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View of Banff Avenue, on a ski holiday to Banff, Alberta

A Guide to Canada

9th May 2019

A blog from Seren…

If you are looking for the ski holiday of a lifetime then Canada is a perfect choice. This is a bucket list destination for many people, and for good reason. With direct flights from the UK to both Calgary and Vancouver, it couldn’t be easier to reach the mountains. Whether you’re visiting Whistler, Banff or Lake Louise there is a holiday for every type of skier (or non-skier). Can’t choose which resort to visit? Why not combine two? Visiting both Banff and Whistler is a popular choice for many holidaymakers, and if you want a mix of city and slope why not consider a ‘twin city’ holiday?

It is important to note that if you want to visit Canada you must have a valid Electronic Travel Authorisation (eTA) prior to travel, it can take a few days to process so leave plenty of time to organise this.

Here is our guide to 3 of the top ski holiday locations in Canada:

Banff

Banff is one of the highest towns in Canada sitting at 1400m next to the Bow River. The national park surrounding the town is one of the most beautiful areas of natural beauty in the world. This purpose built resort was created originally as a summer tourist destination in 1885 during the building of the Pacific Railway line. It grew in popularity, particularly in winter months and the first chairlifts were constructed in Norquay in 1948. Now part of Ski Big Three ski area, Banff provides access to Sunshine Village, Norquay and Lake Louise.

Just a 2-hour drive from Calgary it is a popular choice for snow seekers. There are over 700 acres of pristine ski slopes on offer, including 219 different runs meaning there truly is something for everyone.

Non-skiers will enjoy this beautiful town, with a multitude of lakes, natural hot springs and winter walking paths. For those who enjoy a spot of window shopping, Banff is home to many shopping arcades full of beautiful boutiques and some larger outdoors equipment brands.

Spring skiers will not be disappointed, Banff is a snow sure resort with a  long season and great snow coverage, particularly in Sunshine Village. If you enjoy skiing in multiple different areas, Canada and in particular Banff, is great for this reason. Ultimately many people head to Banff for 10-14 days, this gives you plenty of time to explore the surrounding ski resorts.

Mount Norquay is just a short 10-minute drive from Banff townsite. It is a small, quiet ski area which is great for beginners or if you want to get away from the crowds.

Top Tip: The Cliffhouse Bistro sits at the top of Mount Norquay (2100m), from here you can enjoy great food and spectacular views.

Sunshine Village is a 20-minute drive from Banff. The gondola to Sunshine Village firstly stops at Goats Eye, so make sure you stay on if you want to reach Sunshine Village. Both are great areas, but if you prefer steeper terrain definitely jump off at Goats Eye.

Top Tip: If you're looking for a challenge and you are an advanced skier then Delirium Drive has some of the most difficult terrain in the area. If you do want to ski here MUST have an avalanche beacon or a lesson with an off-piste instructor.

There are plenty of apres ski locations in Banff. If you’re looking for great live music head to the Rose & Crown in Banff townsite, you’ll find great local bands performing here.

 

Whistler

Whistler is North America’s largest ski resort, made up of 4 main village areas; Whistler Village, Village North, Upper Blackcomb Village and Creekside Village. Each village has different facilities and characteristics. Our team of ski experts have lived and worked in Whistler so we are happy to advise which area might be best for your next Whistler ski holiday. All of the above villages have access to the fantastic ski area and the Peak 2 Peak gondola between Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb Mountain.

This is the perfect destination for everyone from families to advanced skiers. There are a wide range of activities available including family parks with half and superpipes as well as excellent off-piste terrain and opportunities to try your hand at heli-skiing.

This bucket list destination is one you’re not going to forget in a hurry. Situated 3 hours from Vancouver it is easy to combine this resort with a short stay in the city. We are happy to help create this ‘twin-city’ holiday for you. Many of our team have visited Vancouver and would be pleased to provide you with some excellent tips and top locations to visit in the city.

For families looking to visit Whistler, this is a fantastic North American destination for your next family ski holiday. The whole village was created with families in mind, the village is pedestrianised and there are specific beginner only and family areas on the mountain. If you are looking for opportunities to explore Canada off the beaten track, Whistler is home to many Olympians for good reason. The off-piste opportunities in Whistler are endless. There are many wide bowls, gullies and extensive mogul and bump runs alongside award-winning parks.

Top Tip: The perfect backcountry ski conditions can be found in Garibaldi Provincial Park as well as fantastic opportunities to try heli-skiing.

Lake Louise

Situated 57km from Banff, Lake Louise sits in the heart of the national park and hosts a small number of hotels. There are over 140 trails as well as an extensive amount of ungroomed off-piste areas perfect for all abilities. There are a few green runs close to the ski school meeting point and lodge which are of great benefit for beginners. For intermediates, there are plenty of long winding blues and reds as well as black and double blacks on the back side of the mountain for those who are looking for a challenge.

Being a small village there are limited dining options in Lake Louise, however small in number, they excel in gastronomy. Post Hotel and Spa offers fantastic Canadian dine dining and a selection of more than 2500 bottles of wine. If you’d like to enjoy a cocktail or two in a luxury setting head to Glacier Saloon in the world famous Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.

For non-skiers, there is an array of activities available including ice skating on the frozen lake, or snowshoeing through the stunning national park. The nightlife in Lake Lousie is quiet but why not take advantage of the serenity and visit the spa at the Fairmont Chateau.

Canada is a breathtaking destination and one that should be on everyone's bucket list. If you would like to

For more information…

Canada is a breathtaking destination and one that should be on everyone's bucket list. If you would like to know more about Canadian ski resorts or to book a trip, give us a call on 02921 880022 or visit our enquiry page.

 

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