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Want to win a dream trip to SkiBig3? Liftopia has partnered with SkiBig3 and Alaska Airlines to bring help you escape with a friend to Banff for 5 days and 6 nights.

Enter now to win flight vouchers from Alaska Airlines, ground transfers, lodging, and two 4-day lift tickets good at any of the Ski Big 3 resorts! To enter, click here. 

In the meantime, we’ve got 10 Tips to Nailing Your Dream Trip to SkiBig3 in the Canadian Rockies.

The Banff-Lake Louise area is one of the most iconic mountain-scapes in the world. With SkiBig3’s 3 ski resorts located in the heart of these majestic mountains, it makes this destination a bucket list locale for any skier. The SkiBig3 area has something for every traveller. Here are a few hot tips from a local to make the most of your trip to the Canadian Rockies in Alberta. 

Lake Louise

The jewel of the Canadian Rockies and now insta-famous must see Lake in the area is Lake Louise. With the iconic view of the Lake and snow-capped Mt Victoria from its shores, it’s a must see detour for anyone visiting the area. Not only can you take in the breathe taking views, you can skate on the lake, enjoy a piping hot hot chocolate fireside, check out the expertly carved ice sculptures or share a meal out looking the Lake from one of the Fairmont Chateau’s 9 different restaurants.

Accommodations

Whether you want a ski in ski out experience, a cozy cabin in the woods, a luxury experience or to right in the heart of the town of Banff, there’s a place to call home for the night in the Banff-Lake Louise area. For a  ski in ski out experience, check out Sunshine Village’s mountain top hotel, Sunshine Mountain Lodge. All of the rooms have floor to ceiling windows, so on crystal clear nights you can take in the stars and if you’re lucky the Northern Lights. Storm Mountain Lodge has beautiful private wooden cabins located equidistant from Lake Louise and Banff. Get away from the hustle and bustle and enjoy unique mountain views and all Canadian cuisine menu in this quiet setting. Choose a bottle of vino from 2300 wine menu and luxuriate at The Post Hotel in Lake Louise. This hotel blends luxury with a true mountain experience like no other and is the perfect high hotel to check out the slopes of from. For the best access to the shops, restaurants and nightlife in Banff, check out The Moose Hotel. As one of the newer hotels in the area, take in the fresh take on accommodations with a 1 minute walk from Banff’s downtown core and roof top hot pools.

Mt Norquay

Being the closest to town with a 10 minute drive, Mt. Norquay is a great way to start your ski holiday in the SkiBig3 area. With unparalleled views of town, this is the locals hidden gem. It boasts some of the best groomers in the west this is where local and World Cup ski racing athletes  alike, choose to train. With a large variety of beginner to expert terrain, this a great place to test your skills, spent time with your family and take in the views. It also is the only mountain in the area with night skiing, which is a unique perch to take in Banff’s city scape lit up at night.

Mt. Norquay PHOTO CREDIT: Reuben Krabbe

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Sunshine Village

Sunshine Village sits high up in the meadows of the Continental Divide. At 7200ft, this resort keeps its powder light, dry and friendly for experts to novice powder skiers. A quick 15 minute drive and a gondola ride through big mountain views, brings you to the alpine base area where up to nine meters of snow falls annually. Sunshine Village really has it all. You can ski one of the most amazing groomers down the Continental Divide which will travel on the border of Alberta and British Columbia. This will take down through both provinces in one run. Bring or rent avalanche gear (beacon, probe and shovel), to enter  The Dive or The Wild West, some of the most extreme terrain in the Banff-Lake Louise area. There’s also plenty of playful beginner runs with amazing views through the alpine meadow that Sunshine 3300 acres of terrain is located. Whatever your flavour of skiing, you’ll want to cap your day off at Mad Trappers Saloon with some nachos and a few cold ones.

Sunshine Village. PHOTO CREDIT: Noel Hendrickson

Lake Louise Ski Resort

Definitely bring your camera when you head to Lake Louise Ski Resort. With unparalleled panoramic views, top to bottom open groomers this is Canadian Rockies skiing and sight seeing at its finest. Named the #1 Ski Resort in Canada in 2017, Lake Louise has 4200 acres of terrain ranging in abilities levels and all different styles. From chutes, open bowls, glades, cruise groomers and the World Cup downhill run, there’s something for everyone here. Cap off your day with a run in the tube park at the base area and a delicious sushi roll at Kuma Yama with some sake.  

Lake Louise Ski Resort PHOTO CREDIT: Reuben Krabbe

Guided Adventures

Want to get the lay of the land and find your perfect run without wasting anytime. Look no further than the Guided Adventures offered by SkiBig3. Time is a precious commodity when you’re on vacation and these pros will get you where you want to go. With insider local knowledge to explore the mountain your way,  expert tips improve your skills and a perfect way to see like-minded skiers, a Guided Adventure is a quick and easy way to make the most of your ski holiday.

Banff Hot Springs

It’s not all about the skiing in the Banff-Lake Louise area. There are many ways to enjoy these mountains. When you need a rest day from all the amazing skiing you’ll be doing, there’s plenty of other ways to spend your time in this mountain area. The Banff Hot Springs is a great way to unwind and take in the scenery. With large pools of mountain fed thermal waters and mountain views, this is a must do down day activity no matter what the weather. Their facilities also provide a cafe, swimsuits, towels and lockers so everything is taken care of for that spur of the moment visit.

Transportation

As this is a major hot spot for tourism, there are plenty of ways to get where you want to go. There are bus services from town to Mt Norquay, Sunshine Village and Lake Louise from the Town of Banff. With frequent schedules and stop through the townsite, this is the perfect no stress way to get to and from the resorts. With pick ups and drop offs, you can take in the sights enroute to the resorts and enjoy a few adult beverages and apres scenes at each resort. If you want to be on your own schedule, there’s plenty of car rental options to take your vacation into your own hands. This is a great explore the area through the more scenic off the beaten path drives. With the 93 N at the elevation of 2000 meters you have unobstructed epic views of the snow capped mountains. If you want to take the road less travelled, take the 1A to the Lake Louise Ski Resort which is known for quite roads and lots of wildlife viewing opportunities.

Ski Gear

Whether you’re bringing your own or renting, ski gear on a ski trip is a tool you’ll want to have dialed. If you’re renting, look no further than the SkiBig3 adventure hub. It’s the one stop shop to get yourself kitted out from head to toe to command the slopes. With a large selection of skis, boots, outerwear, helmets and goggles, you’ll have no trouble finding gear that fits your ability and personal style. If you want a more high end ski option, head down to Banff Soul where they’ll hook you up with the latest Big Mountain and Performance ski selection. If you’ve got your own gear, head to Mike Lindsey’s award winning ski service in the basement of Banff Soul. With multiple years of being the Head Ski Technician for the Canadian Ski Team, he’ll keep your skis razor sharp.

Sunshine Village PHOTO CREDIT: Reuben Krabbe

Night Life

Whether you want to take your family out for a nice meal, have a few casuals with your friends or hit the town in a big way, Banff’s got it all. Head to Old Spaghetti Factory for options that everyone in the family with enjoy from toddlers to grandparents alike. Banff Brew Pub has you covered for great local beer, fare and atmosphere. You can enjoy a game of pool while sipping some of Banff-Lake Louise’s finest brews. If you want to hit the town with your crew, look no further than Wild Bill’s. There’s always something going on here ranging from Bull Riding and Karoake night on Tuesdays to great live shows, this is the place to truly let loose.

PHOTO CREDIT: Mike Seehagel

Best of Banff Lake Louise According to a Local

  • Best Family Fun: Mt Norquay Tube Park
  • Best Burger: Eddie Burger Bar
  • Best Greasy Spoon Breakfast: Bruno’s
  • Best Pub: Banff Brew Pub
  • Best Pizza: Bear St. Tavern
  • Best Vegetarian: Nourish Bistro
  • Best Bar: Wild Bill’s
  • Best Coffee: Wildflour
  • Best Local Ski Shop: Banff Soul
  • Best Groceries: Nester Market
  • Best Drive: 93N Icefields Parkway
  • Best Museum: Whyte Museum
  • Best View: Lake Louise
  • Best Local Magazine: Crowfoot Media’s Canadian Rockies Annual
  • Best Place for Live Music: Heart and Crown
  • Best Pool: Fairmont Chateau Banff
  • Best Spa: Red Earth Spa

 

Bio

Alexandra Armstrong has been a Banff local for 8 years. As most ski town dwellers, she’s had a number of job in the area. Including but not limited to, ski patroller, ski coach, server and boot fitter, she knows Banff-Lake Louise in and out. Now a professional skier, take a few tips from her to make your holiday skiing the SkiBig3 area your best ever.

PHOTO CREDIT: Author

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