Winter in Canada’s Alberta

For those not looking to hit the slopes, there are plenty of ways to make the most of the magical wonderland that is Alberta in the winter

Skate on Lake Louise

Alberta skate

Whizz around on a frozen lake straight out of a Christmas film in the Canadian Rockies. Skating on Lake Louise is a winter rite of passage in Alberta from mid-December to mid-April. The lake is cleared daily, making for ideal conditions to practice your footwork, and by night the lake lights up for atmospheric skating in the dark. After hanging up your skates, settle in for a cocktail and dinner at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.

Ice walk at Maligne Canyon

Alberta icewalk

Iconic landmark Maligne Canyon, located in Jasper National Park, is the deepest accessible canyon in the province. Whilst impressive in the summer, the canyon really comes into its own in the winter, turning into a frozen gallery complete with natural ice sculptures. The Maligne Canyon ice walk tour is the best way to walk the canyon floor and explore frozen waterfalls and ice caves.

Snowshoe in the Rockies

Alberta snowshoe

A snowshoe-assisted trek on a crisp winters day is a much-loved and longstanding Canadian winter pastime. Enjoy some fresh air and the great outdoors as you trek through the powdery snowscape. Banff Adventures offers several different snowshoe tours, ranging from beginner excursions to more scenic advanced trails. If you’re feeling adventurous, give heli-snowshoeing a try for epic views.

Ride in a horse-drawn sleigh

Alberta sleigh

Dash through the snow on a sleigh ride for two or book a larger group adventure, snuggled under a warm blanket. This popular winter activity isn’t limited to one part of the province; travellers can visit Banff Trail Riders in Banff National Park or hitch a ride with Brewster Adventures beneath Victoria Glacier. Boundary Ranch in Kananaskis Country offers sleigh rides through picturesque woodland.

Ride the Banff Gondola

Alberta banff

A ride on the Banff Gondola is a year-round bucket-list activity. But ascending up Sulphur Mountain in the winter is especially magical, as the scenery becomes reminiscent of a real life snow globe. Get some bird’s eye view snaps during the eight minute ride to the top, before taking a stroll on the boardwalk. At Sky Bistro, savour the panoramic mountain scenery 2,255 metres up with a delicious locally-sourced meal.

Spend Christmas at the castle

Alberta castle

Who wouldn’t want to spend the festive season in a real castle? Starting in late November, the Fairmont Banff Springs becomes the ultimate fairytail destination, transforming into a Christmas-themed wonderland. The hotel erects a massive tree in its Mount Stephen Hall plus a larger-than-life gingerbread house in the lobby. Hotel guests of all ages can enjoy a host of festive traditions.