Banff

The best winter destinations for people who don’t ski or snowboard

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Hitting the slopes isn’t the be all and end all to winter activities. Even if you’re not a ski or snowboard fiend, there are plenty of other things to do when you’re in the mood for a getaway during Canada’s snowy season. Here are five places to stay that offer wonderful cold-weather alternatives to strapping into some skis or a board.

Fairmont Banff Springs, Banff, Alberta

Located in the heart of picturesque Banff National Park—a UNESCO World Heritage Site—this majestic hotel is dubbed Canada’s “Castle in the Rockies,” and the views of the mountains and emerald waters from here truly are breathtaking. Besides skiing, there are a plethora of other options for outdoor fun: dog sledding, snowshoeing, sleigh rides, skating, canyon ice walks, and even ice fishing.

Don’t miss: Unwinding at the Willow Stream Spa where you can be pampered with restorative treatments and soak in the rejuvenating waterfalls and mineral pool.

Langdon Hall, Cambridge, Ontario

Building exterior
Photo courtesy of travelandescape.ca

This Relais & Chateaux property looks like a country estate home that belongs on Downton Abbey, and it’s the perfect winter retreat if you’re looking for a luxurious escape with top-notch service. (The wood-burning fireplace in your room is just the cherry on top.) Savour the gourmet award-winning cuisine and delightfully English afternoon tea in between hikes through the 12 km of woodland trails on the property, or take a few on-site archery lessons.

Don’t miss: A day trip to St. Jacob’s Market and the nearby Mennonite countryside.

Northern Lights Hotel and Spa, Whitehorse, Yukon

Northern Lights hotel
Photo courtesy of northernlightsyukon.com

 

If you’ve always wanted to witness the spectacular Aurora Borealis, this is the place to do it. A 20-minute drive south of Whitehorse, the rooms and chalets on this 160-acre lot are surrounded by the Yukon Valley and offer unobstructed views of the Northern Lights. Take guided or self-guided tours of the area to learn about its wildlife and history, or get into the northern spirit by taking part in some dog sledding, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, or ice fishing.

Don’t miss: Some time in the hotel’s outdoor Jacuzzi, which provides a spectacular view of the mountain range beyond the Yukon River Valley.

Le Westin, Mont Tremblant, Quebec

Mont Tremblant
Photo courtesy of go-tremblant.com

National Geographic rated Tremblant as one of the world’s best ski towns, but that’s not all there is to do. The newly renovated Le Westin, located in the heart of Tremblant’s pedestrian village, will organize snowshoeing excursions to the summit of Johannsen mountain, ice skating on Lake Miroir, and snowmobile rides through the P’tit Train du Nord linear park for guests. An outdoor whirlpool and saltwater heated pool await after an active day out.

Don’t miss: An evening spent in the hotel’s outdoor whirlpool and heated saltwater pool to take the chill away after a day spent in Tremblant’s infamously cold temperatures.

Four Seasons, Whistler, British Columbia

Whistler's Peak 2 Peak Gondola
Photo courtesy of whistler.com

Yes, Whistler is a mecca for skiers and snowboarders, but the Four Seasons also offers a ton of non-slope activities here, like ice climbing, skating, snowcat tours, and even bald eagle viewing—and that’s just in the winter months.

Don’t miss: A ride on the resort’s Peak 2 Peak Gondola. As one of the longest and highest lifts in the world, you’ll get an unparalleled view of some of the province’s highest peaks