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What are some *gasp* non-skiing activities to do while in Banff?

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
My fiancee and I arrive tomorrow night, and we won't be skiing every day as our eastern legs won't be able to handle it.

I plan on hitting the hot springs (Banff or Radium?), but we are looking for some other activities that you all may be able to recommend! Any input is appreciated.
post #2 of 24
We took the Johnston Canyon Icewalk (White Mountain Adventures, 403-678-4099) and were very impressed with our guide. She knew many interesting things about the canyon's history, wildlife and habitat, and she was a delightful conversationalist. At the end of the canyon, you might be lucky enough to watch ice climbers work their way up the frozen waterfall. You should be in good physical shape, since you are hiking along the canyon on paths that go up, down and around natural formations.

I hope you are renting a car, simply because there are some beautiful drives in the area and it allows you to go out looking for wildlife. We've seen elk, mule deer and bighorn sheep. Also a lone coyote. Don't forget your camera.

There are also some great museums if you are into that: Banff Park Museum for the story of early tourism and wildlife management, and a taxidermy collection of animals indigenous to the Park; Cave & Basin National Historic Site, where the hot springs were first discovered; Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies, for historic and contemporary art and historic homes; and the Buffalo Nations Luxton Museum, for Plains Indians history.

Shopping is an obvious, especially for local art and food items. Hope you're bringing an extra suitcase! :

Thatsagirl
post #3 of 24
Thread Starter 
Wow, thanks for all of the info!

And just to be clear, we will have a 4WD vehicle for the duration of our stay. I meant to include that in the first post.
post #4 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by N8M
Wow, thanks for all of the info!
You are most welcome. Banff is a gorgeous place and once you get there, you will find information about tons of stuff to do. Never a dull moment there...even relaxing is not dull.

Thatsagirl
post #5 of 24
Wax your skis, check your bindings, clean your goggles, dry your boots, and check the forecast. What more would you need.

Ty
post #6 of 24
Snowy Owl Sled dog tours is a really cool off day thing to do.. they are in Cannmore

I would second Johnson Canyon.... We have done this 2 or 3 times... never with a guide.... just used ski poles and carried a camel back for Water

if you want a whole day .... drive to the Columbia IceFields.... they will not be open but that highway there is incredible

We have also snomobiled at Panarama... you could hit Radium springs on the way there

Have a blast.....very pretty there
post #7 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikebike
Snowy Owl Sled dog tours is a really cool off day thing to do.. they are in Cannmore
Did you get to mush your own dogs there, or did you ride in the sled while someone else mushed?

We mushed our own in Fernie and it was a BLAST! People who have just ridden while someone else mushed have told me that's fun too. But if you have the choice and are adventurous, try mushing yourself.

Thatsagirl
post #8 of 24
Be sure to stroll through the Banff Springs Hotel and Chateau Lake Louise. Either would be a great place for lunch on a nonskiing day.
post #9 of 24
You can also snowmobile out of Golden as opposed to Panorama. Take a bus trip in to see a Flames game if you like that sort of thing. Could check Canada olympic park (near calgary) and see if they still do the tourist bobsled run. X country skiing around lake louise (chateau) or in Canmore at the nordic centre. The drive up icefields is definitely worth it. Just pick a not too overcast day or a full moon.
post #10 of 24
If you have a 4 X 4 and are comfortable driving in winter conditions....

Drive the Bow Valley Park way. Get on Hwy 1 and go west towards Sunshine Village and Lake Louise. Before you get to Sunshin Village turn off you will see a sign for BOW VALLEY PARK WAY. This road is fantastic and is worth every second of the drive. It will be about 1 hour from the start to where it ends (Lake Louise) Many many stops along the way worth getting out of the vehicle for, about half way is a hotel, gift shop. This is also the turn off to go to Hwy 93 to Radium. All told a return trip Banff to Lake Louise Via Bow Valley Park way and back would probably be 3 hours so keep your eye on the gas gauge take no chances !

The drive to Radium is great also. Again Hwy 1 west from banff about 30 minutes out on HWY 1 or about 45 minutes using the Bow Valley Parkway. This road is fantastic and some great scenery. It is about 1.5 hours from the Hwy 1 turn off to Radium. This road can be really sketchy in bad weather. take your time and make sure you have emergency supplies.

Radium is a great little town. Great local shopping & Radium Hot Springs. Just down the road 15 minutes is Invermere and about 1/2 away from invermere is Panorama Mountain Village and Ski resort. If you ski do a day here, well worth it, great resort Cheap one night stay and ski deals.

INvermere has a quaint little main street and lots of local art and shopping. Radium / Invermere is a great day long adventure from Banff. Again take no chances with gas make sure you have some.

Johnston Park is just across Hwy 1 from Banff. there is a couple of very nice lakes, a great 1/2 hr drive around the park, many many fantastic lunch picnic spots etc.

There is a Bison / Buffalo park that you can drive through and see real live Buffalo. This again is just across hwy 1 from Banff.

Norquay is a ski hill just minutes from Banff. Again just across the hwy 1, you will see a hotel up on a hill and a road that goes up into the mountain. take that road a few minutes you are at Norquay. a great place if you only want to ski a few hours, they sell tickets by the hour, half day, full day etc... some really steep great groomers and some fun terrain to just relax and make some turns.

There are some walking trails along the Bow River right in the town of Banff. These are easy walking trails of pavement or crushed gravel in good shape.

As others have said a walk around Banff Springs Hotel or the Chateu Lake Louise is well worth it to see the granduer and fancy smancy furnishings etc.. and the food OMG. The Banff Springs Sunday Brunch is to die for.

Canmore is nice and worth a visit again lots of shopping etc.. X country, Horse riding, Snowmobiling, hiking etc..

Nakiska is back towards Calgary about 1 hour I think. I have never been there so I can't really comment. There used to be a ski hill but it may have closed. Some Calgary Banff people will know better.

Golden: Maybe a 2-3 hour drive from Banff has Kicking Horse Ski hill. I have heard great things and is supposed to be worth the effort. Golden has some shopping, local arts etc... The drive it self is worth it.

Jasper: IN winter probably a 4-5 hour drive on the Banff Jasper Hwy. Again the drive alone is worth it. Half way is Saskatchewan Crossing GET GAS ! Jasper is a nice quiet mountain town nothing like Banff at all. Marmot Basin is the ski area and of course worth a few days to ski. Cheapest lift tickets around. I would plan on a two night stay in Jasper. Leave early am and make the drive to Jasper from Banff. Spend the rest of the day enjoying the town and shopping stay the night. Ski the next day and go have a nice dinner maybe hit the hot springs. Stay the night. Drive back to Banff.

The important thing about this area is there is driving involved. The pay off... all the drives are breathtaking and worth it. It takes some effort and time to enjoy this whole area but..... How far did you come to get here? What's a few hours of driving for huge rewards and the abilty to see scenery available only here in Alberta Rockies. take the time hit a few resorts they are all different from each other and all have their own atmosphere.
post #11 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marmot mb

There is a Bison / Buffalo park that you can drive through and see real live Buffalo. This again is just across hwy 1 from Banff.
I see it's been about 10 years or so since you've been here.
post #12 of 24
LOL No it's been 21 years since mommy and daddy drove me through there while I thought... "this is stupid I could be skiing"

I take it you can't drive through that anymore? LOL

I still see the penned in area. I assume there is still Bison in there. When I go by it's 7:30 - 8 am and all I care about is getting to SSV or LL screw the bison there's skiin' in them dere hills.
post #13 of 24
Marmot you need to update. The Buffalo are gone from Banff by about 5 years. Parks should have just pulled the fence down and let the Buffalo roam like Hunter S but I guess they are so busy helping the Elk that they imported they forgot about the Buffalo that were actually indigenous.

Nakiska in Kannanaskis site of the '88 Olympics was open yesterday when I skied a couple of hours. Your Johnston Park is Johnston Lake and is on the Minnewanka Lake road (old access is closed) just by two jack campground, you're right lots of good walking around there.

Skiing Kicking Horse aside don't send them to Golden to entertain themselves with art unless they consider stippers high brow. But you still have some good ideas.
post #14 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marmot mb
LOL No it's been 21 years since mommy and daddy drove me through there while I thought... "this is stupid I could be skiing"

I take it you can't drive through that anymore? LOL

I still see the penned in area. I assume there is still Bison in there. When I go by it's 7:30 - 8 am and all I care about is getting to SSV or LL screw the bison there's skiin' in them dere hills.
You guys beat me (I got interrupted mid post). The fence you see is the highway fence the rest was removed. It was cool and that one Buffalo was frickin' huge. He used to get out now and again and roam free for months at a time. I nearly hit him on my Bike once since he took up all most all of the 1A. So the obvious thing would be to move them all 100s of miles north.
post #15 of 24
L7 good thing I am not a tour guide can you imagine the carnage.

Good to know Nakiska is still open, I overheard someone in the Panorama Hot tub say it was closed. I wasn't sure and it seemed odd, but with the competition around there I thought it was possible. You I'll just go ski a few hours guys. ACK! lucky SOB

Johnston was at least right. park / lake it's all the same isn't it :

Common Golden is such a nice town, big rigs, tree's, redneck strippers, gas station gift shops thats art right?
post #16 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marmot mb
L7 good thing I am not a tour guide can you imagine the carnage.

Good to know Nakiska is still open, I overheard someone in the Panorama Hot tub say it was closed. I wasn't sure and it seemed odd, but with the competition around there I thought it was possible. You I'll just go ski a few hours guys. ACK! lucky SOB

Johnston was at least right. park / lake it's all the same isn't it :

Common Golden is such a nice town, big rigs, tree's, redneck strippers, gas station gift shops thats art right?
I think you mean big stippers and redneck rigs.

We'll give you the lake/park thing. Your hot tub buddies were probably talking about Fortress up the road further. It was closed for a year or two but is sort of open again now.

Carnage tour guides could be a good name for your outfit. Just stay behind the fence to watch the buffalo.... hey where's the fence gone??!!!
RRRRUUUUUUNNNNNNN!..... refunds available at the hospital.
post #17 of 24
The Banff area reportedly has one of the highest incident rate of STDs in Canada. Apparently there is quite a bit of non-skiing activity.
post #18 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by L7
I think you mean big stippers and redneck rigs.

We'll give you the lake/park thing. Your hot tub buddies were probably talking about Fortress up the road further. It was closed for a year or two but is sort of open again now.

Carnage tour guides could be a good name for your outfit. Just stay behind the fence to watch the buffalo.... hey where's the fence gone??!!!
RRRRUUUUUUNNNNNNN!..... refunds available at the hospital.
How exactly is a ski hill sort of open : Does it have a secret handshake at the gate? Do you have to wear a Flames / Rider Jersey to get in ?

Carnage ski tours: Will take any ability skier, just follow me, it's safe Honest, I have skied this run 1000 times. It's only a little drop off and besides the snow is pillowy soft. Free hydroponics on every drive. Free alchoholic beverages on every drive (disclaimer: if the driver doesn't drink them first)

Quote:
Originally Posted by irul&ublo
The Banff area reportedly has one of the highest incident rate of STDs in Canada. Apparently there is quite a bit of non-skiing activity.
Sssshhhhh you will scare away the fresh meat.
post #19 of 24
Hey I didn't post that about STDs. That's an old story and I'm sure the rate is no different than any other area with the same demographic, (think any university campus or Whistler). The difference is Banff has it's own hospital to keep stats on a small youthful group.

I figured you'd ask about sort of open. It means it has no lodge because it's been condemed, a tent for a lodge and port a potties, little to no food service and no beverage service. A friend hired as the F&B manager wasn't too happy with how that all panned out.
post #20 of 24
my bad sorry L7 faulty copy and paste. Irul&ublo is the spreader of STD rumors, post fixed. 10 lashings will be fine.

are the lift tickets cheap now that is my kind of hill. No lodge (perfect) no potties (does a skier piss in the woods?) no food (I BBQ at the truck anyway, perfect I can sell the left overs) No beverage service (common is comment even needed )

I say Cheers to the new breed of ski hill. No frills just skiing, take your non sking butt somewhere else. N8M excluded of course. no offense meant.
post #21 of 24
Jeez, L7 and Marmot, you're going to scare away the tourists with these stories. :

Honestly, Banff is a beautiful and very nice place...

Now, about those strippers in Golden...definitely to be avoided unless you're a desperate young male...:

N8M, since this sounds like your first trip to Banff, you can stick right around Banff/Columbia Icefields Parkway and get all the extra activities and scenic drives you need to round out your vacation. Next time, you might want to wander farther afield. Try not to be overwhelmed by the fact that you are in one of the most beautiful places in North America, where there is so much to do and see. :

Thatsagirl
post #22 of 24
Snowy Owl Sled dog tours is a really cool off day thing to do.. they are in Cannmore


Did you get to mush your own dogs there, or did you ride in the sled while someone else mushed?

you mush your own at Snowy Owl
post #23 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by N8M
My fiancee and I arrive tomorrow night, and we won't be skiing every day as our eastern legs won't be able to handle it.

... Any input is appreciated.
:
post #24 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by N8M
My fiancee and I arrive tomorrow night, and we won't be skiing every day as our eastern legs won't be able to handle it.

I plan on hitting the hot springs (Banff or Radium?), but we are looking for some other activities that you all may be able to recommend! Any input is appreciated.


ummm...dress up like julie christie and omar sharif and play dr. zhivago tag out on the sidewalks......
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