Before hotels and ski hills, the Canadian Rockies were known, loved and lived in by First Nations. Frozen lakes were their hunting ground, snowy foothills their home. Connect with the mountains like the first inhabitants with wintery walks that resonate Aboriginal heritage.
Winter always seems to pass by faster when you’re busy with activities. Don’t let the season get you down; there are plenty of winter activities to warm up to in the Canadian Rockies. Cross-country skiing is a great low impact sport that the whole family can do. If you’re looking for something a little different, I highly recommend the Goat Creek Trail that runs from Canmore to Banff through the Spray Valley.
A popular summer mountain biking trail, Goat Creek also makes a fantastic cross-country ski trail, even for beginners. Track set for the full 18 km, you pop out at the Fairmont Banff Springs hotel where you can take advantage of the scrumptious Sunday brunch or go for a dip at the nearby Banff Upper Hot Springs before heading back to Canmore. (See my note about transportation at the end of this article). (more…)
1. Canyon Ice Walks: Guided tours of Johnston, Grotto and Maligne canyons pass through towering walls of limestone to stunning frozen waterfalls. Ice cleats are provided; headlamp-lit night tours are an option.(more…)
We talked to local extreme sports athlete Will Gadd in our winter feature Big Mountain Adventure about some of his favourite places to ice climb and backcountry ski. But if the suggestions in that article are a little too adventurous for you, Gadd has more ideas for fun:
The final part of this four-week post series will introduce you to cross-country skiing, brought to Canada at the turn of the 20th century by Scandinavian immigrants. At first, skeptical locals thought snowshoeing to be a more practical means of winter transportation. But with the advent of ski lodges, things began to change.
The third part of this four-week post series will introduce you to the horse-drawn carriage ride—the perfect addition to a winter getaway.
Photo: Banff Lake Louise Tourism / Paul Zizka Photography
Magical Sleigh Rides
Historically, sleighs offered a practical (and preferred) way for ordinary people to get around after the snow fell. But today, it’s all about the magic of snuggling in a sleigh and listening to the rhythm of the horses’ hooves as snowflakes scatter the sky.
The second part of this four-week post series will introduce you to snowshoeing, a fun, low-impact and low-cost old-fashioned winter activity. Snowshoeing requires little planning, simple gear and no experience. Luckily, here in the Rockies there’s no shortage of powder to sink those snowshoes into! Join a local operator on a guided tour, or rent snowshoes and be your own guide.
Photo: Banff Lake Louise Tourism
An Authentic Sense of Winter
“Snowshoeing is the fastest growing sport in North America,” says Mark Zanetti, sales manager at Discover Banff Tours. “People from all walks of life try it out and to their surprise find it not difficult at all. We tell guests that if you can walk, you can snowshoe!”
Marvel at snow-capped peaks from the cozy comfort of a horse-drawn carriage, hot chocolate in hand. Or strap on snowshoes and venture deep into a valley glistening in winter glory. However you prefer to play, ’tis the season to explore Canada’s Rockies in all their snowy splendour.
This four-week post series will introduce you to dog sledding, snowshoeing, sleigh riding and cross-country skiing. Once essential modes of winter travel, these activities now entice people looking for good old-fashioned mountain fun in the great outdoors.
This winter, try out Banff’s new intermediate 5.9-km Castle Mountain Lookout to Protection Mountain Campground trail, which parallels the Bow Valley Parkway and traces part of the original auto-route through Banff National Park. This single-track trail has 15 metres of elevation gain.
Perfect for novice skiers, the 4.4-km Tunnel Mountain Trailer Court trail near the Banff townsite debuted last season and is lit dusk-to-dawn. The trail has minimal elevation.
Free tip #5: hit the public skating rinks (Photo: Cristian Bortes)
March Break is coming up soon, and maybe you’re hopping on a plane to warmer climes. But for the rest of us, Canadian Family has twelve great tips for a family “staycation”—all of them entirely free. (more…)
Following in the footsteps of the original Snow Village in Finland, Montreal’s Snow Village is a first in North America. We were there last weekend for the official opening.
Made from 40,000 cubic metres of artificial snow and more than 200,000 kilos of ice, the “village” sits in Parc Jean Drapeau—just 10 minutes outside of downtown and a three-minute walk from the closest metro station.
Skating on the Rideau Canal is an essential Ottawa experience. Photo credit: NCC.
From Feb. 3 to 20, Ottawa transforms into a winter wonderland. This annual festival offers an abundance of indoor and outdoor activities, so we’ve rounded up some of the highlights from this classic Canadian event. By Misa Kobayashi.(more…)