Peyto Lake, Banff
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Peyto Lake, Banff

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Banff resort information & après-ski

Après-ski

Banff is a party town, with numerous après-ski options. The Rose & Crown (202 Banff Avenue; tel: (403) 762 2121; www.roseandcrown.ca) serves Canadian beers and cocktails, and has live nightly music. For a Wild West-flavour, head for Wild Bill's Legendary Saloon (201 Banff Avenue; tel: (403) 762 0333; www.wildbillsbanff.com) – the brave can even try calf roping and line dancing.

Eating out

Banff has an eclectic mix of restaurants, whether it’s affordable pizza, burgers, sushi or something more upmarket.

Evelyn's Coffee Bar (201 Banff Avenue; tel: (403) 762 0352; www.evelynscoffeebar.com) is a great place to grab a homemade muffin and a hot drink while waiting for the ski bus. For something more substantial, taste Albertan AAA-grade beef at Melissa's (218 Lynx Street (tel: (403) 762 5511; www.melssteak.com), which offers a good-value steak dinner. The award-winning Maple Leaf (137 Banff Avenue; tel: (403) 760 7680; www.banffmapleleaf.com) sources fresh Canadian seafood and specialities such as bison stroganoff or organic game from local farms.

Resort Information

Beyond the slopes

For those who don't ski or fancy a day off the slopes, Banff offers snowmobiling, dog sledding, ice climbing, ice fishing and cross-country skiing. Alternatively, head underground on a cave tour or enjoy a helicopter trip. And, just five minutes from town, Banff Gondola whisks sightseers to the summit of Sulphur Mountain, affording spectacular views of the Rockies.

For a spot of pampering, head to the historic Banff's Upper Hot Springs (Mountain Avenue; tel: 1 800 767 1611; www.hotsprings.ca). Temperatures in the outdoor pool vary between a toasty 37°C to 40°C (98°F to 104°F).

Indoor attractions include a bowling alley, cinema, a few small museums and galleries. The Banff Park Museum (Banff Avenue; tel: (403) 762 1558; www.pc.gc.ca) offers a good introduction to the region's wildlife, while The Banff Centre (St Julien Road; tel: (403) 762 6100; www.banffcentre.ca) hosts cultural performances, exhibitions and concerts.

If you fancy on-mountain activities, try snow tubing and cross-country skiing at Mt Norquay or snowshoeing at Sunshine Village.

Family fun

Mt Norquay's ski school offers lessons for ages six to 12 and 'ski 'n' play' for ages three to five. This ski school and the Tiny Tigers Daycare at Sunshine provide day care for children from 19 months to six years. At the latter, young skiers can join the Tiny Tigers Ski and Play (ages three to six) before progressing to Kids Kampus (ages six to 12). The ski school also runs special classes for teenagers.

Off the slopes, parents can take their kids on a sleigh ride or to the indoor water park at the Douglas Fir Resort (Tunnel Mountain Road; tel: (403) 762 5591; www.douglasfir.com), with its pool and slides.

Retail therapy

In Banff, shoppers can find everything from international names to independent boutiques, bookshops, sweet shops, jewellers and numerous gift shops stocked with t-shirts, elk cuddly toys and maple syrup. Mountain Chocolates (200 Banff Avenue; tel: (403) 762 2624) sells handmade confectionary, which includes 'bear paws' made of cashews and caramel dipped in chocolate. Snowboarders should check out Rude Boys (215 Banff Avenue; tel: (403) 762 8480; rudeboys.com) for stylish gear and clothing.

Splashing out

Cheer on the Calgary Flames ice-hockey team at the Calgary Saddledome. Tours, including pick-up from your hotel, transport, hockey ticket and guide, are available through Banff Adventures Unlimited (tel: (403) 762 4554; www.banffadventures.com).

Content Parent

Hotels

There is a huge range of accommodation in Banff, including hotels, self-catered apartments and catered chalets; most of which are built in a traditional wooden-chalet style. Note that Sunshine Mountain Lodge is the only ski-in/ski-out hotel in Banff.


Fairmont Banff Springs

(403) 762 2211.

The magnificent Banff Springs is based on a Scottish castle and has been welcoming guests since 1888. The resort’s large Willow Stream spa boasts a 32m (105ft) indoor saltwater pool and year-round outdoor pool. Guests can choose from multiple dining options.

Mount Royal Hotel

(403) 762 3331.

A centrally-located hotel, Mount Royal Hotel has comfortable rooms and suites with a restaurant and on-site pub.

Red Carpet Inn

(403) 762 4184.

This affordable motel-style property is just a couple of blocks away from Banff's shops and restaurants. All rooms here come with free Wi-Fi internet access.

Getting there and around

Getting there

Nearest airport: Calgary International Airport (YYC).

Distance to resort: 140km (88 miles).

Driving time: 1 hour 30 minutes.

Getting around

Most places in Banff are within walking distance of each other, but it can become bitterly cold at times; so if you're not staying in the centre, grab a taxi. Alternatively, some hotels operate shuttles.

A public bus runs between the Fairmont Banff Springs hotel, Banff Avenue and Tunnel Mountain at the far end of town. A ski bus links various points in town and the ski areas (including Lake Louise); this is a free service for those holding a Tri-area lift pass.

Edited by Gavin Haines
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