As one of Canada’s most popular vacation destinations, Banff has been delighting visitors with its mountain charm for decades. Hip eateries and talented local artisans make spending a day in the town a worthwhile stop, but the true draw to the area is the picturesque landscape of Banff National Park.
As if the natural beauty of Canada’s first national park wasn’t enough, in winter the park boasts 8,000 acres of fluffy powder, prime for anyone excited to go skiing in Banff. Plenty of runs, bowls, chutes, and terrain parks will keep skiers and boarders happy for days — which is why Banff gets a slot on our list of the best skiing in Canada. Experience the spectacular snowy scenery as you swoosh down one of three ski hills in the area!
On the Slopes
Lake Louise Ski Resort
The Lake Louise Ski Resort was voted the number one ski resort in Canada in 2017, and after a day on the slopes, you’ll understand why. Located just a short drive from downtown Banff in the heart of Banff National Park, Lake Louise will thrill both new and experienced skiers and snowboarders.
Lake Louise’s trail map boasts 145 trails and features the progressive Showtime Terrain Park with flat boxes, shotgun rails, and wall rides. For anyone not quite ready to hit the halfpipe, runs like Sunny Side are easy and fun. In contrast, Tight Turn will challenge even the best skiers, and the back bowls will offer adrenaline-filled runs for double-diamond enthusiasts.
Sunshine Village offers great skiing due to the fact that it straddles the Continental Divide, giving it even more snowfall per year than the other hills in the park. Banff’s ski conditions are almost always perfect at Sunshine, with fresh powder across its 120 trails and runs.
In addition to memorable downhill thrills, Sunshine Village features two gondolas that offer panoramic views of Banff National Park and the Rocky Mountains beyond. The gondola is available to both skiers and sightseers, so you don’t need to be a pro to experience Sunshine!
While it has fewer runs than Sunshine and Lake Louise, locals have made Mt. Norquay one of the most popular places for skiing in Banff for nearly 100 years! The resort’s smaller size, great novice runs, and more affordable lift ticket prices, make this ski resort a fantastic choice for families and beginners.
In addition to its 74 trails, Mt. Norquay also gives her guests a lookout at 2,090 metres, with room for sightseeing like Sunshine. Take a scenic ride up the North American Chair and enjoy the views!
Off the Slopes
Banff in ski season has much more to offer than just skiing! As we discuss in our guide to great Canadian road trips, there’s plenty to see and experience around the Banff area.
When you’re ready for a break from the slopes, seek out some of the great local restaurants to relax and refuel. If you’re near Mt. Norquay, stop in at the Cliff House Bistro for a hot cup of coffee and amazing views of Bow Valley. At Sunshine Valley, stop at Java Lift Café for scrumptious crepes and specialty coffee.
Beyond downhill skiing and snacking, you can ice skate Lake Louise, take a snowshoe tour through Stoney Squaw, or do some cross-country skiing in the park. Be sure to bring a camera for the breathtaking views and wildlife you are sure to see! Need to warm up after hitting the local ski resorts? The Banff hot springs are a well-known favourite for locals and visitors alike.
With spectacular powder, great trails, plenty of parking and a variety of other winter activities, you’ll love exploring Banff in the winter!
Need a place to stay? Find the perfect Banff cabin rental that fits your family’s needs on CanadaStays. Plan your visit today.