Winter Wanderlist - Boutiq's Best of the Canadian Rockies

With its roaring open fires, quaint snow-filled villages and emerald lakes, the Rockies are the backdrop of the quintessential white Christmas. This week, our Travel Stories Contributor Agatha Zarzycki recommends her ultimate list of enchanting Boutiq Places for her parka paradise homeland. Rug up...

 

Snow cool: Winter comes alive in Banff, Alberta.  

Snow cool: Winter comes alive in Banff, Alberta.

 

1. Ice Walk at Johnston Canyon

Banff, Canada

"The hike, made up of a series of trails and steel catwalks, will lead you along Johnston Creek. You'll then be taken through snow-covered forest and to picturesque frozen waterfalls. It takes about 30 minutes to reach the 50 foot Lower Falls and about one hour to reach the 100 foot Upper Falls, which you can view from the bottom and top. Smaller cascades break up the walk in between and sometimes you can see climbers scaling the ice sculptures, towering above blue and green water encircled in a sheet of ice. Located in Banff National Park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this 3.4-mile route is beginner friendly." 

Tip: "Don’t forget your ice cleats, available at Mountain Equipment Co-op in Calgary and most outdoor stores in Banff."

The catwalks scale limestone canyon walls that are over 1000 years old.

The catwalks scale limestone canyon walls that are over 1000 years old.

 

EAT: BeaverTails

About a 30-minute drive from Johnston Canyon, the dessert shop BeaverTails in downtown Banff bakes the traditional Canadian pastry: BeaverTails. The donut-like dough is shaped like a beaver’s tail and comes with various toppings, including Classic Cinnamon and Sugar. 

A sugar rush pit-stop for BeaverTails pastries.

A sugar rush pit-stop for BeaverTails pastries.

 

2. Kimberley Alpine Resort

Kimberley, Canada

"Known as the sunniest ski resort in British Columbia, Kimberley Alpine Resort gets an average of 13 feet of snowfall in a season and has 1800 skiable acres. It also boasts the longest lit run in North America for night skiing. The resort also offers cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, skating, dog-sledding, and winter fat biking, an extreme sport where participants cycle on cross-country skiing or snowshoeing terrain using a fat tire bike."

It's lit: Skiing long pistes isn't just a daytime activity at Kimberley.

It's lit: Skiing long pistes isn't just a daytime activity at Kimberley.

 

SLEEP: Sullivan Stone Lodge

"You can exit the door of your rustic style condo and ski or snowboard down to the quaint small town at the base of the mountain, where you’ll find the main lift. The lodges, perfect for groups, have a cozy, countryside feel, with stone fireplaces, private hot tubs, and views of the Canadian Rockies." 

On powder's doorstep at Sullivan Stone Lodge.

On powder's doorstep at Sullivan Stone Lodge.

 

3. Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary

Cochrane, Canada

"The wolf and domestic dog hybrids at Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary become most energetic during winter, roaming and playing inside their snow blanketed enclosures, one to two acres in size. This non-profit rescue organization rehabilitates and finds homes for misplaced wolfdogs. You can stroll through the sanctuary at your own pace and observe the wolfdogs from outside the enclosures, or even participate in an interactive tour where you'll visit each enclosure. The wolfdogs are divided into three enclosures based on wolf percentage (high content equals 85% wolf and above). As you visit the high content wolfdogs, you will sit still and wait for the massive animals to appear from the forest, slowly inch forward, and eat food from your hands."

Are you ready to hand feed your new furry friends at Yamnuska?

Are you ready to hand feed your new furry friends at Yamnuska?

 

EAT: Thanh Thy

"Just about a ten-minute drive from the sanctuary, warm up at this family-owned restaurant in downtown Cochrane. It serves up delicious Vietnamese cuisine, including salt and pepper squid, various Tom Yum soups, and stir-fried spicy lemongrass chili chicken." 

Warm up with a steamy Than Thy Vietnamese soup after Yamnuska Sanctuary.

Warm up with a steamy Than Thy Vietnamese soup after Yamnuska Sanctuary.

 

4. Snow Tubing at Winsport’s Canada Olympic Park

Calgary, Canada

"Built to host the 1988 Winter Olympics, Winsport’s Canada Olympic Park has added a new addition to its slopes, terrain park, half pipe, ski jumping facilities, and bobsleigh, luge and skeleton programs: the largest tube park in Western Canada! The Acura Tube Park opened only last year and boasts 10 groomed lanes, 200 meters in length. A magic carpet takes riders to the top of the hill, where adults can experience the thrill of snow tubing on the west side, choosing from eight lanes of various speeds, while children can slide down the two slower lanes on the east side. It's perfect for both single tubers or groups."

Race you to the bottom: Tubing lanes at Winsport's Canada Olympic Park.

Race you to the bottom: Tubing lanes at Winsport's Canada Olympic Park.

 

DRINK: Vin Room West

"Unwind after an evening of snow tubing at Canada’s largest wine bar. It's about a 15-minute drive from Winsport’s COP and the elaborate drink menu offers 109 wines by the glass from around the world."

West is Best: Because it wouldn't be a Boutiq list without a favorite wine bar. 

West is Best: Because it wouldn't be a Boutiq list without a favorite wine bar. 

 

5. Ice Skating at Lake Louise

Banff, Canada

"Lake Louise’s sparkling emerald water freezes over from mid-December to mid-April, attracting ice skaters and hockey enthusiasts like myself from near and far. The hockey rink is next to the skating area, where a really impressive ice castle is made from large blocks of ice stands in the center. During the day, the snow-capped Rocky Mountains and Victoria Glacier create a beautiful backdrop, while during the night, floodlights illuminate the rink until 11 pm for those wanting to skate under a star-speckled sky. Don’t worry – the fire pit will keep you toasty!" 

Lake Louise is the winter playground of your dreams.

Lake Louise is the winter playground of your dreams.

 

SLEEP: Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise

"Lake Louise is located in the backyard of this historic hotel built in 1890 that spans 36, 000 square feet. The elegant mountain resort has 552 rooms, a spa, nine dining options, skate rentals, and more."

Sitting pretty: Fairmont's prime position on the frozen lake.

Sitting pretty: Fairmont's prime position on the frozen lake.

 

Like Agatha, you can also remember your best food and travel places on Boutiq, the app turning unforgettable discoveries into everlasting recommendations between you and your friendsUse it as your memory bank, and the best way to find hidden gems.