There’s so much to ski and do with SkiBig3. December is prime time to visit with your family, with plenty to keep busy on and off the slopes.
From free activities, unique performances, and the chance to connect and unwind, this winter month hosts several opportunities for family members of all ages to enjoy. And, as the holiday season kicks into full-gear you’ll find Santa on the slopes and lots of family-friendly on-mountain activities at Banff Sunshine, Lake Louise Ski Resort and Mt Norquay.
1) All the Free Activities
Lake Louise World Cup – Kicking off the month with the Lake Louise Audi World Cup on November 30th to December 3rd, Lake Louise Ski Resort will be a hub of ski activity for all ages and abilities. Ice sculpture photo ops and a Mini Food & Drink Market are just a few of the complimentary services that running that weekend. Even better, kids ski (and learn!) for free on race days. The men’s weekend also runs November 24th-25th.
Banff Christmas Market – Kids 12 and under are free for this event, and there’s no shortage of entertainment to be enjoyed. While parents cross of the Christmas wishlists with artisan offerings from over 60 local vendors, the little ones can enjoy story and craft time, Christmas songs, photos with Santa and hot chocolate by the fire.
Christmas in the Courtyard – The local hub of Banff gets Christmas-fied on Saturday, December 8th. Join the community in the Bison Courtyard for complimentary hot chocolate, a s’more making station, Christmas carolers, a visit from Santa, and a pop-up holiday market, and more!
Christmas at the Banff Gondola – On Saturdays and Sundays from November 18th to December 17th, enjoy a mountaintop Christmas at the Banff Gondola. Visit before noon and kids go free! It’s a full-on Christmas mountaintop frenzy, with activities to delight all the senses – cookie decorating, a Christmas treasure hunt, a Disney Christmas film, and more!
2) Take In a Winter Performance
Tis the season for festive tales and enjoyment of the finer things in life. From live comedy to Indigenous storytelling, here are a few performances sure to delight you and yours this holiday season.
The Nutcracker – The Bolshoi Ballet at artsPlace Canmore – This holiday tradition brings two hours of enchantment and magic for the whole family. The Nutcracker remains a classic treasure not to be missed, and is just a short drive from Banff! December 23rd from 10:55 am – 3:55 pm. This is a screening of the live performance from the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, Russia.
The Debaters Live Christmas Special – Watch comics go toe-to-toe in a battle of laughs and logic, and the audience picks the winner. This Christmas-themed special event features host Steve Patterson and two of his favourite comics performing stand-up, and two hilarious debates focused on the holiday season. Suited for families with older children, some language may be inappropriate for younger audiences.
Christmas Choir by the Bow Valley Chorus – Bring yourself back to the roots of the holiday with some good ole fashioned Christmas cheer, and enjoy their concert performances December 16th and 17th in Banff and Canmore.
A Stoney Christmas – Join the Smalleyes Family as they present a re-imagined Christmas tale with Indigenous dance, song and storytelling. Perfect for the whole family! At artsPlace in Canmore on December 21st and 22nd.
3) Slow Down the Pace
December is a flurry of holiday fun, so you’ll want to carve out some time to slow down, soak it all in, and truly connect with your loved ones. These low-key activities are a great way to balance the high-energy days.
Learn About Banff’s History – A visit to the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies is the perfect way to gain a more personal understanding of Banff National Park, while giving your ski legs a break. Learn about the first stirrings of our resorts, and the pioneers of Canadian Rockies history that set the first tracks. Complimentary admission is included with a 3+ day SkiBig3 Lift Ticket.
Ski Spree by Eddie Hunter. Courtesy of the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies.
Recuperate Your Mind and Body – A visit the Banff Upper Hot Springs allows you to treat your muscles while immersing in the natural thermal waters straight out of Sulphur Mountain, all while soaking in stunning and unobstructed views of the Rundle mountain range. A visit first thing in the morning is sure to energize you for the day.
Let Nature Fill Your Soul – Whether on or off the resorts, the breathtaking beauty of Banff National Park is all around you. Take a skate on Lake Louise, stargaze from the top of Tunnel Mountain, or simply embrace with holiday cheer around a bonfire (the Banff High School skating rink and many hotels in town will have them lit nightly).
4) (Non-Ski) Apres Action
If the kids are beginners that are just testing out their ski and snowboard legs, there are plenty of other activities to balance slope time. These indoor and outdoor options are sure to burn off any extra energy, and are also great stand-alone activities for non-ski rest days.
Bowling – hit the High Rollers bowling lanes until 10 pm with kids! With six 10-pin bowling lanes, New York-style pizza, a billiards hall complete with pool tables, foosball and arcade games, and 48 locally-focused craft beers on tap for Mom & Dad, you can truly find fun for the whole family here!
Rock Climbing – Head up to Sally Borden Fitness & Recreation to check out their climbing wall! Their auto-belay systems can give parents a hands-free approach (other than supervision and a safety orientation). Ask about their Funky Monkeys drop-in climbing program. Or head over to Canmore to climb up to 15 metre routes for all abilities at Elevation Place – great for kids 4 and older.
Snow Tubing – both Mt. Norquay and Lake Louise Ski Resort offer snow tubing. Tubing (and night skiing) is included with your SkiBig3 lift ticket, just head to customer service for access to these nighttime activities. Tubing at Lake Louise Ski Resort is also available, just $10 for kids and $15 for adults with a SkiBig3 lift ticket.
Waterpark – The Douglas Fir Waterpark is a lesser-known gem in the town of Banff. With two giant indoor waterslides, a kiddies pool, and a 24-person indoor/outdoor Jacuzzi. Admission is $12 for kids 6 and up. Take in the excitement with your family this December, or any time, by booking a vacation with our Reservations Team! They are happy to help you find the best ski & stay deal possible.