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Canada's Winter Wonderland: Great Canadian Winter Sports Destinations

Updated on August 19, 2015

Don't let winter's chill drive you indoors. When the winds howl and the snow flies, what better time to celebrate Canada's greatest winter sports destinations? Two of the best known are Banff and Jasper - internationally renowned National Parks, hot vacation destinations, home of majestic mountain scenery, meccas for snowboarding, down-hill skiing, cross-country skiing, and magnet for back-country ski-do adventurers.

There are other fabulous winter playgrounds in Canada, but these are perhaps the best known. Photographed in all seasons, the mountain grandeur of both these vacation spots has been featured in the world's most prestigious publications. Used as an amazing backdrop for a variety of expensive ad campaigns or as the main feature, the parks contain some of the most photographed terrain this side of Kilimanjaro, Mt. Fuji, and the Matterhorn.

Banff Ski Holidays - beckenhamvultures.escouts.net
Banff Ski Holidays - beckenhamvultures.escouts.net
Banff scenery - campingtourist.com
Banff scenery - campingtourist.com
Spectacular view of the gondola lift from the Sulphur Mountain webcam at Banff - z.about.com
Spectacular view of the gondola lift from the Sulphur Mountain webcam at Banff - z.about.com
Snowboarding in Banff - friendsbeyondborders.com
Snowboarding in Banff - friendsbeyondborders.com

Banff

One of the most familiar and easily recognized of the mountains near Banff, AB, is Castle Mountain. Prosaically but aptly named, this giant has welcomed travelers since the park was first established in 1885.

According to Wikipedia,

...since the 1960s, park accommodations have been open year-round, with annual tourist visits to Banff increasing to over 5 million in the 1990s. Millions more visitors pass through the park on the Trans-Canada Highway making Banff is one of the world's most visited national parks.

The Banff Ice Fields Parkway extends from Lake Louise all the way up to Jasper National Park. The mountain route between the two parks holds some of the most spectacular mountain scenery on the planet.

It's is not as well known as the main route north through B.C. following the Coquihalla and Yellowhead Highways, nor as well-traveled as the most widely used route through Alberta - Highway #2 from Calgary to Edmonton, and Highway #16 from there to Jasper - but it's certainly worth a second look.

Winter sports enthusiasts descend on Banff in the tens of thousands every winter seeking fresh powder, exciting down-hill runs, and breath-taking scenery. Down-hill skiers and snowboarders from all over the world find an unparalleled experience on Banff''s mountains.

For those who don't care to take in the scenery at such a speedy pace, Banff and the surrounding area offer winter hiking trails, overnight winter camping trips, and breathtaking views from the Sulfur Mountain gondola ride.

In addition, visitors can buy high-quality gear or receive instruction through a multitude of pro-shops, sample the local cuisine at 5-star restaurants, and, after a busy day's fun, relax in the comfort of world-class accommodations.

Winter tours in Jasper - www.xtravel.ca
Winter tours in Jasper - www.xtravel.ca
Frozen waterfall in Maligne Canyon - flickr.com
Frozen waterfall in Maligne Canyon - flickr.com
Ski Jasper - ultimate-ski.com
Ski Jasper - ultimate-ski.com

Jasper

Jasper National Park, haven for winter sports enthusiasts, has long been the destination of choice for world-class skiers and snowboarders alike. Established in 1907, Jasper National Park is the largest national park in the Canadian Rockies, encompassing over 10,000 square kilometers of spectacular mountain wilderness.

According to the Parks Canada website:

Jasper is the largest and most northerly Canadian rocky mountain national park, part of a spectacular World Heritage Site. Comprised of delicate and carefully protected ecosystems, Jasper's scenery is none-the-less rugged and mountainous.

In this special corner of Canada you can thrill to the thunder of Sunwapta Falls, enjoy the serene beauty of Mount Edith Cavell, connect with nature along 1,000-plus kilometres of trails, experience Athabasca Glacier up close or just resign yourself to a relaxing soak in Miette Hotsprings.

Great Aunt Sadie and her husband were among the first residents at the park. We have some very old snapshots of our very young aunt standing on the steps of the original log park buildings.

She cooked at the main lodge, while he was one of the groundskeepers. An avid gardener, Great Uncle Tom is responsible in part for the exquisite rose plantings near the main lodge.


Come discover what Canadians have always known - these two parks encompass some of the most amazing and most accessible mountain scenery in the world. Winter's playground beckons from the splendor of the Rockie Mountains' snow-crested peaks to the steaming pools of the Miette Hotsprings. Join us for the best in skiing, winter hiking, snowboarding, sleigh rides, and family fun!

© 2010 RedElf

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    • RedElf profile image
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      RedElf 20 months ago from Canada

      Thanks so much. I am ashamed to admit I have never seen the Maligne Canyon, but it's now added to my bucket list

    • NomadsCanada profile image

      NomadsCanada 21 months ago

      Exploring the frozen waterfalls of Maligne Canyon in Jasper National Park is a must do if you're there during winter. Great article!

    • RedElf profile image
      Author

      RedElf 6 years ago from Canada

      sportandfitness, at least you managed to visit us :D:D:D

    • sportandfitness profile image

      sportandfitness 6 years ago

      Great hub, it is a shame I did not find before I went there... thanks for sharing!

    • RedElf profile image
      Author

      RedElf 7 years ago from Canada

      Hey, Enelle! Only with a toboggan! Thanks for commenting!

    • Enelle Lamb profile image

      Enelle Lamb 7 years ago from Canada's 'California'

      What a great hub! Almost makes me want to take to the slopes LOL. Excellent job!

    • RedElf profile image
      Author

      RedElf 7 years ago from Canada

      My pleasure, LRobbins. They are beautiful in every season, too!

    • LRobbins profile image

      LRobbins 7 years ago from Germany

      Thanks for highlighting our beautiful parks. We really are very fortunate to have them at our doorstep.

    • RedElf profile image
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      RedElf 7 years ago from Canada

      Hey, Tn! Thanks for stopping by to comment. It sure is a beautiful place - if you're ever in Canada, look me up! I'm in the waaaaaay North part ;)

    • TnFlash profile image

      TnFlash 7 years ago from Tampa, Florida

      Excellent Hub! I've never been to Canadian but it looks like a beautiful place.

    • RedElf profile image
      Author

      RedElf 7 years ago from Canada

      Thanks for commenting, Paradise7! So nice to see you!

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 7 years ago from Upstate New York

      Great hub, great pics, thank you again, Elf!

    • RedElf profile image
      Author

      RedElf 7 years ago from Canada

      Beth, so glad I could bring you some remembrances from home. Sounds like a beautiful day! You are most welcome.

    • Beth100 profile image

      Beth100 7 years ago from Canada

      I'm itching for the Rockies again!! I miss my home! You've done a wonderful job RedElf! I remember skiing in Lake Louise with large snowflakes coming down and the surrounding mountains were covered in a blanket of snow. It's absolutely gorgeous! Thanks for another great hub!

    • RedElf profile image
      Author

      RedElf 7 years ago from Canada

      But the Pass gets fabulous snow most years, evan! Thanks for commenting, and have a great trip!

    • evan26 profile image

      evan26 7 years ago

      Yea can't wait for another ski trip to Canada, Im probably heading to kicking horse though

    • RedElf profile image
      Author

      RedElf 7 years ago from Canada

      Thanks, Hh - My pleasure indeed!

      I hope we get to see some of that over here, amulets!

      Princessa, Jasper is amazing! I have been traveling through both parks for so long, but they are just as amazing every time I see them.

      Hey, alkhouse! Glad you dropped in - next time, we can make snow angels and have some hot cocoa! ..and you just gave me an idea for another hub - thanls so much!

    • alekhouse profile image

      Nancy Hinchliff 7 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      Nice hub. Gorgeous photos and I loved the videos. Thanks for a great romp in the snow.

    • Princessa profile image

      Wendy Iturrizaga 7 years ago from France

      It looks so awesome, I would love to be there. The Jasper National Park sounds like a dream, I'll better polish my skiing abilities if I manage to get there :)

    • amulets profile image

      amulets 7 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks for the lovely pictures. I am looking forward to the coming of youth olympics in Singapore. It will be fun watching these games.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

      This is indead a winter wonderland. Thank you for showing.

    • RedElf profile image
      Author

      RedElf 7 years ago from Canada

      Greetings, travelespresso! You were fast ;) Glad to share some memories with you. I'm looking forward to seeing us on air, too.

    • travelespresso profile image

      travelespresso 7 years ago from Somewhere in this exciting world.

      Aah RedElf - you took me on a trip down memory lane. It's far too long since I last visited this part of the world. Great hub and it will be awesome to see the winter Olympics beaming across the world from here.