Banff 5 Day Winter Itinerary: So Much to Ski & Do

Travel to Canada - What to Expect

Banff 5 Day Winter Itinerary: So Much to Ski & Do

With so much to ski and do in Banff and Lake Louise, you’ll want to make the most of your winter ski vacation to the Canadian Rockies. This Banff 5 Day Winter Itinerary (5 days, 3 ski days) will ensure you experience the world-class skiing that makes Banff and Lake Louise famous while taking in the best tastes, sights and adventures.

Banff 5 Day Winter Itinerary

What to expect…

 

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The view of the Town of Banff from Mt. Norquay – only a 10-minute drive away. | Photo by Banff Lake Louise Tourism

5 things to plan before you arrive

Pre-book activities

This is key for visiting Banff National Park, especially during busy times of year (like Christmas and FamilyWeek). You can avoid last-minute preparation scrambles and save by booking online or advance with most activity operators.

Find your accommodation

Banff and Lake Louise both have a ton of great accommodation options to choose from to suit every budget during your stay.

Choose your transportation

Banff National Park only feels a million miles away. Whether flying in or driving, your hotel door in Banff is just a short 90-minute journey from Calgary. Make it a seamless journey by booking an airport shuttle with your vacation package or take the reins and hire a rental car.

Purchase SkiBig3 Lift Tickets

Purchasing lift tickets 21 days or more in advance will save you up to 15%, and purchasing tickets just 3 days in advance will allow you to pick them up right at your hotel’s front desk.

Book ski rentals

Reserving your ski or snowboard rentals online 3 days or more in advance will save you 15% off your rentals, and will ensure your size will be there upon your arrival. You’ll avoid lines and save time, too!

 

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Purchasing SkiBig3 Lift Tickets 21 days or more in advance will save you up to 15%. | Photo by Bow Valley Immigration Partnership

Arrive in Banff

Settle in and explore the town

Once you’re settled in and freshened up, hit the streets of Banff to take in the bustling atmosphere and grab a bite. Banff’s vibrant culinary scene leaves no shortage of dining options. Carb load for a day on the slopes with a meal from Banff’s newest Italian restaurant, Lupo.

Other dining options we recommend:

 

Explore more dining options in Banff and Lake Louise.

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Lupo, Banff’s hottest new Italian restaurant, looks like an Italian open-air market on the inside. | Photo by Banff Hospitality Collective

Day 1: Visit “Banff’s Backyard”

Mt. Norquay skiing & night tubing

Opened in 1926, Norquay is the quirky grandfather of Banff National Park’s three resorts. With terrain that’s both family-friendly and skill-testing, this resort is sure to please every ability of your group. A short drive to Mt. Norquay from the Banff townsite allows you to settle into your Canadian Rockies ski vacation with ease.

Grab a full English breakfast at Cascade Lodge before hitting the slopes. At midday, take a break and take it all in from Norquay’s Cliffhouse Bistro, boasting panoramic alpine views and locally-sourced cuisine.

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Mt. Norquay may be small, but it’s mighty. Make sure you don’t skip it on your visit SkiBig3. | Photo by Dan Evans

If your legs aren’t quite recuperated by then, give them a break by hitching a ride down the hill on a tube. Better yet, experience it by night! Available for night tubing (and skiing) on Fridays and some Saturdays throughout the season, Mt. Norquay is the only resort to offer night tubing and a fully lit terrain park.

Top off your first great day of skiing with a locally brewed beer at Banff Ave. Brewing Co. Keep the ski high flowing and work up the stoke for your second day at our next great resort.

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Try the Norquay 97: Rusty Edges Amber Ale at Banff Ave. Brewing Co. | Photo courtesy of Banff Ave Brewing Co.

Day 2: Time for a little sunshine

Skiing at Banff Sunshine

A 20-minute ski shuttle will get you hotel-to-gondola in no time for a beautiful day exploring Banff Sunshine’s bowls and slopes. Before you hop on the gondola at Base Area, make sure you fuel up at Creekside Bar + Grill.

Don’t fret about the chilly Canadian morning temps – the Teepee Town LX heated chairlift lives right off the gondola, keeping your fingers warm and toes toasty. From there you can dig your skis and snowboards into Banff Sunshine’s unique light and dry snow, a result of the resort’s altitude home at 2200 metres (7,200 feet). Though the village is always in sight, a reverse view from three of Banff Sunshine’s mountains provides seemingly endless mountaintop views, uninterrupted by any sign of civilization.

TeePee Town heated chairlift at Banff Sunshine Village, Banff National Park.
The TeePee Town LX heated chairlift at Banff Sunshine Village is the only heated chairlift in Canada! | Photo by Banff Sunshine

Day 3: Experience the beauty of Banff National Park

Skating on Lake Minnewanka & snowshoeing at Marble Canyon

You can’t do a Banff 5 Day Winter Itinerary without grabbing breakfast at a top local spot – Coyote’s Southwestern Grill. Our favourite is the French toast, but you’ll be hard-pressed to decide between the Canadian back bacon & swiss cheese-stuffed or cream cheese & berries-stuffed options. Both are made with sourdough bread and a hearty serving of Quebec maple syrup.

From there, pick up a pair of skates and snowshoes at Snowtips Bactrax and head off to Lake Minnewanka or Vermillion Lakes to take in Banff’s familiar peaks from a completely unfamiliar perspective- ice skating!

Hold on to those rentals, you’ll need them for your next destination – Lake Louise!

If travelling by car, you can stop at Johnston Canyon or the less-visited Marble Canyon (a few kilometres down Hwy 93S, just off the Trans-Canada) with your snowshoes strapped on to explore on foot.

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Grab some hockey sticks at the rental shop too and play a game of “shinny”, aka outdoor hockey, Canadian style. | Photo by Banff Lake Louise Tourism

Day 4: Ski the “Friendly Giant”

Skiing at Lake Louise Ski Resort

We saved the big guy for last. Known as the ‘Friendly Giant’ of Canadian skiing, Lake Louise Ski Resort spans 4,200 acres across four mountain faces – you won’t know where to start first! Our insider tip? Stick to the back side in the morning while the sun is still warming the slopes.

Don’t let its size scare you off, even for the beginner skier. There’s always a green run down from any of the lifts, so families and groups with mixed abilities can all stick to the same area.

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There’s a green run down from every lift at Lake Louise Ski Resort. | Photo by Shannon Martin

Day 5: Explore the iconic Lake Louise

Explore Lake Louise by skating and snowshoeing

Top off your trip to Banff National Park with a visit to Lake Louise herself to explore the majestic beauty atop a pair of ice skates. If you’re up for the challenge, strap skates to your backpack snowshoes to your feet, and venture up to Mirror Lake and Lake Agnes from the back of the lake. You’ll likely beat the crowds and have an authentically Canadian experience all to yourself. Be sure to check the ice conditions and avalanche report before heading out!

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There’s nothing more iconic than ice skating on Lake Louise. | Photo by Banff Lake Louise Tourism

The mountains are calling

Ready to book your magical Banff 5 Day Winter Itinerary? Contact our Reservations Team today. Call them at 1 844 754 2443 or check out our latest Ski & Stay Packages online.

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