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Skiing from banff

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I've never been skiing in canada before and looking to ski the mountains out of banff in January. Is it better to stay on a particular mountain and ski just that one? Or is banff central enough and served well by shuttle buses to ski from there each day? How long does it take say, to get from banff to louise?
I have a girlfriend who has now decided to tag along, who is not a big skier, is there plenty of cross country and other things to see and do there also?
post #2 of 10
Your best option is to stay in Banff or Canmore. On-the-hill lodging in only available at Sunshine, and it's nothing to brag about (it's a nice hotel, with decent restaurants, but that's all). You can stay in hotels at Lake Louise, but that limits your options, and it really limits your girlfriend's options.

Canmore is a nice town, with lots to do if you're not skiing. Banff is nice enough, but I prefer Canmore.
post #3 of 10
We are planning on a trip to Alberta/BC in March. (Not Whistler as we have been there a few times)

If you were intent on skiing (as we would be) and accepting that we would be driving to anywhere (ie Sunshine, Norquay, Lake Louise or wherever), where is the best place to stay..... Banff or Canmore.

I would be going with my 2 sons (late teens early 20s), but they would not be looking for any more after skiing than a meal, a few beers and a decent place to sleep (at least not with their Dad along, paying for it !!)

Also is it better to centre on one place (Banff or Canmore??) or would we be better going on the road for 10-12 days hitting say Fernie, Kicking Horse, Lake Louise and then the Banff resorts, staying locally a few days at each. If we centre in Banff or Canmore where can we hit with a relatively easy drive? (I will be driving...I am not looking at much more than an hour either way, in good weather)

We are all reasonable black diamond skiers, with the younger element looking for some double black thrills on occasions
post #4 of 10
Staying in Banff cuts your driving time to the 3 local hills by 20minutes+ each way. Furthest drive is Lake Louise 40-45 minutes. Bus is similar but depending if you get picked up first and they stop at more hotels on the way. Banff has lots of restaurants, a movie theater and bars or coffee shops all within easy walking of most hotels.

Canmore is a little more spread out so car or no is a big issue in which town. Lots of shuttle buses from hotels in Banff to the 3 hills and that price is built into a big 3 ski pass which doesn't help Xcountry girl.

All 3 hills have track set trails adjacent with Norquay having the least of them. At Lake Louise going across the valley to the chateau offers a ton of great trails and spectacular views. Canmore offers the nordic centre which can be good and challenging when there is enough snow.

Staying at Lake Louise can make it hard to get to the other hills without a car. Banff is more central in terms of shuttles.

Kicking Horse can be good if you keep an eye on snow. No snow in a while it may be worth a trip to see but nothing great. Fernie is usually really on or really off (little in between). Again eye to conditions (temp and precip) and it can be worth the trip.
post #5 of 10
Summer is the high season, so you get great lodging deals in Canmore. Banff is closer and a better party, but you will find your lodging to be double the cost of a hotel in Canmore.

Get a car. You want to go to Sunshine, Louise, and Kicking Horse (if there is good snow it is great). Also, consider the drive over the ice fields to Marmot. Under rated and a night in Jasper is lots of fun.

For the guy with the Girlfriend, you may want to do a night on the mountian at Sunshine. Affordable lodging, great views, and a nice place for a romantic getaway....
post #6 of 10
Colin who is coming for 10-12 days should definitely do the "Calgary loop" and go south to Fernie/Castle/Big Mountain as well as the Banff group. Kicking Horse and Panorama are on the backside of that loop trip.
post #7 of 10
Originally Posted by skion
Banff is closer and a better party, but you will find your lodging to be double the cost of a hotel in Canmore.
I'm guessing you haven't been here in a while.
post #8 of 10

Another mining town goes upscale

Originally Posted by L7
I'm guessing you haven't been here in a while.
I'm guessing that L7 is referring to the escalation in real estate prices in Canmore, where house prices begin at $400k and rapidly move upwards. It's still possible to get some deals in Canmore, but you have to work at it. If you are a member of a frequent hotel stay plan, then you have some options for using your free nights (Starwood, Radisson, or Marriot all have hotels). The auto-club may also get you a good discount rate, but the spread between cheap in Canmore and cheap in Banff isn't that great.

Now if you really want cheap and don't mind dorm or quad rooms, you may want to look into the hostels/Alpine Club in Canmore, Banff, Lake Louise, or Castle Mtn. There's also a private hostel in Banff as well as a Y.
post #9 of 10
Originally Posted by gnjantzie
I'm guessing that L7 is referring to the escalation in real estate prices in Canmore, where house prices begin at $400k and rapidly move upwards.
Not so much the real estate but that's part and parcel with dragging everything else up. I would say the gap between Banff and Canmore in mid range lodging has gotten quite narrow more so in the summer than winter. The idea that lodging is TWICE the price in Banff vs Canmore is a bit dated to say the least.

As you mention the Alpine clubs/hostels are a great deal and in particular the Lake Louise Hostel is probably the best mountain deal going, for setting, convenience, proximity to town and nature. Hard to beat all in all.
post #10 of 10
I can second the recommendation for the hostel at Lake Louise. It's clean, quiet, well run, and has a decent little restaurant. It also has a number of social events aimed at the younger crowd. There is a free shuttle bus that runs from across the street. And, of course, the price can't be beat.
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