Ice climbing at Jasper National Park's Maligne Canyon (photo: Ryan Bray/Parks Canada)

Wonderful Winter Activities for Non-Skiers

By AMA Staff

Strapping on a snowboard or a pair of skis and shushing down the slopes is, of course, the most iconic way to experience Canada’s western mountain ranges in winter. But even if you’re not a dedicated downhiller, there’s still much you can do to take advantage of the snow and ice. Whether you’re in Alberta or B.C., these winter activities, bookable through AMA Travel, can make for a memorable day or night out in the cold.

IF YOU’RE IN ALBERTA…

CLIMB OUT OF A CANYON, JASPER
Challenge yourself while exploring the frozen beauty of Jasper National Park’s Maligne Canyon in winter. The stark, eroded landscape, which in some places measures more than 50 meters deep, boasts a number of waterfalls and steep rock walls where ice forms thick enough to become climbable. Led by an experienced guide—and with all equipment provided—this unique ice-climbing excursion is suitable for neophyte and veteran climbers alike.

SHARPEN YOUR SHOOTING SKILLS, BANFF
See the Rockies like never before as part of a full-day photography tour. An early start presents the opportunity to capture the sun rising over Mount Rundle and the Vermillion Lakes, before heading off for a scenic hike through Johnson Canyon, where you can get personalized instruction on capturing stunning wintry images. The eye- (and shutter-) opening expedition concludes at Abraham Lake, known for its frozen surface made surreal by trapped bubbles of methane gas.

BEST PRICE GUARANTEE
As Alberta’s largest travel agency, AMA Travel has the clout to secure the lowest rates for Canadian and U.S. hotels. No matter where you’re headed, book online with us: We guarantee you’ll be getting the lowest available price.

PUNCH YOUR INTERPROVINCIAL TRAIN TICKET, JASPER
Cross the Alberta-British Columbia border on a five-hour round-trip train excursion. The outbound journey passes within sight of Mount Robson, the Canadian Rockies’ highest peak, before stopping in the town of Dunster, famous for its century-old general store. The van ride back to Jasper features a knowledgeable guide, plus side trips to Rearguard Falls and other photogenic points of interest.

SAVOUR SOME LOCAL SUDS, CALGARY
Perhaps you’ve had your fill of being outdoors and active in the Rockies? Then it’s time to reward yourself with a guided tasting tour of four of Alberta’s top craft breweries—plus lunch at CRAFT Beer Market, which pours 120-plus lagers, ales, stouts and more. It’s a great opportunity to refine your palate while increase your knowledge of a booming local industry.

winter activities whistler snowmobiling
Snowmobiling in Whistler (photo: The Adventure Group)

IF YOU’RE IN BRITISH COLUMBIA…

MOTOR TO THE TOP, WHISTLER
Rev your engines for a guided snowmobile journey up Whistler’s Blackcomb Mountain to an elevation of 1,845 metres—and the rustic Crystal Hut log cabin, where you can enjoy a candlelit fondue dinner with a glass of wine and fresh-baked pie for dessert, plus enchanting views of the surrounding Coast Mountain range.

TOUR AT YOUR LEISURE, VANCOUVER
A daylong private tour from Vancouver to Whistler is an ideal way to get a taste of the resort town’s charm without needing to book accommodations during high season. You’ll have a hard time taking your eyes off the mountainside (and coastal) sights along the Sea to Sky Highway; a couple of scenic stops provide opportunities for photography, too. In town, your knowledgeable driver can advise on the best ways to make use of your afternoon, before heading back west into the Vancouver sunset.

MORE TO READ
Discover even more off-piste attractions and adventures in Whistler, and find out which warm-weather activities beckon you back to Jasper for the summer. 

SNOWSHOE BENEATH THE STARS, PENTICTON
You don’t need summer’s warmth to appreciate the charms of B.C.’s wine country. Head just outside of Penticton for a snowshoe hike through a winter wonderland—leading to a three-course fireside dinner under the stars. Naturally, a tasting of Okanagan wines is included.

DROP YOUR LINE, WHISTLER OR PEMBERTON
Rejuvenate with a quiet morning on an ice-covered lake, breathing the crisp mountain air and fishing for the likes of bull trout, pike and kokanee (sockeye salmon). A half-day ice-fishing experience, including all equipment and return hotel transport, is just the ticket when it comes to finding a bit of peace in nature’s solitude.

BOOK WITH AMA
Browse all sorts of winter activities and tours in Jasper, Banff, Canmore and the B.C. Rockies.

WE’VE GOT YOU COVERED
Fill the gaps in health-care coverage when travelling across Canadian provincial borders. Always carry your Alberta Health Care card, and consider purchasing travel medical insurance to mitigate out-of-pocket expenses that could be incurred if you’re involved in an unforeseen accident.