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2018 Christmas in Banff

Queensland...
Level Contributor
8 posts
4 reviews
2018 Christmas in Banff

Hi,

We are a family of 4 from Australia (2 kids ages 3 and 5) wanting the elusive White Christmas. I would love to spend 10 - 14 days in the Banff area over the Christmas/new year period as it seems like a beautiful place to hang out in and experience something completely different to our everyday. I have my fingerscrossed for snow on the ground so we can walk out our door and have snow fights, build snowmen and slide down a hill with our kids. From what I have read this is most likely...any comments on that would be great.

We are interested in a couple of days skiing but not a focus due to the ages of our kids. I would love to visit Lake Louise and wondered if it is best to stay a couple of nights to fully experience it or is a day trip with young kids do-able? I am keen to do as many "fun" activites as we can and would love any info on what you recommend with the ages of our kids including ice skating outdoors, the hot springs, sleigh ride, dog sledding, short hike to the frozen waterfalls, ice hockey games, skiing, tobogganing...

We don't have experience driving in snow/ice although we have spent time travelling and holidaying in similar places pre kids. I am happy to do short drives but I would love to understand a bit about the shuttles and other transport options as well. Is it recommended to drive ourselves from Calgary at that time of year?

We intend to be in Canada for about 3 weeks (mostly prior to Christmas) and haven't decided where to visit other than Banff and a few days in Vancouver. Is Calgary worth spending some time in? My memory of it 20 years ago wasn't very impressive but I imagine it has changed a lot since then.

I'm sure I have loads more questions but we can start with that.

TIA

15 replies to this topic
Jasper, Canada
Destination Expert
for Jasper, Jasper National Park, Canadian Rockies
Level Contributor
21,823 posts
130 reviews
1. Re: 2018 Christmas in Banff

Welcome to the TripAdvisor forums!

There are a number of threads running now and recently about visiting Banff and the Rockies for a White Christmas, so since your visit is a year away and you have plenty of time for research, I would recommend starting there, because a lot of your questions have already been covered. Perhaps hop on up a couple of levels to the "Canadian Rockies" forum; this post is in the forum for the town of Banff, within Banff National Park, but posts for the region tend to be in all of these forums and if you read from the wider "Canadian Rockies" level, you will see all of them.

https://www.tripadvisor.ca/ShowForum-g659487…

Also, if you are on the full TripAdvisor website (not the app or mobile site), at the top right of each forum page, you will see the "Top Questions" (these are different on each forum although there may be some overlap); these are also a very good resource for starting your planning.

Building snowmen and making snowballs is not always possible with the very dry, powdery snow that we tend to get in the Rockies. It does happen sometime that we get a wetter snowfall but you can't count on it.

Saskatoon, Canada
Level Contributor
1,872 posts
321 reviews
2. Re: 2018 Christmas in Banff

A visit to the rockies at Christmas will be great.

Vancouver is a long way and not a good plan to drive, fly to Vancouver from Calgary.

You could rent a car in Calgary and drive in the Banff and Lake Louise area.

For the most part there are many activities with the limits of your budget and physical abilities deciding what you will do. Staying at Chateau Lake Louise for a couple of nights would put you near many activities .

Newcastle, Australia
Level Contributor
332 posts
71 reviews
3. Re: 2018 Christmas in Banff

I'd recommend a week in each. Vancouver, Banff and Lake Louise. Between the three, you'll be able to tick off all your activities. But don't split Vancouver at each end. Either connect straight to Calgary, or connect straight home from Calgary. you don't want to waste time in airports or changing hotels.

We never got to an NHL Ice Hockey game as tickets to Calgary Flames were $185/ticket for a nose bleeder, and it's a 90min drive to Calgary, then a night drive back to Banff. Our dates didn't line up in Vancouver. But there were Youth games on in Canmore and also the Rec centre in Banff if you just want to see something.

We did take a long time to build a snowman as the dry snow just doesn't stick together. We got there, but it wasn't all that pretty. There's also tubing at the ski resorts, which is fun for the kids (& adults)

Edmonton, Canada
Level Contributor
987 posts
10 reviews
4. Re: 2018 Christmas in Banff

check out sundog tours if you want to see jasper. they are the only company that runs in winter and it dependant upon the weather. being in the rockies at christmas is magical. not sure why you say because of the kids...skiing isn't the focus. both SUNSHINE by banff and LAKE LOUISE have very good ski schools. that would allow you and hubby to have some time alone. not familiar the the ski school at MARMOT, jasper. staying at lake louise would be nice for 2 nights. it's tiny so not a lot of restaurant selection. banff is larger. hope you have fun. i personally wouldn't stay more then 3 nights in vancouver. i'd rather stay in the beauty of the mountains then in a city.

Queensland...
Level Contributor
8 posts
4 reviews
5. Re: 2018 Christmas in Banff

Thank you for that information. I will check out sun dog tours & I have also been told sunshine was great for families. We may end up doing a few days skiing now which we are all excited about. I thought a couple of nights would be enough in LL too so I'm glad you agree.

Queensland...
Level Contributor
8 posts
4 reviews
6. Re: 2018 Christmas in Banff

Thanks for your reply, it is nice to have an Aussie who has travelled give their opinion too. Good heads up on the snowman, we won't go talking that up too much! Also we had looked at the Calgary flames matches but knowing there are local leagues around to watch is good too.

Essex
Level Contributor
32 posts
10 reviews
7. Re: 2018 Christmas in Banff

Hi there. We travelled to Banff for Christmas in 2016 and before that 2015. We’re hoping to be back this year. Anyhow, my children at their youngest were 3, 4 and 8. We used the nursery at Lake Louise on both trips for the younger two and I can’t recommend it enough. They did half days which included an hours ski lesson which they loved and it allowed us to get some skiing in too! We tried, miserably, to build a snowman but the tubing was a great hit even with the three year old who sat in a tube with my husband. Pls feel free to ask any questions and I’ll do my best to help if I can. Tara

Queensland...
Level Contributor
8 posts
4 reviews
8. Re: 2018 Christmas in Banff

Thanks Tara, that is great info to know. Can I ask you how easy it was to buy clothes for your little ones over there? They currently own nothing to deal with those sort of temps & I have been told by one person to buy when we get there as it will be cheaper & better suited to the climate.

Essex
Level Contributor
32 posts
10 reviews
9. Re: 2018 Christmas in Banff

Hi Michelle. In my experience the clothing in Banff Town / at the ski hills is much more expensive than I could get at home (England). Saying that, the gloves I bought for my son st home left his hands freezing - I bought a pair at lake Louise at over twice the cost but they were miles better. However my other two have gloves from home that were fine.

Personally, I would buy it all at home (in the sales) - I also didn’t see a huge choice for kids ski wear. We tried to find a new ski helmet for my daughter but gave up in the end. Very limited choices.

Hope this helps.

Tara

Adelaide, Australia
Level Contributor
65 posts
1 review
10. Re: 2018 Christmas in Banff

Hi Michelle, we're an Aussie family who have been to Banff/Lake Louise over winter. We bought our ski gear from the Aldi ski sale at home (think it happens late April/early May) and found it perfectly good for the Canadian winter.

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