Tour Canada
[A map of  Alberta Ski Areas] Ski the Banff Trio

Mount Norquay

You can look up from almost the center of Banff and marvel at the steep slopes of Mount Norquay rising above you. The first chairlift in Western Canada was installed in 1948 at Mount Norquay and since then, this mountain has been a foundation of the Banff Skiing community, even if the rest of the world considers it largely an expert only hill! This reputation has been gained from the steep top to bottom always moguled Lone Pine run. However, in 1990, the Mystic Ridge section of the mountain was opened. This side provides intermediate terrain that is well laid out and is serviced by two high speed quads. In fact the opening of Mystic Ridge has provided 12 additional runs which now gives Norquay sufficient variety to compete with Banff's other ski giants, Sunshine Village and Lake Louise. Another bonus is that Mount Norquay is only minutes from the Banff Townsite and the well lit slopes for night skiing has proven to be very popular.

Some Mount Norquay statistics are;

Base Elevation:-1,630 meters (5,350 feet), Summit Elevation:- 2,135 meters (7,000 feet), Vertical Drop:- 503 meters (1,650 feet), Skiable Terrain:- 162 acres, Number of Trails:- 25, Longest Run:- 1,168 meters (3,830 feet), Lifts and Capacity:- 1 High Speed quad, 1 Quad chair, 2 doubles, 2 Surface lifts, 6,300 skiers per hour, Daily Lift Ticket Price:- $35, Annual Snowfall:- 300 cm (120 inches), Snowmaking:- 90%, Terrain Mix:- Novice 11%, Intermediate 45%, Advanced 28%, Expert 16%

For more information, call the Banff-Lake Louise Tourism Bureau at 1-403-762-8421 or Travel Alberta at 1-800-661-8888

Sunshine Village

Sunshine Village may well be one of the best known ski resorts in Canada. From a single rope tow start back in the 1940s, the resort today offers more than 780 acres of spectacular high altitude skiing, mostly above tree-line! You can find the Sunshine Gondola lift base just 16 kilometers (10 miles) west of Banff. Drive 8 kilometers on Highway 1 and then the same distance left on Sunshine Road to the Borgeau Parking Lot.

The main gondola follows a scenic route some 5 kilometers (3 miles) to the main village which is at an elevation of 2,135 meters (7,000 feet). This ski base village is complete with restaurants, shops, a bar, cocktail lounge, hotel rooms and other amenities catering to the total skier needs. All this is found in a perfect alpine setting where you can track through light dry rocky mountain powder right to your doorstep! The snow here is so abundant that skiing into July is possible. It is not, however, an aggressive terrain as most of the mountain is classified as intermediate which provides good opportunity to catch the great views as you glide down the slopes.

The Great Divide chair carries you to the top of Lookout Mountain at 2,730 meters (almost 10,000 feet). Upon arriving you are actually in British Columbia and you will ski back into Alberta at the lift base, thus the name, continental divide. In fact you can ski bowls in a three-quarters circle from the village base which includes Mount Standish as well as Lookout Mountain. At day's end you can download on the gondola to the Borgeau Parking Lot but the sweeping Borgeau Trail is a terrific way to finish a wonderful day of skiing, Rocky Mountain style!

Some Sunshine Village statistics are;

Base Elevation:-2,160 meters (7,080 feet), Summit Elevation:-2,730 meters (8,955 feet), Vertical Drop:- 1,070 meters (3,514 feet), Skiable Terrain:- 780 acres, Number of Runs:- 89, Longest Run:- 8 kilometers (5 miles), Lifts and Capacity:- 1 gondola, 3 high speed quads, 1 triple, 3 doubles, 4 Poma, T-bars, 16,000 skiers per hour, Daily Lift Ticket Price:- $46, Annual Snowfall:- 914 cm (360 inches), Snowmaking:- Not required, Terrain Mix:- Novice 20%, Intermediate 55%, Expert 25%

For more information, call the Banff-Lake Louise Tourism Bureau at 1-403-762-8421 or Travel Alberta at 1-800-661-8888

Skiing Louise

Lake Louise is 60 kilometers (38 miles) west of Banff on Highway 1, about a 40 minute drive often enhanced by sightings of park wildlife such as elk and mountain sheep. Upon arrival, you will immediately be aware that the small community is nicely tucked into the landscape and is totally absent of the bright lights and frenzied activity of many larger resorts. But if you have an eye for scenery, this location will dazzle you with an endless array of awesome mountain vistas! The rather sparse base area will leave you wondering what all the fuss is about but remember, not a tree or bush or boulder can be removed in this park without specific administrative permission. This has created a magnificent natural ski resort in a perfectly blended wilderness setting.

The ski resort is officially called Skiing Louise to distinguish it from the village and also the very beautiful lake called, naturally, Lake Louise. The ski terrain is the largest in Canada at over 4,000 acres and covers four mountain faces and back-bowls. The main Skiing Louise area comprises two mountains, Whitehorn and Lipalian with a complete variety of runs from top to bottom beginner slopes to untracked bowl and glade skiing that will satisfy the most demanding powder hound. Any type of terrain that you may wish to ski can be found at this resort. Steep vertical, you have it! Long fast giant slalom runs aplenty! Tired of mogul hopping? Rest a moment and look around. A 360 degree view from the summit offers a mountain panorama unsurpassed in Canada with more than a dozen peaks topping the 3,050 meter (10,000 foot) mark! The front face of Skiing Louise contains long cruising runs including the men's and women's World Cup downhill runs. But if you want exceptional value for your money, try the back bowls accessible via the south side lifts, then the Panorama chair to reach runs such as Shoulder Roll, Brown Shirt and Whitehorn. Plan to ski several days here because you cannot possibly absorb all of the exceptional scenery and skiing at Louise in just one day! The mountain also offers a Ski Friend program of volunteer host and hostesses who will give you a free guided tour of Skiing Louise.

Some Skiing Louise statistics are;

Base Elevation:-1,644 meters (5,392 feet), Summit Elevation:- 2,636 meters (8,650 feet), Vertical Drop:- 994 meters (3,257 feet), Skiable Terrain:- 4,000 acres, Number of Trails:- 105, Longest Run:- 8 kilometers (5 miles), Lifts and Capacity:- 3 high speed quads, 2 triples, 3 doubles, 1 T-bar, 1 Upper mountain platter, 1 rope tow, 19,667 skiers per hour, Daily Lift Ticket Price:- $49, Annual Snowfall:- 360 cm (142 inches), Snowmaking:- 40%, Terrain Mix:- Novice 25%, Intermediate 45%, Expert 30%

For more information, call the Banff-Lake Louise Tourism Bureau at 1-403-762-8421 or Travel Alberta at 1-800-661-8888

Your comments are welcome at dhaaheim at telus dot net

Http:// -- Revised: November 12, 1998
Copyright © 1996
CANADA , a clean, spacious, scenic, fun place to visit!

[Home] [Index] [Shops] [Links] [Questions]