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Great Outdoors, Calgarians, Travel, Life

15 spots outside the city to escape the Christmas chaos

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Kristy Archibald Dec 06, 2017 10:21 am 400

The holidays are truly a magical time of year, but they also tend to be a bit stressful – and by a bit, we mean they can be ridiculous, and even draining.

The frantic crowds, crazy line-ups, prepping for guests, cleaning, cooking, baking… the list goes on. Although a lot of it is in preparation for the exciting memories and festivities to come, don’t forget to take some time to yourself this holiday season.

Take a break, get out of the city, and enjoy the serene tranquility of the mountains – if even for just an afternoon. Your sanity will thank you.

Here are a few suggestions that are perfect for a mini getaway to treat yourself to some alone time (or with a loved one or friend), away from the hustle and bustle.

Stay over at Mount Engadine Lodge

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  • What: This beautiful lodge has no TV or cell phone reception and very limited wifi, so you’ll have no other option but to unplug and set your mind on enjoying some snowy activities. Strap on a pair of snowshoes, go for a high-speed dogsledding course, head out on the ice for some fishing, or glide through the frosty meadows on cross country skis. No matter what your activity of choice is, you can rely on a delicious gourmet family-style meal waiting for you when you get back. Talk about the ultimate winter wonderland!
  • Where: 1 Mount Shark Road, Canmore AB

Escape to the Post Hotel & Spa 

  • What: Located in the heart of Lake Louise, this charming European-inspired hotel boasts picturesque mountain scenery, complimentary access to skating on the lake, ice walks, snowmobile tours, and, of course, lots of opportunities to enjoy a cozy fire. Their restaurant, Fondue Stübli, features their famous traditional Swiss fondue along with other speciality eats that will have you wanting to spend the entire holiday season at this snowglobe-esque resort.
  • Where:  200 Pipestone Road, Lake Louise AB

Go Tubing at Canada Olympic Park

  • What: Calgary’s only tube park is the largest of its kind in Western Canada and now boasts 12 lanes, a four person tube option, and a dedicated magic carpet. A village including a food trailer, a deck with heaters, a fire pit, and washrooms have also been added for the 2017 season. Here you get the perks of a fun winter getaway without having to even leave the city – win win!
  • When: During the winter season
  • WhereWinSport’s Canada Olympic Park, The Acura Tube Park – 88 Canada Olympic Road SW, Calgary
  • Tickets: $28 for an adult to slide for two hours, and senior, youth, and family discounts are available.

Go skating on Lake Louise

  • What: Lake Louise was rated as the World’s most Beautiful Skating Rink in 2014, and trust us, it definitely lives up to its reputation. Glide hand in hand with your special someone as you enjoy the tranquil views and take in the fresh mountain air. The lake is even lit during the evening so you can skate under the stars and then warm up by a cozy campfire. Skate rentals are available.
  • Where: 111 Lake Louise Drive
  • Tickets: Email or call the Concierge Team for prices and ice conditions before heading up.

Go ice fishing

  • What: Looking for a new winter activity to try your hand at? Test the waters with ice fishing. In the city, try spots like Chestemere Lake, Bearspaw reservoir, Bruce Lake, or Gohst Lake If you’re looking for more of an epic adventure try out one of the many lakes up in the rockies, or book a guided tour to show you the ropes!

Kananaskis After Dark: Stargazing and Photography Tour

  • What: With an interpretive guide, take a moonlit walk through the forest and feast your eyes on the beauty of the Northern Lights and a sky full of stars, while sipping on steamy hot chocolate – it really doesn’t get much better than that. All photography levels welcome.
  • When: See the schedule here!
  • Where: Kananaskis Village Center – 1 Mt. Sparrowhawk Cresent
  • Tickets: Online, $69

Hit the Slopes

  • What: Take advantage of the fresh POW and get some great ski days in this upcoming season. Each hill also has a variety of Christmas themed activities happening throughout the holiday season, be sure to check the websites before heading up so you don’t miss the festivities.
  • Check the websites for Sunshine, Mount Norquay Naskiska Marmot Basin and Lake Louise to check hours of operation, hill conditions, snow reports and to see which trails are open!

Go Snowshoeing

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  • What: Take in the crisp outdoor air and the picturesque views  as you march your way through the many trails in and around the Calgary area – plus, it’s a great workout! If your are of an inner city roamer check out Fish Creek Park Or Nose Hill for some fantastic trails close to home. If you’re interested in taking a drive out to the Rockies, Canmore, Bragg Creek and Banff all boast unreal trail paths that lead to some magical destinations. Be sure to check trail reports before heading out, and dress for the weather!

Go Tobogganing 

  • What: This fun outdoor winter activity is one that the whole family can enjoy – no one said it was reserved for children! Bundle up and grab your sled to head to one of the many city-maintained hills or head out to Mt. Norquway or Lake Louise resort for a fun, snowy adrenaline filled afternoon. Don’t forget your helmet!
  • Where: See a list of city-maintained hills here.

Take a Helicopter Tour of the Mountains

  • What: Gain a new perspective of our unbelievable Rocky Mountains from new heights – literally! Flights range from 12 to 30 minutes and will allow you to sit back and view glaciers, waterfalls, animals, peaks, and more at a birds eye view. That’s one way to gain a new perspective!
  • Where: 91 Bow Valley Trail, Canmore AB

Experience a Dog Sledding Exhibition

  • What: Cuddle up under a blanket enjoy the scenery as you glide through the trail or head up your own team of home-bred Canadian huskies – you choose!
  • Where: Snowy Owl Sled Dog Tours – 109, 829 Street Canmore, AB or Mad Dogs & Englishmen Expeditions in Canmore.

Experience the new and improved Brewster Banff Gondola

  • What: Head to the summit for an unreal view above the treetops and a birds-eye view of 6 different mountain ranges, while sipping on a delicious Starbucks coffee or a refreshing glass of wine. Don’t forget to checkout the Mountaintop Christmas happening throughout the month of December which is essentially a magical winder wonderland set on the top of a mountain. View more information on the event here!
  • Where: 100 Mountian Avenue, Banff
  • Tickets: Adult – $62, Child – $31

Get up close and personal with a wolf-dog

  • What: Make friends with a pack of wolf dogs in a semi private tour of the Yamnuska Sanctuary. Learn more about the importance of keeping wolves wild and their impact on the natural environment, while receiving a ton of great photo ops with these majestic creatures.
  • Where: 215 Banff Avenue, Banff, AB
  • Tickets: $39 and up

Take a road trip through the Icefields Parkway

  • What: Did someone say road trip? Grab some pals and your camera and go cruising on this stretch of highway between Jasper and Lake Louise. The views are tremendous, just make sure you don’t limit you to one single destination. It’s all about the drive and what you’ll discover!
  • Where: Highway between Jasper and Lake Louise

Spend a weekend in Banff 

What: And old standby that never fails when you’re looking for an escape from the craziness in the city. Bring your gals and relax by making a spa date out of it, rent a cabin with your family and enjoy the peacefulness of the rockies, or make it a romantic weekend for two with your significant other. There is never a lack of adventures to be had in this glorious little town in the heart of the Rockies!

See also

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Kristy Archibald
Kristy is a creative Communications and PR strategist, freelance writer, coffee enthusiast and wine connoisseur who has a strong passion for travelling, art, style and fashion. Check out her blog (FloralandBows.com) for a taste of YYC through the lens of a refined, sassy, PR girl working on being a successful #girlboss.

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