Canada's Greatest Cold-Weather Activities
Collected by Flash Parker , AFAR Ambassador
Canada’s greatest cold-weather activities run from the thrilling—think back-country skiing in British Columbia or ice-climbing in Alberta—to the leisurely—think Winter Carnival revelry in Quebec, or ice skating frozen canals in Ontario. You can even enjoy iced maple syrup in Quebec, or go ice fishing in Manitoba: Canada is your frozen oyster. Canada is often defined by its cold weather—and how Canadians take advantage of the winter months—so look north now for your next active holiday.
987 Dogwood Drive, South Slocan, BC V0G 2G0, Canada
It’s the Norse word for a warrior’s paradise: Valhalla. Ski warriors will love riding the light powder in British Columbia’s Valhalla Mountain range. Two snowcats each carry 12 skiers and two guides to play on 21,500 acres of terrain. From $340....
1196 Voie Camillien-Houde, Montréal, QC H3H 1A1, Canada
Not unlike the Eiffel Tower in Paris or the Empire State Building in NYC, the Mont Royal acts as a natural landmark for orientation-challenged travelers. The "mountain" (some would call it a big hill) overlooks the entire city and offers...
4545 Blackcomb Way, Whistler, BC V0N 1B4, Canada
Whistler Blackcomb receives lots of press about its big-mountain features, but the resort offers plenty of terrain for every family member and skill level. The Whistler Blackcomb Snow School, among the best in North America, is...
100 Mountain Ave, Banff, AB T1L 1B2, Canada
This is another fun adventure that's not strenuous in Banff. Take a gondola up Mt. Sulphur. That building in the photo is where the gondola comes in. Then you can walk along a boardwalk up to the summit, from where you have panoramic views of the...
5315 Big White Rd, Kelowna, BC V1P 1P3, Canada
At the Big White Ski Resort there is more to do than ski and snowboard which is especially useful to know when you're not a skiing Canadian like myself. Instead of hitting the slopes there are snowshoe excursions, ice wall climbing, sledding with...
Improvement District No. 9, AB T0L, Canada
Mountains are awesome, in every sense of the word. There’s no better way to experience the full glory of the Canadian Rockies than by taking an eight-minute ride up Sulphur Mountain on the Banff Gondola. Just a short drive from the center of...
Whistler, BC V0N, Canada
The Peak 2 Peak Gondola that connects Whistler and Blackcomb mountains was considered a glitzy and expensive PR move when it opened in 2007. Today the 1.9-mile span, the longest unsupported span in the world, ferries hikers, bikers, and...
6400 Nancy Greene Way, North Vancouver, BC V7R 4K9, Canada
Part of the North Shore mountain range, this 4,039-foot peak offers jaw-dropping views of the city. It’s busiest in the winter, when four chairlifts service 33 ski runs, but remains popular in the summer thanks to the steep, 1.8-mile Grouse...
Lake Louise, AB, Canada
When you enter Banff National Park, you are immediately struck by its vastness. In the winter, the mountains tower above with their snow-covered peaks and the snowy pines go on like an endless, seemingly impenetrable sea. During my visit to Lake...
a 1C5, 446 Place Jacques-Cartier, Montréal, QC H2Y 3B3, Canada
Cabane a Sucre is a small shop in the middle of Place Jacques-Cartier, located in the heart of Old Montreal. On the cold December night I was in Montreal, their apple cider helped to warm my hands and body. I would also like to mention that the...
632 Connaught Dr, Jasper, AB T0E 1E0, Canada
Slide into your warmest winter boots, strap on a pair of ice cleats, and bundle on an extra layer before descending into the Maligne Canyon for a unique Jasper experience. Curving rock walls create the perfect labyrinth to explore the depths of...
Whistler, BC V8E, Canada
Already a world class ski town, Whistler was completely revamped to prepare for the Winter Games in 2010. But don't think it's just a winter town, it is now a year round destination. The ski runs become a world class mountain biker's haven, there...
1 Whitehorn Rd, Lake Louise, AB T0L 1E0, Canada
Lake Louise Ski Resort isn’t just the largest in the Canadian Rockies. With 4200 acres, it’s also one of the biggest in North America. Located smack-dab in the middle of Banff National Park, skiing in Lake Louise often seems equal...
6000 Cypress Bowl Rd, West Vancouver, BC V7V 3N9, Canada
445 Rue Saint Jean Baptiste, Montréal, QC H2Y 2Z7, Canada
Maple taffy is an outrageous Quebecois treat. My friend here, dressed in her fantastic Canadian tuxedo, drizzled sweet, sweet maple syrup over clean white snow to create maple toffee. She let me flip the confection onto a stick, and deliciousness...
4050 Whistler Way, Whistler, BC V0N 1B4, Canada
This is winter in Canada at its very best: wide open, blanketed in snow, and totally wild. Blackcomb Snowmobile outfits 2- and 3-hour rides into the mountains out of the Whistler base. The trails are well-groomed and easily navigable, which means...
1000 Rue de la Gauchetière O, Montréal, QC H3B 4W5, Canada
Call us crazy, but we Canadians dearly love our winter sports. So much so, we built a dedicated ice-skating rink in the heart of downtown Montreal that is accessible year-round. Yes, you read that right. Rain or shine, winter or summer, ice...
There’s something romantic about a horse-drawn sleigh ride, but it’s even more special when it traces the shores of historic Lake Louise. Imagine snuggling beneath a fleece blanket on an old-fashioned sleigh as two mighty horses pull...
800 Robson St, Vancouver, BC V6Z 3B7, Canada
Open mid-November through the end of February, the Robson Square Ice Rink gives both residents and visitors an opportunity to skate for free in the heart of downtown Vancouver. Skate and helmet rentals and a concession stand are available on site....
1505 17TH AVE SW, Kananaskis, AB T0L, Canada
Between Calgary and Banff you’ll find Kananaskis Country, a giant park in the foothills where in-the-know locals come with their skis and snowshoes to escape the city. There is one downhill ski area, Nakiska resort, as well as the Canmore Nordic...
1 Sunshine access Rd, Banff, AB T1L 1J5, Canada
Most people travel to Canada in the winter to ski the famous big resorts like Whistler and Lake Louise. But 20 minutes from downtown Banff is a little "hill"—as the Canadians like to call their mountains—called Sunshine Village. The resort,...
Smithers, BC, Canada
To become the King of the Back Country, you’ll need the right tools – the most important of which are undoubtedly skis. But if you’re relatively new to back country skiing, you’ll want to speak to an outfitter capable of putting the right...
The Skeena River House is less a hotel and more an experience in Canadian hospitality. Run by the husband and wife team of Brad and Kim Zeerip, the house overlooks the legendary Skeena River, and offers up bedroom views of Sleeping Beauty...
3763 4 Ave, Smithers, BC V0J, Canada
The Two Sisters Café in Smithers, BC is a fabulous place for apres ski, and a great place to rub shoulders with local Smithereens. The food is fresh, local, and delicious – wraps, sandwiches, big plates, desserts – each of them crafted with lovely...
4805 BC-16, Terrace, BC V8G 0H3, Canada
In the local tongue of the Tsimshian, the Coast Mountain Range surrounding Terrace is known as Ganeeks Laxha, or the “stairway to heaven.” It’s not difficult to see why the First Nations stewards of this land named the area such – especially when...
Bulkley-Nechako A, BC V0J 2N1, Canada
Imagine you’ve pulled yourself out of bed before dawn, poured yourself a fresh cup of coffee to go, and hit the open road from quaint Smithers, BC, mountains hugging you on both sides. You drive towards those mountains, park the car, and strap on...
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