Alberta Ski Holidays
Breathtaking scenery, more terrain than you could possibly ski in one trip and an abundance of winter activities; Alberta combines world-class skiing across multiple resorts with a sensational backdrop.
The skiing in Alberta is focused around its three largest ski resorts: Banff's main ski area of Sunshine Village, Canada's third largest ski resort Lake Louise and one of the world's friendliest ski resorts, Marmot Basin in Jasper National Park. There are other mountains in the region, mostly small, local ski hills such as Mt Norquay. Between Banff and Jasper's resorts you have access to 9,423 acres of terrain - so there really is something for everyone.
An easy 1 hour 30 minute drive from Calgary airport, we recommend staying in the lively skier's town of Banff, where you can get the free shuttle bus or drive to the different ski areas. Mt Norquay is only 10 minutes away, Sunshine Village is 20 minutes and Lake Louise is 45 minutes away. The three resorts are covered on the Tri-Area lift pass and also offer interchangeable ski hire. Don't be put off by the lack of on-mountain accommodation - the shuttle bus is free, convenient and the spectacular scenery en route is part of the experience.
With a bit more time, drive along the awe-inspiring Icefields Parkway to Jasper - Canada's northernmost (and friendliest) ski town - on an Alberta Rockies Ski Safari.
We've been skiing in Alberta for over 20 years, read about our team's most memorable moments over the years on our blog.
The centre of Alberta skiing, Banff town is a fantastic base with a thriving local population and a relaxed and easy going atmosphere. A free ski shuttle operates to the three nearby resorts of Mt Norquay, Sunshine Village and Lake Louise, while off the slopes you'll find good value accommodation and a bustling main street lined with shops and vibrant après bars.
The best value accommodation in Banff is centred around Banff Avenue close to the bars, restaurants and shops, while the out of town Fairmont Banff Springs and Rimrock Resort offer unrivalled luxury. Wherever you stay, you're surrounded by some of the most stunning scenery in North America and you'll have the opportunity to spot the local wildlife.
Mt Norquay is the nearest ski area to Banff and is the locals' favourite. With 31 runs spread over one mountain, it's perfect to get your legs moving on your first day and also makes a great bad weather option thanks to the tree lined slopes. It's worth spending a day here for the views of Banff town alone, but expert skiers will also find some super-fast steep groomed runs. Mt Norquay also offers night skiing, with one free session included on the Tri-Area lift ticket along with a free tubing session.
Sunshine Village is probably where you will spend most of your time when you're staying in Banff. While not as large as Lake Louise, it's a lot closer and still has three mountains with skiing for all abilities, from easy beginner slopes to some of the most challenging runs in North America. Sunshine also receives the most snow in Alberta - up to 30 ft per year of dry, fluffy powder - and has a season that starts early in November and lasts long into May. After huge early snowfall in October, Sunshine Village recorded its earliest opening in over 30 years this season.
Sunshine Mountain Lodge is the only true ski-in ski-out property in Alberta, accessed by gondola or in a specially adapted snow vehicle. Fantastic if you want to be right on the slopes, and while you won't be able to access Banff's bustling nightlife and range of restaurants from here, you will have the buzz of fresh tracks every day - we recommend staying for a couple of nights during your visit.
The furthest resort from Banff town in Banff National Park, Lake Louise resides in a remote location with an unforgettable backdrop. Canada's third largest ski area, there are 139 runs spread over 4,200 acres. Each of the nine lifts offers at least one easy run down, while strong skiers have lots of alpine bowls to choose from with some very challenging steeps.
Lake Louise has its own small ski village five minutes from the resort base, so you can choose to base yourself here and still ski Mt Norquay and Sunshine Village (plus enjoy a drink or two in Banff). For the ultimate secluded, luxury getaway, stay in the imposing Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. This superb hotel sits on the edge of Lake Louise with impressive views of the frozen lake and Victoria Glacier on one side and the ski resort on the other.
Best experienced as part of an Alberta Rockies Ski Safari, Jasper is a three and a half hour drive from Lake Louise along the stunning Icefields Parkway and has plenty of great value accommodation options (as well as the exclusive Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge). The ski area of Marmot Basin may be small but the skiing is fantastic and advanced skiers can have an epic few days exploring the bowls and tree-lined gullies. Known as 'The Big Friendly', you can expect a warm welcome and cheery service in Marmot Basin, and the atmosphere is similar in Jasper town!
Multi-Resort Road Trip
Experience everything that Alberta has to offer with our Alberta Rockies Ski Safari. The itinerary below is just one suggestion of how to combine Alberta's resorts. Our ski safaris are entirely flexible, call us on 01273 224060 for a tailor-made quote with your choice of resorts, activities and accommodation.
Fly to Calgary and pick up your hire vehicle for the two and a half hour drive to Lake Louise. Stay at the majestic 5* Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise for absolute luxury and enjoy the huge variety of skiing over two mountains. The Fairmont lounge is the perfect place to relax with a cocktail or a hot chocolate after a spot of ice skating on the lake.
Your next stop is Jasper, and you'll want to take your time getting there. The drive along the Icefields Parkway will take your breath away and you'll find it hard not to stop frequently to take photos. Spend a few days enjoying the quiet slopes and pristine surrounding wilderness.
Drive back to Banff where you'll end your trip skiing the two nearby resorts of Sunshine Village and Mt Norquay. Stay in the centre of town at the 3*+ Elk + Avenue Hotel for easy access to Banff's 100+ bars, restaurants and shops or stay in style at the 5* Fairmont Banff Springs, taking time out to relax at Banff Hot Springs (complimentary pass with a 3+ day Tri-Area lift ticket).
A 14 day Alberta Rockies Ski Safari costs from £1,849pp based on two sharing at the 3* Lake Louise Inn, 3* Sawridge Inn in Jasper and the 3*+ Elk + Avenue Hotel in Banff, including flights and car hire.
We can help organise activities and excursions in each of the resorts, find out what's on offer below.
Activities & Excursions
Banff and Jasper National Parks offer a huge range of winter activities to add to your ski holiday. We've highlighted some of our team's favourites below, plus a selection of activities which operate out of all the resorts.
Banff Hot Springs - Included on the Tri-Area lift ticket, rest your legs in this splendid, historic spa and bathhouse with Banff's spectacular alpine scenery in the background. Relax in the comfort of soothing hot springs where travelers have come to "take the waters" for more than a century. Banff’s premier attraction features an outdoor source-fed pool, children’s area, gift shop, indoor and outdoor cafeteria, spacious changing rooms and day spa.
Johnston Canyon Icewalk - Banff's most popular ice walk for a reason, traverse a series of steel catwalks above Johnston Canyon. Expect natural caves, gigantic pillars of ice and lots of wildlife. In Jasper, Maligne Canyon Ice Walks offer a similar experience.
Ice Skating on Lake Louise - Possibly the most spectacular ice rink in the world, the frozen glacial lake is cleared and maintained daily by the Fairmont Chateau. The perfect romantic or family activity, you can even try your hand at ice hockey. During the Ice Magic Festival, ice carvers create a giant ice castle on the lake to add to the magical experience. Afterwards, warm up at the Fairmont with a hot chocolate.
Banff Gondola - Banff town's gondola has been re-imagined for the ultimate mountaintop experience in 2017. There are new restaurants, interactive exhibits, a multi-sensory theatre and a 360-degree rooftop observation deck. Spend time strolling along the ridgetop boardwalk with some of the best views in the world.
Backcountry Skiing - More advanced skiers have the opportunity to add an adventure in the backcountry to their trip, from heli-skiing to ski touring. If you're new to the backcountry, we've teamed up with Yamnuska Mountain Adventures who provide a selection of introductory packages including one in Lake Louise.
Snowshoeing - Available from Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper, snowshoeing is a fantastic way to discover the National Parks. Hire your own or take a guided tour deep into the wilderness.
These activities are available from any of the resort bases. Call our Ski Extras team on 01273 224064 to find out more.
- Dog sledding
- Sleigh rides
- Ice fishing
- Spas and hot springs
- Scenic tours and nature hikes
- Ice climbing
- Art galleries