Winter Activities

Outdoor Winter Activities in Canmore & Banff

Dreaming of a white Christmas in a picturesque mountain town? Planning your annual family ski vacation? Or, maybe this is your first time experiencing outdoor winter activities in the cold! 

Canmore is such a beautiful place in winter with snow-covered mountains, frozen lakes and quite often here in Alberta, beautiful blue skies. Whether you love art galleries and museums or you’re a foodie, nature lover, snowbird or extreme sports junkie, there are winter activities available for everyone in the family.

Winter is generally from mid-November to mid-May. Check out Canmore’s weather and climate. but keep in mind that Canmore is located in what we call “Valley Bottom” and the weather here can be different than in the mountains that surround us.

Banff & Canmore Tour Companies

We recommend The Adventure Hub, a locally operated tour booking platform. Through their many partners, you can choose from horseback riding, cave tours, brewery, distillery tours and many other fun local tours in and around Canmore and Banff. They offer the ability to select from winter or summer activities.

We also recommend Discover Banff Tours and Banff Adventures, two locally operated tour company that specializes in personal, small-group tours. Summer tours include sightseeing, wildlife viewing, whitewater rafting, horseback riding, helicopter tours, caving, gondola, rock climbing and visits to the Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary.

Downhill Skiing and Snowboarding in Banff & Kananaskis

Ski Snowboard Lake Louise - Photo: Reuben Krabbe
Ski Snowboard Lake Louise – Photo: Reuben Krabbe

Arguably one of the most popular winter activities in the Rockies!  Want to experience the champaign powder for yourself? Check out all 3 of Banff’s ski resorts! Ski Big 3 encompasses Sunshine Village Ski Resort, Lake Louise Ski Resort and Mount Norquay, the three ski resorts in Banff National Park. The resorts are open from November to May, check their websites for exact dates. Guests can pre-book their rentals and ski tickets here.

Nakiska, located in Kananaskis, is an excellent family ski hill. While it doesn’t see the same amount of fresh powder as the Big 3, it does feature a tube park and snowshoeing trails. Nearby Kananaskis Village also offers an ice skating area, tubing hills and restaurants.

Looking for an extraordinary Rocky Mountain experience? Cat Skiing and Heli Skiing are exhilarating activities also on offer, for the more advanced ski and snowboarders. Check out KPOW! for Cat Skiing, and Sawback Alpine Adventures, Yamnuska Mountain Adventures for guided backcountry skiing.  

Winter Sports Equipment Rentals in Banff & Canmore

If you need to rent skiis, a board, boots, helmets, or even backcountry gear they can be found at these providers:

  • Chateau Mountain Sports
  • GearUP – located in the same parking lot as us, you can also pre-order lift tickets and pick everything up in one stop! *They also supply Backcountry Rentals
  • Ultimate Sports – boasting Banff’s biggest rental fleet.
  • Ski Big 3 Adventure Hub
  • Abominable Sports – boasting the best quality rentals in Banff, they have a location in Canmore as well.
  • Black Tie Ski Rental Delivery – Allows you to rent online and arrange delivery to any of our properties, or our office, so you don’t miss a day at the hill hunting down everything you need.
  • SkiUphill – *Provides Backcountry Rentals

Cross Country Skiing in Canmore & Kananaskis

Winter Cross Country Skiing on the Great Divide Trail in Lake Louise. Photo by Noel Hendrickson
Winter Cross Country Skiing on the Great Divide Trail in Lake Louise – Photo by: Noel Hendrickson

Canmore Nordic Centre offers 65km of groomed cross country ski trails as well as snowshoeing and fat biking trails.

One of Canada’s fastest growing winter activities, cross country skiing in the Rockies combines epic scenery and views with a great workout! For more areas to cross country ski check out 10 Adventures, SkierBob, or AllTrails.

You can rent equipment at the Nordic Centre (Trail Sports), Rebound Cycle, or GearUp.

Popular Winter Activity in Canmore & Kananaskis – Fat Biking

For trails around Canmore and Kananaskis check out Alberta Parks or the Tourism Canmore Kananaskis websites.

You can rent bikes at Trail Sports (at the Canmore Nordic Centre) and Rebound Cycle, downtown Canmore across from The Wood.

Snow Shoeing in Banff, Canmore & Kananaskis

Almost any hiking trail can become a snowshoe trail in the winter (though we prefer to stick to those with little-to-no incline) Check out Yervana, Travel Banff for some easy trail recommendations. Active by Nature offers guided trips, as do the Canadian Rockies Adventure Centre and Discover Banff. Snowshoes can be rented at Gear Up, Chateau Mountain Sports and Banff Adventures.

Snowshoeing at Sunshine Meadows in Banff - Photo: Paul Zizka
Snowshoeing at Sunshine Meadows in Banff – Photo: Paul Zizka

The Ultimate Winter Activity – Dog Sledding

Is a dog sled tour on your bucket list? You’re not alone! If you’ve ever dreamed of driving your own dog sled Snowy Owl Sled Dog Tours are not only the Bow Valley’s original and most popular dog sled tour company, they are also the only company that offer a choice of instructor-driven and self-driven sled experiences! They have 4 different tours to choose from, with each tour offering plenty of time to interact with the dogs.

Outdoor Ice Skating in Banff & Canmore

Another popular winter activity for locals and visitors alike, ice skating in the Rockies is a bucket list winter activity. There are a few community rinks around Canmore, that are maintained by the Town of Canmore, as well as at the Banff Townsite. You could also go skating on the iconic Lake Louise, as it is plowed, maintained and even lit throughout the winter. Skate rentals can be found at Gear Up, Chateau Mountain Sports and Banff Adventures.

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Make sure you have a cosy comfortable Canmore rental home to return to after your outdoor adventures!