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Banff National Park is home to three resorts: Banff Sunshine, Lake Louise Ski Resort and Mt. Norquay, collectively known as SkiBig3. With one of the longest ski seasons in North America, there’s a slice of white for every snow-lover.
1. FOR THE FAMILY SKIERS
Great family holidays are made in Banff and Lake Louise. It’s all about getting cosy and making the most of the snow. Bundle the kids in a warm sleigh at Banff’s Warner Stables or go dog sledding through the forest — hot chocolate and marshmallows included. One of the best value activities is Banff Gondola, while those eight years and over can give snowshoeing a shot. Ice-skating at The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is right on the lake, and scores top points for magical scenery.
IN THE S’-KNOW / Winter night tubing at Mount Norquay delights older kids.
2. FOR THE FIRST-TIME SKIER
Newbies will excel at Sunny Side because it’s as beginner-friendly as it sounds, with well groomed snow and a wide terrain for practicing turns. Mt Norquay’s Cascade Chair is also favoured by families finding their ski feet. An easy yet varied landscape exists at Rock Isle Road in Sunshine Village while more confident beginners should try Meadow Park. There’s even a few trees to test your skills. Ready for a green run? The Lake Louise Ski Resort offers the perfect powder to boost your confidence.
IN THE S’-KNOW / Newbies love Lake Louise because there is a green (beginner) run from every chair lift.
3. FOR THE ADVANCED SKIER
Wouldn’t it be great if you could ask a die-hard ski expert where to go and what to expect? The inside scoop, so-to-speak. Well now you can. New for 2018, SkiBig3 will debut ‘Guided Adventures’. Experience the very best of Banff Sunshine, Lake Louise Ski Resort and Mt. Norquay with one guide. Suitable for skiers, intermediate and advanced, certified snow guides will showcase every inch of the three resorts. From hidden powder stashes to secret views, you get expert advice and unmatched silky soft snow.
IN THE S’-KNOW / Guided Adventures’ groups are divided by skill level and terrain
choices, from relaxed to adventurous.
4. FOR THE NON-SKIER
There are endless possibilities for the non-powder hound. Imagine breaking through a gap in the treeline and emerging onto a huge clearing of untouched snow. Snowshoeing is like hiking, but with nine metres of snow beneath your feet. It promises a great workout, fantastic landscapes and typically runs December to April. Take a guided excursion for unmatched local insight. For something less energetic, try dogsledding. Snuggle under a blanket and let a team of cheery Alaskan Huskies show you the sights. Or find a middle ground and book an ice walk. Explore frozen waterfalls via suspended catwalks on a guided tour of Johnston Canyon.
IN THE S’-KNOW / Budding photographer? The crystal-clear skies are total snap-bait.
5. FOR THE ADVENTURE SKIER
Alighting the helicopter, atop a vast expanse of white snow meets sky, leg wobbles are normal when you’re heli-skiing. It’s the adrenalin surging through your body and all part of the unforgettable experience, and multi-day trips are the ultimate addiction. With a range of packages available and certified mountain guides on hand, you’re guaranteed a thrill a minute. Adventurists never say no to cross-country skiing either. With both single and double tracksets, ski across frozen Lake Louise, explore old pioneer log cabins or enjoy extended ski hours with tracks lit from dusk until dawn.
IN THE S’-KNOW / Heli packages are available outside Banff National Park — helicopters aren’t permitted to land in the park itself.
6. FOR THE ANTI-SKIER
In it solely for the log fires, hot poutine and après ski scene? Anti-skiers won’t go bored in Banff and Lake Louise. Between the hot toddies and toasted mallows, seek the steaming hot waters of the region’s natural hot pools. Heat emitting from three kilometres below the earth’ surface, The Banff Upper Hot Springs are open early morning to late in the evening. Admire sunsets and sunrise, or climb in come nightfall; when snow falls on the surrounding mountains and the night’s sky is speckled with starlight. Magic.
IN THE S’-KNOW / Tucked deep in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, Emerald Lake Lodge is the cosiest of hideaways, complete with hot pool.
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