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Canada in December

3 Jun 2009 Joel. said

Hi <BR>Travelling to Canada from December through to Christmas. Vancouver, Whistler, Jasper, Lake Louise, Banff, Calgary and then across to Toronto. <BR>I hear it's very very cold at this time of the year but it sets up great opportunities for skiing, snowboarding, and other great activities that i'm looking forward to trying for the first time. Any suggestions as to the best activities that are on offer?<BR> <BR>I'm staying in hostels throughout this time and i'm aware of activities they run each day.<BR><BR>I'm very excited!<BR>Would appreciate any suggestions of places to visit, adventures that are a 'must', etc and at the same time money and clothing required for the duration of my stay.<BR><BR>Cheers <img src="" alt="Smiler" width="15" height="15"><!--graemlin::)-->
  • Read the responses 9 responses so far
  • 5 Jun 2009 Curtis71 said


    Well “cold” is a relative thing, where are you from?

    Toronto is often not that cold in December. It’s pretty variable, and often raining. We get a “white Christmas” maybe half the time. February-March is when it starts to freeze. Vancouver is usually not that cold either.

  • 5 Jun 2009 gig08 said


    Hey Joel!

    As Curtis said ‘cold’ is definitely a relative thing. In western Canada the weather can change at the drop of a dime- I have lived in Jasper for the past five years (just moved back to Ontario…) and will tell you that in December it is not unusual for it to get to
    -30c one night and up to above 0c the next day. Hard to say unfortunately. Best advice is to bring clothes that you can layer.

    As far as outdoor activities go, if you’re in Jasper and the weather has been cold enough they may be running the Maligne Canyon Ice Walk. This is a great experience and many of the adventure stores in town offer tours. You get to hike into the bottoms of the frozen canyons, see frozen waterfalls etc etc etc.

    If there’s snow you may also be able to go dog-sledding in BC. A lot of snowmobile tours are also offered on the BC side of things- as you can’t snowmobile in national parks you won’t find any of this in Jasper/Banff/Lake Louise… but I think Valemount (just across the BC border from Jasper)is a pretty good place for this…again depending on the snow.

    The ski hills also obviously depend on the amount of snow for when they will open. They are usually open by the end of November at the latest (unless the weather REALLY doesn’t cooperate). If you’re looking to try skiing or snowboarding for the first time, my best advice is to take a lesson!! Between Jasper, lake louise and banff, Jasper’s Marmot Basin is usually less crowded and still is an amazing mountain.

    Ummm…can’t think of anything more at the moment, but if you have other questions let me know and I can see if I can help you Smiler<!--graemlin::)-->

  • 6 Jun 2009 Joel. said


    Thanks for the good advice! Smiler<!--graemlin::)-->
    The other query is money. How much spending money, not including costs for trasnportation and accommodation, would i need for my time in Canada? I’ve had different answers from everyone i’ve asked, so as you’ve lived in Jasper for 5 years… what are the expenses like?

    I have seen the Maligne Canyon Icewalk advertised as an activity at one of the hostels in Jasper and i’m very interested in that! Hopefully it’s available. Those are the little extra costs that i’d also have to take into account.

    I intend on learning to skii for a couple of days whilst in Whistler, and then maybe get involved in some other activities whilst travelling through Banff, Jasper, etc. as mentioned.

    One more query, i’m thinking that the Greyhound buses would provide me with the best transportation throughout my stay in Canada. From Vancouver to Whistler, etc.
    Would i be booking these prior to travel or whilst over in Canada. How do that operate?

    Thanks very much for you help.

  • 6 Jun 2009 alyssa! said


    the only place where it will be “cold” as in –30 as a high in december will be on the prairies.
    Not sure how you are planning on travelling between Calgary and Toronto but if you take the Number 1 Highway you will cross the prairies.
    Canadian Winters can be unpredictable, especially up in the mountains, which sounds like where you will be. They are beautiful up there, great chances of skiing and snowboarding and enjoying the snow. but you must dress for the weather!

  • 7 Jun 2009 gig08 said



    I’m not too sure what to tell you about as far as spending money- Honestly it really depends. You can find restaurants of all prices in the Jasper townsite. Groceries are going to be more expensive than in a larger city. Also, if you’re planning on partying at all, as Jasper is a tourist town (as are most of the places you are visiting) you can expect to pay at least $6.00 for a beer.

    With the Greyhound you can sometimes get deals on tickets if you book them in advance, but I’m not sure if you can book online or not. You can usually just go to the bus station/depot and buy a ticket right before the scheduled departure time. If you’re travelling over the holidays keep in mind they may be busy so it might be best to go a bit early to get tickets etc.

    As far as travel between banff/lake louise/jasper your best bet will not be the greyhound as they do not drive on the IceField Parkway. Check out for shuttles between these towns. They run in the winter and are a very reliable tour operator. You can see all of the pick-up and departure points on the website, as well as book travel in advance.

  • 8 Jun 2009 Joel. said


    Thanks gig08.
    If there’s any other useful advice that you think i’ll need for my time in Canada, i’d greatly appreciate it. Smiler<!--graemlin::)-->

  • 8 Jun 2009 gig08 said


    Hey Joel,

    Where abouts are you from??
    feel free to e-mail me or add me to facebook and I’ll try to answer any other questions you may come up with!

  • 9 Jun 2009 Joel. said


    Melbourne, Australia.
    I’ll add you on msn and then have a chat Smiler<!--graemlin::)-->

  • 23 Jun 2009 Joel. said


    Hostelling throughout Canada will hopefully give me a chance to meet a few other people. What’s like the percentage of people that are travelling who stay in Hostels? Or are there a lot of local people taking up a permanent bed in hostels. Would like to meet someone who’s maybe in the same position as me… independent traveller moving across Canada.

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