The Ultimate Guide to a Girl’s Ski Getaway in Banff and Lake Louise

Several key elements go into planning a seamless ski getaway for a group of your favourite lady shredders. Whether for a bachelorette, friend reunion, a special birthday, or just because, SkiBig3 has everything you need for the ultimate girls’ ski trip to the Canadian Rockies. From unique accommodation, breathtaking scenery, and activities for every kind of skier, snowboarder, and adventure-seeker, (plus all the insider tips and tricks to make the most of it) – we’ve got you covered.

While this itinerary is for a 4-day stay, it could easily be reduced to a 2-day stay for a weekend trip by cutting back one day in Banff and one day in Lake Louise.

At-a-Glance: 5-night / 4-full day stay
  • Travel Day: Travel and arrival to Banff
  • Day 1: Ski at Banff Sunshine Village, overnight in Banff
  • Day 2: Explore town of Banff, tubing or skiing at Mt. Norquay, overnight in Banff
  • Day 3: Rest day in Lake Louise, overnight in Lake Louise
  • Day 4: Ski at Lake Louise Ski Resort, overnight in Lake Louise
  • Travel Day: Travel day home
Group of women window shopping on Banff Avenue.
Photo by Noel Hendrickson.

The secret to a successful winter ski getaway with the girls is variety and balance. Mix up the vacation pace, try out all three SkiBig3 resorts – Banff Sunshine Village, Lake Louise Ski Resort, and Mt. Norquay – and visit both destination ‘hubs’ – the town of Banff and village of Lake Louise. To make the most if it, we recommend splitting your stay between both Banff and Lake Louise.

Both locations have their own unique appeal. While vibrant Banff is the busier of the two and perfect for those looking for excitement, sleepy Lake Louise is a wonderful recluse to recharge and unwind. Starting your vacation in Banff while group energy dynamics are still high makes it a great place to kick off your trip.

Banff

GETTING HERE

Starting your trip with Banff as your home base works great for several reasons. If arriving via Calgary’s International Airport (YYC), Banff is the closest town within the national park – just a 90-minute drive or shuttle via the 4-lane Trans Canada Highway. The village of Lake Louise is another 40-minute journey past the town of Banff. 

RENTAL GEAR

Banff is also where you can pick up your ski and snowobard gear rentals for the duration of your trip. The SkiBig3 Adventure Hub is your one-stop-shop for all your SkiBig3 needs, conveniently located right on Banff Avenue.

ACCOMMODATION

From castles to condos to cabins, Banff and Lake Louise have a plethora of accommodation options to suit your group’s budget and travel style. Larger groups may be interested in booking a condo at Hidden Ridge or Rocky Mountain Resort, while smaller to medium-sized groups would enjoy the historic Mount Royal Hotel, or the Moose Hotel and Suites – Banff’s newest addition. Looking to glam it up? Consider staying at Fairmont Banff Springs for that classic castle in the mountains experience.

Fairmont Banff Springs in Banff National Park.
Photo courtesy of Fairmont Banff Springs.

Arrival Travel Day

Once you’ve checked in to your hotel, head to the SkiBig3 Adventure Hub on Banff Avenue to get fitted for your gear. The Adventure Hub is located within walking distance of most hotels, or a short bus ride for those located near the town’s boundaries. 

No need to travel with extra bulky gear and extra baggage fees. With an extensive ski and snowboard fleet available, you’ll be sure to find the perfect fit for your ability and needs. And if your group gets fitted an hour or more before closing, the Adventure Hub will conveniently deliver your gear right to your hotel.

Exterior shot of SkiBig3 Adventure Hub in Banff, Alberta.
Photo by Will Lambert.

Afterwards, you’ll want to grab a bite to eat before getting a good night’s rest for your next day on the mountain. Chuck’s Steakhouse, Ticino’s, or the Maple Leaf are all cozy and intimate restaurants that invite you to indulge and relax before a big day.

For those looking for a night out on the town, High Rollers, Magpie and Stump, or Rose and Crown are great locales to kick things off. If the night carries on, you’ll find most creatures of the night at the Dancing Sasquatch, Banff’s most popular nightclub. Or head to Wild Bill’s for some good ‘ole fashioned two-stepping fun.

Exterior shot of Magpie & Stump restaurant in Banff, Alberta.
Photo courtesy of Destination Canada.

Day 1

Banff Sunshine Village is a great resort to start your ski and snowboard trip with the girls. But first – breakfast! You can grab a bite in town – Coyote’s and Melissa’s Missteak are local favourites –  before taking the ski shuttle up to Sunshine. If you want to make the most of your day on the mountain, grab breakfast to go from Creekside – or a little hair of the dog hangover caesar from Trapper’s.

Once you’ve boarded the gondola at Sunshine base, it takes you all the way up past the Goat’s Eye Mountain stop to the Village – a great place to start your day on the mountain. With a variety of runs for every ability, everyone in your group will be able to find something to suit their level. After building up your confidence, grab a bite from Trapper’s or Chimney Corner for lunch, and then head down to Goat’s Eye Mountain to give your ski and snowboard legs a workout.

Friends skiing and riding together at Banff Sunshine Village, Banff National Park.
Photo by Reuben Krabbe.

At day’s end, head back to the town of Banff via the same convenient shuttle to reconvene back at your hotel. Take advantage of the rooftop hot tub, if your hotel happens to have one – and then get ready to head back out for an evening of bites and bevies.

If your group is looking for a more casual round of drinks to end the day, Banff Ave Brewing Co. has a laid back and friendly atmosphere with the best local brews on tap. If you’re craving a craft cocktail, head over to Park Distillery and Restaurant to enjoy their campfire cuisine, mountain cabin atmosphere, and small batch, hand-crafted spirits employed into every cocktail.

Park Distillery via Girlvsglobe.com
Park Distillery via Girlvsglobe.com

Day 2

By now, your girl gang may need a little recuperation. Use this ‘off day’ to explore the Banff area and give your body a break. Rent a pair of skates and head out to any of the nearby frozen backcountry lakes, or head up the Banff Gondola to enjoy a bird’s eye view of Banff. 

If that all still sounds a little too fast-paced, book in a spa day for the girls. Willow Stream Spa and Cedar & Sage Co. are great locations offering several spa services. Or head to the Banff Upper Hot Springs for a front row seat to the best views of the Rundle range.

Woman enjoys the natural thermal waters at the Banff Upper Hot Springs, Banff National Park, Canada.
Enjoying the natural thermal waters at the Banff Upper Hot Springs. Photo by Banff & Lake Louise Tourism / Noel Hendrickson.

On the flip side, if you’re feeling totally fine and ready to tackle another day on the slopes, head up to Mt. Norquay for an afternoon of skiing. If some people in the group prefer to opt out, there are fun tubing and sightseeing options available at Mt. Norquay as well. Or, just keep the party going at their Lone Pine Pub while the others log more ski miles.

Alex Armstrong, Michelle Brazier, and Lyndsey Dyer take a selfie at Mt. Norquay.
Alex Armstrong, Michelle Brazier, and Lyndsey Dyer take a selfie at Mt. Norquay. Photo courtesy of Matador Network.

Lake Louise

Now, it’s time to journey onward to Lake Louise. If travelling by rental car, we recommend taking advantage of a mountain cabin for your accommodation, for those classic ski vacation vibes. Baker Creek Mountain Resort gives you an ‘off-the-grid’ feeling while still being within a 10-minute drive to Lake Louise Ski Resort. Storm Mountain Lodge is another great option, about a 30-minute drive away from the resort.

If relying on shuttle for your transportation, consider booking your accommodation within the village of Lake Louise. Ask our Reservations Team about the Fairmont Castle Hop to maximize your ski and ride time – your luggage is transported for you while you enjoy the slopes!

Exterior winter shot of cabin at Baker Creek Mountain Resort, Banff National Park.
Photo courtesy of Baker Creek Mountain Resort.

Day 3

Today is the perfect opportunity to enjoy a change in scenery. The key for your off day in Lake Louise is to soak in the calming mountain energy, and enjoy a slice of serenity. Wander around Lake Louise shoreline for a quiet winter walk to recharge with some forest-bathing, or go for an ice skate on Lake Louise itself for a breathtaking mountain experience. Rent a pair of cross-country skis and enjoy a backcountry adventure out to Moraine Lake, or the Bow River loop closer to the village. Or, you may want to book an Ice Walk to Johnston Canyon or a dog sled tour.. 

Grab a bite to eat at Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise – Alpine Social has spectacular views while the Walliser Stube has a charismatic Swiss ambience. The Chateau’s Afternoon Tea is a delicious (and Instagram-friendly) experience for lunch as well.

Friends walking near Lake Louise, Alberta.
Photo by Devaan Ingraham.

Day 4

For the final day of your girl’s mountain getaway, soak it all in at Lake Louise Ski Resort. There’s no shortage of terrain to discover here, and the views can’t be beat. We recommend breaking up your day here with a morning on the back side discovering Larch Chair area, followed by a lunch break at Sawyer’s Nook to share a fondue pot (or two!). End your day on front side terrain, be sure to snap a few last selfies from Top of the World Chair.

If the weather is mild, at the end of the day you’ll want to kick back with a pint around the outdoor fire pit at Kokanee Kabin. Or if the group needs to warm up, head inside the Lodge of Ten Peaks to Powder Keg and feel your body melt into their oversized leather couches and armchairs. At the end of your last day on the mountain, simply leave your gear with Lake Louise Ski Resort rentals, and SkiBig3 will return them to Banff for you.

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

Grab a memorable finale night dinner at The Station in the village of Lake Louise for a meal you won’t soon forget. This historic train station turned restaurant is located right next to the CP rail tracks, and you can feel the trains roar by as you dine.

Still looking for one more night out? While the village of Lake Louise is much quieter than Banff, you can still find some night time fun with the locals by heading to Lake Louise Village Grill + Bar in Samson Mall.

Interior shot of The Station Restaurant East Room dining area, located in the village of Lake Louise, Banff National Park.
The Station restaurant in the village of Lake Louise. Photo by Orange Girl.

Final Travel Day

For your final day in Banff National Park, be sure to catch the Roam public transit bus back to Banff in time to board your airporter back to YYC, or inquire with our Reservations Team about other transportation options.

Our friendly Reservations Team is always happy to share their local knowledge and experience to help you find the best ski vacation packages for your taste, style and budget. Check out our featured vacation packages or call us on 1-844-754-2443: our based-in-Banff Reservations Team are here to help!

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