Monday, January 15, 2018

The BEST of Winter in the Canadian Rockies (Gotta do THIS!)

Discover the best ski trails, winter getaways, sledding hills, festivals, and all things magical in the Canadian Rockies this winter. Go snowshoeing, skate on a wild mountain lake, or explore frozen waterfalls! This is the guide you'll need.

The BEST of Winter in the Canadian Rockies!

Make sure you're following my facebook page and follow my instagram account to see what we're up to each week, and make sure you're subscribed to receive an email each time I publish a new post (so you don't miss anything) - right sidebar, follow by email.

Winter is AWESOME when you know where to go

I also recommend saving this post (Pinterest is your friend here) so you can find it again next winter, because I plan to add to it anytime I discover something new and awesome.

This guide has been updated for winter 2020-21 

The Best of Winter in the Canadian Rockies 


1. Attend the Ice Magic Festival in Lake Louise at the end of January

2. Attend Fun Family-Friendly Events at Snow Days in Banff in January/February

3. Head North to Visit the Edmonton Ice Castles

Ice Magic Festival at Lake Louise

Ice Adventures

1. Go Skating on a Frozen Lake (The Banff Lake Tourism site has several suggestions.)

2. Skate on a Frozen River (In Banff, a skating oval is often cleared on the Bow River)

3. Experience Wild Mountain Lake Skating (The real deal, not groomed or cleared)
Read: Wild Mountain Skating Guide for Banff and Kananaskis 

Skating on Johnson Lake in Banff (usually in condition by mid-November)

4. Plan a Trip to Invermere, BC, to Skate The World's Longest Skating Trail on Lake Windermere
    with over 30 kilometres of ice cleared for skating
Read: Winter Guide to the Columbia Valley (Golden, Radium Hot Springs, Invermere, and beyond)  

5. Hike a Frozen Canyon or Visit a Frozen Waterfall in Kananaskis or Banff
Read: The Best Ice Hikes in Kananaskis and Banff 

6. Head North to Jasper National Park to Hike Frozen Maligne Canyon

7. Go Find the Fish Creek Provincial Park Ice Falls in Calgary

Magical Troll Falls in Kananaskis

Winter Hiking, Snowshoeing, and Snowy Fun

1. Go Backcountry Sled Hiking

2. Make a Snow Fort, Tunnel, or Quinzee

3. Discover how much Fun Winter Hiking is! Check out my winter hiking guide here.)

Winter hiking is a BLAST with kids!

4. Go Snowshoeing in Kananaskis (Check out my Family Snowshoeing Super Guide)

5. Explore the Trails in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park, Kananaskis 
Read: Winter Adventures in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park 

6. Go Sledding at the Canmore Nordic Centre

7. Visit one of the Ski Resort Tube Parks in or near Calgary
Read: Family Tube Park Review (Calgary, Kananaskis, Banff, and Lake Louise)

The Canmore Nordic Centre has the BEST Sledding Hill (and it's free)

Cross-country Skiing 

1. Learn to Cross Country Ski at the Canmore Nordic Centre 

 2. Go Cross Country Skiing in West Bragg Creek Provincial Park near Calgary

3. Explore the Ski Trails in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park
Read: Family Cross Country Ski Trips  - our favourite destinations near Calgary 

Read: The Best Beginner Cross-country Ski Trails near Calgary  

Read: Ten Reasons to Try Cross-country Skiing with your Family  

Blueberry Hill Lookout, Peter Lougheed Provincial Park 

5. Climb a Mountains with Kids on Skis! (Featured: Skogan Pass, Kananaskis) 

Skogan Pass Summit, Kananaskis 

6. Try Backcountry Ski Touring as a Family (Featured: Chester Lake, Kananaskis)

7. Find a Snowshoe Trail - And go SKIING (Featured: Boom Lake Trail, Banff)

8. Go Ski Touring in Banff National Park (Featured: Paradise Valley and Ross Lake)

Cross-country ski touring in Paradise Valley at Lake Louise 

9. Visit Lake Louise for an affordable cross-country ski weekend

Read: Family Cross Country Skiing at Lake Louise  (our favourite trails)

Read: Affordable Ski Weekends at Lake Louise 

Cross-country skiing on Lake Louise

Find more cross country ski resources here:

Read:  Our favourite cross country ski trails near Calgary

Read: The Best Early Season Trails for Cross-country Skiing near Calgary 

Read: The Best Beginner Cross-country Ski Trails near Calgary  

Read: Ten Reasons to Try Cross-country Skiing with your Family   

And connect with other skiers here: Cross Country Skiing YYC on Facebook.  

Kananaskis Fire Lookout in November, Peter Lougheed Provincial Park 

Downhill Skiing and Snowboarding 

1. Spend a Day on the Ski Slopes at Calgary's Closest Mountain, Nakiska Ski Area in Kananaskis

2. Spend the day skiing, tubing, or trying luge at Canada Olympic Park in Calgary

Skiing close to home at WinSport's Canada Olympic Park 

3. Ski Sunshine Village AND stay overnight! 

4. Discover why families love skiing at Lake Louise

First tracks at Sunshine Village in December 

5. Plan a Family Downhill Ski Weekend at Fernie Alpine Resort

Read: 5 Reasons for Families to Love Fernie Alpine Resort

Read: The Key to Successful Family Ski Weekends at Fernie Alpine Resort

Read: Top 5 Things to do with your Family in Fernie this Winter 

Epic ski weekends start at Fernie Alpine Resort

6. Go Ski Tripping across the Columbia Valley in BC

Read: Family Guide to Panorama Mountain Resort


Read: Panorama Mountain Resort  (much more than downhill skiing)






Ski weekends at Panorama Mountain Resort are glorious!

7 Travel North to Ski Marmot Basin Resort in Jasper National Park

8. Travel South to ski Castle Mountain - and read about our Epic Family Ski Weekend at Castle Mountain Resort here.

9. Travel west to ski Revelstoke Mountain Resort - and read about our trip here: Family Ski Guide to Revelstoke Mountain Resort 

Extreme skiing starts at Castle Mountain Resort in Southern Alberta 

Backcountry and Wilderness Adventures 

1. Try Winter Camping (without sleeping in a tent) and ski or hike into a backcountry cabin

2. Spend a Night Winter Yurt Camping at Mount Engadine Lodge

3. Try glamping at Mount Engadine Lodge in a canvas tent 

Winter Backcountry Cabin Camping is a very cool experience!

4. Spend a weekend on the Remote Icefields Parkway between Lake Louise and Jasper 

5. Spend a Weekend at Hilda Creek on the Icefields Parkway

6. Discover solitude at the HI Mosquito Creek Wilderness Hostel in Banff 

7. Ski or Hike into a Backcountry Lodge in Banff National Park

The HI Hilda Creek Wilderness Hostel in Banff National Park

Fat Biking 

1. Try Fat Biking at Nipika Mountain Resort near Radium Hot Springs, BC

2. Try Fat Biking at Kananaskis Village

Fat Biking at Nipika Mountain Resort

Explore Alberta's Provincial Parks 

1. Discover Why Calgarians LOVE Day Trips to Kananaskis Village.

2. Enjoy the BEST Family Winter Fun in Cypress Hills Provincial Park

Spend a Day in one of Alberta's Provincial Parks this Winter

Cypress Hills Luge Track in Southern Alberta

Winter Road Trips 

1. Explore the Northern Canadian Rockies on a Winter Road Trip to Jasper National Park

2. Discover Yoho National Park and Magical Emerald Lake in Winter

3. Travel South to experience Winter in Waterton Lakes National Park in winter

4. Go Ski Tripping through the BC Kootenay Rockies and discover the best of the Columbia Valley in winter

5. Hot springs, wildlife, and hiking - Discover the best of winter in Radium Hot Springs, BC 

Exploring the Natural Bridge near Emerald Lake, Yoho National Park 

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