January Banff Festivals You Won’t Want to Miss: Snow Days, Ice Magic, Tribute Craft Spirits

These January festivals in Banff are just around the corner! Mid-winter celebrations are nothing new in Banff and Lake Louise. In fact, the tradition began in Banff as the Winter Carnival over 100 years ago. In 1917, the town came alive with this winter sports festival – complete with ski jumping, cross-country skiing and skijoring with horses.

Staying true to this spirit, both Snow Days winter festival, including Tribute Craft Spirits Celebration and Ice Magic, highlights the best sides of Banff as a winter destination, both on and off the slopes from January 15th-26th, 2020. New to Snow Days for 2020 is Skijoring on Banff Avenue. Watch as teams of athletes and horses put on a breathtaking display of horseriding, trickriding and ski stunts on the 200-block of Banff Avenue.

Here’s what to expect for these multi-day events in Banff and Lake Louise!

Night photo of ice sculpture at Ice Magic event in Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada.
Crowds watch a sculptor create and ice sculpture at Ice Magic event in Lake Louise, Alberta.
Photo by Devaan Ingraham / Banff & Lake Louise Tourism.

Take In Snow and Ice Sculptures

Ice Magic is a world-renowned event taking place right at the heart of the Canadian Rockies – Lake Louise! With the idyllic backdrop of Victoria Glacier as ice-spiration, ice carvers from around the world come together to compete in making their most exquisite works of ice art.

More winter sculpture magic is also happening right in the town of Banff, where snow sculptors will complete their masterpieces on Bear Street. Take it all in while cozied up next to a bonfire and enjoying live music. More Ssulptures will be built throughout the town of Banff, as well as at Banff Sunshine Village and Mt. Norquay.

Couple next to a snow sculpture of Bill Peyto on Bear Street, Banff, during SnowDays.
Family taking a selfie next to a snow sculpture on Bear Street, Banff, Alberta during SnowDays.
Photo by Devaan Ingraham / Banff & Lake Louise Tourism.

Discover the Local Craft Cocktail & Culinary Scene

From January 15th – 26th, TRIBUTE returns their craft spirits festival to Banff & Lake Louise with Tribute Craft Spirits Celebration. The best craft distilleries from Alberta and British Columbia will be showcased with special cocktail menus at all participating restaurants. Take in even more excitement at their 2-day downtown discovery event on Bear Sreet. On January 24th and 26th, Bear Street will come alive with several stations representing local craft distilleries, bars and restaurants. All will be offering tastings of their own spirits and hors d’oeuvres, crafted with local ingredients.

Want even more craft cocktail goodness? Check out these local cocktail creations available all winter long in Banff and Lake Louise. And you can enjoy Stay & Apres Tasting Sessions all winter too at Mt. Norquay. Kick your ski boots up, relax, sip on amazing drinks, and learn from an expert.


Two women at Tribute Craft Spirts Festival, Banff National Park.
Photo by Devaan Ingraham / Banff & Lake Louise Tourism.

Connect With the Mountains

Deepen your understanding and respect for the mountains with Avalanche Awareness Days. Snow safety professionals will provide entertaining and educational ways to learn about reducing your risk in the backcountry. Running January 18th and 19th at both Banff Sunshine Village and Lake Louise Ski Resort, in partnership with Avalanche Canada.

Lake Louise Ski Resort offers a unique mountain dining experience in the month of January with their classic Torchlight Dinner at Whitehorn Bistro. In participation with the Ice Magic Festival, enjoy a new twist on this popular event with a private ice-carving demonstration.

Torchlight Dinner at Lake Louise Ski Resort, Banff National Park.
Torchlight Dinner at Lake Louise Ski Resort. Photo courtesy of Lake Louise Ski Resort.

New Ways to Explore Winter

Whether ripping down Mt. Norquay ski resort in a cardboard sled, skiing Banff Sunshine in traditional kilt attire, or taking part in a classically Canadian skating experience, there are so many ways to explore winter in Banff throughout the January festivals.

SnowDays Play Zone – January 15th

Cave and Basin Winter Carnival – throughout the winter

Carboard Sled Derby at Mt. Norquay – January 17th

FIS World Snow Days at Lake Luoise Ski Resort – January 18th and 19th

Kids Fresstyle Jam at Mt. Norquay – January 18th

Banff Gallery Hop – January 18th

Community Novelty Races – January 19th

Masters Racing Beer League Series at Mt. Norquay – throughout winter

Apres Ski Night Trivia at Mt. Norquay – January 25th + February 29th

Legends of Norquay Fireside Chats at Mt. Norquay – January 25th

Avalanche training at Lake Louise
Photo courtesy of Lake Louise Ski Resort.

Want to experience Banff for yourself? Call our in-Banff SkiBig3 Vacation Planners today at 1-844-754-2443  or plan your next Canadian Rockies ski vacation online. Great Ski & Stay Packages available now.

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Two skiers at Banff Sunshine Village, Banff National Park.