Four Ways to Plan Your Banff Spring Ski Vacation

Shoulder season grumbles have never made much sense to us. With the extra-long ski season here in Banff National Park, the action happens all Spring long – from mountain summit to valley floor.

And this Spring in Banff and Lake Louise, there are even more reasons to visit. A culmination of mouthwatering food events, sublime spring skiing, a valley-wide apres party vibe, and extra-long sunlight hours pack in more mountain fun. 

Treat Your Tastebuds

The local cocktail and culinary scene in Banff National Park is worth a vacation in itself. After a fantastic year of culinary festivals and celebrations, you can bet there’s always something new and exciting brewing for your tastebuds.

This April, you won’t want to miss Cochon555, back for its second year and featuring brand new events. It brings together the best chefs, producers, sommeliers, and farmers from the Alberta and B.C. region, and from North America.

Take it all in at the main competition on Saturday, April 6th. Five chefs will be matched with five heritage-breed pigs and five sommeliers to create the best quality tasting for your assessment. On Friday, five participating restaurants will host communal five to seven-course dinners – a collaborative creation from local talent and North American chefs.

Cochon555 Epic Culinary Event
Photo courtesy of Cochon555.

Banff Sunshine Village carries on the theme with Bacon Fest. In grand tribute of bacon, they will have all-day bacon specials at all on-resort restaurants, and host the ultimate Sunshine “Pig Out” challenge: the Bacon Strip Sprint!

Find the Apres and Patio Action

The best part of spring skiing may just be patio season. Gather ’round an outdoor firepit with a pint in hand, but your ski boots not quite kicked off yet – there may still be time for one last run. Although it’s not summer yet, these patios are open early for your enjoyment, whether on-resort, on the way home, or in the town of Banff.

Four friends enjoy wings and apres drinks at Mad Trappers Patio at Banff Sunshine Village, Banff National Park.
Mad Trappers Patio at Banff Sunshine Village. Photo by Mike Seehagel / Travel Alberta

A mini apres beer festival comes to Lake Louise Ski Resort in May with Brewski Festival. Get in on the apres action at the base area. Cozy up to the fire in their outdoor Whiskey Jack Lounge and sample tasty snacks and craft beer from Canadian breweries, such as Banff Ave Brewing Co., Stanley Park Brewing, and Wild Rose Brewery.

Mt. Norquay keeps the fun going after the lifts shut down for the day. Apres-tasting sessions and Starlight Dinners at the Cliffhouse Bistro run throughout the spring. There’s so much to discover at Banff National Park’s oldest ski resort.

Exterior night shot of Cliffhouse Bistro at Mt. Norquay
Cliffhouse Bistro at Mt. Norquay. Photo by Dan Evans.

Bask in the Best of Both Seasons

The best part about spring in the Rockies? While one great season is riding out, the other is just beginning.

Spring snow is a season highlight for ski and snowboard enthusiasts, and for good reason. Our unique location provides great snow conditions well beyond many other resorts. It’s not unusual to be ripping soft, fresh pow in the sun with nothing more than a t-shirt on your back – just be careful not to fall!

Bluebird and powder spring skiing conditions at Banff Sunshine Village, March 2018.
Spring skiing conditions at Banff Sunshine Village, March 2018. Photo by Shannon Martin.

At lower elevations, summer activities are just getting started and provide a unique opportunity to pack them all in to a single day. Rock climbers, trail runners, hikers, and even stand-up paddleboarders often make their maiden voyages in March, April and May. While the mountaintops are fresh with sweet sweet pow, the valley bottoms are warm, dry, and waiting to be explored.

SkiBig3 Ambassador Sue Shih gets in a shoulder season paddle near Banff.
SkiBig3 Ambassador Sue Shih gets in a shoulder season paddle near Banff.

Partake in Slopeside Celebrations

Spring is a bittersweet time of year for Banff and Lake Louise locals. While we are often riding out the best conditions of the season, the end is also in sight. End-of-season parties soften the sting as locals and visitors come together to celebrate another “best-season-ever”.

On April 27th, Lake Louise Ski Resort hosts Shake the Lake for another year. Get your goggle tan on from the Kokanee Kabin deck with a fresh beer and sweet tunes from Buffalo Child & Friends. It’s also a prime viewing location for their Pond Skimming event and Bikinis for Breast Cancer charity event.

And the fun doesn’t end there! As the sun sets, return to the Lodge of Ten Peaks. Two live bands will rock the lodge for an epic concert you won’t want to miss.

Shake the Lake 2018 afterparty in the Lodge of the Ten Peaks at Lake Louise Ski Resort.
Photo courtesy of Lake Louise Ski Resort.

Slush Cup returns for its 91st year, this May at Banff Sunshine Village. As the SkiBig3 resort with the longest-standing season, to miss this grand ski finale would be borderline blasphemous. Dress up in your most outrageous outfit, cheer on the pond skimmers, and enjoy live music from the outdoor patio near Mad Trapper’s.  

Pond skim competitor at Slush Cup 2018 at Banff Sunshine Village, Banff National Park.
Photo courtesy of Banff Sunshine Village.

What are you waiting for? Get in on the spring action here in Banff National Park, and book your spring ski vacation today. Our in-destination Vacation Planners know the ins and outs of Banff National Park, and are happy to help you craft the perfect spring vacation. Call them today at 1-844-754-2443. Or, find the best vacation package for your style and budget.

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Snowboarder ripping up powder