Banff & The Canadian Rockies
Mountains have many talents.They inspire poets and protect villages. They attract snow and tourists, and find unique ways to challenge thrill-seekers and daredevils. They mix rainwater and melting snow to form streams that playfully dance and race down rocks from the summit to the valley floor. They defy the senses, keeping mankind in its place, all while transcending the laws of beauty.
The Canadian Rockies are so talented that they even do an impersonation of the ocean, for from atop a particularly lofty perch you will behold a sea of giant white waves, stretching from horizon to horizon. Many skiers, freshly deposited atop one of these mountains, will look out over this incredible 'ocean' of snow-capped waves leaping for the skies and become so absorbed by the overwhelming beauty that it takes a while to get around to actual skiing.
Stretching a thousand miles north-northwest from the U.S. border through Alberta and British Columbia, the Canadian Rockies are Canada's rooftop, and oh what a view from that roof. But this magical mountain valley is more than a postcard—it's a jungle gym of epic proportions. With skiing and snowboarding for half the year, and hiking, horseback riding and white-water rafting for the rest, there are more than enough activities to attract the adventurers that fill the countless mountain lodges and châteaux.
With many activities and many resorts throughout the Rockies, finding the right combination is like sledding down Banff's Goat's Eye Mountain blindfolded. Sure it's possible, but there's a better way that will result in less headaches, and that better way is through your travel agent's office. Travel agents can steer you clear of trees while creating the perfect Canadian Rockies adventure. And any adventure in this neck of the woods begins in Banff.
Banff - Options Aplenty
Canada's number one tourist destination, Banff is incredibly popular. But don't let the crowds turn you away from this mountain paradise, for Banff is a destination blessed with options. You can enjoy historic hotels, fine restaurants and lively nightlife, or go wild in the wilderness, where outfitters make it easy to raft the rowdy rivers, bike across mountain trails or horse around throughout a golden afternoon.
With the mighty Bow River coursing straight through town and a skyline filled with craggy peaks, Banff is undoubtedly one of the world's most beautiful settings, yet the true attraction is Banff National Park, where three colossal ski resorts share enough fresh powder to satisfy all who come to conquer the slopes. Sunshine Village, the park's flagship resort, claims to be the country's highest ski peak, which you'll enjoy as you stand at the apex, basking in the incredible amount of sunshine that defines this summit.
Northwest of Banff sits gorgeous and green Lake Louise, home to the largest ski area in Canada and easy access to the remote high country hiking trails. An internationally popular ski resort, the lake itself is renowned for its mesmerizing green color that is created from mineral-rich stream water. Walking around the lake, you're sure to be amazed at not only the color, but also the nearby Chateau Lake Louise, one of the most celebrated hotels in Canada.
British Columbia's Snow Scene
Banff and Lake Louise have been stars of the Canadian Rockies ski scene for years, but across the border in British Columbia, two more resorts are beginning to make a lot of noise. The alpine resorts of Fernie and Kimberley are both well known for their deep powder and challenging terrain, yet the two draw completely different crowds.
Fernie's popularity exploded in the last decade, and it hasn't looked back since. Hugely popular with the international set, you're more apt to hear the rolling accents of an Australian or German on the festive streets before a Canadian 'eh.' Regardless of where they come from, they all come to Fernie for the waist-high powder, magnificent sloped bowls and the wild nightlife.
Kimberley's approach to the ski scene is more down-to-earth, where most of the employees at the resort are from the town itself, creating a homey, tourist-friendly atmosphere. The Kimberley Alpine Resort is the definition of family friendly, as the mountain, which includes countless green and blue runs and a bunny-hill area, is a beginner's best friend. The powder is not as plentiful in Kimberley, but the amount of groomed terrain is phenomenal, as is the amount of sunlight the slopes relish in.
Get Expert Advice from a Travel Agent
The sun seems to shine all day throughout the Canadian Rockies, where the majestic, snow-tipped peaks are outnumbered only by the many options presented to visitors, both adventurous and luxurious. With so many options available, wise travelers turn to travel agents, for when it comes to planning the perfect Canadian itinerary, your travel agent knows.
Travel agents know the best routes to take though the mountain passes and the best resorts to stay in during your trip to fit both your budget and expectations. They also know the secret pleasures of each destination, such as Banff's Upper Hot Springs pool, where the best way to soak up the scenery is to literally soak in the warm mineral waters and gaze at the surrounding peaks.
But before you run to the Great White North for an adventure of a lifetime, travel agents want to warn you about one thing: any ski vacation to Banff and the Canadian Rockies will quickly become an annual event.
It's time to enjoy the talented Canadian Rockies. Contact a trusted travel agent in your area today and start dreaming about the mountain you'll soon conquer.
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