Banff: The most famous place in the Canadian Rockies
Next to Whistler, Banff is the most famous winter sports resort in Canada. Banff doesn’t have its own ski mountain, but it does have three first-class ski resorts on its doorstep: Norquay, Sunshine and Lake Louise.
„If you were to imagine a winter sports resort in the Rocky Mountains, it would probably look something like Banff. Surrounded by an almost unreal mountain world, the famous winter sports resort lies about one and a half hours west of Calgary at an altitude of almost 1400 meters on the Bow River. Eagles circle over the lakes, and deer trudge across snow-covered meadows where bears frolic in summer. Banff’s main street is lined with countless restaurants, from gourmet eateries to simple pizzerias, pubs, discos and stores. At the end of the valley, the castle-like Fairmont Banff Springs is one of Canada’s most famous hotels and the first hotel on the square.
High season in Banff is not winter, but summer. Then hundreds of thousands of tourists from all over the world travel to the oldest national park in Canada. In winter it is comparatively quiet in Banff National Park. Nevertheless, the area has been a dream destination for boarders and skiers throughout the decades. No wonder: apart from Whistler, no other place offers so much variety and nightlife and so many opportunities for skiing and snowboarding.
The nearest ski area is just ten minutes away. Mount Norquay, at 2135 meters, offers more than enough variety for a day or two with nearly 30 runs. On fresh snow days, locals like to make a detour to Mount Norquay during their lunch break to ski a few runs on the quite challenging slopes.
It takes about 20 minutes to drive to Sunshine, Canada’s highest ski area. Far more than 100 runs and plenty of off-piste runs are a dream for winter sports enthusiasts of all skill levels. The extremely steep Delirium Dive is the ultimate challenge for experts.
But the crowning glory is and remains Lake Louise. About 45 minutes west of Banff, Alberta’s largest ski area lies in a dreamlike landscape. At the start of the season, the World Cup races are held there. Lake Louise offers more than 140 runs for every taste around its 2637-meter peak: from wide pleasure runs to racy off-piste runs in the Bowl on the backside of the mountain.“
It is one of the smallest, but also most beautiful restaurants in Banff. The small wine bar at the Fairmont Banff Springs attracts with great wines and first-class steaks.