On the lookout for the perfect issues to do in Banff within the winter? I really like Banff all 12 months spherical, however I notably love Banff in winter. Whereas most individuals consider the Canadian Rockies as a summer season vacation spot, I believe that winter in Banff is what it’s all about. There are such a lot of superb issues to in Banff throughout the winter I truly bought unhappy this previous 12 months when spring rolled round.
The reality of the matter is I really like winter within the mountains. I really like snowboarding and that cozy feeling you’ve got whenever you stroll by way of the door after a protracted time out and have a scorching chocolate. Banff is nice for that feeling.
As well as, Lake Louise and Banff Sunshine are simply two of the perfect ski resorts in North America. As an alternative of heading to the seashores of the Caribbean or Southeast Asia, we determined to spend our winter tackling mountains with snowboards strapped to our toes.
We urge everybody to not let the worry of Canadian snow deter you from touring to Banff within the winter. You’re certain to be blown away by the wonder for those who sacrifice palm bushes and seashores and head north. Significantly, we fell in love a lot that we MOVED HERE!
In the event you select the best spot, actions, and ski resort you’ll be counting down the times till winter in Banff rolls round once more.
In the event you determine to make your approach to Banff within the winter these are a number of the greatest issues to do. On this information, we break down the perfect issues to do in Banff within the winter, the place to eat in Banff, and in addition a ski information to SkiBig3.
Ski/Snowboard Large Mountain Terrain
Snowboarding at all the SkiBig3 resorts was our main motive for heading to Banff within the winter. SkiBig3 is a set of three mountain resorts all inside Banff Nationwide Park. You might have Lake Louise, Banff Sunshine, and Mt. Norquay that are all improbable and distinctive ski resorts. Snowboarding or snowboarding right here is likely one of the greatest issues to do in Banff within the winter.
Lake Louise Ski Resort
There may be arguably no ski resort on this planet with a greater view than Lake Louise Ski Resort, that picture above is what we’re speaking about. In between runs screaming down groomers or tackling a bowl Banff Nationwide Park gives you some contemporary air and beautiful landscapes. We visited thirty resorts in a single season and the views from Lake Louise had been palms down a number of the greatest on this planet. In our opinion, Lake Louise beats out Banff Sunshine and Mt Norquay by leaps and bounds.
It additionally occurs to be one of many largest ski resort in North America with 4,200 acres masking 4 mountain faces. The terrain varies between lovely groomers, difficult steeps, and skilled degree chutes. The longest run right here stretches for practically 5 miles so begin understanding your leg muscular tissues now.
We love Lake Louise a lot that we’ve got purchased season passes there for 2 years in a row. They’ve a really lengthy season, difficult terrain, and usually it’s MUCH quieter than Banff Sunshine. Additionally as snowboarders, we discover that Banff Sunshine has too many flat cat tracks.
- Elevate Ticket Price: Grownup – $104 • Youth – $79 • Baby – $39 • Senior – $79 (Guide Tickets Right here)
- Runs/Skiable Terrain: 145 • 4,200 acres
- Favourite Runs: Brown Shirt, Juniper Jungle, Males’s Downhill, Saddleback, Sundown Terrace, and E Chute.
I used to be standing in the midst of an enormous chute watching Natasha’s snow rain down on me from the slope above. The run under me seemed like a straight cliff and whereas standing I might contact the mountain, at the very least it felt that manner. Banff Sunshine is a mountain that gives one thing to everybody from professionals proper right down to novices. You may simply end up smack dab in freeride terrain that might be thought-about out-of-bounds in different resorts.
If you wish to discover a mountain with some severely humbling terrain in-bounds then Banff Sunshine is the place to move. Jagged peaks loom excessive above alpine bushes and the views are unparalleled. While you first arrive within the parking zone the mountain doesn’t appear like a lot as the bottom is solely a gondola station and one restaurant. In truth, to achieve the true resort base company should take a 15-minute gondola that delivers them right into a sprawling resort that appears prefer it belongs within the Alps, not North America.
Banff Sunshine incorporates two skilled solely areas that require all riders and skiers to signal out with the ski patrol and carry an avalanche equipment. Delirium Dive and Wild West areas characteristic huge cliff options, chutes, and a few severely steep terrain.
Don’t let the skilled terrain detract you from visiting the resort because it additionally has a plethora of groomed newbie and intermediate runs. The resort has one thing for everybody and the bottom space makes for an ideal central level to fulfill after snowboarding the encircling peaks.
- Elevate Ticket Price: Grownup – $109 • Youth – $85 • Baby – $42 • Senior – $85 (Guide Tickets Right here)
- Runs/Skiable Terrain: 145 runs • 3,300 acres
- Favourite Runs: World Cup Downhill, Bunkers, The Shoulder, Wildside, Rolling Thunder, Tin Can Alley
Mt Norquay is probably the most digestible of resorts right here and the least imposing for novices/intermediates. It’s solely a 10 minute drive from the city of Banff, making it an amazing choice to go get some runs in and nonetheless have time on the town. The resort has been in operation since 1926 and presents plenty of actions asides from snowboard and ski. It’s additionally the one mountain that gives evening snowboarding within the space and comparatively small compared to the opposite resorts of SkiBig3.
Whereas Lake Louise and Banff Sunshine can draw an honest crowd (nonetheless few strains) Mt. Norquay is a quiet mountain. You’ll have a tough time discovering crowds right here and it’s the right place to learn to ski with a superb ski college and reasonably priced elevate ticket. In addition they provide snowshoe hikes, tubing, and little one care. The largest plus to Mt. Norquay for us is the proximity to the city of Banff, solely a 10-minute drive.
- Elevate Ticket Price: Grownup – $74 • Youth – $56 • Baby – $29 • Senior – $56 (Guide Tickets Right here)
- Runs/Skiable Terrain: 60 • 72 acres
- Favourite Runs: Constellation, Norquay 90 Glades, and Lone Pine.
Hit the Pictures Hotspots of Banff
There are 4 nationwide parks and a numerous variety of scenic mountain peaks, alpine lakes, and glaciers. In one of the vital scenic locations in Canada, you’re positively going to wish to take a big share of photographs. You can even partake in a images tour the place they present the perfect locations and how one can get the right shot.
There are a variety of nice spots to take photographs within the winter. Vermilion Lakes, the Bow Valley Parkway, and Lake Louise are nice locations to snag an amazing picture or you possibly can drive all the way in which as much as Jasper for a mess of extra locations.
Johnston Canyon Ice Stroll
The Johnston Canyon stroll is the perfect factor you are able to do in Banff within the winter at no cost. Have you ever ever stood on a frozen waterfall earlier than? Neither had we till the Johnston Canyon hike. Because of the elevation of the area and the sub-zero temperatures of winter the waterfalls of Johnston Canyon freeze in time. It’s a reasonably surreal expertise and utterly accessible for all.Ski/Snowboard Large Mountain Terrain
As a tip, we advise choosing up some ice cleats on the town. Though the path is properly managed it may get icy and it’s higher to slide all over the place on the path – ours had been very useful! When you attain the tip of the path and probably the most spectacular frozen fall you’ll most likely discover some ice climbers. In the event you’re feeling adventurous ebook an mountaineering tour your self!
Grotto Canyon Icewalk
In the event you’re staying in Canmore and wish one thing nearer than Johnston Canyon a superb choice is Grotta Canyon. That is a simple hike that’s good year-round, however it might be greatest to go along with a information if it’s your first time right here. This well-known canyon with rock artwork is feasible to stroll alongside the frozen creek.
Hike Tunnel Mountain
Tunnel Mountain is correct within the coronary heart of Banff. It’s beloved by locals for its accessibility and you’ll hike it year-round. It might be one of many smallest mountains in Banff Nationwide Park, nevertheless it nonetheless presents super views of the encircling valleys and Mount Rundle.
The hike strikes slowly up the mountain by way of plenty of switchbacks and presents numerous viewpoints out into the Bow and Spray Valleys. It’s nice for dawn or sundown and it not often disappoints. The perfect half is it’s solely 4.5 km spherical journey and shouldn’t take a couple of hour up. It’s one of many best winter hikes you are able to do with solely 266 meters of elevation acquire.
A terrific factor to do for households visiting Banff within the winter is snowshoe! Simply because there may be snow on the bottom doesn’t imply you possibly can’t go away the well-trodden path. You may not be capable to stroll by way of the snow on foot, however a top quality pair of snowshoes permit you to float throughout the snow.
They’re tremendous straightforward to get the cling of and also you’ll be transferring alongside very quickly. Two standard snowshoe hikes are to the Paint Pots or Marble Canyon, however you’re free to discover the wilderness by yourself for those who lease a pair.
Stroll and Ice Skate on Lake Louise
You may’t go to Banff within the winter and skip Lake Louise. You’ll be hard-pressed to discover a extra scenic ice rink than Lake Louise. Yearly the lake freezes over and the Chateau Lake Louise marks out a number of ice rinks made for households, determine skating, and hockey. Nothing screams you’re in Canada than enjoying hockey on a frozen lake. There are a variety of locations round that supply ice skates for lease, together with Chateau Lake Louise.
In the event you’re not a lot of a skater don’t fear – Lake Louise freezes utterly over each winter offering you the chance to stroll and discover the realm.
Benefit from the Banff Ice Bar
Throughout weekends at Lake Louise you possibly can get pleasure from a mulled wine on the Banff Ice Bar! The Ice Bar is open from round December 20th to mid April. They dish up every kind of scorching chocolate goodness and even have particular treats for the children.
Oh yea and 20 blocks of ice, every weighing 300 lbs, had been used to make this bar, so it’s actually a particular place to go to in Banff within the winter.
Take pleasure in a Sleigh Trip
One of the crucial magical issues to do in Banff within the winter is take a sleigh experience by way of the mountains. You may ebook both a non-public carriage or hop on a bunch journey at Lake Louise. You can even stroll down Banff Ave in a carriage, which is de facto beautiful on a pleasant winter day.
Banff Ice Pageant
For 12 days round January 15 – 26 (verify dates first although), there’s a very particular occasion at Lake Louise. The Ice Magic occasion is what winter in Canada is all about. That is the place ice comes alive and serves as a type of artwork and architectural design. Throughout this time you possibly can watch artists from all over the world carve completely different frozen figures.
It’s free to go to the ice carving occasions between Monday – Friday and on the weekends earlier than 10 a.m. or after 5:30 p.m. Throughout peak occasions on the weekend an admission price is charged.
In the event you can’t make the dates of the particular Ice Magic occasions don’t fear, the carvings can be on show all through February.
Nordic Ski/Cross Nation Ski
I personally don’t love cross-country snowboarding, however there are a lot who like to cross-country snowboarding. It’s a low affect sport that will get your coronary heart racing and lets you slide throughout the snow. There may be one factor you possibly can’t argue in opposition to is the pristine wilderness magnificence nordic skiers will discover themselves, particularly in Banff.
Cross nation snowboarding is a severe interest right here and also you’ll discover loads of folks getting on the market and stretching their legs. The Nordic Middle close to Canmore is a well-liked place to go cross nation snowboarding.
Attend the Ski World Cup at Lake Louise
There’s no higher approach to kick off winter within the Canadian Rockies than attending the Audi FIS Ski World Cup at Lake Louise. Yearly a small military of holiday makers, volunteers, media, and world-famous athletes descend on the tiny resort city with large mountain terrain. It’s the beginning of the World Cup velocity circuit the place the quickest skiers on this planet compete to be topped champ as they journey all over the world.
Personally, we couldn’t consider a greater spot to kick off winter because it arrives early within the Canadian Rockies. Come November it’s not a query of whether or not they’ll be ski, however how a lot and with three ski resorts within the space, we’re spoilt for choices. After all, our private favourite is Lake Louise and we’re comfortable to have a season move yearly.
Head to Peyto Lake
Peyto Lake is probably the most well-known lake in Banff Nationwide Park you’ve most likely by no means heard of earlier than. It’s a turquoise blue glacier-fed lake 40 km north of Lake Louise and a well-liked cease on the well-known Icefields Parkway. The good show of blue is fed by the Peyto Glacier excessive above the lake and a part of the Wapta Icefield.
The view from the perspective is likely one of the most spectacular in all of Banff Nationwide Park and an excellent standard spot for photographers in the summertime. Peyto Lake in our opinion competes for magnificence with Moraine Lake with out as many guests. In the summertime you’ll discover vibrant blue water right here, however within the lifeless of winter you possibly can nonetheless see an exquisite frozen wonderland. In the event you get right here in October proper after the primary snowfall, however earlier than the lake freezes it makes for an additional particular sight!
Soak within the Scorching Springs
Considered one of issues to do in Banff within the winter is soak within the Banff scorching springs. Having fun with scorching water within the cool air is likely one of the high Banff winter actions to get pleasure from. Don’t let the frigid Canadian temperatures detract you as a result of there are many methods to heat up round Banff.
Simply exterior of the Banff city lies the Banff Higher Scorching Springs. These scorching springs make for among the best locations to calm down these stiff muscular tissues after a ski day. Simply be warned afternoons can draw a crowd so head there within the morning for a extra quiet expertise.
Climb Sulphur Mountain
Nonetheless questioning what to do in Banff within the winter? How about you climb a mountain! What? Simply because it’s winter you suppose you possibly can’t climb a mountain?
Sulphur Mountain is definitely one of the vital standard hikes in Banff Nationwide Park. It’s an exquisite hike up that gives guests with astonishing views over the Bow Valley.
Attributable to it’s proximity to Banff city, and the truth that you possibly can take the Banff Gondola as much as the height as a substitute of sweating it out on the path signifies that Sulphur mountain turns into very busy – however not within the winter! With a pair of crampons and a few mountain climbing poles, you’ll be capable to sort out the path up very quickly. You may learn all about mountain climbing Sulphur Mountain right here.
Get These Mount Rundle Views
Mount Rundle is likely one of the most well-known mountains in all of Canada and a high sight to see in Banff within the winter. It’s an icon to Banff and can make you’re feeling extremely small at any time of day. Mount Rundle is greatest seen at dawn and sundown.
Which fortunately, within the winter, the sunrises late (generally 9 am!). Within the winter you possibly can catch sundown between 5:30-6: 30 pm. My favourite spot to see Mount Rundle is from Vermillion Lakes or Mount Norquay Lookout.
The wildlife doesn’t go away Banff when summertime goes away. Other than bears, you’ll discover moose, elk, deer, owls, foxes, wolves, and coyotes right here all 12 months spherical. I truly love recognizing these animals within the winter greater than the summer season – they give the impression of being a lot extra majestic!
Please keep in mind if you wish to pull over to take photographs of wildlife to take action safely and be sure you are out of the way in which of visitors.
Skate on Lake Minnewanka
Lake Minnewanka is a lake that’s only a ten-minute drive away from the city of Banff. This lake is 21 km lengthy and 142 meters deep. In the summertime it’s a busy place to hike and go canoeing on, however within the winter it’s a sight to behold. The mountains towering over Lake Minnewanka are severely spectacular all lined in snow. Relying on the 12 months, it’s potential to skat eon Lake Minnewanka within the winter!
Catch Sundown at Two Jack Lake
Only a five-minute drive away from Lake Minnewanka is Two Jack Lake. It’s one other improbable lake with Mount Rundle Views. Two Jack is likely one of the most photographed lakes within the Canadian Rockies, however within the winter it’s potential to reach right here with a tripod and be all by your self. I really like heading to Two Jack as you will get nice photographs at each dawn and sundown.
Benefit from the City of Banff
If you need a day of buying, cappuccinos, and breweries keep within the city of Banff and luxuriate in a day of strolling round. Banff Ave has tons of eating places, boutique retailers, and tacky memento shops to entertain all.
Verify Out Bow Falls
Bow Falls are a should see when in Banff. They’re solely a brief stroll away from the city and take you into magnificent nature. Relying on when within the winter you go to see them they might be frozen, however we’ve been fortunate and seen the great thing about the half in ice and half water. There are good walkways for guests to allow them to view safely. (Additionally you possibly can sort Shock Nook Viewpoint on Google Maps when close to right here for an incredible view)
Go Canine Sledding
Uncover Banff Excursions runs canine sledding adventures at Lake Louise and in Canmore. We’ve performed this 4 separate occasions and it’s at all times an incredible expertise. What I notably love is how quiet the experience is with solely the sound of the canine groups steps in opposition to the snow.
Loosen up in Nature
One other among the best issues to do in Banff within the winter is do nothing however soak in all the character throughout you. We’ve got an habit to the submit pleasure excessive we obtain within the mountains. After flying down a mountain on our snowboard nothing beats the sensation of calming our nerves in nature. There are a numerous variety of methods you possibly can calm down whether or not or not it’s by a scorching tub, on a bench, by a fireplace, or watching the sundown over the frost-tipped mountains.
Simply sit back with the one you like and let the calming impact of Banff Nationwide Park wash over you. Nothing else can evaluate to this when visiting Banff within the winter.
Head to Canmore!
Okay, this isn’t actually a factor to do in Banff because it’s a 15-minute drive away. We could also be biased to our dwelling base, however we predict Canmore is the bee’s knees.
Canmore is one other mountain city simply exterior of Banff Nationwide Park. It’s not practically as touristy or standard as Banff that means it’s rather more pleasing.
You may stroll down the primary road right here with out combating by way of crowds and there are many nice eating places, bars, and retailers to enterprise into. The views are simply as superb as properly. Be sure to take a look at The Three Sisters!
The place To Eat in Banff
- Banff Sushi: We love sushi and we love a superb deal so Banff Sushi is a slam dunk for us. The novelty of sushi prepare was positively appreciated and introduced us again to Japan as we nabbed tantalizing bites of sushi off the Canadian prepare engine. In the event you like sushi this can be among the best offers in Banff.
- Whitebark Cafe: Hip espresso store serving scrumptious espresso and freshly baked treats. It’s the right submit ski decide me up for those who’re not into the apres ski scene!
- Park Distillery: Take a look at the one distillery in a nationwide park in North America. It’s tremendous cool inside with giant tables good to complete off a winter day in Banff with mates or household.
- Nourish Bistro: This wholesome cafe is the right lunch spot on the town with moderately priced lunch combos and occasional.
- Bear Avenue Tavern: Winter actions usually imply you’re burning loads of energy so for those who’re on the lookout for a laid-back environment and a few tasty grub head to this tavern to replenish.
- The Grizzly Paw Brewing Pub: Our favourite submit ski ritual is to take a look at the native brewery, one thing you possibly can solely discover in North America. To search out a number of the greatest brews round go to the neighboring city of Canmore.
The place to Keep in Banff within the Winter?
- The place Ought to I Keep For My First Time to Banff? If it’s your first time visiting Banff I’d extremely recommend staying within the city of Banff, alongside Banff Ave is a good choice. That is probably the most handy location for guests that wish to get their most out of the park. Both the Banff Springs or Elk + Avenue Resort are superb picks.
- The place to Keep in Banff within the Winter? If you’re planning to ski or snowboard at Lake Louise I’d recommend staying within the Lake Louise space or Baker Creek.
- The place to Keep in Banff on a Finances? If you’re on an ultra-budget the Banff Worldwide Hostel is the most cost effective place to remain in Banff.
- The place to Keep in Banff with Children? I’d recommend staying in an Airbnb in Banff with two bedrooms in case you are touring with a household!
- The place Ought to I Keep in Banff on my Honeymoon? Probably the most romantic place to remain in Banff is the Banff Springs Resort.
Issues to Know Earlier than Visiting Banff within the Winter
Flights into Banff
Fly into Calgary: Most guests touring to Banff will fly into Calgary Worldwide Airport (YYC). You may get to and from the airport to Banff is simply an hour and a half which actually makes Calgary the best place to begin. I’m very comfortable to name Calgary my dwelling airport as I believe it’s probably the most chill airport I’ve ever flown out and in. I’ve not often waited in a line for check-in or safety and coming into Calgary on a global flight is extraordinarily breezy. However, for those who’re visiting Canada and coming off a protracted haul flight take a look at our lengthy haul flying suggestions first.
Fly into Edmonton: The one different viable choice for vacationers coming in through airplane is to fly into Edmonton. Nevertheless, Edmonton Worldwide Airport persistently churns out a lot greater airfare costs than Calgary and is additional away from Banff. I’d solely advocate flying into Edmonton in case you are primarily visiting Jasper Nationwide Park.
Transport Round Banff within the Winter
In North America your choices for transport are restricted. Most guests to Banff will lease a automotive in Calgary as that is the best approach to get round. Renting a automotive in Canada ensures you can get to the place you wish to go by yourself schedule.
Relying on the season of your journey automotive leases in Calgary could be fairly reasonably priced. We’ve rented with Enterprise for lower than 20 CAD a day within the winter. Nevertheless, count on costs to rise throughout July and August.
Within the winter, it’s a should to get a automotive with winter tires so ensure to verify along with your automotive rental company. In the event you do determine to drive from Alberta into BC these winter tires are necessary! You may see street circumstances right here, that are tremendous useful between November and late April. These must be checked virtually every day when driving in Banff within the winter.
You might not really feel snug driving in Banff within the winter that’s completely comprehensible. There are different choices to get to and from Banff and across the city. Nevertheless, they’re restricted so preserve that in thoughts. To get from YYC to Banff on shared transport, the Banff Airporter is an efficient choice and prices $138 (CAD) spherical journey.
As soon as in Banff, there may be the Roam bus system to get round city and in the summertime it runs to Lake Louise whereas within the winter it’s going to simply get you to Lake Louise Ski Resort and Banff Sunshine Ski Resort.
Make Positive to Get a Parks Move for Banff within the Winter
In the event you’re questioning if it’s important to pay to enter Banff the reply is sure. You’ll want a Parks Canada move to enter Banff Nationwide Park. There are gates to purchase a move on the entrance of the park. You should buy a Parks Canada move at any park gate. Or you should purchase them upfront on-line. A Parks Canada Discovery Move which will get you entrance to all Parks Canada locations for the 12 months is simply $139.40 for a household and $67.70 for a seasonal grownup move. Day passes are $9.80 per individual, so relying on what number of days you might be staying and when you have plans to go to Banff, you could wish to think about the Uncover Move.
You can’t cease in Banff with out a parks move, although you possibly can drive on the Trans-Canada. If you wish to drive by way of Banff to sightsee, or get gasoline you are able to do so, however leaving the automotive could topic you to a ticket. So, for those who plan on stopping in Banff for any period of time you’ll have to buy a move.
Parking in Banff within the Winter
Parking is free in Banff however each space has limits. The City of Banff has on-street parking and off-street tons, however they aren’t plentiful, so on busy holidays, it might get crowded. Nevertheless, Banff within the winter is far quieter than summer season.
What’s the Greatest Winter Month to Go to Banff?
To expertise a very epic winter in Banff the perfect time to go to is between December and March. December is my private favourite as there isn’t any higher place to spend a white Christmas. The perfect months to ski in Banff are between January and March.
What to Pack for Banff within the Winter?
It will get COLD in Banff within the winter. Come ready for a correct Canadian winter. Temperatures within the winter alternate between a couple of levels above freezing and as little as -40 (which is similar in each Celcius and Fahrenheit.)
The coldest month to go to Banff is often February, however don’t be fooled it will get frigid as early as October and stays till about Could.
Don’t fear with correct packing and the best garments we not often let the chilly deter us from having fun with the great thing about the Canadian Rockies. You’ve most likely heard this earlier than, however the important thing to staying heat is layers and a stable exterior. The final one is tremendous necessary because the wind can pull the warmth away out of your physique and go away you feeling a lot colder.
Here’s a brief rundown of what to pack for Banff within the winter which incorporates ski/snowboarding gear and winter enjoyable garments. We’re fairly energetic people and love winter sports activities so that you’ll discover a good mixture of life-style garments and technical attire for winter climate. This packing checklist is simply to offer you an concept of what’s helpful to pack for Banff within the winter. After all, you already know your wardrobe greatest!
We Have an Whole Web site on Banff!
We dwell on this lovely space of the world and wish to be sure you have an epic time within the wilderness. Take a look at The Banff Weblog for extra journey data.