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Published: April 20th 2018
I didn’t want to like Banff but having been here for 10 days and had 7 days of excellent skiing, it’s hard not to want to come back, but it is cold. I expected it to be expensive and up-market and it is, but overall it’s not exclusive and late in the season our hotel is quite reasonably priced. There are also plenty of good, and not too expensive, places to eat and drink. Our hotel is a little way from the centre of town so it is a chilly walk back in the evening, but that isn’t as bad as it sounds as there is a free (for us) bus into town if we time it right and our stop is one of the first pickups and stops for the ski bus we catch to the slopes.
There are 3 areas here that are covered by our ski pass, all of which are serviced by free shuttle buses from the town. One, Norquay, is right next to Banff, but Sunshine (20 mins away) and Lake Louise which is 55km west on the Hwy1, are both far larger and have vastly better skiing. It all sounds a bit of a
Tracks from the top of Sunshine
hassle but in reality it isn’t as the coaches are comfortable, on time and efficient.
We have been following the snow reports, and Banff has received the best of the recent snow falls and, particularly in the north bowls of Lake Louise, the conditions are still superb. The runs - or more accurately the area - (you can ski anywhere within the marked resort boundary other than areas specifically excluded) particularly in Lake Louise are seriously good.
There are plenty of surprises here, most pleasant. On our first day skiing, we come back to find deer grazing around our hotel. There is a hot spring here and for the New World quite a bit of history. Banff was the first national park in Canada and has been developed as a tourist centre since the beginning of the 20th
century. There are several interesting museums in town, covering the national park, indigenous culture and local history. As we have 3 non-skiing days we have some time to see the wider attraction. One day is a white out with heavy snow in town, but on the other two we hire ice cleats for our boots and hike from the town
The Rockies at Sunshine
on some of the recommended winter trails. Both are good and I amazed how remote you can feel only 4km from the town.
We have been lucky with our choices, timing and weather here. The snow had been kind but even so it is hard not to like Banff as a place and area. Like many resorts in Canada it is more of a Summer resort, but the scenery is just as stunning in Winter and it has something for everyone.
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