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…
- Arrive in Banff– Settle in and explore Banff
- Day 1 – Skiing & Night Tubing at Mt. Norquay
- Day 2 – Skiing at Banff Sunshine
- Day 3 – Explore Banff National Park via a non-ski activity
- Day 4 – Skiing at Lake Louise Ski Resort
- Day 5 – Skating and snowshoeing at Lake Louise
5 things to plan before you arrive
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.