Why non-skiers love Winter in Canada
Aussies love a winter wonderland but not all of us want to experience it while flying down a mountain on two skis. Enter Canada! With its turquoise frozen lakes, festivals, and snowmen aplenty, it’s little wonder Canada has become the hot spot for wintry magic sans skis. Read on for ten reasons why winter in Canada feels like a real-life snow dome.
1) You’ll have a front seat to the world’s greatest light show
The mysterious aurora borealis, or northern lights, is something you must experience at least once in your life. Canada’s Yukon Territory and Northwest Territories offer two of the best vantage points in the world for this shimmering spectacle. Visit between October and March for the best chance to catch the northern lights and book into a wilderness lodge for the full winter wonderland experience.
2) You can party with the locals
Canadians have better things to do than hibernating during winter, and Quebec hosts
two of the country’s best winter events. Join the outdoor celebrations at the biggest outdoor winter carnival, the Quebec Winter Carnival. That’s 17 days of snowy merry-making starting 26 January 2018. Afterwards, head to Montréal en Lumiere, from 22 February – 10 March 2018, an annual celebration drawing more than a million people together at the Quartier des spectacles, the festive heart of downtown Montreal. Music, circus arts, song, theatre and dance take centre stage during the 11-day festival, filled with free events and celebrations.
3) You can mush your own huskies!
Weave and wind your way through Canada’s spectacular winter wonderland, sled across frozen rivers and take in the epic mountain ranges, pulled along by your own team of energetic huskies. Dog sledding is an iconic Canadian experience and one that you’ll never forget. Head north to Yukon where Muktuk Adventures and Guest Ranch offers guided and self-guided dog mushing tours in the stunning Ibex Valley, amid the untouched wilderness of Laberge and Haeckel Hills. Alberta also has an abundance of sled dog tours to choose from in Kananaskis Country and Banff and Jasper national parks.
4) Chow down on mouth-watering winter cuisine
Eat your way through Winterlicious at over 220 of Toronto’s best restaurants during the winter food festival. For something a little different, don’t miss one of Canada’s best gastronomic experiences, RAW:almond. This annual pop-up restaurant in Winnipeg, Manitoba, is back on the ice in January 2018, a one-of-a-kind dining adventure featuring multi-course meals prepared by some of North America’s finest chefs, all served in an elaborate tent on the frozen river.
5) World-class ski resorts offer more than ski slopes!
Go beyond the slopes at Canada’s top ski resorts. Feel the rush of the soaring winter
Ziptrek with unparalleled views of centuries-old, snow-covered forests at Whistler Blackcomb Resort, or rejuvenate in the hot baths and waterfalls at the incredible Scandinave Spa Whistler. Canada’s second largest ski area, Sun Peaks Resort near Kamloops in British Columbia feels like a winter postcard, with its picturesque village. Non-skiers can choose from dog sledding, snowmobiling, ice skating, the tube park, or a Winter Segway Tour.
6) Wander through the wardrobe
Escape to your very own Narnia at Canada’s authentic winter lodges. Tagish Wilderness Lodge in Yukon Territory in north-west Canada is the ultimate wilderness retreat. With no road access, you’ll arrive by dog sled or ski plane and be treated to crackling campfires, howling wolves, winter adventures and, of course, the unforgettable aurora borealis. The Rockies also have plenty of remote properties for a winter escape. Skoki Lodge in Alberta is perched at the gateway to breathtaking mountain ridges, valleys, and crystal lakes. This backcountry Lodge is only accessible by hiking or skiing and has a true back-to-nature mentality.
7) You can sleep in an igloo
Spend a wintery night in an igloo – it doesn’t get more authentic than this! The Hôtel de Glace, located 10 minutes from downtown Quebec City, is a fantastical 36-room, cathedral-ceilinged hotel built lock, stock and barrel entirely of ice. This ephemeral work of art is filled with crystalline ice sculptures, where even your bed is made from ice. Don’t worry, the thick fleece and foam mattress ensure a cosy night’s sleep! Keep your phone close by - Quebec’s Ice Hotel is perfect fodder for your Instagram feed.
8) Enjoy the swish-swish of ice skates
Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, Canada’s frozen lakes and indoor rinks are some
of the best in the world for skating. Glide along the Rideau Canal in Ottawa, a UNESCO World Heritage site, or traverse the Red River Mutual Trail, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, the longest naturally frozen skating trail in the world. and the longest outdoor rink in the world. If spectating is more your thing, make sure you attend an ice hockey game! It’s the quintessential Canadian experience.
9) White Christmas dream come true
Skiing almost plays second fiddle to the sheer beauty of Lake Louise in Banff National Park, Alberta. Stay at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise for the white Christmas of a lifetime. While the skiing is phenomenal, the non-ski fun is equally incredible. Ice skate the famous frozen lake, framed by glaciers and epic mountains. Take a romantic sleigh ride through the fir forest, or take an ice walk through ancient Johnston Canyon. Lake Louise is the ultimate winter playground.
10) Romancing the rails
All aboard Canada’s famous snow train for the rail journey of a lifetime! VIA Rail’s train, The Canadian, travels from Vancouver in British Columbia to Jasper in Alberta. This two-day, one-night train ride takes you deep into the heart of the Canadian Rockies with glittering fir trees framing the landscape from start to finish. You’ll be transfixed by the 360-degree views from the domed-roof panoramic car as you sip on award-winning Okanagan wine and watch the sun send a goodnight glow over the snowy mountains. It doesn’t get more romantic than this.
Visit www.keepexploring.com.au for more inspiration.