Thinking about booking that winter holiday but not sure where to go? Banff is a gorgeous mountain town in the heart of the Canadian Rockies that makes for a perfect winter getaway. With the picturesque setting and amazing access to outdoor adventures, the town of Banff has a variety of experiences waiting for you. Here are a few activities that make Banff a wonderful vacation choice during the winter.
1. Ski and Snowboard
Keen to hit the slopes and ride the famous Rockies powder? Banff National Park is home to three ski resorts that offer a wide variety of terrain with beautiful views of the surrounding mountains. Getting it is easy with the free ski shuttles that run at multiples times throughout the day from right next to the Rundlestone Lodge. With Sunshine Village and Mount Norquay just a short distance from the Banff town centre, you can enjoy a full day of skiing or snowboarding then head back into town to rest your head at the modern yet comfortable Rundlestone Lodge.
Is it your first time putting on skis or a snowboard? Sunshine Village is ideal for the beginner boarder or skier while still providing a challenge for the more experienced members of your group. Boasting over 130 different ski runs, the terrain is sure to impress. So, grab your gear and head on out – the mountains are calling!
Maybe you want to spend your time on the slopes at Mount Norquay. Even the drive to the resort is a fun ride, with spectacular views from the mountain road and a good chance of seeing bighorn sheep and deer along the way. Mount Norquay is one of the original ski resorts in the Rockies, with its first ski run dating back to 1926. As well as skiing and snowboarding, Mt Norquay boasts an amazing snow tube park where you can safely slide down the snowy mountain on inflatable donuts – fun for all the family.
The snow is falling so get to the hills fast!
2. Snowshoe Adventure
Whether you take your own snowshoes or go on a snowshoeing tour, adventuring into the Rocky Mountains is an experience not to be missed. Walk atop the fluffy white snow to frozen waterfalls, past deep canyons or to the top of a mountain*.
Snowshoeing is one of the best ways to get up close to the scenery surrounding you. If you choose to go on a tour you can learn about the history behind the mountainous region of Banff. Check out Discover Banff Tours for a wide array of snowshoe tour options. Embark on a truly unique winter hike, making a few snow angels along the way!
* Some snowshoe trails go through avalanche terrain so make sure you have the equipment and experience needed to navigate these areas safely.
3. Shops and Food
If you want a break from the outdoors, Banff offers many local shops to visit along the snow-covered Banff Avenue. Head into some of the cutest spots along the strip where you can buy a warm Banff sweater or find an elusive ammolite pendant to bring back home.
When you’ve worked up an appetite, the options for a delectable dining experience are vast. Banff is home to everything from the classic pub favourites to exotic tastes infused with popular culture or the rich, smokey flavours of the well-trafficked steak houses.
Looking for a simple treat? There are chocolatiers, candy shops and freshly made fudge shops nestled between bakeries and cafes.
You can take a stroll down Banff Avenue and it’ll be a sure bet you won’t end your day hungry.
4. Banff Upper Hot Springs
Next stop, head to Sulphur Mountain to dip in the natural hot springs and warm up after a day of adventure. The original discovery of the spring water led to the foundation of Banff National Park itself. Even in the heart of winter, the hot springs are the place to be. Try making fun hairstyles as the steam cools in the crisp mountain air. With spectacular views of the surrounding mountains, this spot is especially beautiful at sunset.
5. Lake Louise
A glacial lake, Lake Louise is a must-see for wanderers. The lake itself is a mesmerizing turquoise in the summer months and even more spectacular with the glistening ice in winter; perfect for the photographer in you.
Bring or rent your ice skates for the most scenic ice-skating rink in the park; they even have an ice-castle to explore! Alternatively, take a hike to the end of the lake to see the magnificent frozen waterfall below the Columbia Glacier (look out for ice climbers!).
Whatever a vacation looks like to you, Banff truly has it all with the breathtaking scenery, a variety of adventures and awesome places to relax.