My family has taken an annual pre-Christmas Kananaskis Winter Getaway getaway for the last several years, and we always enjoy spending a couple of days with friends playing in the snow, skiing, hiking, and taking a break from the business of the holiday season.
Later in the season we also enjoy planning a fun getaway over the Family Day Weekend or Spring Break. These trips keep us motivated to find ways to enjoy winter and push us to keep trying new activities as a family.
Choosing a Kananaskis Winter Getaway
We want a base camp for our getaway that’s close to Calgary, so we can easily make it out to our destination Friday night after work. We also look for a location that has a wide variety of activities to enjoy nearby from skiing to hiking, ice skating, and sledding.
Set up camp at Kananaskis Village and you’ll have enough activities to keep your family occupied for a short weekend all the way through a week-long staycation if a tropical holiday isn’t in the budget this year.
Activities you can Enjoy around Kananaskis Village:
- Go skating on the pond at the Village
- Go sledding on the hill located behind the Village near the playground
- Try cross-country skiing on the trails around the Village. The Terrace loop is especially suitable for beginners.
- Try snowshoeing around the Village snowshoe loop (exceptionally beautiful on a clear night under a full moon.)
- Take a short hike to Troll Falls from the nearby Stoney Trailhead below the Village
- Enjoy a short winter hike along the Ribbon Creek Trail below the Village
- Spend a day downhill skiing at Nakiska Ski Area, conveniently located 5 minutes away from the Village
- Try tubing at Nakiska on a gentle beginner-friendly tube park
- Explore nearby Peter Lougheed Provincial Park, 30 minutes to the south. Here you’ll find an incredible trail network for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, or winter hiking.
- Sign up for a guided winter adventure with Kananaskis Outfitters based out of the Village. Some of the options include family snowshoe tours, ice canyon walks, fat biking tours, full moon or stargazing snowshoe tours with fondue, or cross-country ski lessons.
For complete information on all activities and trails, you can either visit the Concierge desk inside the Pomeroy Kananaskis Mountain Lodge or stop in at the Alberta Parks Barrier Lake Information Centre which you’ll pass by as you drive out to the Village. There’s another Visitor Information Centre located further south in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park as well if you’re day tripping down that way.
And, need gear? You can rent everything you’ll need for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or ice-skating from Kananaskis Outfitters at the Village. You can also rent adult fat bikes if you want to take advantage of the childcare options available at the Pomeroy Lodge.
Accommodations at Kananaskis village
You have two options here, and fortunately, they cover both ends of the budget spectrum. Choose to stay at the decadent Pomeroy Kananaskis Mountain Lodge with its amazing KananasKIDS program and indoor family water park, or enjoy a rustic group-friendly experience at the HI Kananaskis Wilderness Hostel located down below at Ribbon Creek.
Regardless of where you say, you can take advantage of the Village trails, public amenities, skating pond, and restaurants inside the Pomeroy Lodge.
Choosing the Pomeroy Kananaskis Mountain Lodge for your Lodging
This would be the more “comfortable” option for families wanting a resort stay. The lodge specialises in family-friendly accommodations and is even pet-friendly.
Highlights of a stay at the Pomeroy Lodge:
- I think we can all agree that it’s not an ideal vacation when you’re huddled in the hotel bathroom with your glass of wine waiting for the kids to fall asleep!
- Upgrade to a luxury loft so you can put the kids to bed upstairs earlier in the evening (where you’ll find two queen beds and a bathroom) and still enjoy your separate living area down below with sofa bed, dining area, second bathroom, and fireplace.
- Ski and stay packages include passes to the Nakiska Ski Area, shuttle service up to the hill, and a hot breakfast before you head out to ski. (Package based on two adults per night)
- A full calendar of fun activities over the Christmas holidays from sleigh rides to family pyjama parties, elf tuck-ins before bed, skating parties, and even a chance to meet Santa’s reindeer.
- Kids six years and under eat for free at Forte Restaurant, Blacktail Bar, and the Cedar Room
- Enjoy the KananasKIDS program with free programming for children 4+ (babysitting included.) Adults are also welcome to join the activities which could include family yoga, interpretative walks, interactive storytelling and wilderness skills education sessions.
- Take advantage of the babysitting services and Happy Trails Day Care at the lodge (for a fee) and enjoy some time relaxing with your partner at the adults-only Kananaskis Nordic Spa.
- The childcare services are also ideal for families with younger children not ready for a day of skiing at the hill. Enjoy skiing, hiking, or snowshoeing with your older kids while the lodge takes care of your youngest family members.
- A brand-new water park (with waterslides) has just opened in time for the Christmas holiday season. Look at the photos on the Pomeroy Mountain Lodge’s Facebook Page.
For more information, and to make a reservation, visit the Pomeroy Kananaskis Mountain Lodge website.
Choosing the HI Kananaskis Wilderness Hostel for your lodging
So, you won’t get a swimming pool or water slides, and you’ll have to cook your own meals at a hostel. What you will get though is an affordable ski vacation close to home that won’t break the bank. This means you’ll be able to stay for a more extended period (and maybe plan more than one ski getaway this winter.)
Highlights of a stay at the Kananaskis Hostel:
- While it’s not a resort, this hostel does have indoor plumbing, electricity, and heat – not always a given when you stay at a wilderness hostel.
- The HI Kananaskis hostel is one of the most comfortable wilderness properties in the Hosteling International Collection, and you’ll appreciate not having to walk outside in the snow to use the bathrooms. You’ll be able to take a hot shower and enjoy all the comforts of home.
- There are four private family rooms to book so you won’t have to share dorm rooms with other hostel guests. Shared bathrooms are conveniently located outside the private rooms.
- Cook meals and save money without having to eat out for every Meal. You can always have dinner out at the Pomeroy Lodge, but it’s nice to make simple breakfasts, and I appreciate having the facilities to make lunch for our day’s adventures.
- Cooking and eating are done in a giant communal kitchen, stocked with everything you’ll need for dishes and supplies. Just bring your own food, and you’re set.
- Enjoy a cosy fireside room, perfect if you’re staying at the hostel with friends. We like to gather here in the evenings to play games after skiing or hiking all day.
- There is no better place to stay with a group of families than at a hostel. Cook and eat together, enjoy the communal facilities, and appreciate that you’re not separated into different hotel rooms (making it really hard to hang out after the kids have gone to bed.)
For more information, and to make a reservation, visit the HI Kananaskis Wilderness Hostel website.