Banff’s Big Three
At 1,700 hectares, Lake Louise is one of the largest ski areas in North America with some of the most spectacular skiing and scenery. With beginner, intermediate and expert runs off every chair, families and groups of varying abilities can ski together all week. From gentle slopes and long corduroy cruisers to intimidating steeps and fabulous remote bowls, plus several terrain park options, everyone’s happy. Check out Louise’s jammed events list, including Canada’s World Cup ski-racing stop, the Big Mountain Challenge and the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise 2007 Ski Canada Test!
Ski smack to your door
Banff’s only ski-in/ski-out hotel is The Sunshine Inn. A stylish redesign matching the recent renovation of the Inn itself has made the base area check-in larger and more comfortable. Hang out by the ?re of the Creekside Bar & Grill or chill out in front of the ? at-screen TVs. Private changing facilities make getting to and from the slopes easier than ever. There are two restaurants, a bar, massive outdoor hot tub, ? tness room and café.
Earn your ski creds
The three Freeride Zones at Sunshine are known far and wide as some of the most challenging in-bounds terrain anywhere. “Controlled scariness” is how one Delirium Dive vet characterized his ? rst foray into the ungroomed treed steeps. Like Delirium Dive, Wild West and the recently established Silver City all require that skiers have at least one partner, and carry an avalanche beacon and a shovel.
Feed your inner skier
Hungry? That’s easy. Banff and Lake Louise’s cups runneth over with top choices. From elegant: Fuze and the Post Hotel win hands down. To edgy: The Grizzly House still lets you sear your own buffalo. To bistro sophisticate: Cilantro Mountain Café features creative wild game, and the perfect tenderloin is purveyed by The Maple Leaf Grille. The Rose and Crown has local bands most weekends, Wild Bill’s does what it says on the tin and Aurora dances till late. And when it’s time to wake up for another ski day, coffee at Evelyn’s Coffee Bar is an institution, as is Laggan’s in Lake Louise.
They’ve all got great ones. Some have two. Norquay’s terrain park features a halfpipe, gap jumps, tabletops and quarterpipes. At The Lake, the TELUS Terrain Park has tables from ?ve-20 metres; rails, single and varied level, some more than 12 metres long; boxes and quarterpipes. New stuff comes and goes every week. The Rogers Terrain Park at Sunshine is spread over more than two hectares, with a smorgasbord of rails, jumps, boxes and tabletops.
Go black and never go back
Nearly half of the runs at Norquay are advanced. Lone Pine, Gun Run, North American, Valley of Ten and the Memorial Bowl are all either black or double-blackdiamond runs. Though more gentle runs have been cut recently, beginners beware: locals love it for a good reason.
Silky smooth or your money back
Norquay management is so con?dent with their state-of-the-art grooming equipment and the guys who pump it, roll it and drive it, they’re offering a money-back guarantee on the condition of all beginner and intermediate terrain.
Groom your outerman or woman
The new spa at The Post is a cocoon of sensuality. First a cup of something nice and healthful delivered by your attendant. Then slip into your men’s or ladies’ private whirlpool/sauna change room. Choose from an array of sumptuous treatments, including massage, wraps, scrubs, facials and more. To really treat yourself, take a comparison dip the next day at the Willow Stream spa at the Fairmont Banff Springs.
Ski Louise 877/253-6888
VERTICAL: 991 metres
TOP ELEVATION: 2,637 metres
RUNS: 113 marked plus back bowls
AVERAGE SNOWFALL: 360 cm
Sunshine Village 877/542-2633
VERTICAL: 1,070 metres
TOP ELEVATION: 2,730 metres
AVERAGE SNOWFALL: 914 cm
VERTICAL: 503 metres
TOP ELEVATION: 2,133 metres
AVERAGE SNOWFALL: 300 cm
One pass, three reasons. See Ski Big 3 for more.Tags: Alberta, Banff, Banff resorts, Banff skiing, best of Banff, black diamond skiing, Lake Louise, Norquay, Sunshine Village, TELUS Terrain Park, The Sunshine Inn