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Advice on first trip to Canada, Banff

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hi All,

After a shocker of a season in Australia, I am finally heading OS for the first time with a mate. Staying in Banff from 25 Feb 06 to 10 Mar 06.

I have only skiied in Oz, never OS. My main mountain is Mt Buller.

Just curious on what to expect in Banff and the 3 resorts. Also good places to go out in Banff for 40 yr olds!!

post #2 of 7
There is a recent long thread on Banff over at Goski Talk Canada chat room:

post #3 of 7
Well, first off, let me tell you that you are going to have a blast.

I have been there twice in the last three years, and it is truly spectacular. You have two major resorts -- Sunshine Village and Lake Louise -- within a 45-min. drive, and for variety, there's a smaller resort, Norquay. Tons and tons of terrain to suit EVERY ability level. (Don't worry about being on the wrong side of 40--so am I, and I found plenty of doable trails.)

It is also a very reasonably priced place to ski, and to stay. I stayed both times in Canmore, which is a lower-key, funkier, less touristy village than Banff, and is only 15 minutes away. The Radisson had very nice rooms for $89 Canadian.

If you need/want lessons out there, I heartly recommend you contact L7, who is a frequent contributor to these boards.
post #4 of 7
You will have a blast.

Don't think of it a 3 areas. You have enough time to do the drive to Jasper after doing a short day in Louise, stay the night, and ski Marmot. The drive alone is worth it, and the town and area are fun.

And, even more important is to take the drive (or bus) to Kicking horse. Only do this if you are a 7+ skier, but it is a mountain you won't forget.

Lots in both sunshine and louise to satisfy, but no need to limit yourself.
post #5 of 7
We did both Sunshing and Lake Louise last year. A spectacular trip! The scenery alone beats anything I've seen on earth (travelled to about 40 countries - mostly work).

Sunshine has the edge on snow - higher elevation, drier and more of it (lots more). But, Lake Louise is a gorgeous mountain with vast, intresting terrain and views to kill for. At your dates, both should be ideal.

With your dates, you'll also miss the dreaded January deep-freeze. Count on lots of sun, great snow and world-class skiing. Highly recommended!
post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 

Can't wait!!

Skion, original plan was to do Kicking Horse but we wern't sure. Looks like an awsome mountain. No idea what level skier I am. Can get down most of the stuff at my local hill (Buller), but need some work on bumps. Might take a couple of lessons as I have never skied real powder. I don't mind it icy (we get used to it in Oz). Always looking to improve and would love to tackle a couple of steeps to get the heart racing.

Decided not to take my skis (K2 Axis XT). I will take my boots and hire the skis. Any suggestions on what and where to hire would be appreciated. Not too keen on really fat skis though.

post #7 of 7
Two weeks in Banff should be long enough that you will want to expand your horizons a bit. You'll probably find that you will spend most of your time at Sunshine or Louise (Norquay is rather small, but it does have excellent corduroy groomed runs in the mornings, as well as the classic North American run). Best bets for a road trip from Banff are Marmot in Jasper (one of the most spectacular drives on earth, if the weather cooperates), and Kicking Horse in Golden. There is a day bus to KH that calls on Banff hotels, which would make it an easy day. One other option (but only if the snow conditions are really, really, good [and don't trust the "official" snow report, ask around on the lifts]) is Panorama, also reachable by a day bus from Banff.

As for the nightlife, there are a lot of options. If you are staying in town, you might want to go for a pub/lounge crawl the first two nights, just to scout out the ambiance. Wild Bill's usually has a dance band, and there are a few clubs playing a variety of other genres. Do try to get up to the hotsprings at least once (preferably on a cold day when it is snowing).
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