Review of Banff

15th March 2007 by Alastair B 

We spent 6 days in Banff, skiing between Sunshine, Lake Louise and Norquay.

The town itself is very pleasant with plenty of hotels and bars, although after 6 days the dining options are a little limited, especially if you tire of steaks and burgers. It’s worth bearing in mind how useful it can be to stay somewhere with decent services. After getting a dodgy back the (very helpful) tourist info pointed us in the direction of the local physios who were great. It didn’t seem especially cheap at the time. The Canadian $ hadn’t followed its American counterpart downwards.

We had a car, which is the obvious way around the bus issues. Driving is pretty easy, though watch the snow and maybe get a 4x4. It’s 1.5-2 hrs from Calgary airport, which is ok after a flight in.

Sunshine and Lake Louise (see the review in that section) are both worth a few days. The snow was great and lift queues almost non-existent, although we were in low-ish season in mid-Jan. There’s plenty of varied terrain and lots of options for exploring trees, steeps etc. The open, pisted runs were in great condition. A minor grumble is that the terrain parks seemed to have loads of rails (which I can’t do) and no half-pipes (which I can at least get down). Worth considering if freestyle is your thing.

Norquay isn’t the biggest ski hill but is a good option for beginners or for the day after arriving and sleeping off the jet lag. It does have some steep bumps to go with the easy blues.

All in ll, a good base for getting to the main hills though having a car will help a lot. Being based in a decent sized town also gives you more options for off-hill activities.

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