Winter Winterlands: Banff and Montreal

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Ah, winter. Not exactly my favorite season unless I could spend all the cold months huddled by a fire sipping on warm soup and cold wine. But I do love snow. And I love festivals. Here are two to consider.


The Ice Magic Festival Banff Lake Louise. Photo by Paul Zizka.

Ice Magic Festival
Banff Lake Louise, Canada

A centerpiece to Banff National Park’s Snowdays, a month-long celebration of activities and festivals, the Ice Magic Festival is celebrated over two weekends at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. The first weekend, 12 teams of two ice-carving artists from around the world have 34 hours to create their works of art out of a 300-pound block of ice placed right on Lake Louise. This year the theme is “Carve a Song” and each sculpture must be at least seven feet tall. The following weekend is Little Chippers Weekend, with chances for the kids to learn to ice carve, play ice mini golf, skate with the Ice Queen and play on the ice playground.


snow village montreal
Grab your (faux) fur for Snow Village Montreal.

Snow Village Montreal

Pack your faux furs for this one, travelgirls! You can spend the night, get married, host a corporate event, have dinner, or just enjoy a drink in a village entirely made of ice. The village includes the 25-room Ice Hotel, the Ice Chapel, and the Pommery Ice Restaurant housed in a giant igloo. Feeling the chill a bit? Warm up with an adult beverage at the Amarula Ice Bar. But bring your mittens – the drinks are served in glasses made of ice. Every year an entirely new Snow Village is constructed in Montreal in tribute to a different city, and this year buildings in New York City will be replicated in miniature in ice.


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