I'm planning on driving in late December 2017 around the Banff/Lake Louise/Golden area. (Nothing too crazy in terms or roads or conditions, sticking to main roads where possible, checking the weather before driving etc).

I've read in a number of posts that snow tyres are recommended.

Is this correct, or do normal people just happily drive with normal tyres?

  • for anyone reading this... I've returned from Canada where I spent two weeks on Alberta roads (between Calgary and Golden). Whilsst most of my driving was done on highways, some was on byroads where the winter tyres were indispensable. Just get winter tyres (and pay extra, organise in advance if necessary) - we were there during a cold snap - calgaryherald.com/news/local-news/…
    – AndrewO
    Commented Mar 20, 2018 at 11:12

2 Answers 2


Depends a great deal where you're driving. In general, you can get away with normal tires in regular conditions provided the roads have been cleared. So major highways are probably plowed/salted. But there are some roads in that area with special restrictions.

Snow tires or chains are required by law for travel on Hwy #93N / Icefields Parkway and Hwy #93S (Banff-Windermere Highway in Banff National Park and Kootenay National Park) between November 1 and March 31 or any other period during which the highway is covered with snow or ice.

Considering that Highway 93 is both remote and mountainous, it seems like an exception.


It is not mandatory in Alberta. (I really wonder about that, seriously)

I would never drive up the moutains without winter tires; even on regular roads.

It is not only about snow, ice, it is about temperature, regular tires are not meant for cold temperature and will loose tracktion as it come down below 5c or 6c.

You never know when snow or sleet or freezing rain can start falling and you do not want to be unprepared.

Just get winter tires; and if you are renting a car, ask to have winter tires.

  • 3
    Getting a rental car with winter tires can be a challenge sometimes, based on personal experience. Commented Nov 27, 2017 at 18:30

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