Banff - Reviews

Beautiful

POWDERHOUNDS.COM
14/07/2014
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Visitor Type
    Couple
  • Visitor Age
    36-50
Unlike some other Canadian ski destinations, Banff doesn’t just need to be about the skiing and snowboarding. There are plenty of other activities on offer as it’s very tourist oriented, the town offers some diverse shopping, and there’s the splendour of the scenery of the Banff National Park.

Banff has three ski resorts to choose from. See the respective ski resorts for our reviews of Norquay, Sunshine Village and Lake Louise.

Pros of the town of Banff: awe inspiring scenery; there’s never a dull moment in Banff; huge range of shopping for souvenirs and other items; colourful nightlife; and plenty of restaurants. Banff has a huge choice of accommodation in and out of town although there’s only one option in the area for ski-in ski-out accommodation. The accommodations suit a wide range of budgets, and remarkably there are lots of good quality backpacker lodgings.

The only con of this place would be if you wanted to find a quiet town off the beaten track. Banff is busy and very popular, but for good reason of course. Banff can also be a bit more expensive than other parts of Canada.

Best ski town in Canada

Olivier
14/07/2014
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Visitor Type
    Mixed Group
  • Visitor Age
    18-35
Banff, kind of like aspen, except the drinking age is 18

Mid-March and I have booked 2 weeks straight at the Banff HI Hostel for a measily $35 a night. Nicest hostel I've ever been to, full of ski-bums from around the world. However, if you are looking to splurge, there are a wide variety of 3-5 star hotels that can run you anywhere from $200-1000+ a night during peak ski season.

So you probably drove by Nakiska if you were coming from Calgary, not worth it. Norquay, Banff's closest mountain, can pass. Now within a 2 hour radius you have access to Sunshine (20 minutes), Lake Louise (45 minutes), Kicking Horse and Panorama (2 hrs). If you havent rented a car, there are operators offering lifts to all of these mountains daily from Banff. Be sure to check Revelstoke, 4 hrs away, if you are in Banff for an extended period of time.

On a budget, we managed to live the "first chair, last call" lifestyle in Banff. Aurora's famous 25 cent beers on sundays (putrid beer, but whatever, its a quarter a pop!), most bars offer 1$ mixed drinks on any given day, just follow the crowds and you're sure to have a rowdy time. Don't worry, the crisp Banff air is sure to cure any hangover, knowing that you are about to shred some of the West's finest!

I've skied Europe, Colorado, New England, and have yet to find anything like Banff in terms of people, terrain options, and general vibe of the town. No matter what your budget, skiing ability, or age group, you will surely find a second home in Banff!

Magical Place

Jason
14/07/2014
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Visitor Type
    Couple
  • Visitor Age
    36-50
I have had the pleasure of visiting Banff a number of times, and even living there for a full ski season. Banff is one of my favorite places in the world, where I can experience so many different things in one place. A typical day in Banff for me was skiing at either Sunshine or Louise, then hitting the hot springs, followed by an evening of great apres at one of the many restaurants or pubs that Banff has to offer. The Town of Banff is embedded in Banff National Park, and is basically surrounded by wilderness. You'll often find Elk or Big Horns walking through the town, and stopping traffic. It's almost like they feel as much a part of the town as the visitors and residents. I've never experienced this at any other ski town, and being an animal lover, I really enjoyed that aspect.

For the non-skiers in your group, Banff will keep them satisfied for days on end. The town has great shopping and activities, or you can experience other outdoor pursuits like dog sledding or hiking spectacular sections like Johnston Canyon.

For accommodation, Banff has some amazing options, ranging from basic lodges, up to castle-like hotels like the Banff Springs.

It can get busy in Banff, particularly at Christmas time, so if you go at that time, be prepared for some crowds.

Pros: 1) Tons of activities in the area (skiing, hiking, ice climbing, dog sledding, snowmobiling, fishing, etc.), 2) Excellent accommodation, 3) Tons of restaurants, 5) Easy access from Calgary airport.

Cons: 1) Can be busy, 2) Can be pricey for top-end accommodation.

Beautiful, but very touristy and expensive!

Greg
14/07/2014
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Visitor Type
    Mixed Group
  • Visitor Age
    18-35
I really love going to Banff for the same reasons everyone else does - obvious reason (the beauty of it)... The animals roam the streets, the character in the town, and of course some of the most scenic views in the world.

However, I cannot deal with the expensive prices of everything, all the tourists and congestion associated with it and that actually the skiing at Norquay is not that good! Lake Louise is much better (nearby), but still enough of a drive to maybe stay elsewhere.

The nightlife here is great though too.

Pros: The scenery... It is unreal. All the attractions and accommodations are good too. The nightlife is fantastic and there are a lot of cool things going on in the town often enough year round.

Cons: The traffic congestion... The expense (it cost money, just to drive into). Tourists everywhere - taking their sweet time, but holding you up! Not to complain too much about that latter statement though. I don't blame them.

Most suited for: Families, people who are not serious about skiing, but yet would like to, couples, romance, etc. Older people would like it here. People with money.

I will be back, but only for the nightlife and when driving through it, unless I come into some money!

It really is beautiful and you should go and see it if you have never been. It is a must see before you die, that is for sure.

GADUY

Bernie
14/07/2014
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Visitor Type
    Family
  • Visitor Age
    18-35
fantastic power. Loved the terrain and the nightlife

BANFF bound

Sarah
14/07/2014
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Visitor Type
    Family
  • Visitor Age
    36-50
I reside in Alberta and ski Marmot, Sunshine and Louise every year- I love LOVE banff a tad wee more for a place to stay due to great hotel (Best Western) is very cost friendly with a free Breakfasts and great Jaccuzi Suites. After a day on the hills you want to relax on the outdoor private hot tub is awesome under the stars, or in room one too is okay.
Sunshune is a great hill with long runs and plently of space so you never feel like your crowded. Fast lifts and never long in lines.
ONE BIT OF ADVICE-
the DAY LODGE has way over priced, undercooked fries and for a famiy of 3 it was 60 bnucks with drinks for a undercooked poutine, 3 teeny chicken fingers and a few onion rings, a Burger with a dry bun which fell apart and again a few rings.....and 3 drinks (2 of which were alcoholic)
so TAKE A FEW SNACK FOODS UP WITH YOU and save money for a great dinner in BANFF upon your return!
WE ARE PLANNING ANOTHER 3x skiing this winter at SUNSHINE- but LOUISE is a whole other ball game! ;-)