Feeling winter fest fomo? Bookmark these Alberta, BC winter festivals


In Western Canada, winter festivals generate a special excitement spurred by a creative scene that livens up the cold months with arts, sports and cultural showcases. Across Alberta and BC you'll find some of the most unique, creative and engaging winter festivals and events hosted anywhere! 

We're talking: hot air balloons lighting up a winter night, souped-up jalopies racing over a frozen lake, luchadores and comedians jostling over the stage, visual artists and major musical headliners powering up big outdoor events.  

It's all happening this winter and if you're not filling up your calendar yet you might be feeling that early FOMO. Here are some winter festivals to put on your calendar for winter 2024 to keep the FOMO at bay and ensure you never miss out. 

From Vernon to Calgary to Edmonton, Jasper to Lac La Biche and beyond, these events deliver big, bombastic, warm winter energy. 

The Style Experience   
Edmonton, December 9 2023

First launched—literally—in winter 2022, the Style Experience is a big air snowboard comp that pits riders in a head-on competition, throwing big airs off a giant ramp set up in Commonwealth Stadium! It's a great way to kick off the ski and snowboard season in Western Canada. 

Here's a quick preview from last year's event

Grande North Winter Fest 
Grande Prairie AB, January 2024 

With DJ skating parties, concerts, ice carving and outdoor fun in the snow, this fest celebrates northern winter culture in Alberta. Year three is bound to be big!

Grande North features a top-notch ice carving competition.
Jasper in January 
Jasper AB, January 2024 

Over 30 years of J in J, this festival is rooted in the community. Two weeks of discounts on skiing and hotels, with foodie events, races, sleigh rides and street hockey, all culminating in the ever-popular street party. 

This fest has made Jasper the place to be in AB in January.

Jasper the Bear greets skiers at Marmot Basin during Jasper in January.
Rossland Winter Carnival   
Rossland BC, January 2024

You can't get more winter than Canada's oldest winter carnival, started in 1897. Ski, apres and celebrate the classic interior BC winter!

Rossland and après-ski culture are as classic as a Nelson tradition of hot-tubbing.
Snow Days 
Banff AB, January 2024 

Not to be outdone, Banff’s Snow Days brought skijoing back in a big way in winter 2022-23, one of many events that filled the streets of this beloved mountain town. The 2024 event promises to be just as thrilling! 

Chinook Blast 
Calgary AB, January 2024 

Don’t look now, but Calgary’s own weeks-long winter fest is giving the Rockies a run for their money. Music, arts and outdoors combine for two weeks of winter fun around the city. 

Read up on the fat biking events in this story by Tyler Dixon.

Fat Biking calgary
Photo: Duncan Milne
Fat bike trails near Shaganappi in Calgary were part of the fat bike demo rides at Chinook Blast in 2023.
Winter Festival of Speed   
Lac La Biche AB, February 2024 

Racing cars on frozen ice, sled drags, Canada’s largest (only??) frozen lake air strip, axe throwing, trapping demos, this big northern fest is unique and packs a gear-driven punch. 

Watch: get a taste of the WFOS 2023 event

Watch Get revved up at the Winter Festival of Speed on YouTube.
Vernon Winter Carnival   
Vernon BC, February 2024

On a cool February night in Vernon, on a wintry plain, all the hot air balloons almost make you think you're in Cappadocia, Turkey. Signature experiences like this are what make the Vernon Winter Carnival. Add to that, regional wine tastings and culinary events, concerts and winter activities, and you have a 10-day celebration that is hard to beat! 

YEG IceFest 
Edmonton AB, February 2024 

Edmonton is known for its festival scene, particularly its popular slate of unique winter celebrations that includes Luminaria, Deep Freeze, Flying Canoë Volant and Silver Skate Festival. All are worthy adds to your season plans (okay we cheated a bit here but how could we pick just one?). 

Ice climbers race up the YEG ACC Icewall in Edmonton during YEG IceFest.

However, YEG IceFest is a new and noteworthy addition to the seasonal calendar. The event is built around activities at the Edmonton Ski Club, and the Alpine Club icewall, a man–made icewall that stands about 10 metres high. 

Climbing, skiing, fat biking, music and food, and introductory courses to get you comfortable in each; you can read more in our story on the fest here

It can feel like forever during a -35C cold snap in February, but winter can fly by if you’re not ready for it. Add these winter festivals to your list for 2024 and be ready when the snow falls.

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