Alternative Winter Activities in Alberta
31 October 2016: Alberta in the Canadian Rockies is home to a range of world-class ski resorts including Banff’s Mt. Norquay, Lake Louise Ski Resort, Sunshine Village and Jasper’s Marmot Basin – and the first ‘champagne’ powder has already fallen. But, there is so much more on offer in this winter wonderland beyond skiing. Here are the top five alternative winter activities to try aside from the slopes…
Ice walking: Grab a pair of snow boots and cleats and head to Maligne Canyon in Jasper National Park to go ice walking. Led by a professional guide navigate the frozen canyon floor amidst a maze of ice sculptures, explore the entrance to a cave system and see spectacular views of towering 30 metre-plus waterfalls plunging down steep rock walls, frozen in place as if time has stopped. Maligne Adventures offers a three-hour walk from around £40 per adult and £20 per child (7+) plus taxes. Ice walking is also available at Grotto Canyon to the east of Canmore or Johnston Canyon in Banff.
Dog sledding: What could be more magical than racing across the frozen Albertan landscapes pulled by a team of exuberant Alaskan and Siberian huskies? Choose between standing on the back on the sled and driving your very own canine team and snuggling up as a passenger under a warm buffalo rug. As the sled races across the new untouched snow, hear the calls of the musher directing his pack and the breathy sounds of the dogs as they get their own adrenaline rush. Howling Dog Tours offers sledding tours through Spray Lakes Provincial Park near Canmore from December to April from around £100 per adult and £25 per child. Other operators offer tours in the Lake Louise area.
Snow shoeing: An hour’s drive east of the Albertan capital of Edmonton lies Elk Island National Park, where there are no city lights to obscure the night skies and wildlife roam freely amidst a gentle wilderness of aspen woodland, prairie meadows and pockets of wetland. One way to navigate this scenic landscape is to follow in the footsteps of caribou, hare and lynx and widen your feet with snowshoes. An ultra-efficient way to beat the snowdrifts, snowshoeing is great for visitors of all ages and Elk Island has plenty of trails to explore. Haskin Canoe hosts one to two hour snowshoeing tours in the park from around £22 per person. Visitors can also enjoy snowshoeing in Lake Louise and Peter Lougheed Provincial Park.
Snow tubing: At Banff’s Mt. Norquay, swap skis for an inflated tube and get an adrenaline rush racing down a snow-covered hill in the resort’s brand new tube park, the first in the Banff area. Snow tubing is like tobogganing, but riders get to race downhill before being towed back up. Mt. Norquay is also the only location in Alberta to offer night tubing. The park is open December to April and prices start from around £18 for adults and £12 for children (4+). Snow tubing is also available at Nakiska Mountain Tube Park.
Fat biking: In Kananaskis Country try one of North America’s fastest growing winter sports – fat biking – on routes including the Troll Falls Trail. The sport sees riders go off road cycling with oversized, under-inflated tyres, which makes it easier to navigate softer, more unstable terrain including snow. A blend of high country mountain biking and cross country skiing, this two-wheeled activity atop tyres of 3.7 inches or more can also be experienced with Kananaskis Outfitters which rents Rocky Mountain Blizzard fat bikes from around £36 per day. Fat biking is also available at Canmore Nordic Centre Provincial Park.
GET THERE: Canadian Affair (0203 424 6306 / www.canadianaffair.com) has a six-night fly-drive in Alberta from £815 per person. Departing on 16 January 2017, the price includes return flights, transfers and accommodation in Lake Louise, Banff and Jasper and is based on two adults travelling.
For more information on Alberta, visit www.travelalberta.com/uk/things-to-do/winter-outdoor-activities
Notes to Editors
Featured image: Maligne Canyon, Credit Jasper Tourism
Media images available from:
Travel Alberta: http://multimedia.travelalberta.com