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Snow Days
Devaan Ingraham
The Real Banff / Published: Tue, 12/17/2019 - 16:31

12 Free Things To Do At SnowDays

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Every January, visitors from around the world celebrate the magic of winter at SnowDays in Banff and Lake Louise. Join us for this year’s 12-day event, which promises to be bigger and better than ever. Embrace winter and rejoice your inner child with these free outdoor happenings!

1. Vote in the Snow Sculpture Competition 

When: January 16 - 18 
Where: Bear Street

In the heart of downtown Banff, professional snow sculptors compete for 1st, 2nd, and People’s Choice awards. Bear Street transforms into a pedestrian-only zone, so you can see these enormous sculptures up close and personal while they are being carved.
Peoples' Choice Vote is January 18 from 4 p.m. - 6 p.m. Winners will be announced on January 18 at 6 p.m. 

Find out more

2. Wander the Snow Sculpture Exhibition

When: January 15 - 26
Where: Bear Street, Banff High School, Banff Sunshine Village and Mt. Norquay

Missed the competition? Don’t worry, this exhibit lasts 12 full days. Come see the sculptures when they are complete, warm up around the fire, and wander the shops along the way. We recommend viewing these masterpieces at night, when they are all lit up. 

Snow Days
Devaan Ingraham

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3. Experience the International Ice Carving Competition

When: January 15 - 17 
Where: Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise 

A crowd favourite, this frosty competition returns to Lake Louise in 2020. Come watch world-renowned carvers chip and carve away at blocks of ice to create imaginative pieces. 
The winning team will be announced on January 17 at 5 p.m. 
*Admission fees apply over weekends and peak-times. Find more details on admission.

Ice Magic Festival, Banff National Park
Devaan Ingraham

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4. Visit Ice Magic Mid-Week

When: January 20 - 24
Where: Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise

One of the best times to visit Lake Louise is when you can avoid the crowds. Visit mid-week and enjoy the Ice Magic sculptures admission-free. While you are there, warm up with a hot chocolate and wander around the lake itself. 

Winter Ice Magic
Jason Stang

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5. Join in the Gallery Hop

When: January 18, 12:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Where: Various museums and galleries in Banff 

The Canadian Rocky Mountains are an endless source of inspiration to local artists and those who have visited from around the world. Hop from gallery to gallery to marvel at the artistic creations on display at select galleries. 

Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies, Banff, Canada
Devaan Ingraham

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6. Take Part in Lake Louise FIS World Snow Days

When: January 18 - 19 
Where: Lake Louise Ski Resort 

Enjoy a weekend packed full of deals at the Lake Louise Ski Resort. Deals include: kids under 12 ski free, save 50% on family tubing, ride 2 for 1 on the gondola and more! Explore the full list of savings and get ready for a big weekend on the snow.

Family Ski, Lake Louise Ski Resort, Banff National Park
Devaan Ingraham

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7. Experience the Thrill of Skijoring

When: January 19, 2 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Where: Banff Avenue 

Welcome to the Wild West! Skijoring was featured in the original 1917 Banff Winter Carnival and contributed to Banff’s reputation as one of the world’s premier winter sport destinations. Don't miss this thrilling demonstration, which follows a skiing cowboy drawn by a galloping horse. 

Skijoring, Canada, Banff National Park
Amanda Ubell

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8. DJ Skate Parties 

When: Fridays and Saturdays, 5 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Where: SnowDays Play Zone, Banff High School 

Join the downtown fun in the field of Banff’s high school and skate to some rockin’ tunes. Whether you skate or not, enjoy hot chocolate around the fire while you soak up the lively atmosphere.

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9. Free Skate Rentals at SnowDays Play Zone 

When: Daily, 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Where: SnowDays Play Zone, Banff High School 

To make sure you don't miss out on any of the fun, skate rental is free at the SnowDays Play Zone

Ice Skating, Banff National Park
Devaan Ingraham
Two Jack Lake

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10. Cheer on Community Novelty Racers

When: January 19, 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Where: Banff Avenue

Not your typical race! These racers compete in lengths by canoe, fat bike skijoring, reverse dogsledding, and three-legged snowshoeing. Come and watch the fun and cheer on your favourite team. 

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11. Try Something New at BARBAGEZI

When: Fridays from 4 p.m. - 8 p.m., Saturdays & Sundays from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Where: SnowDays Play Zone, Banff High School

Ever wanted to try fat biking, snowshoeing or axe throwing? Now is your chance. Add BARBAGEZI to your schedule and you can also try your hand at the obstacle course, human curling, the snowball slingshot, and hockey skills - and the list goes on!

Community Novelty Races, Family Fun Banff National Park

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12. Take the Free Shuttle to Mt. Norquay or Banff Sunshine Village

When: January 15 - 26
Where: Mt. Norquay, Banff Sunshine Village

The snow sculptures are so big that we can’t contain them to downtown. Check out another snow sculpture up at Mt Norquay or Banff Sunshine Village, easily accessible via the free shuttle. 

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Explore the SnowDays Schedule

If you are looking for more information on SnowDays, check out our event listings or drop by one of our visitor centres in Banff or Lake Louise.