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It's here! In Banff, we absolutely adore winter. No wonder—with loads of fresh snow and heaps of sunshine, this is one of the best places in the entire world to enjoy the snowy season. Starting bright and early with frosty mornings straight on through to epic evenings under the stars, we aim to soak up every minute of it.

Here's our bucket list for winter in the Canadian Rockies:

1. Ski the Divide: If you're into that sort of thrill-seeking, goal-setting thing, hit up Sunshine Village's most epic off-piste area. But maybe your list includes cruising blue runs from the top of Paradise Chair at Lake Louise or taking your kids down the bumps off the North American at Norquay. Both are list-worthy as well! The key is to set a goal for your visit and celebrate the wins.

Three people ski down a snowy mountain

2. Stargaze / night ski photography: There's so much more to Banff in the winter than skiing or riding. When the sun sets, the magic really starts. Cold and dark skies lead to outstanding celestial displays. To soak up the beauty of the night sky, head to the Banff Gondola for evenings of Stargazing. There's a good chance it'll make you feel small—and also feel inspired!

Two people stargaze high above a lit town.

3. Soak: Nothing beats a warm soak under a crisp evening. Plus, it helps wash away the aches from the slopes and get you prepped for an incredible sleep. If you're staying at the Mount Royal Hotel in the heart of Banff, don't miss the incredible rooftop hot tubs - exclusive to hotel guests! If not, head to the Banff Upper Hot Springs, which is open until 10 PM winter evenings during the week, and 11 PM on weekends.

A rooftop patio and hot tub

4. Wine and dine: Here in the mountains, skiing and riding is generally followed by eating and drinking. That's what we call 'apres'. From locally-sourced and market-fresh fare at Banff's finest restaurants (including Sky Bistro) to casual pub fare, there are loads of choices. Make each night unique by experiencing something new.

A bartender puts the finishing touches on a whisky cocktail

5. Skating. Gliding across a frozen pond on a crisp winter afternoon is another must-do in Banff. Whether you're jumping Salchows or just learning, there's no pressure out here to do anything but enjoy yourself. In Banff, hit the ice at the outdoor Waldhaus Rink (behind the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel) or at the rink that's right on Banff Avenue in the Banff High School field. For a truly unique outdoor skate, head to Lake Louise.

Two people have a hug in front a skating rink

6. Cross-country skiing. It's easier than you think! Combining great exercise with a sense of exploration, this is the place to give cross-country skiing a try. Beginners can start with a short hour-long outing with an instructor. Track-set trails around Spray River trail system are approachable and a great place for beginners. More experienced skiers have a lot of amazing trails to choose from here in Banff, where cross-country (or 'Nordic') skiing is very popular. The Cascade Valley Trail makes for a lovely, rolling day out. See you on the trails!

A person cross-country skis next to a forest

Package all of this up with one of our deals and check your own list off!

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