*This post is sponsored by Zappos, all thoughts and opinions are my own
We’re fortunate enough to live in a winter wonderland. Come Christmas time we’re lost in jagged peaks full of pine tree and waves of snow. After a busy year of travel, it feels great to return home to a place that feels so comfortable. The town of Banff transforms into a Christmas village full of decorations, twinkling lights, cheerful visitors, ice skating, and even horse-drawn carriages.
Banff National Park is blanketed in snow and a certain stillness descends on the whole park. So despite all of the merriment in cheer in town you can step away from it all and find peace in the mountains. To keep up with cold in the mountains we need some cold-weather gear to keep us warm.
What do we do to celebrate the Holidays?
For us, any great day in the winter starts off with a cup of coffee on the way to the ski resort. Like any good local in town, we know the best resort in the area is Lake Louise Ski Resort. The magnificent views from the top of the Whitehorn mountain down the valley are unlike any other resort we’ve ever seen.
From its peak, you can see harsh jagged peaks, glaciers, frozen lakes, and a valley full of pine dusted in white from snow. Then off you turn and ride straight off the backside of the mountain into snow-filled bowls, chutes, and couloirs.
After a few runs at the ski resort, we head over to Lake Louise. The atmosphere in the winter is widely different than in the summer. Once the deep freeze sets into the lake they open an ice rink. So, we’ll grab a hot chocolate or coffee from the Trailhead Cafe in the village then head up to the frozen lake and strap on some ice skates.
After we exhausted ourselves on the rink it was time to make our way back to Banff and Canmore which are full of great things to do in the winter (with some awesome Canmore restaurants). With twinkling lights and snow-covered streets, we loved strolling down the familiar sidewalks. There are also plenty of shops for some window shopping or last-minute Christmas gifts.
In the last evening light, we decided to step into the Banff Springs hotel to take in some of their fantastic Christmas decorations. The bottom two floors of the historic hotel are open to the public and they put up some of the most wonderful Christmas trees.
After the Banff Springs, we walked back into town for some food and drinks. There are a lot of places to eat in town, but a favorite of ours is the Park Distillery. Especially on a cold day when we feel like an inventive cocktail with some craft liquor to warm ourselves up. For us, it was the perfect ending to a day in Banff during Christmas time.
What clothes did we wear this Christmas?
The majority of the year you can catch us technical outdoor gear, but it’s not always the most attractive stuff — bright colors, lacks pockets, and tight fit. When it comes to exploring around town we want a warm jacket and boots that are attractive but keep us warm. It rarely reaches above freezing in the winter months here and when we visit places like Lake Louise that sit in the shade all winter you can feel cold creep right into your bones.
The Omni Heat technology in my new Columbia gear works pretty effectively to reflect heat back to my body. I was surprised that such an affordable jacket could do such a good job of handling the elements. The Columbia Horizon Pine Interchange Jacket is versatile with an outer waterproof shell and detachable synthetic down jacket. Its style is perfect for walking around town and feels well suited for travel to other cold-weather destinations.
Most impressive was heat-reflecting tech in my Columbia Fairbanks boots. I’ve always had two options of winter boots either cold feet in my standard lightweight hiking boots or big clunky winter boots, but the Columbia Fairbanks combined the best of both worlds. Comfortable, warm, and durable the perfect boot to enjoy the holidays in Banff and last me the rest of winter.
I ordered my Columbia gear off Zappos. Zappos is our go-to online store as they have a wide range of styles and that extends beyond shoes. Not being an in-store shopper, Zappos makes it easy for us to get what we want when we are short on time visiting the USA.
Zappos offers fast and free shipping and 365-day return policy. We stay pretty busy so all of these things make shopping online for gear super convenient. We love to use them for many of our footwear and outdoor wear needs!
In our opinion, there is hardly a more beautiful place in North America to spend Christmas than the Canadian Rockies. They may be cold, but with the right clothing and boots, it’s easy to get lost in the snow-covered mountain peaks.
Your Guide To Banff
If you want more tips on Banff National Park and the Canadian Rockies head over to our other blog. The Banff Blog covers everything in the region in detail with lots of great tips and suggestions to plan your trip.