Banff Skiing

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Leonard Taylor
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Banff Skiing

#1 Post by Leonard Taylor » January 4th, 2019, 10:39 am

Has anyone skied in/around Banff/Lake Louise Area? Thinking of staying at Sunshine. Prefer ski in/ski out accommodations. Is it crowded late February-early March. Usually go to Telluride but thinking of trying something different. Any help is appreciated.
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Paul McCourt
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Re: Banff Skiing

#2 Post by Paul McCourt » January 4th, 2019, 10:56 am

Leonard Taylor wrote:
January 4th, 2019, 10:39 am
Has anyone skied in/around Banff/Lake Louise Area? Thinking of staying at Sunshine. Prefer ski in/ski out accommodations. Is it crowded late February-early March. Usually go to Telluride but thinking of trying something different. Any help is appreciated.
I have skied around there a couple of times. The weekends can get a bit busy, but during the week, not much. I don't know when shchool holidays are in Canada, so you might want to look into that.

The issue that I would have (I've skied but not stayed) with staying at Sunshine is that there is really nothing there other than the mountain. You take a gondola up to get to the main area, and there is a minimal amount of stuff there once skiing ends. If you are truly a "ski and crash" guy, then it's OK, but if you like to go out to restaurants and on the town and the like, not so much.

I have stayed in Banff. There are plenty of accommodations there of all levels. A bit of a touristy town, but there are bars and restaurants. You'll have to drive to Sunshine, but you can also go over to Lake Louise to ski also, which you should do as it is on the same pass. From Banff to Sunshine is about 20 min, double that to Lake Louise (easy highway driving).

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Re: Banff Skiing

#3 Post by Leonard Taylor » January 4th, 2019, 10:59 am

Thanks Paul. That's helpful info.
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Re: Banff Skiing

#4 Post by Paul McCourt » January 4th, 2019, 11:37 am

Leonard Taylor wrote:
January 4th, 2019, 10:59 am
Thanks Paul. That's helpful info.
You are welcome. I don't know if you have been in the area before, but if you want to go upscale, the Post Hotel in Lake Louise is lovely (and has a great wine list) and is only about 3 minutes from the Lake Louise mountain. (there is also the Fairmont Lake Louise nearby)

Also, there is a group of skiers who chime in in the ski threads in the Asylum regularly, so you can post in that thread, too.

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David K o l i n
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Re: Banff Skiing

#5 Post by David K o l i n » January 4th, 2019, 12:13 pm

Sunshine is an awesome area to ski (100+ trails between the Alberta and BC sides of the mountain, if I recall. Last time we were there, 4-6 inches of fresh powder every day), but as noted, there’s no village. A wonderful gondola ride from the parking area to the base. Look for people climbing frozen waterfalls on the way up.

Lake Louise was beautiful, but much icier when we were there. I’m not sure if that is typical.
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Re: Banff Skiing

#6 Post by C. Mc Cart » January 4th, 2019, 1:04 pm

Have been there several times. Paul & David are right. We always stay in Banff for the conveniences (although both the Post or Chateau in LL are beautiful hotels). I think if you stay in Louise, you'd be more likely to just ski there due to proximity, which would be a mistake.

Sunshine is my favourite (in boundary, but Louise has great off piste, if you find a guide) area of the 3 and usually has the best snow as it is higher. David is correct, Louise front side can get icy in the late winter/ early spring if there hasn't been a ton of snow that year.
Lots of shuttles now, but a rental is a good option so you can come/go as you please. The allure of Banff is the 3 very different style resorts and the obvious beauty, but not at all suitable for a slope side experience, so if you want ski-in/ski-out consider the following:

Have you been to Whistler? Never ending slopes, bowls & off-piste. March you may have to ski high, as lower down can get washed out by warm weather or rain. Feb should be ok, but no guarantees there. On slope condo's/ resort rooms can be very premium $ at Whistler.

If you like good snow and consider that Whistler is the western extreme of good snow and Banff is the eastern edge of the Rockies, then the sweet spot is between the two. You could check out Fernie or Kicking Horse as lesser known Cdn spots with great snow, really great snow. (both can be ski-in).

Canadian (or at least Ontario where a bulk of the ski-week tourists come from) school break is the week of March 11th this year. Feb will be colder, but less crowded and surely better snow.
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Re: Banff Skiing

#7 Post by Paul McCourt » January 5th, 2019, 6:39 am

There is also Revelstoke a few hours further down the road from Calgary where you can stay slopeside with a little town to eat a drink in only 5 minutes away.

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Re: Banff Skiing

#8 Post by Kevin Porter » January 7th, 2019, 2:21 pm

Caveat - it has been at least 15 years but I made two trips, staying at the Post in LL both times. I'd have a hard time going elsewhere. It is not difficult to get from there to Sunshine. I was a high intermediate skier at the time and though Sunshine was gorgeous but I didn't find that much terrain (but did love what I skied). We astonished our dedicated alpine skier selves and found that the two best days of the trip were when we took a x-country lesson and then later rented equipment and skied around the lake.

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Re: Banff Skiing

#9 Post by Paul McCourt » January 9th, 2019, 5:11 am

Kevin Porter wrote:
January 7th, 2019, 2:21 pm
Caveat - it has been at least 15 years but I made two trips, staying at the Post in LL both times. I'd have a hard time going elsewhere. It is not difficult to get from there to Sunshine. I was a high intermediate skier at the time and though Sunshine was gorgeous but I didn't find that much terrain (but did love what I skied). We astonished our dedicated alpine skier selves and found that the two best days of the trip were when we took a x-country lesson and then later rented equipment and skied around the lake.
I think Lake Louise is actually a better mountain for intermediates. In any case, the lake itself is not to be missed.

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