Ski Areas - Banff Three World Class Ski Mountains Snow Skiing at it's Best
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Banff National Park is home to three of the world’s finest ski resorts. There's Sunshine Village, Mt. Norquay and the Lake Louise Ski Resort.
Skiing in the Canadian Rockies - For those who have skied the Colorado Rockies, the intensity of the Canadian Rockies in comparison is quite startling. The Canadian Rockies consist of sedimentary rock. So the mountains are more jagged, sharp and twisted than their southern US counterparts. The impact on the skiing is equally intense and powerful.
In winter, skiers and snowboarders flock to these ski areas in Banff and Lake Louise. They will experience the best snowing skiing in the world. The unique inland location guarantees the dry, light snow that Banff is famous for – and plenty of it!!!!!
The three resorts offer almost 8,000 acres of skiable terrain on one convenient, tri-area lift ticket. These resorts offer 274 runs with a lift capacity of 46,000 skiers per hour!!!
There’s terrain to suit every level and desire, from gentle groomed runs to some of the world’s most extreme in-bounds challenges. These resorts are all very kid friendly!!!
The snowfall on average is over 30 feet (over 9 metres). So these ski areas offer some of the best snow skiing and boarding in the world. There are great terrain parks and night skiing.... if you can't get enough during the day. These ski areas have one of the longest ski seasons in North America, from mid November to late May!!!
There's terrain for every level and desire, from gentle green runs to some of the world’s most extreme in-bounds challenges. A great place to learn to ski.
You can rent downhill ski and snowboard equipment from several gear rental outlets in Banff and Lake Louise, as well as at the resorts. Many of these outlets also offer technician services for tuning and repairs.
Tri-area lift tickets are available for these ski areas, offering unlimited access to Mt. Norquay, Lake Louise Ski Area and Sunshine Village; night skiing at Mt. Norquay (January to March); and return shuttle transportation between many hotels and the resorts. Approx. Adult Prices range from $250 - $725 depending on the number of days.
Shuttle transportation is available between the ski resorts and many hotels in Banff and Lake Louise.
Shuttle bus service is included in the cost of tri-area lift tickets. For those without a tri-area lift ticket, bus fares are additional. Some Lake Louise hotels offer complimentary shuttle services to Lake Louise Ski Area.
Close to the Town of Banff is Sunshine Village. Did you know....it's Canada’s highest elevated resort. Offering guaranteed snow conditions from December to May, so there's snow skiing for 6 months of the year! Sunshine Village has an average annual snowfall of over 30 feet, on over 3,300 acres of terrain! Cool....
You can ski or ride in both the provinces of Alberta and British Columbia on the same run! I've done it...very cool and beautiful scenery.
This is where you’ll find Banff's premier ski-in, ski-out accommodation, the newly renovated Sunshine Mountain Lodge. Following a multimillion dollar wing replacement, the Lodge opened 30 new eco-luxurious rooms in December 2009.
Sunshine Village holds the title of “Best View from the Best Off-Piste Run” 2008 awarded by Ski Canada magazine. What the heck does that mean? It sounds rather rude....
A piste is the name given to a marked ski run or path down a mountain. It's a term used when snow skiing, boarding , or other mountain sports. It's most often used in Europe. In North America, a piste would more often be referred to as a trail, a slope, or a groomed run. Piste is French for trail or track.
So take in the view from Sunshine’s Delirium Dive...it's the best "piste" as awarded by Ski Canada magazine. I've just learned something new!!!
Sunshine Village offers great on-hill accommodations as well. Make this one of those must do Canadian Holidays.
Lake Louise Ski Area
Spectacular scenery awaits you at the Lake Louise Ski Resort. It offers varied terrain that's uniquely beautiful. Located in the heart of majestic, historic Banff National Park, Lake Louise is one of North America's biggest resorts!!!
With 4200 skiable acres, Lake Louise is one of the largest ski areas in North America. The unique layout allows families and groups of varying abilities to ski together; there are beginner, intermediate and expert runs down from every chair. A great place for you and the family to learn to ski.
Beginners and intermediate skiers have access to an abundance of gentle slopes and long cruising runs. Experts can explore endless chutes, glades, gullies and remote bowls in some of the Rockies' most challenging terrain.
Norquay Ski Area
Mt.Norquay is widely considered to be Banff's best family ski resort.
Norquay has been a family tradition since 1926.
Skiers and snowboarders will find terrain for all levels, including groomed runs, bumps and a terrain park.
Not only does Norquay have the only night skiing in the Bow Valley but at Norquay, you can ride the only lit terrain park.
If you want to learn to ski or ride, looking for some pointers or want to learn to "go big" in the park.... Norquay snow sport center has lessons for everyone.
After you pick the little ones up from our on-hill daycare, sit back at the Lone Pine for a drink and a snack, the perfect end to a great day on the slopes.
First Time Skiing?
When visiting these ski areas..you'll really miss something if you don't try snow skiing or snowboarding.
Snow skiing can be learned at any age.
The aspiring downhill skier, should be aware of the following:
What to wear
What equipment to get
Where to find instruction
Where are slopes for novices.
Maintaining your body temperature in varying weather conditions is a tricky business. Because your personal comfort is the starting point, select clothing that is waterproof, breathable and loose fitting.
Think in terms of layering by adding or taking off articles depending upon outside temperature and your level of exertion. The innermost layer should be long thermal underwear, either light or medium weight.
Choose a fabric with wicking properties such as polypropylene to transport moisture away from the skin. Loose-fitting, insulated shell pants are preferable to tight stretch pants that tend not to be warm, waterproof or particularly comfortable for a beginner.
For the upper body, you already have what you need in your closet – a turtleneck with a sweater or fleece (spun pile polyester) shirt. For the outer jacket, avoid the traditional ski parka in favor of a shell coat – insulated or not
A ski bib is the practical alternative for keeping snow from getting into your midsection. Wear a pair of wool socks, opting for thicker material if you’re renting boots since they’re often one size larger than new boots.
Avoid double pairs of socks, which tend to chafe and bulk. For heat retention, a wool hat covering the ears is essential, preferably one with a no-itch headband liner.
Select a pair of orange or amber goggles with good air circulation, a double lens and an anti-fog coating. Invest in a good pair of waterproof, breathable mittens or gloves for greater dexterity.
The clothing costs range from approximately $300 to $500, but much of this investment can double as street wear, especially in our climate. You can also look into used clothing at local sports swaps and consignment stores for very low costs.
When choosing equipment – boots, bindings, skis and poles – don’t worry about performance! Let an experienced ski salesperson help you select a line of entry-level equipment. You’ll be fitted with a very flexible ski that comes up to approximately your chin. Choose boots that provide a relaxed and comfortable fit. Make sure they are easy to put on.
There’s no need to buy your gear at this point. Poles, boots and skis with mounted bindings may be rented on a daily or weekly basis at most ski areas or in-town ski shops. This is probably your best bet til you're sure you want to take up snow skiing.
Once you’re ready to hit the slopes, invest in lessons with a professional instructor. Unless you think you need an instructor’s undivided attention in a private class, opt for group lessons for the camaraderie of cost savings. Canadian Ski Instructors Alliance and Canadian Association for Snowboard Instruction has standardized teaching methods nationally, so the instruction will be the same wherever you go.
With a wide range of ski and board programs, our qualified instructors have the right program for you. Learn to ski... try something you've never done before. This is one of those great Canadian holidays for the family!
Nordic (Cross Country) Skiing
The ski areas in Banff and the Banff National Park offer you all kinds of Nordic skiing options. From classic track-set cross-country to groomed skate-skiing trails. From untracked backcountry trails and telemark slopes to rugged ski mountaineering routes.
For most recreational skiers, the cross-country ski season runs from December through March. But local nordic enthusiasts and competitive athletes are usually on the snow at Lake Louise area trails (especially Moraine Lake Road) or at the nearby Canmore Nordic Centre by mid-November.
There are several enjoyable easy-to-moderate x-country trails in or near the Banff townsite, including:
Cascade Fire Road, from the Lake Minnewanka parking lot
Spray River Loop, from the Banff Springs Hotel trailhead
Sundance Canyon starting from Cave and Basin Historic Site
Banff Springs Golf Course, from the Bow Falls parking lot
Bow River, from the Canoe Docks
Some popular favorites in Lake Louise include:
Moraine Lake Road
The Great Divide (Highway 1A)
Bow River Loop, starting near the Station Restaurant
There is also a series of scenic cross-country trails accessible from the top of the Sunshine Village Gondola (note that there is a fee for the gondola ride).
Cross-country ski rentals are available at a limited number of retail outfits, including Mountain Magic Equipment in Banff, Monod Sports in both Banff and Lake Louise, and Wilson Mountain Sports in Lake Louise.
Guided cross-country ski tours are available through White Mountain Adventures and Willow Root Nature Tours.
World-class Nordic facilities and equipment rentals are also available at the Canmore Nordic Centre, built for the 1988 Winter Olympics, just 25 km east of Banff.
So why not experience the ski areas of Banff. Learn how to ski...or learn how to ski better...or teach your kids how to ski....This could be one of those Canadian Holidays you and your family will always remember....in fact, make it annual snow skiing vacation.