a VirtualTourist member from Wellington
Hi we are a family of 4 (2 grown-up kids) planning to ski Canada in December. Ideally we'll be in Banff over Christmas. How cold will it be on the skifields?
We are looking at accommodation options and wondering if renting a condo for a week is a better way to go than hotel suites. Any ideas or recommendations accepted gratefully - we have to keep in mind the exchange rate is not good between NZ and Canada!
We plan to hire a vehicle to drive from Calgary, so we can sightsee a bit too.
What is the best way to purchase ski passes? Which are best mountains for intermediate -advanced skiers? Any package deals anyone know of. I'd love any tips about what else to see and do.
Have you thought about going just before Christmas? Over Christmas, you will be paying a premium for any rental or hotel room. If you want to go for Christmas, be prepared to pay$$. For sure a condo rental would be more economical either way. If you want to rent a condo, you will have to stay in the town of Banff or Canmore, which is 15 minutes away, these two towns offer more nightlife, restaurants, and other conveniences.
If you want to splurge and stay in the village of Lake Louise, be prepared that there is very little in terms of nightlife.
You can try looking for accomodation in the town of Field, BC, which would be approx. half-hour drive to the Lake Louise Resort. However, there is virtually no nightlife and very litte in choice of restaurants in town.
As for weather, the past two Christmases had good temps, minus 10 to minus 13C. However, weather can wildy swing around here so be prepared! There is a possibility of temps going down to around -30C.
The two ski resorts that are the best are Sunshine and Lake Louise. You can search their websites for info about lift tickets. You can also get packages as well, it might be a better deal for you:
During the winter, there are very few sites you can see as either they are snowed in and you have to ski or snowshoe in (as in cross country skiing) or they are shut down. Lake Louise is still open, but it's frozen over. The hotel is worthwhile to look around in; you can take ice tours of Johnston Canyon, apparently the ice formations are incredible. You can also do dog sledding and there are snowshoeing tours available. There is also skating on Lake Louise. If you are into cross country skiing, you can ski into Moraine Lake. There is also enough shopping in Banff to keep you occupied for about a day, plus the Banff Springs hotel has one of the best spas in the world. The Banff Springs hotel is also a historic hotel and worth a look at as well.
For a special treat, I highly recommend Sunday brunch at the Banff Springs Hotel or the Chateau Lake Louise. The one at Banff Springs is a buffet, and the Lake Louise one is a set menu that you can pick from. Either one is excellent.