Stunning images of sweeping valleys protected by soaring snow covered mountains come to mind at the mention of one of Canada’s most famous towns Banff, Alberta. To visit Banff is a bucket list item for many travelers and rightly so. We confess to an ever so slight bias with our next door location of Calgary to the mountain wonderland.

10 Spectacular Reasons to Visit Banff in Winter

While many of us shovel snow and do our best not to whine about the onset of winter in Canada, in Banff winter means the icy season of awe has arrived.

10 Spectacular Reasons to Visit Banff in Winter

Visit Banff National Park – It’s Winter Wonderland

Visit Banff Mt Norquay

Canada’s oldest national park is likely the nation’s most well known  and for good reason. The Canadian Rockies surround Banff townsite leaving visitors gobsmacked by the beauty. Park passes can be obtained on line to avoid line ups at the national park entrances.

Go Sightseeing

Sightseeing Banff

Take the whole family on a ride to one of the best kept secret views of Banff. A 10 minute trip on the North American chair lift at Mt. Norquay, minutes away from Banff, stops at a sightseeing platform. Hold on to your jaw as it may drop on the ground in amazement of the panoramic vista.

Warm up with a hot drink and bite to eat in the Cliffhouse Bistro. Not a ski or snowboard required.

Ski in the moonlight or the daylight

Moonlight ski visit Banff winter

Photo courtesy Mt. Norquay

Banff National Park has no shortage of world class ski hills.  A five minute drive from the town of Banff will have you on the slopes of Mt. Norquay.

If you visit Banff at the right time you can take in  a romantic evening of fine dining under the stars. Night skiing is also available on weekends as well at Mt Norquay. Be sure to check the hours of operation.

Ice Skating in a Snow Globe

Ice skating Banff

Outdoor skating on Banff’s Waldhaus Rink

Long Canadian winter months of my youth were filled with figure skating in prairie skating rinks.  Although currently an attempt of a salchow jump would equate with a broken wrist, my love of steel blades gliding on ice remains true.

With multiple outdoor locations in Banff, ice skating surrounded by glistening snowy peaks will be a winter postcard memory.

Snow Tubing

Tubing Mt Norquay Banff

Boasting the longest and fastest snow tubing lanes in Alberta, squeals and giggling echo from the Mt Norquay tube park. Yes that could be me doing a great deal of the squealing.

This family friendly activity puts even the most negative winter wanderer in a good spirits.

Hot Springs to Hot Tubs

Banff Hot Springs Sign

When when three railway workers from the Canadian Pacific Railway stumbled upon thermal hot springs they envisioned tourists flocking to their discovery.

Canada’s first prime minister, Sir John A. Macdonald, held a very different vision. The hot pools and surrounding land would be protected as Canada’s first national park surrounding Banff and its hotsprings.

Relaxing in Banff’s natural hot springs or one of the beautiful outdoor hotel hot tubs, gazing at the snow capped Canadian Rockies is sure to take off the winter chill.

Dine in Winter Wonderland

Would you like breakfast with side order view of sparkling snow covered mountains? This view,not to mention the delicious food, is one we keep coming back to. Go figure.

Visit a Frozen Lake and Watch for Northern Lights

Vermilion Lakes Banff Sunset

Vermilion Lakes on the edge of Banff provide easy and flat winter walking. With stunning views of Mount Rundle,  in winter you may get lucky and see Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights).

Dress warmly as the wind across the lake can remind you this is Canada and it is winter after all.


Off the Beaten Track on Snowshoes

Snowshoeing Banff Mt Norquay

For those who want to get away to find their own amazing views, snowshoeing offers a different pace.

Well unless you are snowshoeing with my husband as he loves to run like a puppy up and down the hills. I am happy to breathe in the mountain air and enjoy the peacefulness.

Find the Red Chairs

Red Chairs Banff

Find these chairs overlooking Banff halfway up the Mt Norquay road


Throughout Canada’s National Parks, pairs of red chairs await visitors. Hoping to encourage all to sit back and take in the beauty of their surroundings the red chairs make a fun treasure hunt. Multiple pairs of red chairs await visitors in Banff.  In winter an extra eye popping scene of the red on winter wonderland white.

Now grab your mittens and click below for our whirlwind video tour of Banff. 

What do you like to do in winter?




This post was facilitated in part by Mount Norquay Banff and the Juniper Hotel. All jaw dropping, squealing and opinions are our own.