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Three Days at Banff’s “Big Three” Ski Resorts

By PAMELA MACNAUGHTAN

Lake Louise ski resort (Photo: Drew Douglas)

Spring may be around the corner, but the ski season in the Canadian Rockies lasts until May, so you’ve got plenty of time to hit the slopes!

Banff National Park is one of Canada’s supreme winter destinations. Every year thousands of visitors flock to the park in search of inspiring landscapes and snow-covered slopes. They are rarely disappointed, especially skiers and snowboarders, and especially on a clear sunny day.

DAY 1: Lake Louise

Lake Louise (Courtesy Fairmont Hotels & Resorts)

Start your three-day ski or snowboard weekend at Lake Louise. If the sun is shining and the skies are blue, take the Grizzly Express Gondola for a green run, or even a black.

But before you set off down the mountain, take a few moments to look off into the distance. On a clear day you’ll be able to see Lake Louise, as well as the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, from the top of Angel. It’s truly spectacular.

After a day of skiing, head over the the Kokanee Kabin (near the Glacier chair) for some aprés-ski treats. Reccommedation: a few beers and the cheesy, bacon-y bagels.

DAY 2: Sunshine Village

Sunshine Village (Banff Lake Louise Tourism/Sean Hannah)

Sunshine Village Ski & Snowboard Resort is located between Lake Louise and the Banff townsite. Whether from green or black diamond hills, Sunshine Village has incredible views of the mountains and runs that are fun and challenging. Advanced black diamond skiers clamour to tackle the big drops at Delirium Dive (video), and it’s always fun to watch them.

Sunshine Village is the largest of Banff’s resorts, and you’ll want to arrive early and do as many runs as possible. When you’ve had your fill of mountains and snow, stop at Mad Trapper’s for aprés ski and enjoy a burger and a few beers. Of, if you prefer something a little classier, head over to Chimney Corner.

DAY 3: Mt. Norquay

Mt. Norquay (Banff Lake Louise Tourism/Malcolm Carmichael)

Another day, another ski resort! Mt. Norquay is the closet ski resort to the Banff townsite and offers skiers and snowboarders a view (depending on the run) of the Banff townsite or Vermillion Lakes.

Mt. Norquay is the smaller of the three ski resorts (and the least expensive), but don’t pass it by: the views are amazing and it has Banff’s only night skiing.

For aprés ski take the lift up to the Teahouse, or head back into Banff and enjoy some craft beer at the Banff Ave. Brewing Co.

TRAVEL TIPS:

You don’t have to do the resorts in the order we’ve suggested (beginning with the farthest from Banff’s townsite)—by all means, mix and match ‘em. Whatever you choose, you’ll have a fun-filled long weekend.

How to book: To book transportation to each of the ski resorts visit the front desk of your hotel, or head over to the Ski Hub on Banff Avenue in the Banff townsite. While you’re there, be sure to ask about package deals, as specials are occasionally available, and you may save some money on your transportation and lift tickets.

When to go: Lake Louise and Mt. Norquay are usually open until sometime in April, and Sunshine Village doesn’t close until the Victoria Day long weekend in May.

Want more information?: Check out our insider’s guide to all the top ski resorts in the Canadian Rockies.


Watch a skiier and snowboarder attempt Sunshine Village’s Delerium Dive:

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