Maurice Sendak, the author of famous children’s book, ‘Where the Wild Things Are’, once described Max’s imagination, “There should be a place where only the things you want to happen, happen”. Nestled in the heart of the awe-inspiring Banff National Park, is a place a lot like that. Banff and Lake Louise.
With its magical town, made-for-movies scenery, three amazing ski resorts, Big Footed legends, and phantasmic outdoor activities, it has all the elements for an unforgettable family ski holiday adventure.
The 7 Best Things About Banff…
- The step-into-a-postcard mountains and forest scenery
- Explore 3 unique ski resorts with 1 pass
- Beautiful, vibrant, snow-blanketed Banff town
- Dining options for the pickiest eaters
- Wild family adventures like dog-sledding, winter picnics
- Ice skating on Lake Louise
- Spotting elk, moose and maybe even Big Foot!
Ski ‘The Big 3’ on a tri-area lift pass
Snow fun comes in triple-treat flavours around Banff where you can dive into the offerings of three unique Canadian ski resorts. All located within easy reach by regular shuttle bus. And all available to you on one tri-area lift pass.
Test them all out and then spend extra time at your favourite. Or wake up each day and leave the decision in the reliable hands of the snow gods. Either way, it makes for exciting times on the slopes around Banff.
Mount Norquay – the Local Ski ‘Hill’
- 10 minutes by shuttle from Banff town
- Plenty of kid-friendly and newbie slopes
- Offers skiing by the hour if your kids can’t last a full day
- Intermediate and gnarly expert runs nearby
- Finish the day with some fun at the tubing park
- Night tubing and skiing every Friday and Saturday evening
Sunshine Village – Powder Heaven
- 25 minute scenic drive or shuttle via TransCanada Highway West-bound from Banff
- A vast bowl of deep powder (ave. 9m over the longest ski season in Canada)
- Gentle beginner runs all the way up to extreme big mountain runs
- Home to Delirium Dive, one of the world’s top 10 voted off piste runs.
- 12 lifts, including nine super lifts and a high-speed gondola
- Excellent group and private ski school, and day care
- Fantastic ski-in hotel
Lake Louise – Extensive Terrain
- 45 minutes by road from Banff by shuttle
- Over 4200 skiable acres with 139 wide open runs to choose from
- The incomparable IMAX-like views of lake, glacier, Chateau and mountains
- Green, blue and black runs off of almost every lift
- The Playground is a fun spot for children to build their skills
- Fantastic ski school with private/group/family lessons and reasonable rates
- Daycare for babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers
Blue Powder Insider Tip, Mick’s says “Every chair lift at Lake Louise has easy trail options back down. So parents and kids can all go up and ski from the top”
Jaw-dropping back-country skiing and snowboarding
Back-country skiing is an incredible way to get up close and personal with the wild, natural beauty of Banff. It’s also an opportunity to ski or board untracked backcountry powder away from the crowds.
- Easily accessible from all ski resorts
- Introductory back-country courses
- Advanced skills training courses
- Certified professional ski guides to show you the way
8 Ways to go Après Wild in Banff
The fresh air and wild outdoors of Banff provide the ideal family escape from concrete jungle life back home. Imagine no traffic, stress or little zombie-like faces buried in computer games. Just rosy cheeks and beaming smiles all around.
From the serene to the spirited, astonishing to the action-packed, you’ll find everyone’s idea of holiday adventure somewhere in this wild wonderland:
- Experience the exhilarating fun of dog-sledding with expert mushers
- Spot elk, deer, chipmunks, wolves and mountain goats
- Go on a winter picnic at Tunnel Mountain with thermoses of hot chocolate and food
- Hike through the dazzling pillars of frozen blue at Johnson Canyon (the easy lower walk is 2km)
- Head out on a snowshoeing adventure at Sunshine Village
- Search for bubbles on frozen lakes
- Witness the half-man, half-fish, “merman” mummy at the Banff Indian Trading Post
- Keep an eye out for Big Foot – there’s a $2 million reward if you find him!
Magical family activities at Lake Louise
Lake Louise is is one of the most beautiful places you’ll ever see. With 360° panorama of Banff National Park and iconic hotels like the world famous Fairmont Chateau, you often stop for a moment to take it all in and appreciate how fortunate you are to be there.
But Lake Louise is far more than just a pretty face. From the family-friendly and laidback vibe to the treasure-trove of après ski activities, you’ll be quickly wooed by her considerable charms:
- Ice skate on the lake in front of the Fairmont Lake Louise
- Bundle beneath a blanket together on a horse drawn sleigh
- Speed down Spray Meadows Hill on a toboggan
- Visit the Ice Magic Festival in late January
- Snowshoe up the side of Fairview Mountain
- Pull on your skates for a game of hockey under the stars
- Take a snowshoe tour into the forest
- Enjoy a fire-side nightcap of roasted marshmallows and hot chocolate
- Get on board the Lake Louise gondola, a spectacular 14-minute cable-car ride
Blue Powder Insider Tip. Mick says, “Consider splitting your stay between accommodation in Banff and the Chateau Lake Louise”
Lively, vibrant Banff town makes family snow holidays comfortable, enchanting and exciting for everyone in the family. This snow-covered gem sits at the end of an awe-inspiring scenic drive through mountainous national parks, giving Lake Louse a serious run for its money in the looks department. Especially at night when the lantern lit streets come to life.
With so many shops, bars, restaurants, spas and attractions across this charming town, you can happily stay in Banff and shuttle to the resorts each day. And there’s plenty to keep you out of mischief if you don’t want to ski every day.
- Take the kids for bowling and pizza at High Rollers
- Grab a beaver tail (Canadian donut) or Naked Bear Claw fudge around town
- Soak in the family pool at Banff Hot Springs and let your hair turn into icicles
- Catch a flick at the cinema
- Eat at one of the 100+ bistros, pubs and fine restaurants
- Steal some adult time at a martini lounge, saloon or nightclub.
Getting to Banff
- Fly from Australia to Calgary
- 2 hours by coach from Calgary
Kids Ski Free – 12 & under ski free on passes of 5 or more days.
Receive a complimentary Banff Upper Hot Springs Pass for every 3+ day tri-area lift ticket purchased.
Banff & Lake Louise Explorer – 9 nights in Banff and Lake Louise, transfers, lift pass and several tours for just $2644pp! (see website for details, conditions apply)
Blue Powder Insider Tip. Mick says, “January is a great time to go to Banff/Lake Louise – it’s usually cheaper and there are still fantastic early bird deals”
Check out a little bit of wild beauty of Banff & Lake Louise…