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Author: Mhairri Woodhall

Born in Hong Kong and raised in Vancouver, Mhairri now lives in Calgary with her husband and young daughter. Specializing in family, luxury and culinary focused travel, Mhairri loves exploring her new province, nourishing her wanderlust and writing about her adventures.

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Whether you’re an adrenalin addict, speed junkie, hopeless romantic or you just like to party, Alberta’s winter celebrations have got you covered. Snow, ice and a one horse open sleigh full of fun are the common denominators for these four winter festivals.

Snow Party

Celebrate ice, snow and all things frosty at the SnowDays festival in Banff National Park. This tribute to winter sports kicks off in mid-January with an alpine bash of epic proportions at the kick-off street party. Be sure to check out the coolest playground in town where you can get lost – and found – in the ice maze, fly down an ice slide and glide around the skating rink. Three weeks of festivities all lead up to The Big Bear ski and rail event. Chill out to cool beats while watching pro boarders destroy the Bear’s custom designed ramps and rails. Hot tunes, cool moves and bragging rights – are you ready to party?

Carve Out Some Romance

Brawn meets beauty at the Ice Magic Festival in Lake Louise. Over three days, you’ll watch as professional carvers compete in a test of brute strength, artistry and precision – creating delicate sculptures from 136 kg (300 lb) blocks of ice. Just being in this glittering winter wonderland inspires romance. So, woo your sweetheart with ice-skating on Lake Louise or a horse-drawn sleigh ride along the shore. Afterwards, keep that fire burning with an alpine fondue dinner for two at the fairy tale Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. Your happily ever after awaits.

Need for Speed

Hold on tight because you’re in for a wild ride. Created for racing enthusiasts, the Winter Festival of Speed is an annual event held on Lac La Biche northeast of Edmonton. It’s a total high speed spectacle. Ice car races, a horse and sleigh rally, ice motorcycle racing and a snowmobile poker rally are just some of the velocity defying displays. You can drive, or even fly-in to the event. Each year the Lac La Biche Flying Club sets a landing strip for small aircrafts to touch down on. From motor power to horse power, on the ice and in the air there’s plenty of action at one of winters’ fastest festivals.

Rally and Ride

The SnoMo Days festival in Alberta Beach is a smorgasbord of winter’s most whacky and wonderful. Set on the shores of Lac Ste. Anne, 75 km (47 mi) west of Edmonton, SnoMo welcomes participants and spectators of all ages. Speed junkies will love the Snowmobile Drag Races or 100 km (62 mi) Snowmobile Poker Rally. There’s also a Snow Sculpture carving competition, vintage snowmobile Show n’ Shine, winter snowball softball game, duathalon and evening bonfire and fireworks. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg!

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