Banff Ski Holidays

Resort Banff Resort Banff Resort Banff Resort Banff Resort Banff Resort Banff
The UNESCO listed Banff National Park is one of Canada's most beautiful and popular tourist destinations, known for its breathtaking mountain scenery, hot springs and, of course, some of the country’s fluffiest, driest powder snow. The ski season here runs from mid November right through to late May, offering months and months of wonderful winter conditions each year.

Visitors to the charming town of Banff will have three ski domains to choose from: Sunshine Village, Lake Louise and the smaller local hill Mount Norquay. All three areas are covered by a single lift pass, offering approximately 7,750 acres of skiable terrain with runs for all skill levels and incredible off-piste potential. However, it’s important to note that the three mountains are not lift-linked, and skiers will have to drive between them or make use of the convenient shuttle busses – free with the tri-area lift ticket. Sunshine Village is some 25 minutes away, while Lake Louise is roughly 45 minutes from Banff. As even the local hill is a bus ride away, if ski in/ski out is essential to your perfect winter holiday you may want to try the equally illustrious resort of Whistler Blackcomb.

If you don’t mind the travel, you’ll find yourself in a wonderland of possibilities. With plenty of snowy bowls, terrain parks, steep gradient pistes and tree runs, advanced skiers will be in paradise. For the truly seasoned experts, Sunshine Village is famous for exceptional snow and off-piste, while the double black diamond terrain of the Lake Louise back bowls are sure to delight too. Heli trips are popular and are highly recommended for competent skiers.

Intermediate skiers will also find plenty to love here: all three mountains cater to this group with a number of cruiser runs to get your miles up. While Banff may not be the best destination for absolute beginners, newcomers to the sport will still find a good range of nursery slopes and gentle green trails, including some long winding pistes. Plus, the ski schools are top-notch!

The village of Banff itself is pretty and, while you won’t find French or Austrian-style après-ski here, there are some wonderful bars and restaurants to enjoy after a hard day of skiing. Throw in the unique high-mountain scenery of the Canadian Rockies and Banff’s famous hot springs, and you’ve got a special winter holiday indeed.

Accommodation in Banff is varied, but most people stay in ski lodges and hotels. There are a number of packages to choose from with flights and transfers included, and one can even look at ten-day stays that offer great value for money.

Holidaymakers interested in Banff can fly from London Heathrow to Vancouver, from which the resort is some 1.5 hours away.
While you won’t find Val d’Isère or St Anton-style après here, Banff does have plenty of pubs, bars and nightclubs for great nights out. Plus, like many Canadian resorts, the atmosphere is friendly and welcoming.

If you’re keen to try some ‘real’ Canadian beer, the Banff Avenue Brewing Co. brews all their own beers in-house using true rocky mountain water. Founded in 2010, the modern and friendly pub features up-scale pub food, a patio and a brewer’s lounge with pool tables. If spirits are more your thing, the Park Distillery Restaurant and Bar prides itself on milling, mashing and distilling spirits by hand with the purest water from Rocky Mountain glaciers. Free tours are available at both venues.

Another favourite with visitors and locals alike is the British-style Pump & Tap Tavern, with live sports coverage from around the world, excellent drink specials and superb grub – including fish & chips, pulled pork sandwiches and chicken wings. For a true ‘old west’ experience, head to Wild Bill’s Legendary Saloon. This venue features live bands, big screen TVs, an old west style restaurant and even a dance floor with line dancing.

A popular spot for a big night out is the Dancing Sasquatch Nightclub, where great DJs, a huge sound system and nightly events will keep you entertained. The Hoodoo Lounge and Nightclub is another excellent choice for partying into the wee hours, with special events throughout the week.
Even if you took skiing out of the equation, Banff is an adventure playground like no other.

First of all, the surrounding National Park is World Heritage Listed and an absolute marvel to explore. A top pick for the itinerary is a snowshoe hike through Johnston Canyon, which is 30 minutes away from town between Banff and Lake Louise. The walk alone is beautiful, flanked by tree lines and frozen ponds, but the final destination is spectacular: a massive, icy-blue frozen waterfall. Of course, there’s plenty more terrain to explore around the sprawling National Park, and snowshoe tours are offered by a range of companies for all ability levels.

Visitors to Banff can also try the quaint Canadian pastime of curling at the local Recreation Centre, as well as ice skating – a winter holiday staple. Other activities include dog sledding, snowmobiling and ice climbing, and Banff is also home to a few art galleries and museums.

For a unique experience that is not to be missed, holidaymakers should visit Banff’s famous natural hot springs – a magnificent way to relax ski-sore muscles. While they have all the amenities of a modern facility, the spas and bathhouse have been in use for more than a century. 100% natural mineral water flows at the springs with the temperature kept between a toasty 37 and 40 degrees Celsius, and the views over the National Park are absolutely stunning. Towels, swimsuits and lockers are all available for hire.

A trip to the resort’s tourist office will offer lots of useful information on resort activities, but here are just a few ideas to start you off.

Hot springs


+1 403 762 1515

Ice Skating & Curling

100 Mt Norquay Rd


+1 403 762 1238

Johnstone Canyon Icewalk

215 Banff Ave


+1 403 760 7629

As Banff is a mountain town, not a small ski village or purpose-built resort, there is an abundance of restaurants, cafes, bars and pubs to choose from. Whether you want a light meal or a three course fine dining experience, you’ll find something appetising here.

Melissa’s Missteak has established itself as Banff’s “Best Steakhouse and Family Restaurant” after some 30 years of strong business. With great food, reasonable prices and a welcoming atmosphere, it’s easy to see why. There’s a children’s menu with delicious favourites like chicken fingers, burgers, mini pizzas and grilled cheese. For adults, they serve deep dish pizzas made from scratch and a range of steaks, from sirloin to filet mignon. If you really want to splash out, Atlantic lobster is also on the menu.

The Old Spaghetti Factory is perfect if you’re looking for a well-priced, casual dining experience or if you have kids in tow. This restaurant serves a range of pasta dishes, seafood and grills for around $10-$15, which is fantastic value as all meals include free sourdough bread, soup/salad, spumoni ice cream and tea/coffee (or juice, milk or ‘pop’ for the kids).

Couple in search of a romantic fine dining experience should consider the Evergreen Restaurant, which serves contemporary Canadian cuisine with fine wines in a cosy, refined atmosphere. Another fine choice is the 1888 Chop House, set within the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. The restaurant plates up prime cuts of Alberta beef, sustainably sourced wild game, Ocean Wise seafood and farm-fresh produce.

Decorated with antique ski gear, Bruno’s Cafe & Grill is known for its all-day breakfasts and hearty burgers. Featuring live music on Wednesday and Thursday nights and open until midnight, this is a great place to fuel-up before hitting the town. Another great choice for a group of mates is the Elk and Oarsman, with nachos, potato skins and other yummy food combined with a great beer and whisky menu.

Below, you’ll find a just few top restaurants in Banff for families, couples and groups of friends, as voted by our ski experts.

Good for Couples

1888 Chop House

405 Spray Avenue


+1 403 762 6860

Good for Couples

Evergreen Restaurant

459 Banff Ave


01 403 762 3307

Good for Family

Chinook Family Restaurant

222 Lynx St


+1 403 760 3255

Good for Family

Melissa’s Missteak

218 Lynx Street


+1 403 762 5511

Good for Friends

Bruno’s Cafe & Grill

304 Caribou Street


+1 403 762 8115

Good for Friends

Elk and Oarsman

119 Banff Avenue


+1 403 762 4616

Good for Friends

The Eddie Burger and Bar

137 Banff Ave


+1 403 762 2230

Besides having excellent ski schools and plenty of non-skiing activities, Banff is home to some fantastic childcare providers.

Childcare Connection offers a top-notch babysitting service in your own hotel. One of their professional babysitters can come to your accommodation, look after the kids in-house and take them on fun outdoor activities if desired.

There are also daycare facilities at each of the three ski resorts in the Banff National Park, which generally provide a combination of indoor and outdoor activities plus lunch/snacks. These include Tiny Tigers Daycare in Sunshine Village (for children aged 19 months to 6 years), Lake Louise Daycare (for children aged 18 days to 6 years) and Mount Norquay Daycare (for children aged 19 months to 6 years).

Programs for children that include ski lessons are also available, generally from 3 years+.

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