It’s safe to say that winter is the longest season in Calgary. In November, many different winter activities open for the season, giving residents a chance to get outside and stay active in the snow and on the ice. Some of the most popular activities for all ages to enjoy include tobogganing, skating, skiing, and ice fishing, and Calgary is perfectly situated with easy access for residents to participate in any one of these activities:


Tobogganers should be aware that there are restrictions in Calgary for which hills you can toboggan on. Currently, the city of Calgary has approved these hills for sledding, but it is possible for residents to submit another hill not on the list for consideration. When you’re on the hill, always be aware of any obstacles including other people, animals, manmade jumps or natural elements like trees and rocks. Everyone must always wear a helmet and proper safety equipment when they are tobogganing.


The City of Calgary manages skating rinks in local parks and neighbourhoods, which are expected to open in mid-November. However, because they are all outdoor rinks, the opening date is dependent on the weather. Not all skating rinks offer skate and equipment rentals, so be sure to check online beforehand and make sure you have everything you need before you leave. The city of Calgary regularly updates the status of the rinks on their website, so you can be sure the rink will be open and ready for you to use.

The outdoor skating rinks managed by the city include:

  1. Big Marlborough Park: 6033 Madigan Dr. N.E. (no rentals available)
  2. Bowness Park: 8900 48 Ave. N.W. (rentals, fire pits, and café available)
  3. Carburn Park: 67 Riverview Dr. S.E. (no rentals available)
  4. Olympic Plaza: 228 8 Ave. S.E. (rentals available)
  5. Prairie Winds Park: 223 Castleridge Blvd. N.E. (no rentals available)
  6. Prince’s Island Park 4 St. and 1 Ave. S.W. (no rentals available)
  7. Thomson Family Park: 1236 16 Ave. S.W. (no rentals available)

If you’re looking for an outdoor rink closer to home, many communities have small volunteer-managed rinks that are a great place for small children and families to skate. You can find out if you have rink close to your home by visiting your community website.


Calgary’s close proximity to the mountains make it easy to get away for a day or weekend to hit the slopes in the winter without having to travel too far. Most hills offer shuttle services from Calgary, so residents who don’t want to drive or aren’t able to can still get out to the hills. When you’re planning your trip, be sure to stay up to date on the status of the hills and runs on sites like this one. It’s also a good idea to watch the weather and only travel in safe conditions.

Mount Norquay
Opening date: November 2, 2018
Distance from Calgary: Mount Norquay is located near Banff, Alberta and is approximately one hour away from Calgary. Aside from driving directly to the hill on the Trans-Canada highway, a shuttle service is available from different locations throughout the city, including the airport, that will transport skiers to Banff or directly to the resort at the mountain.
Overnight options: Accommodations are available in Banff, nearby Canmore, or on the hill.

Nakiska Ski Area
Opening date: November 3, 2018
Distance from Calgary: Nakiska is the closest ski hill outside of Calgary and located at Kananaskis, a 45-minute drive from the city. Drivers can easily access the hill by taking the Trans-Canada highway, or take a shuttle service that picks up skiers at designated areas in Calgary.
Overnight options: Kananaskis has hotels near the hill that people can stay at. Canmore and Banff are also in close proximity to the ski resort.

Sunshine Village
Opening date: November 9, 2018
Distance from Calgary: Sunshine Village is located approximately one hour and 20 minutes from Calgary. Banff is the closest town. It can be accessed by vehicle or shuttle service from Calgary.
Overnight options: Lodging is available at the ski hill, or skiers can find accommodation at nearby Banff.

Lake Louise
Opening date: November 9, 2018
Distance from Calgary: Lake Louise is almost two hours away from Calgary, but it is also close to Banff.
Overnight options: There are a few hotels and lodges located near the hill, including the popular Fairmont Chateau. Skiers can also find accommodations in Banff with shuttle services available to transport to and from the hill.

Marmot Basin
Opening date: November 9, 2018
Distance from Calgary: This ski hill is further away from Calgary, and it takes almost five hours to reach it. It is located close to Jasper, Alberta and makes for a better long-term ski trip because of its distance.
Overnight options: Lodging is available in nearby Jasper or at the hill itself.

Winsport (COP)
Opening date: November 10, 2018
Distance from Calgary: Winsport is located in the city of Calgary, at 88 Canada Olympic Rd SW. It is easy to access from 16th Avenue or Stoney Trail, depending on where you are in the city.
Overnight options: If you have guests joining from out of town, there are two hotels located across from the hill, and other options in the nearby neighbourhood of Montgomery.

Castle Mountain
Opening date: To be determined.
Distance from Calgary: Although an opening date has yet to be announced, Castle Mountain should not be taken off the list. It is only a short two-and-a-half-hour drive from Calgary and is located near Pincher Creek.
Overnight options: While the hill does have lodging available, nearby Pincher Creek.

Ice fishing

Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned pro, ice fishing can be a fun and rewarding activity for individuals or groups. Luckily, Calgary is within driving distance to lakes that offer visitors the chance to try their hand at ice fishing during the winter. These lakes offer ice fishing opportunities for people interested in enjoying an afternoon fishing, or those who are interested in an extended stay. Renting an ice fishing hut to stay warm and spend the night in is an option at most lakes, but there are also alternate accommodations in most nearby towns. Some of the popular lakes to go ice fishing at include:

Bearspaw Reservoir
Distance from Calgary: The Bearspaw Reservoir is also located close to Calgary and can be accessed from the Bearspaw Dam Road off of Stoney Trail. From the city centre, it’s only a 26-minute drive.
Overnight options: The Bearspaw Reservoir is in very close proximity to the city and makes for an easy day trip or afternoon activity.

Chestermere Lake
Distance from Calgary: Chestermere is a short distance away from Calgary, and only takes 20 minutes to reach. The lake is also easy to access off of the Trans-Canada Highway.
Overnight options: Chestermere is close enough to Calgary that it is easy to commute back and forth from the city, but the town also offers a variety of accommodations in the town centre and near the lake.

Ghost Lake
Distance from Calgary: The trip to Ghost Lake takes approximately 50 minutes and can be accessed from the Trans-Canada or Highway 1A.
Overnight options: Ghost Lake is also located close to Calgary, but the lake also offers vacation rentals and nearby Cochrane has accommodations available.

Sylvan Lake
Distance from Calgary: Sylvan Lake is just under two hours away from Calgary on the Queen Elizabeth II Highway north of the city.
Overnight options: Sylvan Lake has vacation rentals and other accommodations in town that are close to the lake, but other accommodations are also available in Red Deer, which is located 25 minutes away.

Sibbald Lake
Distance from Calgary: Sibbald Lake is located near Kananaskis, and takes approximately 54 minutes to get to from the city centre by taking the Trans-Canada Highway.
Overnight options: Sibbald Lake is close enough to also travel to and from in a day, but accommodations are also available at Kananaskis for those wishing to extend their stay.

Before you head out on the ice, check out these helpful tips before you plan your trip, and make sure you check the status of the ice and the fish before you head out. If this is your first time ice fishing, consider booking a tour with a local ice fishing guide to learn everything you need to know firsthand.