A Local’s Guide to Banff, Alberta

Matthew Hendriks, master distiller at Park Distillery, Restaurant + Bar, shares his favourite spots including the best ski hill to visit and where to get a pint.

Matthew Hendriks, photo by Orange Girl

Like many others who have settled in Banff, Matthew Hendriks came to town to snowboard, promptly fell in love with the mountains and never left. Thirteen years on, he’s now the master distiller at Park Distillery, Restaurant + Bar. When he’s not at Park overseeing the production of its award-winning spirits, you’ll find him at one of these places around town.

Skiing spot

“I’m a big snowboarder, and on a day off I’ll go to the ski hill at Lake Louise. I think it’s one of the best mountains in the world. Lake Louise [Ski Resort] has it all, from groomers to trees to big bowls in the back. It also has some of the best powder conditions.”


“Johnston Canyon is my go-to when family and friends come to visit. It’s five levels of waterfalls through two kilometres of canyon, and it’s completely different from summer to winter because all that water and rock freezes into massive icefalls. It’s beautiful.”

Coffee shop

Whitebark Cafe on Banff Avenue, in the Aspen Hotel—they make the best coffee. I’m a big fan of the Americanos and lattes.”

The Balkan, photo by Anna Robi

For a pint

“My favourite pub is Tommy’s [Neighbourhood Pub], it’s just a place to go have a beer after work and unwind—it’s definitely my second home.”

Live music

The Rose & Crown is my late-night spot—I’ve spent a lot of years drinking in that place. They have a live band every night, starting at 10 p.m.”

Quick hike

“The easiest spot to get to is Tunnel Mountain. You’re at the top in 45 minutes, and you can do it in the winter. It’s a switchback trail up the front side and then a 1,000-foot vertical cliff face off the back. From [the top] you get to see Banff as a town map.” 

Local restaurant

“My favourite restaurant is The Balkan, the Greek spot in town. It’s been family-run for 33 years. The slow-roasted lamb is my favourite dish.”


[This story appears in the July 2017 issue of WestJet Magazine]