Banff is a picturesque town situated in the heart of the Canadian Rockies. It is a world-renowned destination for skiing and snowboarding, and for good reason. With its breathtaking scenery, incredible snow conditions, and a variety of ski resorts, Banff is a must-visit destination for any ski enthusiast.
Banff's ski season usually begins in November and lasts until May, and during this time, the town and its surrounding areas are bustling with skiers and snowboarders from all over the world. There are three main ski resorts in Banff: Banff Mount Norquay, Lake Louise Ski Resort, and SkiBig3.
Banff Mount Norquay is the closest ski resort to the town of Banff, and it offers skiers and snowboarders a range of terrain suitable for all skill levels. The resort has 60 runs spread over 190 acres, and it is particularly popular with families and beginners due to its gentle slopes and excellent ski school. For more advanced skiers, there are plenty of challenging runs, including some steep and deep mogul runs.
The Lake Louise Ski Resort is the largest ski resort in Banff, with over 4,200 acres of skiable terrain spread across four mountain faces. The resort has 145 runs, including some of the longest runs in North America, and it is known for its excellent powder snow and stunning scenery. The resort also offers a range of non-skiing activities, including snowshoeing, ice skating, and dog sledding.
SkiBig3 is a collective of three ski resorts - Banff Mount Norquay, Lake Louise Ski Resort, and Mt. Norquay - and it offers skiers and snowboarders access to over 8,000 acres of skiable terrain. The collective also offers a range of ski packages and guided tours, making it an excellent choice for anyone looking to explore the best of Banff's skiing.
One of the biggest draws of skiing in Banff is the scenery. The town and its surrounding areas are situated in the heart of Banff National Park, which is known for its stunning mountain vistas, glaciers, and frozen lakes. Skiing in Banff provides skiers and snowboarders with an unparalleled opportunity to take in the breathtaking beauty of the Canadian Rockies.
Another reason why skiing in Banff is so popular is the snow conditions. The region receives an average of 30 feet of snowfall every year, which makes for some of the best powder skiing in the world. The snow is also generally dry and light, which means that it is perfect for skiing and snowboarding.
Banff is also an excellent destination for après-ski activities. The town has a range of restaurants, bars, and shops, and it has a lively and welcoming atmosphere. There are also plenty of non-skiing activities to enjoy, including ice skating, snowmobiling, and snowshoeing.
See the Sunshine Village Gallery
See the Lake Louise Gallery
The history of Banff begins long before the arrival of European explorers in North America. The area now known as Banff was home to various indigenous peoples for thousands of years. The Ktunaxa, a First Nations people from the Kootenay region, were the first to arrive in the area around 10,000 years ago. They were soon followed by the Stoney Nakoda people, who arrived around 6,500 years ago. Both groups used the area for hunting, fishing, and gathering.
The Blackfoot people, who lived on the Great Plains to the east of Banff, also visited the area to hunt and trade with other indigenous groups. The Blackfoot called the area "Mistaya," which means "grizzly bear" in their language. The grizzly bear was an important animal to the Blackfoot, and they considered it a sacred animal.
The first European explorer to reach the Banff area was Sir Alexander Mackenzie in 1793. He was followed by other explorers, including David Thompson and Peter Fidler. However, it was not until the 1880s that Europeans began to settle in the area.
In 1883, the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) completed its transcontinental railway line, which passed through the Rocky Mountains and the Banff area. The CPR recognized the potential for tourism in the area and began to promote Banff as a tourist destination. The company built the Banff Springs Hotel, which opened in 1888, and other tourist facilities.
The Canadian government recognized the importance of protecting the natural beauty of the Banff area and established Banff National Park in 1885. This was Canada's first national park and the third in the world. Banff National Park was established to protect the area's natural beauty and wildlife, and to provide recreational opportunities for visitors.
The development of Banff as a tourist destination continued throughout the early 20th century. The Banff Springs Hotel became a popular destination for wealthy tourists, and other hotels and tourist facilities were built in the area. The town of Banff was incorporated in 1990 and has since grown to become a thriving community.