10 epic Alberta, BC winter events to jumpstart your new year


above: Ballon light up at the Vernon Winter Carnival, 2023

Get your party hats, noisemakers and dancing shoes ready! After a big return for summer festivals and events in 2023, there's every reason to believe 2024 will be a year when concerts, events and festivals will continue to build on that momentum. So let's ring in the new year, and reset for an even bigger year ahead.

Alberta and BC winter events for January, February

Putting on festivals through the winter in Western Canada means adapting to snow and cooler temperatures. But that just means more creativity gets into the mix, and these Alberta and BC festivals have it in spades. Here are five Alberta and five BC events you'll want to put on the schedule for your 2024.

Alberta events 

Jan 12-28  Jasper in January / Jasper AB
Start your new year right with some skiing and snowboarding! The classic Jasper in January brings deals on skiing and snowboarding at Marmot Basin, accommodations and special events around Jasper. There's pond hockey, wine tastings and a big street party! Start planning now for #JinJ.

Jan 12-14  Grande North Winter Fest / Grande Prairie AB
Into its third year, this new festival takes over downtown Grande Prairie and turns it into a winder wonderland, with DJ skating parties, crokicurl, ice slide and a beer gardens, and more. 

Winterruption YEG brings new music, comedy and live wrestling to Edmonton this January.

Jan 24-28  Winterruption YEG / Edmonton AB
Music, comedy and live wrestling are just the start, with this wild winter weekend that champions the arts and diversity. 

Feb 9-10  Jasper Beer Festival / Jasper, AB
More craft fun with Alberta Beer Fests, this time in the cozy environs of the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge. Different setting and new vendors, same great tastes and good times!

Feb 15-17  Block Heater YYC / Calgary AB
Calgary cranks up the heat the city’s annual winter music fest that will get you stomping your feet. 

BC events

Jan 18-Feb4  PuSH International Performing Arts Festival / Vancouver BC
Looking to fill those cold, dark nights of January with some entertainment? At PuSH, you'll find an incredible array of performances spanning dance, theatre, music, and multimedia shows featuring a diversity of artists.  

Feb 2-11  Vernon Winter Carnival / Vernon BC 
Your Vernon double-header includes a nordic or downhill skiing visit to SilverStar, and then the Vernon Winter Carnival for all your apres adventures: concerts, local food and wine tastings, balloon lightup, an international snow sculpture competition and more!

Read up on how to winter in Vernon and get a taste for the carnival experience here to help you get planning your Vernon doubleheader.

Feb 16-19  High on Ice Winter Festival / Fort St. John, BC
Like Grande Prairie in Alberta, BC's Fort St. John sits at a northern latitude that makes winter culture a given. See how they do it up here during their annual winter festival, with ice sculpture, snow playgrounds and entertainment.

Mar 1-3  Wells Winter Wonder Carnival / Wells BC
Do yourself a favour—plan a visit to Wells, BC. This amazing small town is on the northern frontier, with an artistic edge and a community flare that will wow you, winter or summer. For many years it was home to the ArtsWells Festival, and now the Winter Wonder Festival takes on the mantle. 

Mar/Apr (SAVE THE DATE) SEISMIC Spring Mountain Festival / SilverStar Mountain, BC
Meet the ultimate in apres-ski, at this annual weeks-long winter party in the SilverStar village. Watch freestyle comps, concerts and consider testing yourself in the classic Sovereign2SilverStar fun cross-country ski race.

Tips for winter festival fun

Part of the appeal of winter festivals is braving the elements, but there's still some simple advice to follow to ensure you stay warm and safe. 

  1. Many winter fests feature warm-up areas, heated tents, firepits and hot beverages, but don't be a hut puppy. Dress for the weather! Ditch the urban wear and bring snow pants and warm layers. If you're going to be active, drop a layer before you start sweating. (Toques and mitts are easy layers to strip and release a lot of heat without burdening you with bulky clothing to carry). 
  2. Let your backbone slide, but keep yourself upright. You can move, groove and dance but remember snow and ice can be slick; bring some ice cleats for uphill or downhill travel. Be aware of slippery surfaces on the outdoor dancefloor.
  3. Bright clothing or reflective wear make finding your friends easier at spread-out outdoor venues, and a headlamp/flashlight can come in handy on larger festival grounds or multiple venue festivals. 

Winter is a beautiful season, and winter festivals bring out the best of its charm. Join the scene and get out this winter!

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