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Sleigh Ride, Lake Louise, Banff National Park
Célestine Aerden
The Real Banff / Published: Wed, 11/02/2022 - 15:04

7 Christmas Traditions To Discover in Banff and Lake Louise

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If ever there was a time to discover and create new traditions, it’s around Christmas, when the spirit of the holidays inspires you to focus on what’s really important.

Perhaps it’s quality time with loved ones or disconnecting from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Whatever the holiday season means to you, adopting new Christmas traditions in Banff and Lake Louise is an enriching way to create lasting memories, and ones you can look forward to year after year.  

Here are some of our favourites:   

1. Take a Time out and Hit the Slopes

The slopes are often a little quieter on Christmas Day, providing the perfect opportunity to take a few turns and keep the little ones active. Spend the afternoon or morning with your nearest and dearest hitting the world-class slopes at one of the three mountain resorts in Banff National Park. 

2. Slide Along on a Horse-Drawn Sleigh

Keep warm under a blanket for a peaceful ride in a horse-drawn sleigh, an experience the whole family can enjoy. Available in both Banff and Lake Louise, a sleigh ride slows down the pace as you take in the scenery, breathe in the crisp air, and spend time with your loved ones. Plan ahead, check the weather, and dress warmly with a hat, scarf, and mitts. 

3. Go for a Fresh Air Picnic

Traditionally Christmas is a day gathered around the tree indoors, indulging in all the good food life has to offer - but why not adopt a refreshing tradition of time spent outdoors? Take your tradition up a notch and take food with you for an outdoor picnic - don't forget the hot chocolate! Try hiking Tunnel Mountain, snowshoeing around Lake Louise, or, for a much longer day, ski touring to Boom Lake or Rockbound Lake. Stock up on supplies in Banff at Nesters Market or IGA, or in Lake Louise at the Village Market.

A family walks along a snow covered trail around a frozen lake
Devaan Ingraham

4. Get Cozy at a Cabin

Spend the holiday season in a fully furnished cabin where you can warm up by a wood stove and enjoy an intimate holiday gathering with friends and family, surrounded by nothing but wilderness. Or, check out one of the backcountry lodges in Banff National Park accessible by snowshoe or ski, where warm duvets and gourmet meals await your arrival.

5. Eat Out, You're on Holidays

One of the best things about Banff and Lake Louise is the mouth-watering food options. Our favourites for Christmastime include Park Distillery, for a campfire-inspired menu that will warm you from the inside out, Chuck's Steakhouse with their tummy-filling multi-course Christmas dinner, and the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel for their many Christmas meal offerings. 

Check our Where To Eat page for more ideas and be sure to call ahead! 

A restaurant interior with tables set for dinner and snowy rooftops outside the windows
Julie Van Rosendaal

6. Skate When the Sun Goes Down

The skating rink on Lake Louise is lit at night, making for the most magical skating experience imaginable. With Christmas lights twinkling (not to mention stars sparkling above!), you’ll instantly fall in love with this new tradition. When you’re ready to unlace your skates, head in for a well-deserved hot chocolate or a coffee with liqueur. And don’t forget the whipped cream!

7. Wander the Trails of Banff National Park

Spend your day trekking through the snow-covered hiking and walking trails of Banff National Park. Whether your mode of transportation is skis, snowshoes, or winter boots, there is a trail in Banff and Lake Louise for you. 

Then, when the sun goes down, immerse yourself in the festive live story In Search of Christmas Spirit. Meet Owl, a stunning lantern puppet with a twelve-foot wingspan, and your guide on this outdoor, night-time experience. 

A large building and surrounding garden are lit with Christmas lights and a large ornament reads "In Search of Christmas Spirit"
Kelly MacDonald

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