Story Ideas

10 things you need to know about…memorable Alberta winter vacations.

Travellers can look beyond the great skiing to skate, dog sled, hike and more in two magnificent national parks.

03 September 2014

Suggested tweet: Skate, hike, hot springs: enjoy great winter Alberta travel experiences beyond skiing @TravelAlberta #explorecanada

The snow-clad slopes of the Rocky Mountains of Alberta are perfect for skiing. But what if you don’t want to ski? Banff National Park and Jasper National Park offer wonderful ways to make a winter vacation memorable.

1) Hike a frozen creek: The roaring Albertan waterways are silenced by the blue chill of winter. Strap on cleats to trek among daggers of water, frozen in time up Johnston Canyon in Banff National Park or Maligne Canyon in Jasper National Park.

2) Climb a frozen waterfall: Feeling brave? Learn to manoeuvre up frozen ripples, pinnacles and giant icicles using ice axes and sharp-toed crampons. Guides at Yamnuska Mountain Adventures will make your day a success.

3) Star gaze in Jasper: One, two, skip a few….five billion! Jasper National Park is the world’s second-largest dark sky preserve. On a clear winter night, the sky is a breathtaking spectacle. Join the annual Jasper Dark Sky Festival in October or gaze up all winter long.

4) Drive your own dog team: Snowy Owl Sled Dog Tours offers cozy sleds to ride in behind a team of adorable huskies. Take a turn driving the team along the trail. Or, sign on for the ultimate Canadian Signature Experience hosts of Fortune Mountain overnight wilderness experience.

5) Natural hot springs: The historic Banff Upper Hot Springs pool is a “must-do” experience. Relax in the outdoor, naturally heated pool and watch the snow fall around you.

6) Did you say “Pamper me?” Warm up with a massage, facial or any therapeutic treatment that makes you say, “Ahhh.” There are lavish spas in Banff and Lake Louise.

7) Snowshoe on powder-light snow: Rent snowshoes or take a guided tour to explore the top of the world. Track a set of footprints across the snow; snowshoe hare? Elk? Your guide will know the answers.

8) Celebrate the season like a local: SnowDays, Ice Magic and Jasper in January invite you to play in the snow, carve ice sculptures or learn seasonal sports like curling, skating and snowshoeing. Dance and dine the night away.

9) Skate an endless river: Rent some skates to play hockey on a frozen, glacier-fed lake or meander for kilometres atop a frozen river.

10) Fishing in winter: The ultimate tough-guy experience is sinking a fishing line through an ice-covered lake. Choose from one of many guided ice-fishing trips, stay warm in a hut or just enjoy the scenery.

Looking for more visual inspiration from Canada’s winter experiences? Browse our Brand Canada Library for thousands of images and videos from all over Canada.

Follow us on Twitter @DestinationCAN

Usage guidelines

We welcome you to use these story ideas as inspiration for your own stories about Canada. The CTC owns all rights worldwide. (Our images are also royalty-free and available for editorial print, broadcast and electronic use.) If you choose to reproduce these texts for editorial use only, please include the author's byline and "courtesy of the Canadian Tourism Commission." If you cut, edit or modify the text in any way, please include this note: "The text has been modified from the original." Thank you.