What you make of this winter is up to you. You could lay back at home and sip on your coffee or you could mark this winter as one of the most adventurous, thrilling, and monumental one EVER! How? By heading to Banff National Park in Canada, which is a storehouse of winter activities! Whether you’d like to glide down peaks of the Rocky mountains at lightning speed or glide through frozen lakes, the choice is yours. However, we won’t attempt to describe just how utopian and idyllic Banff looks. You’re gonna have to find that out yourself. By Shubhanjana Das

1. Skiing and Snowboarding: 

View this post on Instagram

Revelling in the snow covered mountain scenery.

A post shared by Jacob Lee (@snailhiker) on

Banff is considered one of the best places to ski in the whole wide world! That’s quite something, isn’t it? Banff is at the heart of the Rocky Mountains and enjoys a long ski and snowboarding season with fresh powder and smooth, gliding trails that can accommodate both beginners as well as the pro skiers and snowboarders. In Banff, there is an abundance of things you can try, but what is a winter trip to the mountains without some skiing? Psst, if you’re the crazy, adventurous, ‘will try anything for fun’s sake’ kind, we suggest you take a step ahead and try heli-skiing. YOLO. 

2. Gondola Ride: 

It might just be that after arriving at Banff and seeing the snow-swashed Rocky Mountains for the first (or even the nth time!) you may wonder what a birds-eye-view of this surreal place must look like. It’s almost as if your wish was heard by some mystic force and granted in the form of this gondola ride that offers a stellar view of Banff from the Sulphur Mountain. This swanky gondola ride recently got a renovation, which now offers visitors an observation deck, two dining options, and multisensory cinematic experience in an interpretive centre. Just when we thought it couldn’t get any cooler… 

3. Ice Skating: 

View this post on Instagram

Some of the best adventures in life are unplanned . They happen when you bring your skates along (just in case) and make a last minute decision to drive a different direction just to see what will happen . It is often those adventures – the ones that are not carefully calculated – that become some of my favorite memories⛸ . . . . . . . . . . #WelcometotheGiesbrechts #gopro #abparks #explorecanada #travelalberta #explorealberta #capturecalgary #westjet #canadianrockies #shootandshare #wildernessculture #dearphotographer #welivetoexplore #travelersnotebook #travelwriter #darlingescapes #traveljournal #travelwithme #travelblogger #goplayoutside #sheexplores #naturesbeauty #womenwhohike #keepitwild #canadasworld #womenwhoexplore #womenwhoexplorealberta #mybanff #mountaingirls @travelalberta @canada @stayandwander @dailyviewalberta @dailyviewcalgary @banff_lakelouise @natgeotravel @westjetmagazine

A post shared by Laura Giesbrecht (@this_darling_adventure) on

Come Jan 19th till 29th, Banff’s iconic Lake Louise will get a New Year makeover with a magnanimous ice castle built on the lake during the Ice Magic Festival. So, if you just happen to be around, grab a pair of ice skates and put your best foot forward for a few laps around the lake and the ice castle. 

4. Ice Walks: 

If ice skating is too mainstream for you, what do you say to ice walks? Now, what does that have in store? Well, not much. Just the narrow Johnston Canyon gorge and steel catwalks built into the canyon that allows you to walk right into this dome of ice. The second ice walking trail is that of the Grotto Canyon, which takes you along a frozen creekbed to witness native ancient pictographs. No, we’re not making this up and it’s not a fantasy. 

5. Aurora Borealis: 

Before you start leaping out of joy at the sheer mention of the Aurora Borealis, let us tell you that this sighting depends on a lot of factors and one of them is your luck. The otherwise starry skies are adorned by the colours of the Northern Lights, which can be viewed from a number of spots at Banff, depending on where your daily activities land you. For a heads up, keep the following few spots in mind so that you can have your camera ready – Lake Minnewanka, Fairmont Chateau at Lake Louise, Castle Junction near the Bow Valley Parkway, and Vermillion Lakes. More than anything else, this one will be one life-altering experience.

Related: Have You Taken These 3 Road Trips in Canada Yet?