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Ski Trip to Banff area in March. Should I stay in Canmore rather than Banff?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
I've stayed in Banff before, but it was a number of years ago and I don't recall some of the details.

How far of a drive is Canmore from Banff/Lake Louise/Sunshine? Google maps says 30 minutes to Banff, but I remember it being MUCH shorter than that. Is Kicking Horse or Panorama out of the question for a day trip from Canmore?What is the town like these days? Has it been built up much since i've been there? (1998)

The reason I ask is that I can get a great deal at the Falcon Crest Hotel in Canmore (http://www.falconcrestlodge.ca/) and it looks to put any of the moderately priced hotels in Banff to SHAME.

Thanks for your help folks!

Nathan
post #2 of 22
20-30 minutes canmore to banff
+15 minutes SSV
+45 minutes LL
+90 to 120 minutes pano or KH.

Canmore is very large/ spralling now. lots of second homes that are $1,000,000 + and less resedents (population is getting bigger overall but residents are shrinking)

Not a resort/small town feel like banff. Must drive everywhere (walk in banff and bus to hills). Less bars, resturants, spas, hotels, Just less in general.

I'd do banff and save 1 hour drive each day (min).
post #3 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mntlion
20-30 minutes canmore to banff
+15 minutes SSV
+45 minutes LL
+90 to 120 minutes pano or KH.

Canmore is very large/ spralling now. lots of second homes that are $1,000,000 + and less resedents (population is getting bigger overall but residents are shrinking)

Not a resort/small town feel like banff. Must drive everywhere (walk in banff and bus to hills). Less bars, resturants, spas, hotels, Just less in general.

I'd do banff and save 1 hour drive each day (min).
All very good points.

This place looks pretty nice in Banff: http://www.crmr.com/buffalo_mountain_lodge.php
post #4 of 22
it is nice, bit far from town, but bus transport exists. It is 2km up a road from town.

also try
banff park lodge
royal canadain
brewster mouintain lodge

in town, nice, have packages
post #5 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mntlion
it is nice, bit far from town, but bus transport exists. It is 2km up a road from town.

also try
banff park lodge
royal canadain
brewster mouintain lodge

in town, nice, have packages
Thanks for the tip... is the Buffalo Mountain Lodge up near Hidden Ridge Chalets? That's where a big group of us stayed last time I was in town. I remember it being a bit of a drive, but it was a pretty cheap cab fare.

I'm still leaning towards Canmore, as the place I linked has a full kitchen and gas barbeque on the balcony. I figured the fiancee and I could save a few bucks by cooking meals at home. Eating out three meals a day tends to get expensive, and we've already been to Jamaica this year so the vacation fund is getting pretty thin.
post #6 of 22
Thread Starter 
Oh, and mntlion, would you be interested in giving a east coaster a tour of the Dive at Sunshine? I hear you're quite familiar with it.
post #7 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by N8M
Thanks for the tip... is the Buffalo Mountain Lodge up near Hidden Ridge Chalets? That's where a big group of us stayed last time I was in town. I remember it being a bit of a drive, but it was a pretty cheap cab fare.

I'm still leaning towards Canmore, as the place I linked has a full kitchen and gas barbeque on the balcony. I figured the fiancee and I could save a few bucks by cooking meals at home. Eating out three meals a day tends to get expensive, and we've already been to Jamaica this year so the vacation fund is getting pretty thin.
BMR is basically right across the road from Hidden Ridge. I'd watch Brewster Mtn lodge as it's right downtown and could be noisy. Make sure when it comes to the dive and Mtnlion you differentiate between 'guiding you in' and him 'just letting you follow'. One can be more harmful and less useful than the other.
post #8 of 22
I have stayed in Canmore both times I've been to Banff and loved it. Stayed at the Radisson for $89 (Canadian). Don't know if they have kitchen units, but the downtown area is very walkable and kind of funky. I liked it much better than Banff, which is overridden with tourists and crowded. The extra distance to Lake Louise and Sunshine wasn't that big a deal...maybe 20 mins.

And if you need a ski coach, definitely e-mail L7. He is AWESOME.
post #9 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by L7
Mtnlion you differentiate between 'guiding you in' and him 'just letting you follow'. One can be more harmful and less useful than the other.
what can go wrong???
post #10 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mntlion
what can go wrong???
Don't forget I ski mainly at hills with a MAXIMUM of 720' vertical. :

Seriously though, is it that tough? I can handle steeps so long as they're not too bumped up. I really enjoyed the Birds of Prey downhill (Golden Eagle) at Beaver Creek.

Are there any rock bands to negotiatein the Dive?
post #11 of 22
They ain't gonna be runnin' no downhill on delerium, it's a tad steep for that.

yes, yes and yes to rock bands, not super threatening depending where you are unless you are in an out of control slide or ragdoll. But then as Mtnlion says, what can go wrong?
post #12 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by chickadee
And if you need a ski coach, definitely e-mail L7. He is AWESOME.
Thanks Chickadee, good to see you around. Hope you're getting some skiing in.
post #13 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by L7
Thanks Chickadee, good to see you around. Hope you're getting some skiing in.
Any chance you could give me a tour once I firm up some dates? Can I rent a transciever and shovel from an outfitter in town?

Thanks for your help!
post #14 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by N8M
Any chance you could give me a tour once I firm up some dates? Can I rent a transciever and shovel from an outfitter in town?

Thanks for your help!
I don't have a sunshine pass this year just the lake. Could show you around there some if it works out. Not sure who rents transceivers and shovels these days but mtnlion should. Mtnlion should be ok for the Dive if you just make sure everyone is on the same page for expectations.
post #15 of 22
Back on the original topic. . . I actullay liked Canmore while we were living in Calgary. Less of a resort town, yes, but also less tourists and t-shirt shops. Downtown, while smallish, has a few quite nice places to eat/drink, and the Three Sisters towering above town are gorgeous to look at. Nordic center is top notch when snow is good, too.

I wouldn't count it out if you have found a good lodging option there.

Mollie
post #16 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mollmeister
Back on the original topic. . . I actullay liked Canmore while we were living in Calgary. Less of a resort town, yes, but also less tourists and t-shirt shops. Downtown, while smallish, has a few quite nice places to eat/drink, and the Three Sisters towering above town are gorgeous to look at. Nordic center is top notch when snow is good, too.

I wouldn't count it out if you have found a good lodging option there.

Mollie
Thanks for your input, this is the kind of thing I wanted to hear. I like the fact that we will be a short trip away from the hustle and bustle of downtown Banff, but will still have dining options in town should we choose to do so.

Any good pubs or bars you might recommend in Canmore?
post #17 of 22
Thread Starter 
One other thing, I ski on slalom skis that have a VERY narrow waist. They are well suited for the hardpack we get back here, but I'm not so sure they will be a good choice out west with all the natural soft-packed snow. (or pow if i'm lucky!)

Would you guys recommend me visiting a rental shop in town when i'm there? If so, can you recommend one with some decent equipment? I currently ski on i.SL Chips and Dynastar Speed Carve 63s.
post #18 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by mollmeister
Back on the original topic. . . I actullay liked Canmore while we were living in Calgary. Less of a resort town, yes, but also less tourists and t-shirt shops. Downtown, while smallish, has a few quite nice places to eat/drink, and the Three Sisters towering above town are gorgeous to look at. Nordic center is top notch when snow is good, too.

I wouldn't count it out if you have found a good lodging option there.

Mollie
Don't know when you were living there but keep in mind Canmore has changed dramatically over the last 3 years or so. Weekends especially see all of those high end homes fill up and the streets become crammed with SUVs each of which seem to have the most important driver in the universe.

I laugh now when people compare quaint canmore to the hustle bustle of resort town banff. Also not sure when you are showing up but outside of March and Xmas Banff isn't that busy or crowded in winter.

A stellar deal may be worth it but the shorter drive and other attractions also has value.
post #19 of 22
rentals: ultimate ski and ride has some fatter skis, sometime 70-80mm (dynastar 8000) is good bet.

you can rent gear intown for $20ish.

I'll tour guide, and have a backup pack with gear. just by me lunch.

PM me when you are in town.
post #20 of 22

Driving time Canmore to Banff

From the Sheraton 4points in Canmore to the Sunshine parking lot: 30 minutes. The 4 points is right by the downtown ramp from the highway so add the time it takes to get to the highway from your hotel. This time also assumes you will be keeping up with traffic (120 kph to park gates, 105 to Sunshine turnoff, 75 to parking lot) not following the speed limit.

From Banff west exit to parking lot: 15 minutes.

Apres ski, Banff has it all over Canmore. If you can come close on prices I'd stay in Banff. Otherwise be realistic on what you want to do the 16 hours a day you won't be on the ski hill. If it's dining, dancing, and pub crawling,
Banff is really the better option.

No matter where you stay, remember to visit the upper hot springs in Banff--a great place to soak out your aches and pains.
post #21 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by L7
Don't know when you were living there but keep in mind Canmore has changed dramatically over the last 3 years or so. Weekends especially see all of those high end homes fill up and the streets become crammed with SUVs each of which seem to have the most important driver in the universe.

I laugh now when people compare quaint canmore to the hustle bustle of resort town banff. Also not sure when you are showing up but outside of March and Xmas Banff isn't that busy or crowded in winter.

A stellar deal may be worth it but the shorter drive and other attractions also has value.
The tentative date for my trip is March 9-16, 2006. So i'm guessing that things will be hopping then? Not necessarily a bad thing, so long as things don't get "over the top" busy.
post #22 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mntlion
rentals: ultimate ski and ride has some fatter skis, sometime 70-80mm (dynastar 8000) is good bet.

you can rent gear intown for $20ish.

I'll tour guide, and have a backup pack with gear. just by me lunch.

PM me when you are in town.
Great, thanks for the tip. I'll be sure to shoot you a PM a few days in advance of heading out to Sunshine.
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