Considering Banff National Park is one of the world’s most visited, it might seem obvious that most tourists would skip right past the former coal-mining town of Canmore, located right outside the park. But this is not the case. Ever since the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, of which Nordic events were held around Canmore, the town has been maintaining a name for itself as an individual destination. Beyond being a place where Olympians still train, Canmore offers travelers opportunities for winter recreation. And although there is plenty to do outside around Canmore year round, winter is my favorite season to visit. Not only does it come with fewer crowds, seeing snow covered Rockies in all their glory is breathtaking.
In this video, we will show you some of the top winter experiences you can have in this destination. Up first, it starts with ice fishing in a wooden shantee in the remote Canadian Wilderness. Owner of Banff Fly Fishing Guides, Jim Dysktra, takes guests on half day and full day trips to Spray Lakes in the Spray Valley Provincial Park. Camp is set up in a virtually barren spot on the frozen over lake away from a slew of ice fishers we pass on our way in.
Dog sledding is another top experience and after a trip with Snowy Owls, I realized the thrill of driving your own team of dogs is what makes the experience a rush. Rides wind through the Spray Valley Provincial Park. After a 30-minute drive we arrive in a remote wilderness area and can hear the dogs howling. Jeremy runs us through a thorough safety course where he still manages to work in humor. We learn how to break, cue the huskies to run and about the terrain we are going to pass through- rolling hills, steeper down hills and some uphill portions (which means you need to put your bots on the ground and run with the dogs).
For a more active experience, try cross country skiing at the Canmore Nordic Center Provincial Park, the site of the 1988 Winter Olympics . You will have a blast trying a new sport and in some incredible scenery and sweeping mountain ranges. By the end of a one-hour lesson, most are able to get the basic hang of the sport and enjoying time on some of the 70 km of surrounding trails after.
Check out town too where you could easily spend an afternoon shopping in boutiques, bookstores and shops that carry everything from outdoor gear to home goods. It’s also a place that offers tons of great dining options.
A town favorite is Grizzly Paw Brewing Company/ For the beer, I decide on a flight and was most impressed with the Beavertail Raspberry Ale and Sleeping Buffalo Stout.
For an overnight stay,check out Solara Resort and Spa about five minutes from town. Choose from 1, 2 or 3 bedroom suites that feature full size kitchens, which is perfect for a relaxing night in. Rooms also have fireplaces and balconies.
Epic Travel Guide For A Winter Trip to Canmore in Alberta, Canada