9 winter activities to check out near Calgary
Written for Daily Hive by Lucas Taylor
Once the holidays are over, winter stops being fun for many people. The Canadian winter wonderland becomes the harsh desolate wasteland, and each miraculously unique snowflake becomes a heinous reminder that the season of scraping ice off of windshields or shivering at the train station is far from over.
However, what many Calgarians don’t realize is that there are lots of fun activities to take part in and events to attend all season long. Some of these events are the envy of the world, and most are happening either in Calgary itself, or just a short day trip away.
Dog Sledding in Canmore
One of the most ancient, and still very practical, means of transportation in frigid climates, dog sledding is an activity Canada is famous for. Luckily for us, a short drive away in Canmore there are three different companies that offer dog sledding tours in the scenic Rocky Mountains.
Howling Dog Tours, Mad Dogs & Englishmen Expeditions, and Snowy Owl Sled Dog Tours all offer incredible, personalized experiences. Try out a tour this winter and take part in a long standing Canadian tradition.
They can be reached by phone at:
- Howling Dog Tours – (403) 678-9588
- Mad Dogs and Englishmen Expeditions – (403) 609-3670
- Snowy Owl Sled Dog Tours – (403) 678-4369
Snow Days Winter Festival
From January 13th to February 5th, Banff and Lake Louise will be hosting the annual Snow Days festival. Spend the day skiing or skating on the lake, then when the sun sets enjoy your evening by taking in live music, watch a snowboarding competition and enjoy a drink by a fire. In addition, from January 18 to 22 Banff’s Big Taste gives visitors and locals alike an opportunity to sample Banff’s incredible food scene.
Where: Banff National Park
Edmonton Ice Castles
Another “envy of the world” winter activity you can do close to home is explore Edmonton’s Ice Castles. Built in Hawrelak Park, the Ice Castles are an acre sized monument to winter built entirely out of ice but looks more like it was carved out of a glacier or ice cave than created by human hands. Although you will be able to explore the castles from December 30 to March 15, 2016, the Ice Castles are also a big part of the ten day Silver Skate Festival from February 10 to 20.
Address: 9330 Groat Road, Edmonton
Edmonton Whisky Festival
If you find yourself in Edmonton on January 18th, the Delta Edmonton South hotel will be hosting a display of the best whisky in the world. Featuring Irish, Scottish, Canadian, and American whisky, there are over 175 varieties to try. Chat with whisky experts, bid on whisky themed items at a silent auction, and enjoy appetizers provided by the hotel.
Address: 4404 Gateway Blvd NW, Edmonton
Snowshoeing in Medicine Hat
For a change of scenery, and beautiful scenery at that, visit Medicine Hat for a sightseeing and snowshoeing adventure. Home to the famous giant Medicine Hat Teepee, the city’s Police Point Park is a beautiful place to explore and enjoy nature, with snowshoe rentals available at the park’s interpretive centre.
The Interpretive Centre phone number: (403) 529-6225
Lethbridge Comedy Event
If you’re in Lethbridge on January 27th, be sure to check out the Snowed In Comedy Tour featuring comedians Pete Zedlacher, Dan Quinn, Craig Campbell, and Paul Myrehaug. The 2016 tour received standing ovations, and the show has become one of Canada’s largest comedy tours.
Address: 2510 Scenic Drive, South Lethbridge
Royal Tyrrell Museum
This is one of those “envy of the world” destinations I was mentioning. If you ask someone who isn’t from here what comes to mind when they think of Alberta, there’s usually three common answers. Cowboys, oil, and dinosaurs. Alberta is world famous for our incredible fossil deposits and well preserved dinosaur bones.
The Royal Tyrrell Museum is an incredible destination for anyone interested in fossils and Alberta’s mesozoic past. During the summer months, the museum is packed with tourists from across the globe, but during the winter, visitors have the advantage of having the spacious museum more or less to themselves. So don’t feel rushed to take your pictures and move along into the next room. Take your time, read some plagues, talk to some interpreters. You’re never too old or too young to have fun learning about dinosaurs.
Address: 1500 N Dinosaur Trail, Drumheller
Tubing at Mount Norquay
Head to Tube Town at Mt Norquay and hit the slopes in a tube. The snow tube park has a magic carpet and large sliding lanes to go down along with your group of friends or your family. Their new tube park this year also has a small sliding area, and a kids play area. So there’s even more to do on the tubing hill for your little ones.
Address: Mt Norquay Road, Banff
Red Deer Sleigh Rides and Skating
At Red Deer’s Heritage Ranch, you can catch yourself a relaxing and fun sleigh ride through a display of over 20,000 lights. They also provide hot chocolate and blankets to keep you warm.
For those fans of outdoor skating rinks in Calgary, Red Deer is home to 62 of the things and on most of them hockey is allowed and even encouraged. There are also plenty of leisure skating rinks for those looking for a more relaxed pace.
Address: 6300 Cronquist Drive, Red Deer