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Banff/LL 2016

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Banff/LL has been on my bucket list for quite some time and I am planing on ticking it off in Feb of 2016. I looked for an Unofficial Guide but could not find one, so am asking directly for suggestions and advice.


Any and all information appreciated.

post #2 of 8

there are a few threads from this season on this. Essentially, you fly into Calgary, stay in Banff.  From there its an easy drive to Sunshine and Banff.  Get a Mountain collective pass!  Its pretty awesome scenery and the skiing is much like skiing in Colorado. Really nice people. I enjoyed it very much.  

post #3 of 8



Fly into Calgary, stay in Banff, no car needed at all.  Pick a place to stay based on your budget, use shuttles to get to/from the resorts.  Bring a camera, some of the most beautiful scenery in all of North America will be all around you.  And make sure you visit the outdoor hot springs......awesome.  And dress for the weather, it has the potential to get REALLY COLD there.  Not Colorado cold......Canada cold.  Very different.

post #4 of 8
Originally Posted by CharlieRN View Post

Banff/LL has been on my bucket list for quite some time and I am planing on ticking it off in Feb of 2016. I looked for an Unofficial Guide but could not find one, so am asking directly for suggestions and advice.


Any and all information appreciated.

Try the tags I added under Topics Discussed (right hand column).  For the Resort Pages, scroll down to the bottom to see the list of related threads.  The "Banff travel" tag is fairly new, so doesn't have many threads yet.

post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the responses.


I should have mentioned that I'm headed there with my local ski club, so we will in fact fly into Calgary, get bused to Banff and spend the week in the Fairmount Banff Springs. Nominally 5 days of skiing (one at Norquay, the others split between LL and Sunshine. No car involved and the transit to the ski areas will be arranged. I've done these trips with the club before and usually ski 6 days, which obviously puts me on my own for one. Is the choice for the extra Sunshine or LL?


As far as the weather, I know that it can get really cold but the bigger worry is snow. Looks like there is a pretty big discrepancy between Norquay-LL and Banff, I'm guessing that one is on the windward side of the range, the others on the lee. Kind of like the situation with LCC/BCC and the Wasatch Back. Would like to hear how that affects the skiing. We're going to be there the first week of Feb, so any info on how coverage is at that time in the winter is appreciated. And I'm hoping to hear from folks that the northerly location means that even in a poor snow year - like 2014/15 - skiing tends to be decent since whatever falls sticks around.


Again thanks.

post #6 of 8

Sunshine gets the most snow, and best quality.  Runs are sorta "all or nothing"......greens are basically FLAT, blues are meh, then you can find some really challenging stuff.  Not much in between.  Runs are kinda short, don't let the published vertical fool you, it's not contiguous.  You can chase the sun across the three mountain faces though and find some goods.  Lift system is decent, spread out depending which mountain you wanna hit.  Pick a face and lap that chair. Excellent steeps if you're with a ski buddy (required on Delirium and avy gear).  It's not a long shuttle ride, fairly close, some nice above-treeline skiing. Day lodge is nothing to write home about, food is ok.


LL is a longer shuttle ride, is more exposed and can get "icy", though I use that term loosely because it's nowhere near my Eastern definition of ice.  Backside is 1km wide and the bowls are classic awesomeness IF there's good snow.  You can chase the snow in the trees off Larch area. Frontside is glorious views, wide open, and you can test your mettle on the men's downhill course likely without getting your pass pulled.  Lift system is rather efficient, almost top to bottom, no need for crossing to get around unless you wanna hit Larch, but even though it's only 2 lifts.  Lines move quick if there are any.  Midweek is EMPTY.  Beautiful continuous fall line for almost every single run anywhere, no flats.  Day lodge is great architecture, some great food too.


Norquay is literally located at the edge of town, it's a 5 minute shuttle ride. Locals' hill.  Steep, narrow, firm, fast.  Bring your skinny skis and keep your head up for tight spots and unsigned turns.  Lift layout is a bit of a pain since you have to take multiple ones to get across the hill.  It's not big though so not too bad overall.  Not a "destination" resort, but has a small town vibe to it for something different.  Decent snow but you gotta hunt for it, and honestly you're better off going to Sunshine if it's puking out, there's much more to experience at the other 2 bigger resorts.  Norquay is cool for a half day or day, for a change of pace, but don't spend much time there, the other 2 are better if you're visiting from far away.


If there's a cold snap, you better bundle up.  It can get C-O-L-D.  Hit -40C (-40F) for a day when we were there.  A few -25C days as well.  Welcome to Canada though LOL.  However, snow preservation is awesome, lovely dry stuff, gets wonderfully creamy if the thermometer moves up to anywhere near 0C/32F.

post #7 of 8

^^ Gunnerbob nailed it. I would add that Lake Louise has quite a bit of snow making. Skip Norquay unless you are a big mogul fan. If it gets brutal cold, then I recommend an extra layer of long underwear and a full face mask. I always go in April.:D

post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks again to all for the replies and an especially big tip of the Tam o' shanter to Gunnerbob.


DanoT - I'm jealous. Sun Peaks in the winter and summer in one of North America's nicest cities. How do I get the same gig?

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