Banff Beauty – Best Ski ResortsSkiing and Staying in Beautiful Banff National Park
Canada’s Rockies on Film
Every once in a blue moon a movie comes along that changes our perspective — Forest Gump, Gravity, Saving Private Ryan. A new film by Sherpas Cinema, Sculpted in Time, does exactly that for skiing Banff National Park.
This four-part film series—launched at the precipice of the 2015 ski season — captures Canada’s Rockies beautifully, thoughtfully, and from a fresh and interesting point of view. Shot over 30 days, flying above peaks of more than 11,000 feet, the film offers a bird’s-eye view of Banff’s jagged, diamond-cut peaks, its steep, skiable sidehills, and its plunging, twisting valleys. The series is carved into four segments, telling the stories of ‘The Wiseman,’ ‘The Character,’ ‘The Artist,’ and ‘The Innovator’, and sharing unique perspectives of Banff’s three ski resorts, as well as its rigorous, breathtaking backcountry.
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Any journey to ski Banff National Park—an Alberta gem and a UNESCO World Heritage Site—would be enhanced by a viewing of these four short films, available free at SkiBanffNationalPark.com
The Magnificent Three Indeed, part of the film’s success is in capturing the essence of ski culture at Banff’s three resorts: Sunshine Village, Mt. Norquay, and Lake Louise Ski Resort. As the films suggest, there are many reasons to ski this magnificent three this season: Lake Louise Ski Resort With 4,200 skiable acres, the Lake Louise Ski Resort is often referred to as the giant of Canadian skiing. Its runs mix easy cruisers and fun gladed pistes with steeps, bumps and one of Canada’s most famous World Cup downhills. From the top of Lake Louise, there are too many incredible views to count, but The Lake also offers incredible dining experience. The newly revamped mid‐mountain Whitehorn Lodge Restaurant was redesigned for the 2014 season and offers an alpine themed menu coupled with some of the most spectacular views at the resort. On the backside, Temple Lodge offers the rustic charm of a log cabin with all of the appetite appeasing items you would want for a mid-day break. Sunshine Village Situated high in the Rockies on the legendary Great Divide, Sunshine Village boasts one of Canada’s longest running ski seasons, stretching from November to May. The ski resort includes miles of open, powder-filled, easy-riding terrain, a 12-acre Rogers Terrain Park, plus steeps that are especially challenging for experts. Sunshine Village’s Historical Snowshoe and Fondue tour offers its guests 360-degree alpine views of the heart of Banff National Park. New this season is a Yoga and Ski Retreat featuring organic fare and the serenity and relaxation of on-mountain yoga practice. Mt. Norquay Located closest to the townsite of Banff is Mt. Norquay, which remains dedicated to families. It has Alberta’s longest running mountain snow school program for adults, teens and kids—anyone can learn to ski or ride in Norquay’s fun and relaxed atmosphere. Plus, for plenty of practice, Norquay recently widened some of its favorite, family-friendly slopes.
Luxury Lodging Banff’s luxe, historic hotels are nearly—or perhaps more—famous than its skiing. Canada’s majestic Banff Springs and Chateau Lake Louise are the grand dames of North America’s ski lodging, and the Rimrock Resort Hotel is only steps from Banff’s iconic hot springs.
Banff Springs Situated within the townsite of Banff is the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, a tome of good taste, housing galleries and lounges, a European-style Willow Stream Spa, a pub, a club, and a castle-like grandness that’s outdone in beauty only by the surrounding mountains. Chateau Lake Louise Located just 45 minutes west of Banff on the shore of pretty Lake Louise is Chateau Lake Louise, a French chateau-style hotel built by the hearty folk of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1890. Today as a Fairmont, it’s a font of excellent taste, serving tea at three, fires roaring in the grates, fantastic views of a glacial, turquoise lake and the diamond-cut Rockies. Rimrock Resort Hotel The Rimrock’s location on the flanks of Sulphur Mountain offers exceptional views of the Canadian Rockies and Banff National Park, plus proximity to Banff’s legendary Upper Hot Springs. Its dining, its views, its spa, and its style and ambiance make the Rimrock experience truly exceptional.
Shopping and Dining
For the essential après-ski experience, we checked in with… who better? A local. Born and raised in Banff, 23-year-old Heidi Widmer is a member of the Canadian National Ski Team who made her cross-country ski racing Olympic debut at Sochi 2014. In her rare moments free from training and off the piste, Widmer took some time to list a few of her Banff favorites. For dining, the Nordic skier naturally recommends Banff’s Ticino Swiss-Italian Restaurant. Locally owned and operated by Widmer’s family, this restaurant has been a Banff institution since 1974. Widmer recommends the cheese fondue with a Swiss wine called Chasselas, a combo she calls “a match made in heaven.” Widmer says the Juniper Hotel & Bistro in Banff boasts an outstanding restaurant with fabulous views. “Danny Beaulieu, the new Chef at the Juniper,” explains Widmer, “will be working on a new menu in 2014/15 where everything is homemade in house, from the bread to the dressings.” As for the best coffee in town, Widmer heads for Banff’s Wild Flour Bakery. After all this food, every skier needs a little retail therapy. Banff’s long, broad streets are filled with cafés, boutiques, souvenir shops, and naturally, ski and snowboard shops. Widmer recommends Monod Sports – an independent retailer selling general fashion as well as sporting goods and apparel. “It’s locally owned and operated,” says Widmer, “with a good selection of products and great service.” For More Information To discover more about skiing and staying in beautiful Banff National Park, see www.BanffLakeLouise.comArtwork by “The Artist”: Dan Hudson www.danhudsonphoto.com. Images Courtesy of Sherpas Cinema