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Alternative Adventures: 9 Unforgettable Canadian Winter Experiences

A person ice fishing on a frozen lake, with a snowy mountain in the background

Winter isn’t just about getting the best turns in the back country on your skis or snowboard. While the days can be bitterly cold, this is the best time to embrace Western Canada’s frozen landscapes and embark on an incredible outdoor adventure. 

Whether you’re using this time to decompress and find peace on silent snowy trails, or to get your blood pumping on an exhilarating excursion, we’ve got plenty of reasons to welcome winter with open arms. Here’s some of our favourite classically Canadian adventures that don’t involve skiing!

Hot Springs

Beat the cold with a dip into some hot springs! There are loads of public access springs to find on the map (ie. Radium, Banff), but you can also do some research and find natural springs to hike to. We won’t mention those here, they’re meant to stay hidden gems! Either way, your body will thank you when you relax into the heat. 

A wintery day at the Radium Hot Springs pools

Image credit: Destination BC/Kari Medig

Ice Climbing

Believe it or not, this extreme sport is accessible for all levels of experience. By going with a guide, you can learn everything from beginners techniques to brand new routes. Ice climbing is a great way to see new environments, keep your brain and body active, and have fun for a day. 

When you book a Yervana ice climbing Adventure, you’re supporting local guides. All of our ice climbing Locals are certified IFMGA/ACMG guides with a wealth of knowledge and great stories to share. Check out some ice climbing Adventures here.


Frozen lakes, frozen ponds and frozen lawns. They’re all fair game this winter! Make sure the conditions are safe and the ice is thick before you go gliding your way through a winter wonderland. In some towns and cities, you’ll find free public ice rinks with the option to rent a pair of skates for an afternoon of fun.  

A girl walking through a snowy forest in winter

Forest Bathing

Surprise! Forest bathing is not exclusive for the summer months. Countless studies show the benefits of being in nature, and these peaceful walks will have you ‘bathing’ in fresh forest air. To keep your mind focused on pure relaxation, be sure to wear warm clothing and bring something to sit on (ex. a foam mat of some sort). 

De-stress, lower your heart rate, improve your mood and creativity, and connect to your core-self again with our Local, Milena. Located in Edmonton, this forest bathing session aims to enhance your wellness and ground you. 


The perfect balance of both exhilarating and relaxing, snowmobiling provides an alternative way to see the backcountry. Travel through old growth forest, rip through fresh powder and take breaks for hot cider and good chats with your friends. 

We have some cool snowmobiling Adventures on Yervana. Explore Golden and cruise around the backcountry during the day or by moonlight! 

Note: If you’re planning your own backcountry snowmobile trip without a professional guide, remember to get your Avalanche Skills Training!  

A snowy landscape with two snowmobilers in the backcountry

Image credit: Northern BC Tourism/Andy Cochrane

Ice Fishing

Sit back and relax while catching some beautiful fish and taking in the views around you. Bring your friends and family and bond the old-fashioned way: sitting in a heated tent with hot bevvies and lots of laughs! Check out ice fishing Adventure in Pemberton or Revelstoke this winter.


This alternative activity isn’t just for kids! Find a hill, get your snow pants on and get going. Bring friends, bring snacks and bring some beverages. Ain’t no party like a snow party. So make it happen this season!


A great way to see your favourite hikes in the cold winter months is to strap on a pair of snowshoes and get moving. Not only will you see the environment in a new light, but you’ll have fun while doing it! 

Check out our snowshoeing Adventures in BC and Alberta!

What are your top alternative things to do in the winter? Let us know via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram

See you in the snow!



Carve your way through the remote backcountry of the Callaghan Valley via snowmobile. Visit a remote cabin and fill up on a full Canadian Yukon breakfast!



This adventure is designed for people who want to try something new and exciting. In this intro session, beginners are welcome. No previous experience climbing waterfall ice is needed!

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