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Banff, Alberta, Canada


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Winter in Banff
Photo courtesy of Sunshine Village Ski Resort.

Skiing above the tree line. Photo courtesy of Sunshine Village Ski Resort.

No surprise, there's some vertiginous skiing in this area of the Canadian Rockies.

Lake Louise Ski Resort has 4200 skiable acres, and a vertical rise of 3250 feet, to a top elevation of 8560 feet. This resort also has a terrific day-lodge if you need a break from the slopes, and stunning views of Lake Louise.

Sunshine Village Ski Resort, just 15 minutes from Banff, has even more awesome views: the ski area is high up the mountain (-you take a gondola to start out), with wide open spaces above the tree line, and views toward cascades of snowy mountain peaks. Sunshine Village has a 33 acres on three mountains, vertical rise of 3515 feet; highest elevation is 8954 feet.

  • Neat option at Sunshine Village: stay overnight, slopeside right on the mountain, at the Sunshine Inn. Guests have the mountain to themselves!
  • For hotshot skiers/boarders: take a beacon and a partner with you into off-piste Delirium Dive.

Note that skiing at these resorts may at times be colder and icier than some of us tenderfeet are used to: for example, the day we skied Sunshine was -10C ( F), which fellow skiers considered to be a pretty fine temperature.

The third resort in the area, Norquay, is smaller, closer to Banff, and reportedly more temperate; Norquay dubs itself " Banff's best family ski resort."

At any of these ski resorts you'll see ski school classes of little kids; instruction and gear are so good these days that even the wee-est master the slopes.

And, bonus: snowhounds can get a "Tri-Area Pass" for all three ski resorts.*

Winter cool thing to do: hike the Johnston Canyon to frozen waterfalls. If you go with Discover Banff Tours, you'll get a friendly Guide and handy ice-cleats that fit over your shoes.

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*Always check web sites for updates.

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