The wonders of Banff
The NEWSTALK ski team has just returned from one of the best ski vacations anyone can take.
We enjoyed fabulous snow, fabulous restaurants and a fabulous hotel in Banff Alberta. We arrived on Wednesday to a great surprise with the Moose Hotel and Suites located on Banff Ave, a two minute walk to downtown's cool restaurants and shops.
The Moose Hotel and Suites has everything you'd expect from a resort with rooftop whirlpools, spa, fitness center and one of the coolest lobbies anywhere in Banff...A roaring, floor to ceiling fireplace will greet you upon arrival with comfortable leather furniture to relax before an exquisite dinner or meal in Pacini restaurant..right beside the lobby.
The Moose is one of the coolest looking hotels on Banff Ave with a chalet look and feel..beautiful BC wood throughout and a heated downstairs parking garage that keeps your equipment dry and warm for next day adventures. General Manager, Peter Dubeau has done an incredible job along with one of the nicest and friendliest staff you'll ever have the pleasure of meeting. You'll see Peter in one of my photos by the lobby fireplace. Plus, their Covid protocol is second to none in safety and awareness. I felt completely safe in the hotel and restaurant. Masks were worn everywhere by staff and guests.
I haven't been to Banff in about 8 years but the huge transition can be attributed to the Banff Lodging Company. They own the Moose Hotel and Suites plus a number of other properties that will fit any budget...from hotel rooms to suites and condos..they've got it all especially the new Dorothy Hotel for budget conscious travelers.
What is really cool and unique..the Dorothy was built to honor trailblazing women of the area...women that helped make Banff the place it is today.
The Banff Lodging Company has helped transform the town of Banff into one of the hottest tourist destinations in North America thanks to their cool looking hotels and 6 restaurants including 2 Kegs. If you're planning on making your way to Banff, I suggest booking your trip NOW with another busy spring summer season coming up...I can gaurantee, that a stay at one of Banff Lodging Company hotels will never disappoint and I suggest the Moose Hotel and Suites. It has it all and we will be back.
OK, as for skiing. Some of the worlds best mountains with Covid protocol throughout. Much like our Ontario resorts we felt very comfortable and safe. We enjoyed Mt Norquay on Thursday just 5 minutes out of town...It truly is one of Banffs best kept secrets but I know GM Simon Moffatt is trying his best to spread the good word. There's a slope for every level of skier and offers the only night skiing in Banff.
You'll often see the Canadian Olympic team practicing on some of their incredibly steep slopes or teams from across Canada. I really like their chalet with a quaint and cool cafeteria/bar...Norquay is a very comfortable and friendly resort to start or end your Banff experience.
On Thursday we enjoyed a fantastic Blue Bird day at Lake Louise...the Friendly Giant in the Sky..4,200 acres of stunning views, snow capped mountain peaks along with glaciers and forest. It's spread over 4 mountains and one of the largest ski resorts in North America with 143 runs.
Head of Marketing, James Fraser was fun to meet and his enthusiasm for Lake Louise is infectious...It also has one of the coolest sun decks and outdoor areas called the Branded Peak to enjoy a beverage and burger after a long day on the hills. Everything you hear about Lake Louise is true and while you're there I suggest a quick 10 minute drive to see the actual Lake Louise as you'll see in my photos.
Stunning and spectacular are two words to describe the view with a new washroom center located in the parking lot. For our final day, we save one the best to last...Sunshine Village about a 15 minute drive from Banff with 3,300 acres of skiable terrain spread over 3 mountains. What's really cool...Sunshine has the longest non glacial season in the country with 7 months of glorious powder due to a base of 7,200 ft. 30ft of snow a season with the Delirium Drive named top 10 Piste destinations in the world. We enjoyed powder with another 2ft hitting the area just after we left.
I wanted to thank Kendra Scurfield for arranging our day and fully enjoyed one of the coolest apres bars at any ski resort in the world right beside the Lodge.
Sunshine is also unique in offering the only ski in, ski out Hotel in Banff...it's a gorgeous hotel with amazing restaurants and especially cool cause it's halfway up the mountain after a 15 minute gondola ride from the parking lot. Friendly staff will help you unload your car and move luggage to the gondola.
And for those not staying, I suggest the "green run down..it runs from top of gondola to the parking lot winding through the trees and beautiful scenery to finish your day.
All in all, my traveling experience to Banff was exceptional right from the Toronto flight to Calgary with very few people in the airport... to renting our SUV and hour half spectacular drive from Calgary to Banff...It's one of the most beautiful drives you'll ever experience and starts your Mountain vacation off on a great note.
I was very impressed with the safety and Covid protocol where ever we went...From the airport, airplane to rental car company, Moose Hotel and Suites plus all ski resorts and restaurants in town. They're all doing it right in difficult times and I highly recommend a ski trip or vacation to Banff. You won't be disappointed.