To celebrate the beauty and majesty of the winter season, the annual SnowDays festival is returning to Banff National Park with new enhancements to programming and the visitor experience, giving winter enthusiasts more reasons to attend. From January 18 to 29, visitors are invited to embrace the magic, energy, and fun that winter brings in a spectacular winter wonderland setting. The 12-day multi-faceted, family-friendly festival is inspired by the iconic setting of Canada’s first national park.
On Jan. 28, Skijoring will return to SnowDays’ programming for only the second time since 2020. Taking place in the heart of downtown Banff, 16 teams from Skijor Canada consisting of a horse, rider, and slider will take to the track, showcasing skills, speed, and style. Spectators can expect an action-packed show including Roman riding, trick riding, and stunt skiing/boarding and should keep their eyes peeled for local ski star Matt Monod. Skijoring, which derives from the Norwegian term for “ski driving,” was first demonstrated in Banff in 1917 as part of the first Banff Winter Carnival.
New this year, a SkijorStyle Fashion Show will encourage spectators to come dressed in a mashup of ski and western attire for the chance to win prizes. Also new to this year’s programming is a “Meet and Greet” with Banff Trail Riders at Banff Avenue Square to get up close and personal with some of their horses and wranglers.
Visitors can expect Banff to transform into larger-than-life winter galleries with giant snow and ice sculptures, adding an extra dash of magic to the already vibrant townsite. Carved out of thirty cubic metres of snow/ice by six teams of two to three Canadian and international artists, the ten sculptures will represent winter magic and mountain culture.
Those young and young at heart can enjoy the Play Zone at the Banff High School field. This specially designed activity area encourages safe winter fun with three sledding hills inspired by the park’s three ski resorts, inflatable curling rinks, a fat bike track, winter activity rentals, and more.
Wrap up the day on Banff’s new renovated Bear Street and enjoy daily outdoor multi-disciplinary entertainment under the stars between 4-8 p.m. Winter stilt walkers and a roving French accordionist will take to the street, and visitors can enjoy indigenous folk music performed live by indigenous singer and songwriter, Jay Gilday.
Here are some SnowDays highlights:
Watch Canadian cowboys and cowgirls, and their speedy steeds, partner with slick skiers and boarders to thrill and entertain the crowd during this action-packed show, complete with a SkijorStyle Fashion Show. Arriving early is recommended as there are limited seating and standing zone spots available.
SNOW AND ICE SCULPTURES
An exhibition of mastery and an outdoor gallery of great size and grandeur transforms downtown Banff during SnowDays, a signature component of the festival. During the first days of SnowDays, catch talented sculptors in action as they contour enormous blocks of snow/ice into works of art. Grab a hot drink to-go, bundle up, and follow the trail of sculptures throughout downtown Banff. After dark, sculptures will be illuminated with technicolour lights for visitors to enjoy.
Bike, climb, slide and play at the Play Zone. Round up the family for a memorable day in the snow and try a winter sport you have never experienced in a safe and controlled environment.