Alberta, Canada

Banff - Lake Louise - Mt. Norquay - Sunshine Village

Banff is one of the most popular winter resort destinations in Canada. Not only is the town of Banff a popular destination, but the area is surrounded by great mountains such as Mount Rundle, Sulphur Mountain, Mt Norquay, and Cascade Mountain.

Three Ski Resorts—One Vacation

Banff National Park is host to three world-renowned ski resorts: The Lake Louise Ski Area, Sunshine Village, and Ski Norquay. The town of Banff and the nearby town of Lake Louise are close enough to the ski resorts to provide an excellent place to stay. This spectacularly scenic area offers a tri-area lift ticket that is good at the resorts and free transportation between Banff-Lake Louise and the three resorts.

With over 4,200 acres of terrain spread across four mountain faces, Lake Louise—one of the largest ski areas in North America—offers exceptional riding and skiing near the Village of Lake Louise. The mountain offers cross-country skiing, guided snowshoe tours, snow tube park, and terrain parks, as well as racing and ski clubs for locals. While this type of exceptional ski terrain may scare some folks away, the ski school and beginner runs will give a foundation for any learner or young person.

The Sunshine Village Ski Resort is one of the most popular regional ski resorts, yet it manages to provide an uncrowded snowboarding and skiing experience with over 3,300 acres of terrain. The average snowfall is more than 30 feet per year, and as a result the Sunshine Village Ski Resort is known for having an exceptionally long open season that lasts from the middle of November until the end of May.

Ski Norquay offers a snowboarding and skiing experience geared more to families, making it easier for younger children as well as large groups to have a good time learning how to ski and racing down the gentle slopes. While there are also more difficult runs for you to try, it provides an easier experience overall for people to enjoy.

Off the Slopes

For some, a trip to Alberta is not complete unless it includes a side trip to the West Edmonton Mall—the world's largest shopping and entertainment complex with a wave pool, triple-loop roller coaster, shark tank, ice rink, trained dolphins, and an indoor beach. And mind you, this is one of Canada's more popular resort town areas with plenty of lodging options from inns, private property rentals, hotels, and motels. The area is stocke with excellent dining choices both on the mountains and in town. 

Getting Here

Simply fly into Calgary or Edmonton and rent a car, or take scheduled shuttle bus service to the ski resorts. And yes, it's still possible to take a sleeper train right into downtown Jasper. If you have the time, the VIA Rail journey from Vancouver in the west or Montreal in the east is an unforgettable experience.

Photos Courtesy The Lake Louise Ski Area