Our second stop was Banff, it’s a great place to stay as you can easily visit all three of the Ski Resorts: Lake Louise, Norquay and Sunshine Village (would recommend getting the Tri-Area Pass as it allows you to visit any of the three resorts during your stay).
The Fox Hotel & Suites – We stayed in one of the suites which had a handy little kitchen, lounge area and separate bedroom. The extra room was perfect after a day’s skiing when you need to dry out your kit, which meant we didn’t have to have it all over the bedroom! The hotel has an awesome man made hot spring in the basement, which after a day skiing in the cold is the best place to visit.
Dog Sledding– One of my favourite experiences of the trip! Steve and I were on the front sled leading the other 10 sleds behind us, which was an amazing feeling. All the dogs are rescues and the sledding gives them a purpose and a great deal of exercise! Each sled driver knew each of the 10 dogs that pulled us by name and took great care in making sure they were all ok during the trip and well looked after. The surrounding area of Kananaskis Country is beautiful too; we took a drive after exploring the frozen lakes and snowy mountain scenery.
Johnston Canyon– We met up with Callum Snape who along with his friends took us up Johnston Canyon. I was like Bambi on ice and would definitely recommend a good pair of boots or crampons to help you make your way up the winding trails! Each turn on the trail was more beautiful than the next and the waterfalls were spectacular. I would love to go back in the Summer and see them without the ice too. Definitely stay on the trail for the big waterfall at the end- it is well worth the walk!
Norquay Ski Resort – Smaller than Lake Louise and Sunshine Village but some great runs that have optional easier routes too, so you can split up from the group but meet back at the lift.
Sunshine Village Ski Resort– On our trip Sunshine had the best snow conditions and the powder was like icing sugar! It also has some super routes through the trees next to the piste which have little jumps and ledges to explore! We took a hike up to look down at the Delirium Dive but decided that we would hold back until our next trip- if you are an experienced skier/boarder you might want to try it- though keep in mind you have to go with a partner and wear an avalanche pack (which you can hire).
Grizzly House– Banff had some great restaurants to chose from, our favourite was Grizzly House- it had such quirky decor, friendly service and proper mountain dishes on the menu. We went for the steak on hot stones, which was such a fun way to have dinner in a restaurant.
Aardvark Pizza– A couple of times we didn’t have time to sit down and eat lunch so we stopped at Aardvark Pizza, a locally run pizza place which offers some interesting toppings and the perfect solution if you need to eat quickly and get on the road (we may have had more pizzas on this trip than we needed because it was so good!)
Ice Fields Parkway– Steve and Ben were excited to visit the Parkway in the winter as they spent time exploring it when they visited in the Summer. We travelled along the snow laden road with no-one around trying to find the places they photographed in the Summer, the scenery was so beautiful. Our final stop was a hike up to Peyto Lake- a wolf shaped lake that in the Summer is a beautiful turquoise and in the winter a white wonderland. The four of us stood on the viewing platform taking in the beautiful scenery and calming atmosphere.
Banff was definitely the best location to stay in order to access all of the surrounding ski resorts and activities the area had to offer. Again a special thanks to Travel Alberta for making this trip possible!