9 Non-Ski Adventures To Experience in Banff and Lake Louise

In Banff and Lake Louise, you’re spoilt for choice of ski and snowboard terrain to discover between three unique ski resorts – Banff Sunshine Village, Lake Louise Ski Resort, and Mt. Norquay. And beyond the ski resorts, there are endless winter activities to mix things up. Depending on the length of your stay, you may want to break up your days on the slopes with these other ‘off-day’ adventures. This gives those ski legs a chance to recuperate or try something new (but equally as exciting!).

Here are nine non-ski winter adventures waiting to be discovered in Banff National Park. Plan ahead and book your experience before arrival, and be sure to check out your lift ticket perks for insider deals on some of these adventures.

1. Check Out an Ice Hockey Game

Sea of red at Calgary Flames home game in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Photo courtesy of Calgary Flames.

There’s nothing more classically Canadian than watching a live NHL ice hockey game. Check out the home Calgary Flames hockey team in action at the Scotiabank Saddledome in the city of Calgary. If you’re arriving via plane, this will be the very same city you’ll fly into to begin your ski vacation. Shuttle service from Banff and game tickets are available for the following home games: Click to purchase shuttle/ticket packages.

2. Discover Skiing in Banff’s Backcountry

Backcountry snowboarding near Banff Sunshine Village in Banff National Park.
Photo by Will Lambert.

While this is technically still a ski adventure, this experience takes you off resort into a brand new environment – the backcountry of Banff National Park! Have you ever wanted to take that net step into the backcountry  and felt some apprehension? With some instruction and guidance from a professional mountain guide, the unknown will start to make sense. An Intro to Backcountry course with Alpine Air Adventures is an excellent stepping-stone that works well as a supplement to an AST1 course. SkiBig3 Lift Ticket holders, Ikon Pass, and Mountain Collective pass holders have access to a 10% pass perk discount with Alpine Air Adventures. To book an Intro to Backcountry, contact Alpine Air Adventures directly.

3. Discover a World of Ice by Night

Night ice walk at Johnston Canyon, Banff National Park.
Photo courtesy of Discover Banff Tours.

Some of Banff’s most popular summer attractions are just as compelling the winter months. Canyons gushing with powerful water forces in the summer are now seemingly frozen in time. Book an ice walk tour to see them for yourself, or check it out at night for any even more surreal experience.

4. Ice Skate on a Mountain Lake

Ice castle sculpture at Lake Louise, Banff National Park.
Photo by Christopher Martin.

Banff and Lake Louise are brimming with frozen lakes to encircled by mountain peaks – and many of them are just a short walk or drive away. If in Lake Louise, pick up your rentals from Chateau Ski and Snow and head out to the mountain lake matriarch – Lake Louise herself! Or check out any of these other beautiful locations for ice skating. Be sure to brush up on your backcountry skating safety first, and check with Parks Canada to ensure the ice is thick enough to safely skate on.

5. Take a Stab at Ice Climbing

Ice Climbing at Johnston Canyon, Banff National Park
Photo courtesy of Banff & Lake Louise Tourism / Noel Hendrickson

This winter activity is often considered type A fun – but don’t knock it until you try it! Ice climbers tout the magical world of sparkling ice and beautiful vistas as the draws that keep them coming back. Alpine Air Adventure offers ice climbing at the famous Johnston Canyon, or other magnificent frozen waterfalls in the park. This program is great for beginners or experienced climbers visiting the area. All guides are certified under the ACMG and or the IFMGA who lead this experience over one or two days. To book this experience, call our SkiBig3 Reservations Team at 1-844-754-2443.

6. Speed Down a Snow Tube Lane

Couple tubing at Mt. Norquay tube park, Banff National Park.
Photo courtesy of Mt. Norquay.

Feel like a kid again with a spinny, snowy experience at Mt. Norquay’s tube park! No experience is necessary. Whether you’re a kid or a kid-at-heart, this is a thrilling activity for visitors of all ages. Little ones do have to be over 42 inches tall to ride, and be accompanied by an adult.

7. Elevate Your Turns with Heli Skiing

Photo courtesy of RK Heli Skiing.

For the ultimate ski vacation, take your planks beyond the resorts via helicopter! RK Heli Skiing offers various backcoutry adventures to suit your group ability and interests. Breakfast, lunch and apres ski is included with most tours. Choose between group tours or private outings, all with the help of a qualified ski guide. Book your heli ski adventure by calling our SkiBig3 Reservations Team at 1-844-754-2443.

8. Journey Through Winter by Snowmobile

Photo courtesy of White N' Wild Snowmobiling.

With White N Wild snowmobile tours, discover the backcountry near Golden, BC, on this Canadian Rockies adventure. Family-friendly tours are available, or take it to the next level with their private ultimate full day sledding excursion. Various snowmobile tour packages are available, so you’re guaranteed to find an adventure that suits your style. Book your snowmobile adventure by calling our SkiBig3 Reservations Team at 1-844-754-2443.

9. Wander On a Snowshoe Walk

Snowshoeing at Bow Lake, Banff National Park
Photo courtesy of Banff & Lake Louise Tourism / Noel Hendrickson

To go on a winter walk near Banff and Lake Louise, snowshoes are often a must to avoid sinking in to knee-deep (or deeper) snow! They also help with traction in icy spots on certain popular walks. Rent a pair from the SkiBig3 Adventure Hub for a self-propelled adventure, and inquire with the Parks Canada Information Centre for recommendations on where to go. Looking for a guided experience? Snowshoe experiences are offered around Banff and Lake Louise, as well as at the Lake Louise Ski Resort. Book your snowshoe adventure online, or call our SkiBig3 Reservations Team at 1-844-754-2443.

Ready to plan your ultimate ski vacation? Our in-destination Reservation Specialists can help you create the perfect balance of ski days and off-day activities. Want some more non-ski activities to round out your ski vacation? Check out our top experiences, adventures and attractions. To book your next ski vacation with SkiBig3, check out our featured ski and stay vacation packages or call us at 1-844-754-2443.

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Early season powder skiing at Lake Louise Ski Resort, Banff National Park.