Family Guide to SkiBig3 Resorts

At the SkiBig3 resorts in Banff National Park, there’s a lot of ground to cover. 7748 acres of skiable terrain, 334 runs, 21 restaurants and dining locations, 10 terrain parks and two tube parks between all three resorts, to be exact! Plus, all three are great resorts to explore with your family. 95% of all lifts and platters offer a green or blue run from the top.

With little ones in tow, the logistics of a family ski vacation to Banff National Park may be a little daunting – but we’ve got you covered. From easy rental and lift ticket pick-up, to the best runs for kids, here’s everything you need to know about our Big 3 resorts. 

Want to take our advice here a bit further? Put your resort exploration in the hands of one of our SkiBig3 Guides! Our Guided Adventure Program is great for families with intermediate to advanced skiers, suitable for teenagers and up.

Guided Adventure program participants enjoy a day at Banff Sunshine Village, Banff National Park.
Photo by Jillian Tester.

BEFORE ARRIVAL

Planning ahead pays off in time! Lower your stress load by pre-booking online.

Tickets will be waiting for you at hotel check-in if booked 3 or more days in advance. Booking tickets 21 days or more in advance ensures the best possible rate.

Rentals booked three or more days in advance ensure you’ll receive up to 15% off in-store prices, and give you peace of mind that your desired gear and sizing will be available.

Lessons and Child Care are available at all three resorts. Space is limited and demand is high! Getting your kids into a lesson will allow you to enjoy some solo slope exploration.

Snowboarder at Lake Louise Ski Resort, Banff National Park.
Photo by Reuben Krabbe.

Banff Sunshine Village

Banff Sunshine is well-known for their stunning scenery, beautiful snow, and family-friendly accessibility. Their terrain suits all abilities of skiers and snowboarders, from cruisy greens to steep and deep blacks.

Staying together will be a piece of cake! No matter what which mountain you’re on, all runs lead back to the main artery – the gondola – meaning you’ll always end up at the Village or Goat’s Eye Garden. Have older kids who want to branch off on their own? Rest assured that they’ll find their way around the resort in no time.

Skiers and snowboarders approach Standish Chair at Banff Sunshine Village, Banff National Park.
Photo by Reuben Krabbe.

Where to Ski

A great area for families is right at the village. Strawberry Chair accesses green and blue runs only, perfect for getting comfortable on the snow and ready for the bigger slopes. Not too far away is Wawa Chair, where you’ll find Tin Can Alley (run 60) – a beautiful wide run with lots of room to explore.

There are also two magic carpets near the Daycare Centre – one dedicated to Tiny Tiger’s lessons, and the other open to the public.

Kids snowboard on the magic carpet at Banff Sunshine Village, Banff National Park.
Photo courtesy of Banff Sunshine Village.

The runs off Wolverine and Jackrabbit Chair are great for kids to push their abilities, as they’re shorter than runs on other areas of the mountain. You’ll also find ‘Kid’s Play’, an amusing terrain park where they can take their first freestyle steps, with an easy green run parallel to the park. A kids’ favourite is the famous Roller Coaster (run 99) off of Wolverine Chair, a swingy ride through the trees (warning to parents – don’t follow if you have tender knee joints).

Family snowboarding at Banff Sunshine Village, Banff National Park.
Photo courtesy of Banff Sunshine Village.

Where to Eat

The Alpine Grill

Picky eaters will love the Alpine Grill, with a wide selection of international meals to choose from. Pizza, pasta, pho and burritos, are all available, or keep it simple with classic chicken fingers to refuel for the slopes.

The Sunshine Burger Company

Serving up some of the greatest gourmet burgers in Banff National Park, the Sunshine Burger Company is easily located right on the main level of Lookout Lodge. You’ll be in and out in no time to make the most of your time on the slopes!

 

Things to Keep in Mind

Family time at Banff Sunshine Village doesn’t end once the chairlifts stop. Their very own Sunshine Mountain Lodge is the only ski-in/ski-out accommodation in Banff National Park, and offers tons of activities and amenities to please parents and kids alike: s‘mores, tobogganing, scavenger hunts, hot tub bingo and more!

Sunshine Mountain Lodge, Banff Sunshine Village, Banff National Park.
Photo courtesy of Banff Sunshine Village.

Lake Louise Ski Resort

The ‘friendly giant’ of Banff National Park’s resorts, Lake Louise Ski Resort has plenty of winter goodness to offer. With world-class terrain spanning three mountain faces to explore, getting around can take some legwork. There are great family ‘hubs’ on the hill to explore and hang out for the day, with amenities to meet your every need. 

Kids ski at Lake Louise Ski Resort, Banff National Park.
Photo by Daniel Thomson.

Where to Ski

It may be counterintuitive, but the backside of Lake Louise Ski Resort has some of the best spots for families to enjoy. Larch chair provides access to several green and blue runs, as well as some shorter blacks perfect for kids at a more advanced level. Lipalian Chutes (run 149) is a short hike for older kids wanting a bit of adventure. Plus, Temple Lodge is right nearby the base of Larch chair.

Skiers enjoy hot chocolate at Temple Lodge, Lake Louise Ski Resort, Banff National Park.
Photo courtesy of Banff & Lake Louise Tourism.

For families with true beginners, the base area is your best friend. Daycare, Whiskey Jack Lodge and the Lodge of Ten Peaks are all right near the Sunny Side Kid Zone, serviced by a surface carpet lift.

Once the kids have built a bit of confidence, Glacier Express will take you to shorter green runs than the Gondola, such as Wiwaxy (run 9) and Pine Cone Way (run 10), while the Juniper runs (runs 2, 3, 4) are nice blues to ease in to. Their most beginner-friendly terrain park, Easy Street, can also be accessed off Glacier Chair.

Kids go up the magic carpet at Lake Louise Ski Resort, Banff National Park.
Photo courtesy of Lake Louise Ski Resort.

Where to Eat

Whiskey Jack Lodge

The new ‘Super $7 Menu’ at the cafeteria in Whiskey Jack Lodge provides filling meals for great value, perfect for families on a budget. From lasagna with garlic toast, fish tacos, and beef sandwiches, there’s nothing skimpy about these meals except the price.

North Face Bistro

The breakfast buffet and lunch stations at the North Face Bistro are sure to keep you fueled well into your ski day. Watch as your meal is prepared before you with the freshest ingredients. Plus, they accept reservations!* No waiting in line for the microwave here.

*Northface Bistro will accept reservations from 11:30am – 12:00pm and from 1:30pm – 2:15pm.

 

Things to Keep in Mind

Cell reception is hit-and-miss on the back side of the hill. If your family is splitting up, it’s a good idea to bring radios or set a meeting time and place at different points throughout the day.  

The village of Lake Louise is a great location to rest your head for the night. Check out these family-friendly accommodation options, just a 10-minute commute from the ski hill.

Mt. Norquay

Mt. Norquay has long been known as a great resort to make your first ski tracks at. Conveniently located right outside the town of Banff, their beginner-friendly terrain has drawn families for decades, and it’s easy to see why. Four easy-to-navigate lifts on one mountain cut down the logistical hassles, while still providing challenging terrain for the more advanced skier and snowboarder.

A family at Mt. Norquay ski resort, Banff National Park.
Photo by Luke Sudermann.

Where to Ski

Cascade Chair and Sundance Surface Lift are conveniently located side-by-side, making it the perfect starting area for beginners. Plus, it’s just out front of the main lodge, making for easy ins and outs for frequent warm-up breaks on colder days.

The Spirit Chair is a good spot for kids to test out their skills on new terrain. It’s easy to ski back to the lodge from here, and just a short walk if you go to the bottom of the chair first. Ray’s Run (run 35) and Abracadabra (run 36) are fun blues that quickly blend into greens. And Rob’s Run (run 31) is a nice, short and wide black to test out for first-timers.

Kids at Mt. Norquay ski resort, Banff National Park.
Photo courtesy of Mt. Norquay.

Where to Eat

The Lone Pine

If your kids love nachos – getting to The Lone Pine is a must. This apres classic is famous here for being fully-loaded with cheesy goodness. Serving up fresh salads, yummy sandwiches, and hot home-made soup, kids of all ages will leave satisfied.

The Cliffhouse Bistro

The Cliffhouse Bistro is worth a visit to Mt. Norquay on it’s own! Open year-round, this uniquely designed restaurant was built in the 1950s, and offers beautiful view of Banff and the Bow Valley below. This restaurant is at the top of the North American chair, but beginner skiers and snowboarders are welcome to take the chair down if uncomfortable with terrain.

Skier next to the Cliffhouse Bistro restaurant, Mt. Rundle in background, Mt. Norquay ski resort, Banff National Park.
Photo by Malcolm Sangster.

Things to Keep in Mind

Mt. Norquay is the only ski resort that offers night skiing! Every Friday and Saturday night bring your family to hit the slopes under a starry sky.

The biggest tube park in the Canadian Rockies can be found at Mt. Norquay, and it’s included with your SkiBig3 Lift Ticket. Night tubing is also available Friday and Saturday nights!

Kid skiing on corduroy at Mt. Norquay
Photo courtesy of Mt. Norquay.

Create your next great family memories in Banff National Park! Call our in-Banff SkiBig3 Vacation Planners today at 1-844-754-2443  or plan your Canadian Rockies ski vacation online. Great Ski & Stay Packages available now.

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