Banff is nothing like your typical ski resort. Even the small local hill, Norquay, is a bus ride out of town, and the daily routine is to commute to Sunshine Village or Lake Louise (which gets its own chapter). Not fun; but we enjoy its restaurants and bars, and spectacular scenery. The alternative is to stay a few nights mid-mountain at Sunshine Village and a few at Lake Louise. Lake Louise also has the advantage of being much closer to Kicking Horse, which makes a great day trip for powderhounds. Banff is a big summer tourist town, with two ski areas nearby. Mt Norquay is a tiny area of slopes overlooking the town. Sunshine Village - whose base station is 20 minutes' drive from Banff - is a much bigger mountain; despite the name, it's not a village (it has just one hotel at mid-mountain), nor is it notably sunny (sitting on the Continental Divide, it has an excellent snow record). Most visitors buy a three-area pass that also covers the resort of Lake Louise, 45 minutes' drive away - dealt with in a separate chapter. Bus excursions are available to the more distant resorts of Panorama and Kicking Horse (the latter especially worthwhile) and the smaller (and closer) resort of Nakiska.

Spectacular high-mountain scenery - quite unlike the Colorado Rockies

Lots of touristy shops, restaurants and bars

Good-value lodging because winter is the area's low season

Excellent snow at main nearby area, Sunshine Village, but …


It's a 20-minute bus ride then a long gondola ride away

You'll probably want to ski Lake Louise too, 45 minutes away

Most lifts/runs are of limited vertical

Can be very cold (-30°C or lower)

Getting there

  • Calgary airport: 1.5 hours

Good For

  • Advanced
  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
In Resort
  • Family Friendly
  • Off The Slopes
  • Village Charm
On Slope
  • Boarder
  • Fast Lifts
  • No Queues
  • Snow Reliability
  • Terrain Parks

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