Banff, Canada

About

As a resort the town is popular with tourists and many come for sports other than skiing such as hiking and mountain biking.  Other parts of the resort include Sunshine Village and Lake Louise Mountain Resort.

The town has a varied climate with temperatures dropping to below -10°C during the winter and rising to more than 21.9°C during the summer although the area has been known to see snow all year round.  Many of the tourists who go to the resorts are on day trips so those who are there during the week will find it a little quieter. The skiing season runs well into May each year thanks to the climate of the region.   All the resorts in the area offer good family facilities including day care and lessons for younger children.

 

Accommodation and eating out

As with many ski resorts, Banff has a wide range of accommodation available to suit all budgets and tastes.  As a popular resort it has a number of luxury hotels which offer facilities from swimming pools to day spas and there are also plenty of mid-range and budget options.  In addition, self catering accommodation is a popular option for those who prefer to stay in an apartment.  Some of the hotels have been designed to resemble Alpine chalets.

Hotels are not the only option for an evening meal and the town of Banff has many different restaurants to choose from, so no matter which cuisine you prefer there should be something to suit. Traditional Rocky Mountain cuisine is a popular choice and this can be sampled at a number of eateries in the town.   For evening entertainment there are several pubs with a British theme, bars and nightclubs.  Live entertainment is on at a number of venues in the town.

 

Ski Information

The Sunshine Village slopes of Banff are above the treeline although there are some wooded slopes in the area.  These can be reached by gondola. Goat’s Eye Mountain is mainly a black run mountain. Those who want some terrain which is considered to be a little more extreme should head to Lookout Mountain. Advanced skiers will appreciate the Canyon trail. Part of this is marked as black, but it is a fun trail which is a little narrow in sections.

The Sunshine Village is one of the busier parts of the resort so queues are a possibility although they do tend to move quickly.Visitors can try out the terrain park on Lookout Mountain.  This is a total of 12 acres which has obstacles available so that both beginners and intermediate skiers can hone their skills.  There are two sections to the park.  The lower divide is mainly obstacles and jumps and the grizzly section is geared towards jibs.For those who are new to skiing there is a package available which includes the cost of tuition and a lift pass.  There is a good section for beginners included at the Sunshine Village area and there are plenty of green runs which can be enjoyed once the beginner has mastered the basics and spent some time on the nursery slopes. Norquay is another area which has a good nursery section.

Snowboarding is another option for those who want to spend some time on the slopes.  There are sections which are controlled and reserved for snowboarders.  These include Silver City and Wild West and some of these areas are for those who are more experienced rather than beginners.   The Lake Louise Powder Bowls are ideal for snowboarders to try out.

 

Other Activities

Those who want to spend a little time away from the ski slopes could make the trip to Lake Minnewanka which is just a few minutes away.  It is a popular destination with those who enjoy hiking or fishing.  Lake cruises are a great way to spend a leisurely few hours or families are able to rent their own motor boats.  An alternative is Tunnel Mountain, which is close to the town and is ideal for those who want to try hiking as it is possible to reach the top within 30 minutes.

Depending on the time of year that you are visiting, there may be a festival or other event taking place in Banff.  The Banff World Television Festival is an annual event and there is also the Bike Fest and the Rocky Mountain Music Festival, so there is something to suit all tastes.   There are also a couple of art galleries in the region which are worth a visit if you want a more cultural activity.

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