If you’re visiting Alberta in winter, there’s a good chance that skiing in Banff and Lake Louise is on your agenda. Nestled in the Canadian Rockies, Banff National Park is one of the best places to ski in Canada and one of the must-visit destinations in Alberta for winter-loving travellers.
The Banff & Lake Louise area is famous, not only for its three world-class ski & snowboard resorts (branded as SkiBig3), but also its dramatic winter scenery that’s considered some of the finest on the planet.
Ready to plan the perfect Banff & Lake Louise ski vacation? Get started with this guide to the top ski resorts in Banff and Lake Louise for skiers & snowboarders of all levels…
Best ski resorts in Banff and Lake Louise
Lake Louise Ski Resort
There’s no better place to start your Banff skiing adventure than with the grandaddy of the main three ski resorts in Banff National Park, the award-winning Lake Louise Ski Resort.
Located less than 10 minutes from Lake Louise Village, one of Canada’s most popular travel destinations, Lake Louise Ski Resort is often listed alongside some of the best ski resorts in the world.
The sprawling resort is home to 145 world-class runs spread out over 4,000 acres that propel down the Canadian Rockies, unleashing some of Canada’s most beautiful alpine scenery along the away.
The terrain ranges from gentle slopes for beginners to black diamond runs for expert skiers & snowboarders. To get you up to the runs, there are 10 lifts of varying capacity donning whimsical names like the Grizzly Gondola and the Magic Carpet.
Aside from its skiing & snowboarding, the resort is a fantastic place to go when visiting Lake Louise in summer. From the mountainside, you’ll get in touch with some of the top hiking trails in Lake Louise and some of the finest sightseeing opportunities in Lake Louise.
Banff Sunshine Village
Among the most accessible places to go skiing in Banff, Sunshine Village Ski Resort lies just twenty minutes from the town of Banff. It’s not just one of the top ski resorts in Banff, but one of the best winter destinations in Canada.
Like other Banff & Lake Louise ski resorts, Banff Sunshine boasts one of the longest ski seasons in North America. It stretches all the way from November until late May. Thanks to the altitude, it also receives plenty of natural snow, appeal to even the pickiest of powder junkies.
Sunshine Village is home to 12 lifts including Canada’s first heated chair lift, Teepee Town LX. While not quite as big as Lake Louise Ski Resort, the resort still sprawls across over 3,300 acres of skiable terrain with something from every level of skiers & snowboarders from beginner to advanced.
While most skiers opt to stay in the town of Banff, to get the most out of your experience consider spending a night at the resort’s Sunshine Mountain Lodge.
Perched 7,200 feet in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, the lodge is the only ski-in/ski-out hotel in the Banff & Lake Louise area. It’s a great choice for families thanks to its wide array of activities and amenities—including the largest hot tub in Banff!
Mt. Norquay Ski Resort
Rounding out the big 3 in Banff & Lake Louise is Mt. Norquay. Like Banff Sunshine Village, Mt. Norquay Ski Resort is located just minutes from Banff Town.
Although it’s famous for training world-class Olympians, Mt. Norquay has a little of something for every level of skier & snowboarder. It’s got everything from family-friendly beginner runs to expert pistes & a terrain park. On top of it’s regular daytime skiing, Mt. Norquay is also the only resort in Banff National Park to offer night skiing.
If skiing or snowboarding is a little beyond your wheelhouse, grab a tube and head to the family-friendly Tube Town, featuring 8 lanes of tube runs that are fun for kids & adults alike.
Like the other resorts, Mt. Norquay is a fantastic place to visit in Banff in summer. Besides checking out some of the coolest places to see in Banff National Park on one of the lifts, test your resolve with a walk on Via Ferrata, a cliffside assisted-climbing experience taking you across a series of ladders, suspension bridges, and cables across four routes.
Where to stay in Banff & Lake Louise for skiing
As its one of Canada’s top destinations, snagging a room at one of the best hotels in Banff National Park isn’t always easy. Along with the summer high tourist season, availability can be a challenge during the height of ski season. Be sure to book your lodgings early to save disappointment.
For most skiers & snowboarders, Banff Town is the best place to start your accommodations search. Alternatively, you can also grab a room at one of the best hotels & places to stay in Lake Louise if you’d prefer to spend most of your time carving the runs at the biggest SkiBig3 resort.
- Mount Royal Hotel: Featuring a modern design & comfortable rooms, this hotel offers some of the best value for skiers in the area. Amenities include a hot tub and sauna.
- Moose Hotel & Suites: Located in the centre of town, these delightful suites are brushed with alpine sensibilities making them a superb choice for your Banff skiing vacation. The hotel also includes an outdoor pool, indoor swimming pool, and fitness centre plus two rooftop hot tubs with views over the Rocky Mountains.
- Lake Louise Inn: One of the best options around Lake Louise, this resort offers excellent accommodations and luxurious extra amenities including a heated pool, hot tubs, private balconies, and fireplaces along with two restaurants & bars.
- Fairmont Banff Springs: Built in 1888, this historic luxury hotel is one of the most unique places to stay in the area. Besides the sophisticated rooms, the Fairmont Banff Springs is home to a blissful spa and heated outdoor pool as well as several restaurants, bars, and shops.
When to go to Banff and Lake Louise for skiing
The best time to go to Banff for skiing is between February and April. Although the mountain resorts around Banff National Park start to open up their runs in November, they don’t get to their ideal conditions until later on in the ski season.
The other advantages to skiing between February and April are the warmer temperatures and increased hours of sunshine. As we move into February both the days get longer and the average daytime temperatures rise.
December and January are the coldest months of the year in Banff. And while you might be able to get some great ski conditions, the prospect of facing the bitter cold temperatures can be a turn-off for some visitors.
From Calgary: To get from Calgary to Banff, you’ll need to hop onto the Trans-Canada Highway (Hwy 1). It’s about a 90-minute drive. There’s an alternative route along the Bow Valley Parkway, but it’s not recommended in winter.
From Jasper: To travel from Jasper to Banff, go south for a ride along the beautiful Icefields Parkway (Highway 93). The 288-kilometre drive should take you about three and a half hours.
If you’re driving into Banff by car, you’ll need to purchase a park pass from Parks Canada. If you’re planning on spending more than a week between Banff National Park and other national parks in Canada (like Jasper), you’ll save money by purchasing an annual Discovery Pass.
Get more information and book your passes on the Banff Lake Louise Tourism official website.