The Faces of Banff-Lake Louise

The Faces of Banff-Lake Louise

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When it comes to stunning natural landscapes, there are few locales on earth that rival the beauty of Banff National Park, located in Alberta, Canada. The country’s first national park stretches across 2,564 square miles of wilderness that includes over 1,000 glaciers, countless peaks in excess of 11,000 feet of elevation and seven national historic sites. Banff National Park is also a skiing mecca, home to the trifecta of ski areas known as SkiBig3, luring lovers of gravity-fed snow sliding from all corners of the world.

Austrian and Swiss mountain guides first introduced skiing to the area in 1909, and the national park’s first ski area, Norquay was established in 1924 with its first mechanical lift opening in 1941. Banff’s other two ski resorts, Sunshine Village and Lake Louise, opened for winter business in 1945 and 1959, respectively. Each winter, upwards of 300 inches of cold-smoke snow blankets the gargantuan uprooted blocks of sedimentary rock, providing a beloved playground for skiers. However, the only thing better than the skiing in Banff-Lake Louise, are the people.

The mountain folk that call Banff home are as rugged and wild as the mountains in their backyard, but their welcoming nature and warm dispositions provide a contrast to the overwhelming scenery of the national park. In this seven-part series, we’ve profiled a handful of local SkiBig3 skiers. Each of them looks at their home in a different way, and were gracious enough to provide insight into why Banff National Park should be at the top of your list when planning your ski vacation this season.


Banff Sunshine by the numbers

Average Annual Snowfall: 360 inches
Total Skiable Acreage: 3,358 acres
Vertical Drop: 3,514 feet
Distance from Banff: 20 minutes
Distance from Calgary (YYC): 1 HR 30 MIN

Beginner: 20%
Intermediate: 55%
Advanced: 25%


Lake Louise by the numbers

Average Annual Snowfall: 179 inches
Total Skiable Acreage: 4,200 acres
Vertical Drop: 3,250 feet
Distance from Banff: 45 minutes
Distance from Calgary (YYC): 2 HR 15 MIN

Beginner: 25%
Intermediate: 45%
Advanced: 30%


Mt. Norquay by the numbers

Average Annual Snowfall: 120 inches
Total Skiable Acreage: 190 acres
Vertical Drop: 1,650 feet
Distance from Banff: 10 minutes
Distance from Calgary (YYC): 1 HR 30 MIN

Beginner: 31%
Intermediate: 25%
Advanced: 44%