The northern hemisphere’s most dramatic mountains are without a doubt the Canadian Rockies. These towering examples of granite upthrusting are also home to 3 of the best ski areas in the world in Banff’s SkiBig3 complex.
Banff Sunshine and Lake Louise are bucket list destinations in their own right but visiting them both in one fell swoop? Now we’re talking. The Mountain Collective pass considers these two resorts as separate destinations and such get 2 days of skiing at each for one great, 4 day ski vacation. In addition, Mountain Collective pass holders can book their trip through SkiBig3 and receive the same deals available to visitors booking more traditional Ski & Stay packages.
Unless you’ve got serious loot and plan on booking a week’s stay at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, we highly recommend staying in the town of Banff proper.
Lake Louise Ski Resort is easily the most picturesque ski destination in North America. Period. Add in some amazing off-piste and cold temps that keeps the snow quality good for weeks on end and we’ve got one of our favorite ski destinations in the entire world. If soft snow prevails, stick to the Paradise Chair (bluebird) and Larch Express (storm-day) for the best off-piste terrain.
- Annual Snowfall: 180″
- Vertical Drop: 3,250′
- Skiable Terrain: 4,200 acres
- Banff Drive Time: 45 minutes
Sunshine Village is the powder mecca of the Banff, SkiBig3 complex. With 360″ of snow annually, Sunshine gets roughly double what Lake Louise gets in a single season. That abundant snowfall allows Ski Patrol to open super steep runs like the 50° Delirium Dive sometime mid-season. Get there…
- Annual Snowfall: 360″
- Vertical Drop: 3,514′
- Skiable Terrain: 3,360 acres
- Banff Drive Time: 25 minutes
BONUS: Mt Norquay
Mt Norquay is your bonus resort – use your Mountain Collective Pass for additional days of skiing at a 50% discount. As the closest ski area to Banff’s town center and as such, the local scene at this smaller ski hill is alive and well. When it’s dumping in town, forgo the longer drive times to Lake Louise and Sunshine Village and lap up the pow that lies skier’s left of the Mystic chair. On bluebird days, expansive snowmaking makes skiing groomers above the town of Banff a must.
- Annual Snowfall: 120″
- Vertical Drop: 1,650′
- Skiable Terrain: 190 acres
- Banff Drive Time: 15 minutes
Perhaps the best part of skiing Banff is its easy accessibility from the Calgary airport. The Calgary International Airport (YYC) is a cheap and easy flight option for folks traveling from the US. With Banff just an hour away, it’s a breeze getting from the terminal to ticket office in less than 2 hours.
Banff Lodging Picks: Copperstone Resort, Fox Hotel and Suites, Fairmont Banff (*lap of luxury)