While there are countless reasons to visit Canada’s mountains this year, here are five reasons your next ski vacation should be in Banff National Park.
1. Banff is Just like You Remembered it and Probably Will be in 20 Years
When you’ve put in enough years riding the chairs, you’re bound to have heard jaded skiers singing the praises of “how it used to be.” But in Banff, it’s likely eerily similar to how it’s been for decades. Not knocking today’s mega resorts, but let’s face it, they can often feel like cookie cutter retail malls capped with condo developments and timeshare opportunities. Because of Banff’s National Park designation, there are strict restrictions on development, meaning every new construction project or business venture is scrutinized to the nth degree. That’s not to say the resorts of Ski Big 3 are archaic; the facilities are as modern as they come. But the experience you have in Banff today, could very well be the same as the one you leave to your kids tomorrow.
2. Variety: Three Resorts in One
Banff is one of the most inspiring and humbling places on the planet, easily earning their status as national treasures. The canvas of Rocky Mountains, forests, lakes and wildlife makes for a wilderness portrait that is so authentically Canadian it’s become a symbol for the country as a whole.
The riding here is in a league of its own. Lake Louise Ski Resort, Sunshine Village and Mount Norquay are all within 40 minutes of the town of Banff and can be plundered on a single tri-area lift pass, which includes shuttle service. Together, the resorts offer a staggering 9,500 acres of terrain, and the average annual snowfall in the area is about 10 metres—which makes for plenty of days of crisp, light pow days. The season stretches from first thing in November till late May.
Ski Big 3, which services the resorts, offers customizable vacation packages for all tastes and budgets. With over 30 accommodation partners and great local knowledge, they can help you find the right package at the best price.
3. Keepin’ it Wild.
Have you ever seen an elk? How about a caribou? Bighorn sheep? The opportunity to spot majestic wildlife in Banff is unmatched. As the first national park in Canada (1885) and now a World Heritage Site, Banff’s 4,000-plus square kilometres include about 150 miles of Continental Divide. Due to its National Park status (there is no hunting here, and the reduced development, traffic control and, let’s face it, steady supply of food), wildlife thrives in Banff. But please, keep a safe distance when taking selfies, respect the animals, and don’t feed them—their lives depend on it.
4. The Snow Quality is Out of this World
Typically, the resorts of Ski Big 3 are among the first to open every year, with lifts firing up in early November the norm. One of the reasons is the cold climate. This colder weather creates some of the lightest, fluffiest powder in the country. Unlike the wetter snow and warmer temperatures of the coast, the powder stashes at Ski Big 3 can stay in prime condition long after a storm. And with nearly 10,000 acres of terrain to choose from, there are ample pockets of untouched snow to be found.
5. The Amenities
Since we haven’t yet figured out how to spend every waking minute catching turns, things like lodging, restaurants and other amenities are crucially important when planning the perfect vacation. Banff and Ski Big 3 deliver in spades. From high-end hotels like the Fairmont Chateau, to hip boutiques, incredible dining, hot springs and spas, live music and cultural events at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, there’s always something something exciting going on in Banff.
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