Alberta is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places on earth, as vast as it is varied in landscapes and experiences. Situated in the heart of western Canada, Alberta is bordered on the west by the majestic Canadian Rocky Mountains.
Our international gateway cities of Edmonton and Calgary offer an unparalleled urban experience—luxury accommodations, fine dining, endless shopping and a vibrant arts and cultural scene. The Rockies and our national parks are only hours away.
A winter adventure in Alberta is a must in your travel plans. Our legendary, airy powder is revered by skiers and snowboarders worldwide, as are our Canadian Rockies resorts. Dog sledding, Northern Lights viewing and train travel through Alberta’s winter wonderland are just a few of the adventures in store.
Just an hour and a half west of Calgary in Banff National Park, the town of Banff and the nearby hamlet of Lake Louise offer unparalleled access to the Canadian Rocky Mountain experience. Nestled in superb natural settings, these charming alpine towns offer all the amenities, with accommodation options for every taste—from alpine castles to backcountry lodges and private chalets—and culinary delights for every palate.
Untamed excitement is yours for the taking as you plug into the power of Jasper powder at Marmot Basin. But the fun doesn't stop at 2,600 vertical meters of skiable terrain. Jasper is a wonderland of unforgettable international cuisine, quirky shops, quaint inns, luxurious lodges, and endless opportunities for adrenaline junkies and relaxers alike. As a recently designated dark sky preserve, Jasper will afford star gazers of all ages an opportunity to experience the night sky at its best accompanied by the extraordinary aurora borealis.
Less than an hour west of Calgary, Canmore is your mountain town entry to Kananaskis Country, a massive backcountry haven of protected parks on the eastern flanks of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. With plenty of accommodation and dining choices, Canmore acts as the ideal base for your alpine adventures. In winter, go ice climbing, dog sledding, and snowshoeing. Try cross-country skiing at the Canmore Nordic Centre, where Olympic hopefuls train or ski Nakiska.
Marvel at the surprising sensation of treading lightly across the deep snow. The cool stillness of the forest is broken only by the crunch of snowshoes. A light snow begins to fall, frosting the scarves and toques of your companions. This peaceful winter scene is unchanged since the early explorers traversed this very land. Find your own peace amongst the stillness and learn what made the fresh animal tracks beneath your feet. Feel like you’re walking on air? You are almost!
Feel the bite of the bracing winter wind as your team of sled dogs whisks you across the frozen landscape. Piercing the icy stillness, the enthusiastic yelping of the huskies means they’re feeling the rush as much as you are. You’re in for the ride of a lifetime. Mush in the tracks of the early explorers who braved this frozen land and discover the advantages of travel by dog sled. Stand on the back and drive your very own team, or snuggle up in the sled under a warm buffalo rug and enjoy the ride. The thrills and chills of dog sledding in Alberta will leave you eager to write home about your wild winter adventure.
The deep stillness at the bottom of the frozen canyon is broken only by the sound of boots crunching in the snow. Towering waterfalls plunge down steep rock walls, frozen in place as if frozen in time. Wander through a maze of colossal pillars of ice and surreal ice sculptures, backlit in blues and greens. The frozen canyons of the Rocky Mountains have to be seen to be believed. Hike along the walls of Johnston Canyon near Banff, or witness the cascading icefalls of Jasper's Maligne Canyon. The ice walk at Grotto Canyon, just outside Canmore, is full of hidden surprises. Professional guides provide everything you need—ice cleats, trekking poles, beverages, and snacks.
Imagine iridescent curtains of color dancing across the night sky. The Northern Lights are one of the most surreal natural phenomena on earth. The Aurora Borealis can be glimpsed in the winter months when solar activity is highest from just about anywhere away from urban light pollution, particularly our dark sky preserves.
Alberta is also home to the world’s two largest dark sky preserves— Jasper National Park and Wood Buffalo National Park. See countless constellations, the planets, and the backbone of the Milky Way, all visible with the naked eye. Use telescopes to see fine details like the rings of Saturn and faraway galaxies. It’s literally out of this world. And watch for those northern lights.
Slice through amazing powder as you cut fresh lines on the slopes of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Imagine your next ski holiday, flying down tree-lined slopes against a backdrop of white peaks ablaze with sunshine. Alberta is one of few places on the planet blessed with the light, airy powder enthusiasts dream about.
Three world-renowned ski resorts are located within Banff National Park—Mt. Norquay, Lake Louise Ski Resort and Sunshine Village. Ski all of them on single tri-area lift ticket. In Jasper National Park, Marmot Basin features the highest base elevation in Canada at 5,570 feet.
Get your heart rate up as you glide along the trails amid stunning Canadian Rocky Mountain scenery on your cross-country skiing holiday. Designed for the 1988 Olympics, Canmore Nordic Centre Provincial Park, near Banff National Park, is among the world’s top cross Nordic ski destinations. Skiers of all levels can enjoy 37 miles of groomed and track-set trails. Similarly, the Hinton Nordic Centre, one hour east of the town of Jasper in the south end of William A Switzer Provincial Park, offers miles of expertly groomed trails, a large rustic day lodge and a biathlon range.
Winter in Alberta looks just like a scene from a winter wonderland greeting card, filled with the snow-capped Canadian Rocky Mountains. Get into the festive spirit with Christmas in November in Jasper. Get started early with Christmas in the Rockies in Banff. Watch the ice sculptors bring their creations to life. Take a horse-drawn wagon ride and follow the sweet songs of the Castle Carolers. Warm up by a roaring fireplace in an authentic lodge. Indulge the magic of Winter in Alberta
No Alberta winter experience is complete without ice skating. Lace up your skates and join the fun on Edmonton’s outdoor rinks or indoors at the Ice Palace at West Edmonton Mall. Or rent skates in Banff and glide your way across frozen Lake Louise amid dramatic Canadian Rocky Mountain views—considered by many the most spectacular natural skating rink on earth. In Calgary, show off your speed at the Olympic Oval, the fastest ice in the world, or any of Calgary’s outdoor rinks
Get pampered amid the peaks of the Canadian Rocky Mountains or at a world-class urban day spa. Soak in the healing waters of the mineral pools at the Banff Upper Hot Springs or indulge in an alpine-inspired beauty spa treatment and a relaxing couples’ massage. Rejuvenate your mind and body in a serene and luxurious setting so you emerge fully revitalized and ready to discover another Alberta adventure.
Few things are as romantic as a horse-drawn sleigh ride during an Alberta winter. Curl up under a cozy blanket with your special someone, sip hot cocoa, and take in the Canadian Rocky Mountain vistas. Listen to the clip-clop of the horses as you glide along the shore of Lake Louise or over snowy mountain meadows near Banff. It’s also a fun way to enjoy the outdoors and take in the scenery with friends and family.
After working up an appetite in the fresh winter air, treat yourself to first-rate Alberta cuisine. Warm up by a cozy fireplace as you sample renowned Alberta beef. Try a juicy bison burger or elk sausage. Discover the secrets of Saskatoon berries. Fine dining is close at hand in Banff, Lake Louise, Jasper, Canmore, Calgary and Edmonton. In every corner of Alberta top chefs showcase local and sustainable ingredients. Fuel up for another day of exploration.
Albertans love outdoor events, whether it’s summer or winter. In fact, winter plays host to some of Alberta’s finest festivals such as Edmonton’s Ice on Whyte, featuring amazing ice carving and the Silver Skate Festival. In the Rockies, enjoy Banff Snowdays and Jasper in January. Calgary events include the Calgary Winter Festival and Fort Calgary’s Winterfest Carnival. You can always make your own even with a skating or tobogganing party, or take in an NHL hockey game with the Calgary Flames or the Edmonton Oilers!
Set dramatically between prairies and peaks, Calgary is a chic urban landscape surrounded by incomparable natural grandeur. It’s a place where you can savor the Rocky Mountain wilderness by day and world-class cuisine and entertainment by night, a place buzzing with innovative energy while embracing its rich western heritage. Calgarians have a need for speed, like four people in a bobsled zooming down a frozen track at 75mph. The legacy of the Winter Olympics burns brightly, with top-notch facilities where Olympic hopefuls train for gold. Designated a Cultural Capital of Canada for 2012 means Calgary has a significant voice in the Canadian cultural landscape. Theater, music, dance, the arts scene, and a host of winter festivals and events await.
With its exploding arts scene, breathtaking river valley, diverse eats and other unexpected finds, the Festival City can keep you busy all day. Alberta’s capital lies in the geographical heart of the province and is home to Elk Island National Park; a pristine oasis of aspen parkland and home to free-roaming herds of bison, moose, elk and 250 species of birds. Edmonton continues to amaze and excite its visitors with the world-renowned West Edmonton Mall with more than 800 shops, 100 eateries and 9 world class attractions all under one roof