On Ice and Snow in Alberta's National Parks
Collected by Jeff Bartlett, AFAR Local Expert
Alberta is a winter wonderland and there is no better place to experience its splendour than in the Canadian Rockies Mountains. Between Alberta’s three mountain towns, Jasper, Banff, and Canmore, lay an eclectic combination of ice and snow adventures, rustic hotels, and stunning landscapes. Ice walks, ski-jouring and outdoor hot tubs are just the beginning, as you soak up the snowy-mountain culture found in Alberta’s Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks UNESCO world heritage site.
120 1st Ave, Dead Man's Flats, AB T1W 2W4, Canada
Skijoring is a little-practiced winter sport in which cross-country skiers are pulled by either a sled dog or a horse. Although the sport originated in Norway, it has now arrived in the Canadian Rockies thanks to Mad Dogs & Englishmen. The company...
700 Tunnel Mountain Rd, Banff, AB T0L, Canada
Although Buffalo Mountain Lodge is only minutes from downtown Banff, its location on Tunnel Mountain is surrounded by wilderness. Some of the best wildlife viewing in Western Canada is within walking distance of the front doors. It’s common to...
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 you away from...
2, 110 Banff Ave, Banff, AB T1L 1A9, Canada
The Banff Ave Brewing Company uses pure Canadian Rockies glacier water as its beer’s not-so-secret ingredient. The water makes for a perfectly imperfect beer, as it comes chock-full of minerals usually removed before the brewing process. Open...
Johnson Creek, III, WV, USA
Roaring waterfalls are frozen in place along the Johnson Canyon Ice Walk, providing one of the most unique hikes in Banff National Park. Picture towering pillars of ice, rushing waterfalls frozen still, and walls of ice stretching in all...
109 Lake Louise Dr, Lake Louise, AB T0L 1E0, Canada
Whether it’s after a long summer hike or a winter day on the ski slopes, there is no better place to relax than the Deer Lodge rooftop hot tub. It has a clear view of the Victoria Glacier across Lake Louise. The hotel is gorgeous in a rustic way....
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,...
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 parts sport and...
Valley of the Five Lakes, Jasper, AB T0E 1E0, Canada
The Icefield Parkway isn’t just a highway linking Lake Louise and Jasper, Alberta. It’s a 230-km road trip through the Canadian Rockies, past a series of emerald-green alpine lakes fed by nearby glaciers. The entire route connects Jasper and Banff...
504 Patricia St, Jasper, AB T0E 1E0, Canada
Jasper’s newest restaurant, Raven Bistro, brings a touch of spice to the Canadian Rockies. It’s dubbed as Moroccan-fusion cuisine, but the menu has plenty of international flavors. My personal favorite? The Steak-Frite Argentine with housemade...
1 Marmot Rd, Jasper, AB T0E 1E0, Canada
As the only ski area in Jasper National Park, Ski Marmot Basin is surrounded by pristine wilderness. And the mountain, with plenty of above-treeline skiing, offers stunning panoramic views of the surrounding Canadian Rockies from the top of every...
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...
211 Bear St # 213, Banff, AB T1L 1E4, Canada
Best known by locals for its stunning views of the Canadian Rockies (nab a seat by the giant windows to make other diners jealous!), the Bison’s best-kept secret is its addictive dinner and Sunday brunch menus. Chefs Liz and Kirk are...
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