Peyto Lake, Banff
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Peyto Lake, Banff

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Banff resort information & après-ski

Après-ski

Banff has somewhat of a reputation as a party town with young Canadians, boasting a vibrant nightlife scene along its central streets.

The St. James Gate Irish Pub (tel: +1 403 762 9355; www.stjamesgatebanff.com) is a traditional Irish tavern that has a great selection of beers to sample. Additionally, The Rose & Crown (tel: +1 403 762 2121; www.roseandcrown.ca) serves Canadian beers and cocktails, is open until 0200, and has live nightly music.

For those looking for something a little out of the ordinary, head to Wild Bill's Legendary Saloon (tel: +1 403 762 0333; www.wildbillsbanff.com) for some late-night line dancing - the extra daring can even try calf roping.

Eating out

Banff caters well to skiers with a fondness for food, boasting a huge array of eateries, from traditional to international and budget to luxury.

Evelyn's Coffee Bar (tel: +1 403 762 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, sample scrumptious Albertan AAA-grade beef at Melissa's (tel: +1 403 762 5511; www.melssteak.com).

Vegetarian skiers need not fear, Banff has a huge choice of establishments catering to herbivores including Nourish (tel: +1 403 760 3933; www.nourishbistro.com), a much-loved restaurant on Bear Street. The establishment serves up a number of inventive meals, including Mac & Squeeze, which the restaurant claims, ‘you’ll love so much you’ll want to hug your chef’.

The award-winning Maple Leaf (tel: +1 403 760 7680; www.banffmapleleaf.com) sources fresh Canadian seafood and serves up specialities such as bison stroganoff and 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 unrivalled views of the Rockies.

For a spot of pampering, head to Banff's Upper Hot Springs (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 several galleries. The Banff Park Museum (tel: +1 403 762 1558; www.pc.gc.ca) offers a good introduction to the region's wildlife, while The Banff Centre (tel: +1 403 762 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

Banff ticks the right boxes for skiing families, with a scattering of family-friendly hotels and restaurants and beginner slopes suitable for little ones.

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 treat their kids to a sleigh ride or try out the indoor water park at the Douglas Fir Resort (tel: +1 403 762 5591; www.douglasfir.com), with its pool and slides.

Retail therapy

In Banff, shoppers can find everything from international chains to independent boutiques.

Bookshops, sweet shops, jewellers and numerous gift shops are available jam-packed with merchandise including t-shirts, elk cuddly toys and maple syrup. Mountain Chocolates (tel: +1 403 762 2624) sells handmade confectionary, including 'bear paws' made of cashew nuts and caramel dipped in chocolate. Snowboarders should check out Rude Boys (tel: +1 403 762 8480; www.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: +1 403 762 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 style. Note that Sunshine Mountain Lodge is the only ski-in/ski-out hotel in Banff.

Show hotels in the

following price range

Luxury Moderate Cheap

Rimrock Resort Hotel

+1 403 762 3356

This large hotel offers accommodation ranging from simple single rooms to luxury suites, all tastefully decorated in earthy tones. Accommodation aside, The Rimrock Resort Hotel boasts an excellent on-site restaurant and spa.

300 Mountain Avenue, T1L 1J2, Canada

Fairmont Banff Springs

+1 403 762 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.

405 Spray Avenue, T1L 1J4, Canada

Hidden Ridge Resort

+1 403 762 3544

An attractive, moderately-priced hotel, the Hidden Ridge Resort offers suites and condos with kitchenettes. The hotel boasts a good reputation for service quality and excellent facilities, including natural hot pools.

901 Hidden Ridge Way, T1L 1H8, Canada

Mount Royal Hotel

+1 403 762 3331

Centrally located in downtown Banff, Mount Royal Hotel houses 135 comfortable rooms and suites, as well as a restaurant and on-site pub.

138 Banff Avenue, T1L 1A7, Canada

Irwin's Mountain Inn

+1 403 762 4566

One of the more affordable options on Banff Avenue, Irwin’s Mountain Inn is located close to all amenities, houses spacious rooms and provides a friendly and helpful service. Other perks include complimentary Wi-Fi, a traditional dry cedar sauna and a communal hot tub.

429 Banff Avenue, T1L 1B2, Canada

Red Carpet Inn

+1 403 762 4184

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

425 Banff Avenue, T1L 1B6, Canada

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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.

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