Every winter, Banff National Park comes alive with exciting and engaging activities all season. With three world-class ski resorts and two vibrant towns, you’re sure to get in on the magic no matter when you make your Canadian Rockies ski vacation.
From extra-early ski season stoke to spring laps in the sun (pushing up on summer), and everything in between, there’s a treat for every time of year here at SkiBig3.
Here’s your month-by-month guide to the best activities and highlights of winter in Banff National Park.
INSIDER TIP: Book your vacation early to ensure you access the best deals with plentiful lodging choices available. 23/24 Early Bird packages are already available. Be sure to check out our lift ticket pass perks throughout the season. SkiBig3 lift ticket holders will receive exclusive deals on many of the activities mentioned below.
- Shoulder season with space to explore
- Local community vibe in town
- Winter stoke and inspo for the season
THINGS TO DO
- Head out on a larch hike
- Bike the Legacy Trail to Canmore
- Banff Mountain Film Festival
Transitional October is a favourite month for Bow Valley locals. It’s “officially” okay to start getting excited about skiing, yet shoulder season weather often clings on to the remnants of summer for a couple of last hikes and bikes. October is typically a quiet month offering plenty of room to roam and explore our mountain playground. And keep your eyes peeled for the ultimate winter inspo – Banff Mountain Film Festival! The festival kicks off its world tour from the heart of the Canadian Rockies. But it’s chock full of flicks, books, events, and community camaraderie to amp up your excitement for all things winter.
- First-season corduroy laps at all SkiBig3 resorts
- Pre-holiday relaxation
- Celebrate US Thanksgiving in Canada
THINGS TO DO
- Take an early season ski or snowboard lesson
- Visit Lake Louise before it freezes
- Embark on a hot chocolate adventure
Winter starts picking up in November! With all SkiBig3 resorts opening in November (if not earlier), it’s the perfect time to dust off those skis and snowboards and head to the hills. Make the most of our extra-long Rockies season and warm up your ski and snowboard legs as soon as possible. It’s also a great time to perfect your ski technique with a lesson, so you’re ready to shred all season long. Make sure to pop over to Lake Louise to take in those final glacial lake views before it freezes over for the winter. Then warm up with specially crafted hot chocolate. Starting in November, Banff and Lake Louise’s Hot Chocolate Trail adventure starts. From limited edition to holiday-themed hot chocolates, it will be one of the tastiest adventures you’ll try.
- A classic white Christmas experience
- Indulging in Canadian comfort food
- Get into the Christmas spirit
THINGS TO DO
- Dogsled through a winter forest
- Ski with Santa at the SkiBig3 resorts
- Discover Christmas at the Castle
Home of the true white Christmas experience, Banff and Lake Louise come alive with mountain holiday spirit in December! Take the opportunity to create new family traditions focused on quality time and authentic Canadian experiences, like dogsledding through a wintery forest. Or, join Santa as he trades in his sleigh for skis as he celebrates Christmas at the SkiBig3 resorts. You can find him dashing through the snow from the mountain peaks all the way down to the ski base lodges. Christmas is the time for indulging, and you don’t have to worry about missing out on Christmas family feasts in Banff and Lake Louise. The culinary scene is alive and well with many locales serving up authentic Canadian cuisine and holiday specials.
- Unique winter festival fun
- More mountain terrain to explore
- Winter warmth – fondues and fireplaces
THINGS TO DO
- Ice skate on a mountain lake
- Discover local history at the Whyte Museum
- Nightrise and SnowDays Festival
By January, most of the resort terrain will be open for exploring! That’s over 7,700 acres of combined skiable terrain across all three ski resorts. After a day on the slopes, see winter artistry in action during SnowDays. The annual festival of snow in Banff National Park, and a highlight of the winter season. Wilderness skating is often in its prime in January, with myriad breathtaking lakes easily accessible from the centres of Banff and Lake Louise. It will make warming up after that much sweeter, as you enjoy a comforting fondue meal next to a crackling fireplace. Get to know Banff and Lake Louise a little bit better with a visit to the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies. After dark, head up to Sulphur Mountain and experience the summit in a whole new light.
- Romantic Rockies getaways
- Family-friendly skiing
- Relaxing spas and hot pools
THINGS TO DO
- Stargaze (or aurora gaze) the night away
- Get pampered with a spa treatment
- Lifts of Love
Day and night will compete for your love here, with so much to do around the clock. Ski by moonlight, take a ‘rest day’ with an afternoon at the spa, or simply take the scenic route to your next day on the slopes. This is a place where the pampering comes naturally, and the only thing melting is your stress level. Consider a night adventure to stargaze or (if you’re lucky) watch the northern lights – any of these local stargazing spots will do perfectly. Or, watch the stars from any of these rooftop hot tubs.
- Deep and dry Rockies powdery snow
- The start to sunny spring skiing
- Using up your Ikon Pass or Mountain Collective days
THINGS TO DO
- Explore snowy trails on a fat bike
- Discover off-piste guided skiing/snowshoeing
- Night tube at Mt. Norquay
With longer days comes deeper snow. March is that sweet spot of the year when things start to get reaaal good. You won’t be able to wipe the smile (or pow!) off your face. Springs breaks and reading weeks often conveniently fall around this time of year. The perfect time to book your Canadian Rockies ski vacation or use up the remainder of your Ikon Pass or Mountain Collective days. Discover the snowy trails of Banff and Lake Louise by fat biking around the winter wonderland. For something a little different, soak in the spring nature vibes with an off-piste skiing or snowshoeing experience, led by certified guides beyond the ski resort boundaries.
- Apres patio season
- Extended ski lift hours
- Easter holiday fun
THINGS TO DO
- Soak at the Banff Upper Hot Springs
- End of season Celebrations – Slush Cup and Shake the Lake
- Rail Jams
Ski resort patios are as busy as the slopes themselves around this time of year, and with good reason. Sunshine, goggle tans, and fire pits make it hard to decide where to spend your time. But as the days get longer, these are often the months when extended lift hours come into effect for some extra wiggle room. Banded Peak Base Camp at Lake Louise Ski Resort, Cascade Lodge at Mt. Norquay, and Mad Trapper’s Saloon at Banff Sunshine are just a handful of options to kick back your snowboard boots. They’re also the prime viewing location for end-of-season festivities like Slush Cup, Shake the Lake and spring rail jams.
Contact our reservations team today and we’ll help you build a customized vacation to suit your style and budget. They’re happy to help with their local knowledge of all three resorts, and the ins and outs of Banff National Park. Online Early Bird Packages for the 22/23 season are already available.