Calgary comes to life in summer! While the city is brimming with exciting things to do, its close proximity to the Rocky Mountains means Calgary is an ideal base for both outdoor enthusiasts and city lovers looking for an adventure in the outdoors.
Are you wondering how to spend winter in Banff and Lake Louise? We’re here to tell you these hubs come alive in the winter!
These quaint, cozy mountain towns filled with cute log cabins, relaxing hot springs, world-class ski resorts and meandering trails are the epitome of Canadian winter. The backcountry develops a new kind of serenity, with bright, glimmering snow on the ground and a soft silence enveloping those who wander in.
The phrase ‘winter wonderland’ is popular for a reason: from snow-driven festivals to hearty meals and hand-crafted cocktails to seasonal Adventures. We’re covering it all. So keep reading to dive in!
From Travel Alberta / Mike Seehagel
Things to Do
The Winter Festival
Snow Days! From January 15-26 you can join the Banff community in celebrating the snowiest days of the year. Engage in everything from skating to ice-carving competitions and exclusive culinary options.
From January 15-26 you can witness spectacular ice carving art in Lake Louise! Held in front of the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, this event is not one to be missed. Bundle up and get ready to see magnificent art!
One of the best parts of winter is the magical frozen ice. And you can get one step closer by learning how to ice-climb (or finesse your skills!). Local, Jeff, offers a 1 or 2 day course that will get you swinging right away with a safety orientated approach. The ice climbing near both Banff and Lake Louise is world-class and stunning.
From @tristenohetherington on Instagram
Hot Springs (and tubs!)
Alright, the Banff Hot Springs are a must-do in winter. You’ll be ecstatic when the snow is softly falling through the steam and peppering your face after a long day of exploring. Try to get there at opening hours or during weekdays to avoid crowds.
If the hot springs aren’t quite your jam, you can find endless hotels with stunning hot tubs. Hotels like the Fox have hot tubs resembling caves (perfect for the kids to find amusement) or you can find stunning views at hotels like Deer Lodge and the Juniper Hotel. Outdoor hot tubs is the key with this one!
From Travel Alberta / Roth & Ramberg
Ski and Snowboard
With world-class resorts and incomparable snow conditions that last for months and months, those who love to ski and snowboard will find endless bliss in Banff. Lake Louise, Sunshine Village and Norquay are all near enough for a half or full day trip. Whether you’re new to the sport or an experienced turn-champ, these resorts all have something for everyone.
What’s the difference from regular skiing? Nordic is classified as cross-country, whereas resort skiing is often downhill. Local, Shauna, will teach you the basics or reintroduce you to the sport and get you on some of the best trails the Rockies have to offer! Nordic ski in Lake Louise today.
Not only is this trail stunning in summer, but it’s also a hike that will take your breath away in the winter months. The water freezes over creating intricate falls for ice-climbers and beautiful ice-tunnels with swirling water travelling within. The end of the hike will reward you with sights of a deep pool surrounded by ice and full of dynamic water twisting and turning. Hike Johnston Canyon to the Inkpots with Local, Shauna.
From @bettyyj on Instagram
How to Spend Winter in Banff + Lake Louise: Eat and Drink
Located at the top of the Banff Gondola, this restaurant is known for the gorgeous views from Sulphur Mountain paired with craft beer and delicious dishes.
We hope you’ve been convinced to visit Banff + Lake Louise! If you’re coming from an international destination, this town is a must-see. But even if you’re from Canada, you can’t miss it.
We understand getting to these locations is easier during the summer. The roads are safer and the traffic is higher because of the warm, sunny days. But that doesn’t mean you should avoid putting the effort in to make it over during the winter. Find out more details on travelling to Banff here.
Just remember to ensure your vehicle is winter equipped before hitting the road! This means covering all of your bases from winter tires to a blanket in the trunk. And check the weather forecast too- this will give you a early-warning on whether or not the highways are safe to travel on. You can also take shuttles to Banff (click here for more details).
From @j2studiosphotography on Instagram
INTRO TO ICE CLIMBING
The Intro to Ice Climbing Adventures are designed to introduce you to the sport of ice climbing. This is a 1 day Adventure and we will have you swinging and introduced to the world of ice with a safety oriented approach, beginning with the basics!
LAKE LOUISE, AB
Keep fit and have fun! Learn to Nordic ski and enjoy the best winter cross-country ski trails the Rockies have to offer. We’ll be starting with a lesson or refresher and end with a tour!