Experience the Thrill of Snow Tubing in Banff National Park

Author: Celine Brewer

By now you’ve discovered that Banff National Park is a year-round destination and visiting Banff in the winter can be as amazing as visiting at other times of the year. There’s really no shortage of winter activities in Banff National Park. Snow tubing in Banff is just one more exciting winter activity that we think should be on everyone’s itinerary. 

Whether you are in Banff for skiing or you’re looking for more things to do in Banff for non-skiers, leave a little time for flying down the groomed snow tubing lanes at the world class ski resorts in Banff. 

Kids enjoying Banff snow tubing at Lake Louise Ski Resort - Snow Tubing in Banff

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So What is Snow Tubing? 

Snow tubing is using an inflatable tube to glide down groomed lanes of snow. It’s kind of like riding an inflatable tube down a water slide, but in snow! And you are all bundled up in snow gear instead of a bathing suit. 

snow tubing activity in banff canada.

What’s so great about snow tubing is that it’s really for everyone! It’s a family-friendly winter activity in Banff for sure, but it’s not just for kids. In fact, there’s a good chance you’ll find groups of adults having more fun than kids. Plus, there’s no skill level or previous experience required! Just show up and squeal in delight as you fly down the groomed snow tube lanes!

Where to go Snow Tubing in Banff?

Within Banff National Park there are three world-class ski resorts: Lake Louise Ski Resort, Sunshine Village Ski Resort and Mount Norquay Ski Resort.

Two of those ski resorts have tube parks on the property for some of the best Banff snow tubing.

Mount Norquay has the biggest tube park in Banff National Park. Meanwhile, Lake Louise has their Sunny Tube Park, which is smaller but still loads of fun!

Boy on a snow tube at Mount Norquay - snow tubing activity in banff.

Outside of Banff National Park, you can find a tube park at the Nakiska Ski Resort in Kananaskis Provincial Park and one in Calgary at Winsport.

Snow Tubing at Mt Norquay 

Mount Norquay is located up Mt Norquay Scenic Drive just 10-15 minutes from the town of Banff. You’ll get to enjoy Alberta’s longest runs amongst the picturesque mountain backdrop. 

Woman trying snow tubing in Norquay - snow tubing in banff area.

Mount Norquay tubing has 6 lanes to enjoy and there are some fun variations between them. When we were there the first lane had a requirement that any tubers be under 5 ft tall. The second lane required a minimum of 3 tubers together.

This is typically done for different reasons usually due to weight (i.e. a heavy adult can go too high up the berm or they require enough weight to go fast enough to make it up the other side). This can change depending on the snow conditions and how fast the runs are. 

People visiting banff for snow tubing.

There’s a magic carpet at Mount Norquay tube park that will take you up the hill to the top of the tube lanes. The runs are large are Norquay, allowing them to loop more tubes together. 

It’s recommended that you book Norquay Tubing in advance because it can get sold out on weekends and holidays. 

For Mount Norquay tubing, you book for a time of day. There are three 3 hour sessions that can be booked: Morning Session from 9am to 12pm, Afternoon Session from 1pm to 4pm and Night Session from 5pm to 8pm (Fridays & Saturdays only). 

The minimum age for tubing at Norquay is four years old, and participants must be at least 42 inches tall. 

Reminder in height measurement for snow tubing in banff.

Ski boots are not allowed, so if you are adding it to a day of skiing make sure you have some winter boots to change into. Helmets are not a requirement, but I highly recommend them. Our kids wore helmets, and in hindsight, I would have preferred to have mine. 

The cost for tubing at Norquay is $45 for adults, $38 for seniors (65+) and youth (13-17 years old), and $29 for children (4-12 years old).

Snow Tubing at Lake Louise Ski Resort

The Lake Louise Ski Resort is located just 5 minutes outside the village of Lake Louise up the Whitehorn Road. It’s a 40 minute drive from the town of Banff. 

When we were there, the Sunny Tube Park at Lake Louise had only three lanes, and sometimes, only two lanes were being used. The lanes are straight and don’t have turns at the end like some of the lanes at the Mount Norquay tube park. The runs for snow tubing at Lake Louise aren’t as long as those at Mount Norquay, but that doesn’t make them any less fun.

A girl and a boy pulling their own snow tubes in Lake Louise - snow tubing in banff canada.

You can also group your tube together at Lake Louise, but the max is 5 tubes. You can use the magic carpet at the Lake Louise learning area to get you to the top of the hill. When we go tubing at Louise, we typically just walk up the hill because it’s short, faster and a great way to keep warm. 

The Lake Louise tube park is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and there are no restrictions on how long you can stay. 

Children 12 and under are required to wear helmets, and it is recommended for everyone. Ski boots are discouraged, but you can wear them if that’s all you have. The downside is that you won’t be able to group up with any other tubes, which is half the fun!

Kids enjoying snow tubing in Banff.

The minimum age for tubing at Lake Louise is three years old. 

The cost for tubing at Lake Louise Sunny Tube Park is $38.50 for adults, $33 for seniors (65+) and youth (13-17 years old), and $22 for children (6-12 years old). Children 3 to 5 years old are free but still require a ticket. There is a family pass for $119.

*If you are already skiing at Lake Louise, you can upgrade to get a discounted Tube Park ticket. This varies depending on the type of ski pass you have, but it’s typically around $10 to $15. If you have a Lake Louise season pass, you can use the Tube Park for free. 

The Differences Between Snow Tubing at Norquay vs Ski Louise

The cost of tubing is pretty similar at both Banff tube parks. The main differences are the number of lanes and the variety of the lanes. Norquay has more lanes that are longer, and some have some turns at the end, which adds to the fun. 

Snow tubing in Mount Norquay.

Another main difference is that you need to specify the session you want to book at Norquay, whereas you don’t at Lake Louise. You can easily add it to your day of skiing, but you can’t do this at Norquay.

The Norquay tube park also gets much busier than the Lake Louise tube park. 

We like the Lake Louise tube park as an addition to our ski day, especially when we have a season pass and can use it for free. We also like Norquay as a full afternoon activity with friends. Norquay also has night sessions, which Lake Louise does not. 

A girl on a snow tube in Lake Louise - snow tubing in banff.

Our experience tubing at Norquay was on a warm winter Saturday afternoon following a cold spell, so it was very busy. We managed to do about 7 runs in the 3 hours, but we stopped a bit before the end of the session due to another commitment. 

The line up was incredibly long when we were there, but it did move quick enough. Thankfully the sun was shining, and it was warm enough that we didn’t even wear winter jackets. Once the sun ducked behind the mountain we hurried to the lodge to grab our jackets!

This was a much different experience than what we had at Lake Louise, where we were rarely in any line or only had to wait for a few people. Given that we often walk up the hill at Lake Louise and have no line, we get in a bunch of runs much faster. 

Snow Tubing Near Banff

For more snow tubing near Banff, the Nakiska Ski Resort in Kananaskis has the Wanidu Tube Park with three snow tubing tracks. Children must be a minimum of 3 years old and 42” tall to tub at Nakiska. You can tube for 2 hours from the time you first scan your ticket at the Wanidu Tube Park. Helmets are not required, but they are strongly recommended (especially for children).

The cost for tubing at Nakiska Wanidu Tube Park is $39.95 for adults, $33.95 for seniors (65+) and youth (13-17 yrs old), and $29.95 for children (6-12 yrs old). Children 3 to 5 years old are free with an adult ticket.

If you happen to be spending time in Calgary, Nakiska is a good place for snow tubing near Calgary.

You can also find snow tubing at Winsport. The Servus Tube Park at Winsport just on the outskirts of Calgary, allows children who are at least four years old and 36” tall. For children under 42” tall they must ride in their tube connected to adult tubing. Helmets are not required, but they are strongly recommended (especially for children).

The Winsport tube park is open on select Fridays and Saturdays/Sundays until March 31st and costs $29.

What to Wear for Tubing in Banff

It’s best to approach what you wear for snow tubing in Banff like many of the other Banff winter activities. Layers are going to be best and make sure you have some warm winter gear for those chilly winter days. Unless you are climbing the hill at Lake Louise, you aren’t going to be generating any heat, as you’ll be standing on the magic carpet then flying down the tube lanes. 

Fun-filled snow tubing experience in Banff.

A windproof winter jacket and snow pants are the best idea. For your feet, I recommend wearing warm winter boots. 

Make sure you don’t forget about your hands and pack some warm winter mitts. 

The beauty of a ski helmet is that they not only keep you safe, but they are great at keeping your ears warm! If you already have the ski equipment, I highly recommend wearing a ski helmet. 

For those extra cold days, you can take a break to warm up inside but I recommend putting some hand and foot warmers in your pockets just in case! We like this reusable hand warmers of Aurora Heat (save 10% using TRAVELBANFFCANADA at checkout).

Best Times to Go to Avoid Crowds

Like many popular activities in places like Banff National Park, the best time to avoid crowds is midweek. The weekends get extra busy because not only are the locals out for some fun, but you’ll get all the day trippers from Calgary and the other nearby areas. 

Snow Tubing near Banff at Lake Louise Sunny Tube Park.

If we are just coming off a particularly cold snap, you’ll see a noticeable difference in how much busier it will get in the mountains!

While mornings are probably quieter at both tube parks, afternoons are likely to be more enjoyable as the day warms up so it’s probably worth dealing with a few extra people!

What to do After Banff Tubing?

Snow tubing in Banff is unlikely to take the full day, so you’ll want to make some plans for the rest of your day. 

Here are some suggestions for each of the Snow Tube Parks: 

Staying in a lodge at Norquay Tube Park - where to stay for snow tubing in Banff

At Mount Norquay, the Upper Stoney Loop is a short (but at times steep) snowshoe or hike (depending on the conditions) that we love doing in the winter. Just pack microspikes as the trail can get slippery and you’ll want traction climbing those hills. If there’s just been a large snowfall, snowshoes may be required.

Given the proximity to the town of Banff, you can always head back to Banff for more winter fun. There are outdoor skating rinks or even cross-country skiing on the Spray River West Trail. 

banff winter activities - Skating on Lake Louise

From the Lake Louise Ski Resort there are plenty of other Lake Louise winter activities nearby if you aren’t skiing. Skating on Lake Louise is the perfect winter activity.

There are plenty of cross-country ski trails around Lake Louise that you could enjoy either before or after tubing at Lake Louise. Also at Lake Louise, you can enjoy a short winter hike or snowshoe up to Fairview Lookout.

best snowshoe trails banff - Fairview Lookout

If you have other members of your family skiing at Lake Louise, you can also combine your tubing ticket with the Lake Louise sightseeing gondola ride. 

Regardless of which Banff ski hill you are at, if your hotel doesn’t have a hot tub, you can end the day with a soak at the Banff Upper Hot Springs.

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Celine Brewer, a local Canmore resident, is the co-owner of Travel Banff Canada. She has a passion for being out in the mountains any time of year. In the summer, you'll often find her hiking or mountain biking. In the winter, she enjoys cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and winter hiking the most.

As much as she loves the mountains, she also loves travel! When she's not playing outdoors at home, she's either traveling the world with her husband and two kids or working on their other two travel sites: Family Can Travel and Baby Can Travel.