriguing and intimidating.
Moritz Kniebel, owner and operator of Handle-Bar, is dedicated to “making the extreme accessible” and wants everyone to be able to experience Alberta’s incredible natural areas.
“I realized a need in Bragg Creek for a business that offers not only high-quality mountain bikes for rent but, more importantly, guided hiking and biking tours geared towards those that are uncertain and unfamiliar with the options the backcountry has to offer,” says Moritz. “We target all age groups, families and those who are not extreme athletes, but are interested in making the outdoors part of their life and become part of an outdoor community that does not discriminate.”
Summer and Winter Mountain Gear Rental and Guided Adventures
Customers are able to choose a type of guided excursion from a long list of shorter day trips including animal awareness hikes, backcountry navigation, family rides, beginner backcountry biking, and summit seekers.
They also offer multi-day adventures. “On longer trips we set up the camp beforehand to create an easy transition from day tripping to multi day trips for our guests. On these trips we focus on skills and tips needed for a successful backcountry adventures in the future,” says Mortiz.
Not only does Handle-Bar offer incredible guided and educational backcountry adventures, they also rent the high-quality mountain bikes, hiking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and backcountry camping gear that one might need to enjoy the experience. “We are an entry to mountain adventure and do not expect our customers to have all the gear, but want them to learn with the best,” says Moritz.
Handle-Bar also offers themed clubs on a weekly basis such as after work bike rides, early morning hikes, singles hikes, and a parent bike club where kids are entertained while the parents have an opportunity to ride on their own.
A Lifetime of Mountain Experience
Moritz, who was born in Germany and immigrated to Canada at the age of 10, has been hiking and skiing the mountains of the world for his entire life. After he had completed university in Germany and guide training at the College of the Rockies in Fernie, he opened Handle-Bar in 2020.
Moritz is inspired to share his knowledge and love of nature with as many people as he can. “The outdoor adventure represented on social media or National Geographic is not what makes the backcountry so attractive,” he says. “It is the simplicity of nature and the ability to reach it relatively easily that gives us great experiences, re-fuels mind and body, and grounds us.”
Cozy Headquarters Serves as a Community Gathering Spot
Handle-Bar’s headquarters are located in Old West Mall (27 Balsam Avenue) in Bragg Creek. Moritz sees this space as a cozy gathering space and intends to offer European-inspired comfort food and beverages. “The Danes call it ‘Hugge,’ the German speaking countries call it ‘Gemuetlichkeit,’ in English the closest would be ‘cozy,’ which is the atmosphere and welcome we intend to offer in the Handle-Bar Living Room and Caffe,” he explains.