Category: destination of the week 19 feb to 25 feb

World famous Banff Upper Hot Springs

It’s magical to sit in the pools in the wintertime, watching snow fall on the surrounding peaks. Sunrise and sunset at any time of the year is also a wonderful time to visit, as the mountain air cools down during these times of day. The springs are open until late in the evening year-round.

The Natural History Of The Banff Upper Hot Springs

The water in the Banff Upper Hot Springs is heated geothermally, bubbling up to the surface from three kilometres into the earth’s crust. The water that reaches the surface has not seen daylight for hundreds of years. It began as precipitation (rain and snow) which very slowly seeped through the sedimentary rock layers, getting hotter and absorbing dissolved minerals as it descended. The water then flows up to the surface along the Sulphur Mountain Thrust Fault, a large fracture in the mountain where rock layers have slid on top of each other. The natural temperature of the water that emerges at the Upper Hot Springs outlet varies depending on the season. During the winter, the temperature is as hot as 47°C (116°F). In the spring, the flow increases and the temperature cools off, to a minimum of 27°C (81°F). Heated municipal water is used to top up the pool during winter when the spring’s natural volume is lower.

The facilities at the Banff Hot Springs are universally accessible and includes a large pool and café. Swimsuits, towels, and lockers are available to rent.

Date: January 16-27, 2019

Set in the spectacular surroundings of Lake Louise, the Ice Magic Festival is a world-class ice carving event. Watch as talented ice artists from around the world skillfully combine gruelling physicality with precision artistry in an ice carving competition.

*Event dates and details are subject to change.

Winter in Canada is something to celebrate! Watch the alpine town of Lake Louise come alive during the 12-day Ice Magic Festival. Walk through a winter wonderland and explore ice castles, ice bars, and ice carvings at the iconic Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. From the International Ice Carving Competition, to the One Hour, One Carver, One Block speed event, there’s lots to see and do in Lake Louise this January.


The world’s best ice carvers have been visiting Lake Louise for 25 years to create inspiring ice sculptures that get bigger and better each year. Discover this year’s theme and explore past ice carvings.  


Ice Magic only comes around once a year, and with such an exclusive event you’ll want to make sure you know all the insider tips to make your visit as memorable as possible.

  • Book an overnight accommodation in Lake Louise and visit the Competition Carving Site as often as you like.
  • Visit the finished sculptures mid-week and create fond memories of Lake Louise with no crowds, ample parking, and better photo opportunities. Plus, if you come Thursday or Friday during the competition, when admission is free, the ice carvers have more time to answer all your burning questions.
  • Catch a glimpse of the sculptures under the light of the night sky. The best photos are taken at night when the sculptures are lit up and the mountain peaks create faint silhouettes in the background.
  • Lake Louise is a winter wonderland so be prepared to navigate it comfortably in winter attire. Winter boots, hats, gloves, and layers are all essentials.
  • If you’re visiting Lake Louise for Ice Magic Festival, make sure you explore the rest of Banff National Park which comes alive with the SnowDays Winter festival.
  • The Tribute To Craft Spirits Festival held as part of SnowDays in Banff National Park will extend to Lake Louise with a special cocktail menu available at the ice bar during the Ice Magic Festival. The special cocktails can also be sampled at Alpine Social inside the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.


  • With limited parking available near the Competition Carving Site, visitors are encouraged to take the free shuttle buses.
  • If you’re staying in Banff, the easiest way to get to Lake Louise is to take transit. A new local route will operate between Banff and Lake Louise this winter.


Tickets are required to visit the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise lakeside Competition Carving Site during peak periods. Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. are considered peak visitation periods. At all other times, the carving site is free for all visitors to enter and enjoy.


Ice Magic is an amazing time to embrace the wonders of winter. See what a perfect day exploring the spectacular setting of Lake Louise looks like.

  • Visit Ice Magic early in the morning before the crowds show up, then use the rest of the day to play in the outdoors.
  • Pick up a lift ticket from the Lake Louise Ski Resort and hit the slopes or simply view the breath-taking landscape from the top of the Gondola.
  • Explore the Lake Louise area on a guided snowshoe tour with Great Divide Nature Interpretation, the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, or the Lake Louise Ski Resort.
  • Enjoy the groomed cross-country ski trails near Baker Creek Mountain Resort.
  • Or race your friends down the tubing runs at the Lake Louise Ski Resort Sunny Tube Park.

A classic romantic way to enjoy the winter wonderland of Banff & Lake Louise. Join a public tour or indulge in a private ride – it’s sure to be a memorable experience. The seemingly tireless horses maintain a steady rhythm and the sleigh glides on, swiftly and silently while you sit cozy under a warm blanket. The sound of jingling sleigh bells and the sights of the magical snowy landscape make you feel like you are a character in your very own fairy-tale.

January 16-27, 2019

An outdoor gallery of snow sculptures.

In the heart of the winter months, Banff National Park invites visitors to embrace the cold, vigour, and fun that winter brings. The silence that comes with falling snow, the glowing crackle of a fire, and the joy of snowball fights: it is a magical time of year. Come see winter artistry in action during SnowDays, the festival of snow in Banff National Park.

*Event dates and details are subject to change.

The annual SnowDays celebration is a highlight of the winter season in Banff National Park; a free 12-day long event held during January, centred around massive snow sculptures in downtown Banff. Occurring at the same time as the Ice Magic Festival in Lake Louise, you’ll have plenty of winter creations to explore throughout the park.


Enjoy the festive atmosphere as downtown Banff transforms into a winter playground with giant snow sculptures, ice skating, an ice and snow playground, and more! These are the best places to enjoy the sculptures in town and at the ski hills.


02 WHAT’S NEW IN 2019

The 2019 SnowDays winter festival promises to be bigger and better than ever with the introduction of new events to make for the perfect adventure!


A competition element has been added to the schedule of events for 2019. SnowDays will kick-off with a snow sculpting competition where six Canadian and international teams will compete from January 17 – 19.


From January 16 – 27, celebrate the best of Banff and Lake Louise’s craft cocktail culture with the TRIBUTE TO CRAFT SPIRITS FESTIVAL. For 12 days, participating restaurants and distilleries will serve up exclusive cocktail menus.

TRIBUTE Cocktail Menus

Available only throughout the TRIBUTE TO CRAFT SPIRITS FESTIVAL, exclusive cocktail menus will be crafted up with the best local ingredients. Five unique creations featuring five Alberta and British Columbia craft distilleries.

TRIBUTE 2-Day Discovery Event

With a passport to Bear Street on January 26 and 27, discover the personalities, processes and products behind your favourite craft cocktails in Banff and Lake Louise. The heart of downtown Banff will thrive with activity, as chefs and distillers proudly showcase their crafts for the palate of every passer-by.


SnowDays only comes around once a year, and with such an exclusive event you’ll want to make sure you know all of the insider tips to make your visit as memorable as possible.

Stay in the Heart of Banff

Book an overnight accommodation in Banff and explore all of the free winter activities and festivities.

Sample the SnowDays Tribute Beer

Head to Banff Ave. Brewing Co. to try the SnowDays Tribute Beer, a winter ale which will be on tap during the Festival.

Take Part in the Banff Gallery Hop

Immerse yourself in the unique arts, culture, and heritage traditions of Banff National Park on the Banff Gallery Hop on Saturday, January 26.

Get Your Skates On

If you are looking to rent ice skates, head to Snowtips-Bactrax on Bear Street.

Discover the Local Dining Scene

SnowDays is the perfect time to discover the rich culinary scene in Banff and Lake Louise. After a day of adventure in the snow, relax at one of the local Pub/Bistros in Banff and Lake Louise.

Take Transit

The best way to get around town is to take transit with four local routes operating in Banff.

04 Accommodation

If you’re planning to visit Banff and Lake Louise during SnowDays, you’ll want a place that’s going to be a perfect retreat after a day of playing in the snow. Celebrate SnowDays with the best of the hotels in town. Contact us for further details.

You feel like a kid again, skating in the open air with rosy cheeks and a huge grin. It feels so uplifting and free to be here – skating across a frozen lake, breathing in the icy cold air, surrounded by the incredible mountains. Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of your surroundings or maybe join in a game of pick-up, or “shinny” hockey. Then take a break and warm up with hot cocoa beside a bonfire before heading back out on the ice for more.

Feel your heart race and your mind clear as you dog sled through the pristine wilderness of the Canadian Rockies. Each tour begins by spending time meeting and getting to know the team of dogs. Help your musher get the dogs ready for tour by harnessing and hooking your team up to the sled. Try your hand at mushing your very own team of Alaskan huskies or cocoon yourself in blankets and relax as your experienced musher guides your team through the frozen wilderness.