Winter wonderland – cold in Canmore

We spent this past weekend in Canmore, the picturesque mountain town just outside of Banff National Park.

The reason for the trip? Kelly was taking an ice climbing course and I tagged along. He had two full days of learning how to ice climb properly, so  I had two full days to enjoy the mountains.

Thankfully we’re used to harsh weather so have the proper gear to withstand the cold. The temperature ranged from -35C (-31F) on Saturday and warmed up to -23C (-10F) on Sunday, with a cold wind chill making it feel much worse!

I went on glorious runs both Saturday and Sunday mornings. My mom asked how running in that cold can be fun, but I swear it was magnificent.

Once I got out of town and on the river path, there wasn’t a soul around. The trees were covered in hoarfrost, steam was rising from the river, and the mountains towered around me. My hand braved the elements to snap a quick photo.

Taken with a phone and totally unedited

Taken with a phone and totally unedited

On Sunday, I didn’t take a camera and just embraced the beauty of the run. Despite numb toes, the two runs were a reminder of why I love running so much and the simplicity of it.

After my runs, I went back to the hotel to thaw out before heading out for excursion number two: cross country skiing at the Canmore Nordic Centre.


It was the venue for all cross-country and biathlon events at the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics and continues to host world-class events. They have miles of groomed cross-country ski trails and in summer they open for mountain biking and hiking.


The cross-country skiing did not disappoint. I fall more in love with it each time I go. (Even when it’s so cold I turn into a snowman!)


On Sunday I left my camera again to just enjoy the ski and breathtaking views.

We ate dinners and walked around both Canmore and Banff. The only thing better than mountain towns are mountain towns decorated for Christmas! It was such a fun weekend getaway, and Kelly was thrilled to take the course and learn how to safely ice climb.

Do you run outside when the temperature dips? Tell me about your last run that reminded you why you love it so much.

58 responses to “Winter wonderland – cold in Canmore

  1. Stunning, stunning, stunning!!!! And very brave to get out in those kinds of temperatures. Last winter we had a lot of snow for the UK and G and I braved the cold. It was beautiful, but also kind of painful, as in when you get home and need to thaw out. Ouch!
    I’ve never XC-skied, but I’d like to give it a try. I hear it’s amazing exercise.

  2. I can’t believe those photos aren’t edited – wow. What do you wear to run in those temps? I’ll run outside in Canada, but I’m not a very happy runner if it’s under -10.

  3. Love your picture!! I just posted a picture of my friend after a snowy run but I think you are even frostier! I LOVE cross-country skiing and have skis, but we just don’t have groomed trails around here. I know I could forge my own, but that’s so HARD. LOL Glad you were able to enjoy a weekend away!

  4. Oh man, you are making me question my whimpy 30F threshold! (Which now sounds warm!!). You are one hard core chick! :).

  5. Runner Girl Eats

    These pics are gorgeous!!!! But just looking at them makes me cold! And those eyelashes….brrrrrr!!!! You’re a champ 🙂

  6. YOU AMAZE ME!! HOLY COW, I think I am hardcore running outside when it’s 25F..and here you are running in the negatives!! I don’t know how you do it!!! These photos are AMAZING!

  7. That’s cold! I don’t mind running in the cold and agree that it can be very invigorating! Of course “my cold” isn’t anywhere near that cold! I think the coldest it’s ever been when I’ve gone out on a run was -1 degree or so (usually here it’s in the 20’s to 30’s during my winter runs). It was the first time I ever tried using hand-warmers on a run. Do you need them?

    Your unedited picture is gorgeous! So glad you and Kelly had a fun getaway!

  8. You should print out that first pick and have it framed. It’s gorgeous! But BRRRRRR! Now I feel like a wimp for even feeling cold on my trail run this morning. It was a balmy 20 degrees!

  9. I think I’m colder just looking at your amazing pictures!! You are super tough – I am super wimpy!!!
    Glad that Kelly liked his course and that y’all had a great time in the bitter cold!

  10. Holy crap that is cold! We are complaining about temperatures dipping into the high 30s in SD right now! Although in our defense no one owns clothing to even step outside in -30 degree weather let alone run in it. Those photos are absolutely beautiful! Makes me want to visit the snow!!

  11. So beautiful! Those runs sound amazing, and you should feel like one tough chick after braving that cold. Now I will shut up about how cold I think it has been where I live since it’s nothing in comparison to this!

  12. I’m headed to Canmore for a weekend in January for a friend’s birthday… but if it’s that cold I’m staying indoors! I don’t think my rubber boots will cut it as winter clothes…

  13. That looks amazing! And I love your “snow-scara” around your eyes!
    I’ve never heard of hoarfrost. Seems like there’s a joke in there somewher, ha!
    Like you, sometimes I’m on a run and see something unique or beautiful that I wouldn’t have seen if I hadn’t run. When I do, it reminds me how much I love it and at the same time perplexes me to why everyone doesn’t do it! They don’t know what they’re missing!

  14. Oooh, so jealous! I miss the Rockies! Please tell me you went for a meal at the Bison??!?!?! Your photos are beautiful, and I can’t believe you ran in that cold. I’ve never run in dry Canadian winter temperatures, I actually don’t know if I could do it. Way to go for getting out there!

    My last run that reminded me why I love it so much was Sunday when I ran an easy 8 miles with my friends on a new and very picturesque route 🙂

    • Sounds like a great run!
      Do you guys ever come back and visit in winter or do you always save it for summer? (I’m sure I’d only come in July or August!)

      • We come back either summer or October (schools here get 2 weeks off in October, and it’s cheaper to fly). I would love to come home for Xmas, but it’s so incredibly expensive to fly at that time of year, we just don’t. Plus, my family is all in Wpg (my actual home town), and so I haven’t actually been back to Albera since I left in 2009. I’d like to go next time we’re back, but we’ll see

  15. Wow, absolutely incredible. Banff is at the top of my travel list — what a winter wonderland!

  16. Oh my gosh, so beautiful but I can’t imagine being out in that cold!

  17. Sophie @ life's philosophie

    SO beautiful! I can’t get over it!

  18. Your photos are amazing! I’m such a wimp these days, I would probably hang out by the fireplace drinking hot cider instead.

  19. Holy Moly!! That is cold!! The views looked like they are worth it though. Any time I get the opportunity to trail run, I am reminded of why I love to run. It is so peaceful on trails!

  20. ari @ whatarisaid

    I can’t even imagine it being that cold, wow. Those are some amazing pictures though, totally worth it! And lol, you did turn into a snowman!

  21. So stinking pretty! I’ve only been to the southern part of Alberta (Pincher Creek to be exact, but I doubt you’ve ever heard of it). Someday I hope to make it up to Banff. I’m from Maine and used to the cold weather, but -30 degrees is not my cup of tea! Ice climbing is a blast (I learned while living in Montana) and I love cross-country skiing. Such as great cardio workout! Keep warm!

  22. love love love the pics from your run—and the snow on your eyelashes! 🙂

  23. OMG!!! SO COLD!!! You look so cold but so happy!!!! Glad you had a fun weekend! Looks gorgeous!
    I went on a cold run tonight! low 30s which is nothing compared to what you were in but it was still cold! 🙂

  24. Wow… spectacular views! I’d love to come run and ski there, even with the cold temps! As much as I gripe about the weather, I really enjoy running outside in the winter; it’s so invigorating! And, I love the stillness and quiet of it 🙂

  25. LOVE! This is why I keep telling my hubs and parents we must go to Banff (I also love skiing, and my dad loves hunting). Canada has so much to offer which Americans overlook. More Europeans visit Canada annually than Americans. It is ridiculous. Bella Coola tops my list, and going back to Newfoundland/Labrador again!

  26. Wow reminds me of when I lived in Banff. I wasn’t a runner then but wish I was to experience that. Here in Edinburgh it’s a balmy 12c – we had colder summers. Tho when it does chill it’s lovely to run as long as the black ice doesn’t make running difficult!

  27. Those pictures are UNREAL!
    I will run in the winter if there is some sunshine and pretty snow. The below 0 temps are a little much for me!

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