Banff has to be one of the most stunning ski areas in North America. Set within the awe-inspiring Banff National Park, it is the centre of skiing in Alberta and very popular with British skiers. Varied terrain, incredible snow with a long season, a fantastic resort town, great value accommodation and the aforementioned scenery all make for a winning combination.
From the bustling town of Banff there are three areas that you can ski - Mt. Norquay (the smallest) - 6kms from town, Sunshine Village (most popular) - 18 kms from town and Lake Louise (the largest) - 60kms away. They are all covered by the excellent tri-area lift pass which includes the shuttle buses to and from Banff. The variety of skiing covered under the tri-area pass is huge and the combined area makes it the second largest ski area in Canada.
, regarded affectionately by the locals, is a small ski area with one mountain and just 31 runs. It is however perfect for the first day to get the legs moving again or as a bad weather option thanks to its tree lined slopes. It also has lovely views back out over Banff.
is probably where you will spend most of your time. It has three mountains that offer everything from easy beginner slopes to some of the most challenging runs in North America - and lots of snow!
New for season 15/16, a high speed quad lift is scheduled to open at Sunshine. The new Tee Pee Town bubble lift will upgrade the existing two-seater, first installed in 1979, and comes complete with heated seats, footrests and orange bubbles for weather protection.
The Lake Louise Ski Area
, famous for its early season World Cup Downhill, is the second largest ski area in Canada and has a great variety of gladed terrain suitable for all levels on the front side and chutes in the back bowls.
Banff town and its collection of hotels make it the most popular base to ski the 3 areas. The accommodation is great value and there is everything from 3* lodge style accommodation in the centre of town to the iconic, old world elegance for the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. There are a limited number of condos away from Banff Avenue but most of the accommodation is within hotels.
There is only one ski-in ski-out property in Banff National Park and this is found up at Sunshine Village - the Sunshine Mountain Lodge. Although remote, it provides a unique, peaceful experience and allows extra early access to the ski slopes.
Off the Slopes
Banff is a lively resort with lots to entertain non-skiers. From the unique challenge of ice-climbing to relaxing in the hot springs with their stunning views of the surrounding Rockies, there is plenty to keep even the most energetic visitor occupied. Banff town also has a big range of shops and restaurants and as a true ski town it has lively nightlife and plenty of après ski activities.