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.
Pros

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 …

Cons

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

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

Sign up to receive email snow reports

Going skiing? Get your snow reports direct to your inbox

Go

Join the Ski Club today

Join Now