Canadian Rockies Winter Vacations: Six great activities

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Well, my friends, winter in the Canadian Rockies is steadily approaching, and that’s got me thinking of some of my favorite winter activities, and places for them in the Rockies.

Canmore, Alberta is high on my list of places to go when the snow starts to fly. You’ve got awesome ski resorts within short driving distance, dog sledding, snowshoeing, and some of the best nordic skiing paths you’ll find anywhere, along with lots of other winter activities.

The Canadian Rockies winter is breathtaking, and not just because of the cold temps.

You’ll find Canmore well-situated for taking advantage of the the Canadian Rockies’ great outdoors, sitting basically at the crossroads of Kananaskis Country and Banff National Park.

Here are five of the many activities you can enjoy in this winter wonderland.
  1. Ice Walking: Hike over a sheet of natural that covers the bottom of a breathe-taking canyon. Sounds like a slippery proposition? Don’t worry, you’ll be wearing ice cleats that’ll give you a solid on the ice as you explore the Pictographs, Grotto Canyon, and the Ice Falls. The ice walk only takes about 1.5 to 2 hours total time, but they’re two hours you’re not likely to forget anytime soon. I’d recommend doing this trip with a guide, to get the best out of it and to stay safe.
  2. Ice Climbing: Does this sound like something you couldn’t possibly do? Think again. Canmore is a great place for beginners to test the (frozen) waters of this extreme sport. Take a beginners ice climbing course and you’ll learn the “ropes” with professional guide instructors who will help you do it safely. One of a kind locations, and an experience well beyond the ordinary await you.
  3. Snowshoe Walks: To snowshoe in Canmore, you won’t need to learn any new skills. Just strap on the shoes and go for a walk. In just a short time after leaving Canmore, you can be out enjoying the winter peace and quiet, truly enjoying nature’s beauty. Guided snowshoe tours can help you discover Canmore’s winter wildlife where, if you’re a little lucky, you can follow the tracks of the wolf, coyote or lynx.
  4. Cross Country Skiing: Cross Country or Nordic skiing is one of the best known winter activities in the Canmore area. Canmore served as host community for cross country and biathlon competitions during the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics. The Nordic Centre in Canmore continues hosting competitive ski events and provides an incredible facility for beginners and other recreational skiers to enjoy world class facilities, track set trails and snowmaking. A number of wilderness areas around Canmore offer track set systems.
  5. Dog Sledding: In Canmore, you’ll find three world-class outfitters offering daily trips of varying lengths in what is known to be one of the most terrific natural settings in the Canadian Rockies, dog sledding is an very popular vacation activity. Trips vary in length, and certainly go well beyond the very soft adventure that they can also be.
  6. Skiing and Snowboarding: When it comes to skiing and snowboarding in the Canadian Rockies, Canmore is well known for four great ski areas that run from world class slopes to great locals skiing areas.
  • Sunshine Village – Just 20 minutes from Canmore, the Sunshine high-speed gondola zips skiers up to the village at 7,000 feet. From here, numerous high-speed quads spread out all over this fabulous ski area – most of the rides and runs will keep you above treeline so you’ll get great views on top of great riding.
  • Mt. Norquay –Just  15 minutes from Canmore, the Mt. Norquay is well known as a place for locals to run out and get some runs on a whim. You can enjoy it too on your vacation. Norquay’s got plenty to offer skiers and snowboarders all day long, and the only night skiing in the area every Friday.
  • Lake Louise –Only  an hour after leaving Canmore, you can be at the top of Lake Louise ski resort, looking down into the Bow Valley and preparing for an epic day of skiing or snowboarding.
  • Nakiska – About a 40-minute drive from Canmore into Kananaskis Country, Nakiska offers runs for various ability levels, with family cruisers, fun glades, and steep corduroy groomers to race down (evoking the 1988 Olympics, perhaps – Nakiska hosted the downhill events).

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