Your Guide to the Ultimate Ski Escape in the Canadian Rockies

If you’re a skier or snowboarder and love hitting the slopes, you don’t want to go through life without a trip to the Canadian Rockies. Aside from the spectacular mountain views, the Rockies are home to some of the world’s best skiing and snowboarding, both backcountry and groomed trails.

For those looking for the ultimate skiing experience, we have put together some insider tips for indulging in every moment, both on and off the slopes!

1. Location, Location, Location

The Canadian Rockies are dotted with outstanding ski resorts, but your location really plays an important role in where you will want to ride the slopes. Whether you’re staying at Deer Lodge in Lake Louise, Buffalo Mountain Lodge in Banff or Emerald Lake Lodge in Field, below are the best ski spots for the area of your choice.

Lake Louise Ski Resort

Closest to Deer Lodge & Emerald Lake Lodge

Photo credit: Jack Dyson

As the recent recipient of the 2017 Best Ski Hill in Canada award, the Lake Louise Ski Area is famous throughout the world for its diverse terrain and a wide range of runs for beginner to expert skiers and snowboarders. The views are unbeatable, vast and it thrives in a friendly wilderness that’s authentically Canadian. The unique layout with beginner, intermediate and expert runs from every chair allows your family or group of varying abilities to ski and share the experience together.

The resort features endless chutes, glades and gullies, gentle slopes, cruising runs, remote bowls and some of the most challenging backcountry terrain in the Rockies. The resort offers 11 lifts and over 4,200 skiable acres of world-class terrain and a full range of services including ski lessons, rentals, retail shops, restaurants and lounges. Visit their website for more information about lift passes, lessons and rentals:

Sunshine Village

Closest to Buffalo Mountain Lodge & Deer Lodge

Photo credit: Reuben Krabbe

Banff Sunshine Village’s unique location will make you feel miles away from civilization, even though you’re only a 15-minute drive from the town of Banff. Located 7,200 feet high on the Continental Divide, in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, the three mountainous terrains allow you to ski two different provinces – sometimes in a single run! Their seven-month ski season stretched from early November until late May, making Sunshine the longest non-glacial ski season in Canada. On average, Banff Sunshine will receive up to nine metres or 30 feet of snow in a season. Visit their website for more information about lift passes, lessons and rentals:

Mt. Norquay

Closest to Buffalo Mountain Lodge

Photo credit: Reuben Krabbe

Ski families, locals, mountain adventurers and snow seekers young and old – experts to novices – have gathered at Mt. Norquay for over a century. To ski the slopes of Mt. Norquay is a Banff tradition, so much so that it’s the original ski resort of the Canadian Rockies, trusted by generations since 1926! Located just minutes from the Town of Banff, Mt. Norquay offers the only night skiing in the Bow Valley, including a fully lit terrain park and expert snowmaking on 85% of its vast terrain. Visit their website for more information about lift passes, lessons and rentals:

Kicking Horse Mountain Resort

Closest to Emerald Lake Lodge

Located just outside of Golden, British Columbia and an hour drive from Emerald Lake Lodge is Kicking Horse Mountain Resort featuring over 2,800 acres of skiable terrain.  Kicking Horse is on the “Powder Highway” an area with the highest concentration of Heliski, cat ski, resort and ski touring in the world. This region of southeastern British Columbia is a snow bunny’s dream! The diverse terrain caters to all ability levels, with everything from steep alpine chutes to wide open cruising green runs making this an adventurer’s paradise as well as a family favourite destination. This year the resort is open from December 21, 2018, to March 18, 2019. Visit their website for more information about lift passes, lessons and rentals:

Don’t want to drive along the Powder Highway? Discover Banff Tours now has a shuttle bus that you can catch at the Yoho Trading Post in Field, BC. The tour includes return transportation on a luxury coach bus to Kicking Horse Mountain Resort and your lift ticket.

If you are looking to save while you ski, then be sure to STAY TUNED for our Ski Package – includes a one-night stay and two lift tickets to any of the Ski Big 3 resorts!

2. All about the Après!

Photo credit: Christopher Amat

Any true skier or snowboarder knows that a powder-filled day is only the half of it – the other half is all about the après! Après activities come in all forms; sometimes it’s a heart-warming specialty coffee at a fireside lounge, a pint and a plate of nachos with a group of friends or it’s a couple rounds of shots with a late-night quest for takeout poutine. Whatever way you après, you’ll be feeling like you’re in a skier’s paradise in no time and ready for another day on the slopes!

Après Ski Cuisine

Let’s face it, many of us hit the hill knowing that come day’s end, regardless of snow conditions or the number of completed laps, the good times will roll with the après ski food and drinks. Indulge in a platter of mouth-watering game meats, cheeses and preserves paired with wine or craft beer, or indulge in one of the hearty winter main meals off our seasonal menu at any of our three lodges.

Nightlife Fun & Games

Photo credit: F8 Photography

Ski-cations come few and far between for many visitors, so why let the day end when the night is just beginning? Banff has plenty of nightlife activities to entice even the most tired of skiers, from classic taverns, bowling or dancing and high-end lounges, you’ll find everything you need for an unforgettable night out. See below for our top recommendations!

Sleeping Buffalo Lounge
If partying after a long day of skiing isn’t your idea of a relaxing après activity, then unwinding fireside while sipping on a glass of wine or beer may be more your style. The Sleeping Buffalo Lounge at Buffalo Mountain Lodge is open daily until 10:00 p.m. to serve you refreshing beverages or delicious Rocky Mountain Cuisine.

Elk and Oarsman Pub
Right in the heart of the Banff Avenue bar and restaurant strip, the Elk & Oarsman is an airy, open-beam, second-floor space with its own cozy fireplace. Built around a slate-topped central bar, the restaurant offers an extensive menu that allows you to jazz up après basics like nachos and potato skins with braised elk.

High Rollers Banff
Another Banff Avenue gem has combined three favourites into one great night out – bowling, beer & pizza. Six bowling lanes, 48 craft beers on tap, three pool tables and New York-style pizza slices the size of your head.

Dancing Sasquatch
Dancing Sasquatch is a Rocky Mountain Cabin bar and wild party place. Featuring local and international DJ’s plus all of Banff’s craziest nighttime events. If the hill didn’t tire you out then party like an animal at the Dancing Sasquatch!

Après Ski Soak

Photo credit: Glenn Parry & Jennifer Fast

After spending all day on the hill, it’s important to rejuvenate your body with a long soak in one of our mountain view hot tubs. Each lodge features a large hot tub for you to relax and refuel for your next mountain adventure!

3. A-Game Accommodation

A Lake View room at Emerald Lake Lodge

Perhaps the best part about any ski trip is the ability to become submersed in the experience, especially when it comes to the accommodation. After a day on the slopes and après indulgences, retreat to a warm, cozy and totally Canadian guest room. You’ll be greeted with your very own wood-burning fireplace at Buffalo Mountain Lodge and Emerald Lake Lodge and sleep easy under down duvet covers. Once you’re ready to go in the morning, call for our shuttle to take you right back to the heart of the ski-hill action.