The word “party” means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. For some, it’s a Stampede-like imbibing of booze complete with loud music and scantily clad humans. For others, it’s bringing the family out for sweet, hot chocolate and a leisurely ice skate. In between lies a whole spectrum of party possibilities. Whatever poison you pick, one of these winter events should help you have a good time.
Calgary Snow and Skate Show
When: Nov. 1 and 2 at the Equiplex, Spruce Meadows
What: Get your new ski, snowboard and skateboard gear and get excited for the winter to come.
When: Nov. 1 to 9
What: The brilliant Banff Centre is arguably Alberta’s proudest internationally recognized achievement, and this annual festival is the best way to see it. Meet the glitterati of the alpine world. Rarely boring. Sometimes pretentious. Always entertaining.
When: Nov. 7 to 16
What: For the past 26 years, the JPL has hosted this celebration of gourmet food, wine, entertainment and other seasonal fun, which includes classes with some of Canada’s top experts.
When: Jan. 16 to 18
What: Curling is for old, fat people, right? Wrong. It’s an amazing way to connect with friends, and it’s a precise, calculated sport. If you doubt it, visit during Banff’s Skins Game to see some of the best in the game school your preconceived notions.
When: Jan. 26
What: Some call it “‘Straya Day.” Some call it hell. But in ski towns all over Western Canada, it’s called a good party. Paint your face, get naked and prepare to down a few too many beers in celebration of the best … er, the most interesting lifties in the world. From Banff to Whistler and everywhere between.
When: Mid- to late February
What: Golden’s summertime music fest debuted a cold-weather spinoff last February, with acts coming in to take over Golden’s normally sleepy pubs and bars. The plan is to do it again in 2015.
When: Late February to early March
What: This weekend festival dedicated to Fernie’s bizarre mountain mascot is an amazing time. The whole town comes out for both family-friendly and party-spectacular events. Don’t miss the faux musket fight that goes down during the parade on
When: Early April
What: For the past two years, Fernie Alpine Resort has hosted some of the rowdiest big-mountain skiers in the world as they race from the peak of the resort to the base area for a $20,000 grand prize. It’s a great opportunity to see skiers crash spectacularly, and the after-party is legendary.
When: April 4 and 5
What: This longtime-running banked slalom snowboard race at Panorama Mountain Village has become legitimately legendary. As always, it comes complete with a sweet party.
When: Early April
What: What the Europeans do better than us is take their spring skiing seriously – or, rather, not seriously at all. Turn up the best part of winter with Castle Mountain’s Spring Festival. Bikinis, Speedos, dancing, beer and music. Doesn’t sound terrible, does it?
When: Early May
What: Lake Louise brings in some of Western Canada’s gnarliest snowboarders to hit a giant jump, slide rails, rock out like animals and just generally turn up this conservative ski resort’s party-o-meter a lot higher.