Photo courtesy Banff Lake Louise Tourism/Paul Zizka Photography
With the Rockies’ current mild temperatures and sunny skies, conditions are great for some spring skiing. Lake Louise and Sunshine Village are open until mid-May (Mount Norquay closes April 21), so there’s still time to plan one last ski escape.
Here’s how to spend a spring skiing weekend in Banff National Park.
Head up to Mount Norquay on Friday—if you can only get up there in time for night skiing, that’s okay, because this hill knows how to do night skiing and après right.
Featuring five lifts, Mount Norquay, the oldest ski hill in the Rockies, started a program this year called Night Riders, aimed at helping kids learn how to safely navigate the jumps in the terrain park after dark. It’s a pretty fun way to spend a Friday night, and next year it will be offered on a drop-in basis.
Fuel up at The Lone Pine Pub, where the motto is Eat, Drink, Shred, and the après appies are above and beyond ski hill expectations. Try the cheese and meat board featuring venison salami, wild boar pate and mustard pickles, or the delicious three-cheese risotto balls and fried brussel sprouts.
Make your way to The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise for an evening check-in, where you can relax and ease in to your weekend. Pull on a fluffy white robe and settle in for a luxury stay. You can head down to the Glacier Saloon, but you should probably keep it to one nightcap—you’ve got an early morning.
You don’t want to miss the breakfast buffet in the Poppy Brasserie; the service is impeccable, the views of Lake Louise are sublime, and you can sample the breakfast delicacies to your heart’s content.
Hop on the shuttle (offered every half hour) to the Lake Louise Ski Resort to make first tracks. Or, at least early tracks. Lake Louise, with its 145 runs and 10 lifts, has had consistent snow on the upper runs all winter and continues to offer great skiing in a breathtaking setting.
Lunch at the mid-mountain Whitehorn Bistro is a truly elevated dining experience, and a nice seafood risotto will be just the thing to get you through the afternoon on the slopes.
Wind things up early enough to get back to the Chateau for a dip in the heated pool, a steam, or perhaps even a massage at the Chateau’s world-renowned spa.
And then, treat yourself to the Feuz Brothers’ Fondue Experience in the cozy, Swiss-themed Walliser Stube Restaurant; three courses—cheese, meat and chocolate, each served with a perfect wine pairing.
Enjoy a slower start to your last morning at the Chateau; try a custom omellete in the breakfast room, or one last visit to the lovely scented steam room at the pool. Then make your way back to the highway for the 30-minute drive to Sunshine Village.
The scenic gondola ride alone from the parking lot to the village makes a trip to Sunshine unique, especially with kids in tow.
From the village, you have your choice of 111 runs. The hill has 12 lifts and a settled base of 160 cm.
Enjoy a late lunch in the Alpine Grill; after last night’s feast, you might be ready to try the lodge’s newest culinary treat, Vietnamese Pho, a traditional soup of rice noodles, broth, fresh ginger and cilantro.
Then head back to the slopes for as many runs as you can get in; the lifts close at 4:30 p.m.