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Banff is situated right in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, making it the perfect destination for skiing. So how do you decide where to stay in Banff for a ski trip? I’ve got you covered!
If you’re a frequent skier, you already know that a ski holiday is quite different than other holidays. So planning where to stay usually looks different too.
There are four different ski resorts near Banff: Mt Norquay Ski Resort, Sunshine Ski Resort, Lake Louise Ski Resort, and Nakiska Ski Area. You’re going to want to base yourself closest to your chosen ski resort.
While Banff itself is somewhat small, it’s still PACKED with several hotel options. It can be overwhelming to those visiting Banff for the first time.
I’m here to help you narrow down that list, and take away some of that overwhelm. This blog post is going to show you the best areas to stay, as well as hotel options for each when visiting Banff for skiing! Without further ado, here is your ultimate guide to knowing where to stay in Banff for skiing.
Where to Stay in Banff Town for Skiing
Banff is a very popular town in the Rockies, attracting thousands of visitors each year. And it’s no wonder why – it’s absolutely beautiful and there are tons of things to do in Banff in winter.
The downtown area is very quaint and there are many awesome options for places to eat, drink, and shop. With the mountains as the backdrop to Banff Ave, it’s a beautiful place to base yourself in Banff National Park.
Many visitors base themselves here for a ski holiday due to the fact that you have great access to Sunshine and Norquay ski resorts – both are within a 15-minute drive of town. So if those two ski resorts are on your list, this may be a good option for you.
However, if you plan on spending more time at Lake Louise Ski Resort and Nakiska Ski Area you will be about an hour away. If that is the case, keep reading, I’ve got info on hotels closer to those ski resorts too.
There next three hotels are perfect for anybody looking for a place to stay in Banff town for skiing
Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel – $$$
If you truly want an experience and a hotel all in one, then you MUST stay at the Fairmont Banff Springs. This luxurious hotel is actually an old Scottish Castle built in 1888 and declared a National Historic Site.
The Fairmont is the most prestigious of all of the hotels near downtown Banff offering a range of restaurants on-site to choose from as well as tons of activities. Guests can go bowling, play tennis, or swim in the large lap pool.
They don’t cut corners when it comes to details either. The rooms are carefully designed with guest comfort in mind.
The location is close enough to town that you can walk, but a free shuttle is also offered.
Standard rooms start at $450 CAD during the low season.
Juniper Hotel & Bistro – $$
Without a doubt, the Juniper Hotel has the best views in all of Banff. Set at the base of Mt Norquay only a couple of minutes from town, this peaceful hotel offers mountain views from every window and balcony.
Aside from its great location, the hotel bistro is also one of the top-rated restaurants in all of Banff. It offers local specialties and a huge cocktail list!
If you plan on going skiing at Mt Norquay, this is a very convenient hotel. Otherwise, the free shuttle into Banff town is also very handy!
Just imagine yourself having a relaxing evening, sitting in the hot tub, and taking in the gorgeous setting! It should come as no surprise that this is one of the most popular hotels for couples visiting Banff on their honeymoon.
Prices for the Juniper are also incredibly reasonable starting under $200 CAD a night.
Banff Inn – $
I’ve chosen the Banff Inn as the “best value” hotel in Banff for skiing because of its reasonable prices, high rating, and good facilities. This hotel has everything you could need without all the extra bells and whistles that cost so much more.
The rooms are spacious and the staff is helpful. The large hot tub is perfect for relaxing on a winter day and the location is convenient making getting to town very easy. They also offer free underground parking.
Not to mention, their location is right in the heart of Banff town – a perfect central location for accessing ski resorts like Norquay and Sunshine while still exploring vibrant Banff itself.
If you’re looking for somewhere to stay in Banff that is comfortable but also affordable, the Banff Inn is probably the best choice for you!
Rates here start at about $135 CAD for a standard double room with two double beds.
Where to Stay for Skiing at Sunshine Ski Resort
Sunshine Ski Resort is located in the heart of Banff National Park. The ski resort is really good for advanced skiers and snowboards with lots of black and double black runs. Although there are lots of green runs, most have flat spots which are not good if you’re still not comfortable going really fast.
Sunshine Village is one of my favorite ski resorts near Banff due to its larger size, magnificent views, and cool terrain.
If you want to stay here, Sunshine Mountain Lodge is a luxurious hotel only meters from the chairlifts up at Sunshine Village! The hotel is only accessible by taking the Banff Sunshine Gondola, so it’s an extremely unique experience. You’ll park at the very bottom and then take your luggage with you into the gondola up to Sunshine Village. Here, you will find Sunshine Mountain Lodge – right in the center of the ski resort!
It’s safe to say you’ll be first on the trails each morning if you stay here.
A lift ticket at Sunshine Ski Resort costs $127 CAD for adults, $99 for youths, $49 for children, and $99 for seniors. If you stay at the ski resort you can ski-in and ski-out every day.
This hotel can be quite expensive, and it also books up pretty quickly since Sunshine is the most popular ski resort in Banff, so be sure to plan ahead!
Prices start at around $290 CAD per night with peak winter being more expensive.
As I mentioned previously, Banff town is only 20 minutes from the base of Sunshine Ski Resort, so staying there is another option if Sunshine Mountain Lodge is all booked up.
Where to Stay for Skiing at Lake Louise Ski Resort
Lake Louise Ski Resort is just as great as Sunshine (some would argue that it’s even better, but I’m not going to get into that debate) but it’s an hour from Banff town. That’s why most people who want to ski at Lake Louise Ski Resort actually stay in Lake Louise Village (the small town) only a 2-minute drive away.
In the small town of Lake Louise, there are plenty of hotels to choose from with restaurants and shopping. There are also lots of fun things to do to keep you busy in Lake Louise in winter from ice skating to dog sledding and more.
At Lake Louise Ski Resort you’ll find over 160 named runs in addition to plenty of off-piste ones. The views at Lake Louise are spectacular too! You’ll pay for this premium ski resort at about $130 CAD for a full-day lift ticket (the most expensive out of all of the ski resorts in Banff National Park).
This is definitely a great place to stay for skiing in Banff National Park. Below, are three top hotel recommendations (one budget-friendly option, one mid-range option, and one luxury option) for great hotels for skiing in Lake Louise.
Hi Lake Louise Alpine Center – $
For budget travelers, the Hi Lake Louise Alpine Center is the best option in Lake Louise Village.
This basic hostel comes with everything you need and the location is within walking distance to the shops and restaurants of Lake Louise. The private rooms are cozy, clean, and comfortable. Better yet, the onsite cafe called Bill Peyto’s Cafe is one of the best restaurants in Lake Louise – a local favorite.
The hostel features a large communal kitchen, perfect for anybody who doesn’t want to spend tons of money eating out for every meal.
Private rooms start at around $110 CAD. However, cheaper dorms are also available.
Lake Louise Inn – $$
The Lake Louise Inn is still a budget option but a little fancier than the above hostel. The hotel features a heated indoor pool and hot tub, onsite restaurant and bar, modern rooms, and even apartments for larger groups. they also have some pet friendly rooms, so if you’re traveling with your fur babies then you can stay here.
The Lake Louise Inn is located is right in the heart of Lake Louise Village – an ideal location for all travelers. It’s right down the road from the Lake Louise Visitor Center.
Rooms start at $90 CAD, so it’s a really affordable option when compared to most other hotels in the area.
Fairmont Château Lake Louise – $$$
The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is arguably the most luxurious hotel in the Rocky Mountains. Situated on the shores of Lake Louise, the views from the rooms are nothing short of spectacular. On the inside, the hotel appears like something out of a movie with tall ceilings, stunning architecture, and fine details.
A night at this luxury hotel will cost around $500 CAD per night. However, for that you’ll be so close to the lake you can almost touch it. Better yet, you can easily enjoy most of the best things to do in Lake Louise without even getting in your car. Simply walk out the back entrance and enjoy!
For a luxury stay in Lake Louise, the Fairmont is your best choice!
Check availability and prices at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.
Where to Stay for Skiing at Nakiska Ski Area
Nakiska Ski Area is located in the Kananaskis Valley, about an hour from Banff town on the outskirts of the national park. It’s a full-size ski resort with a 735-meter (2,411-foot) verticle descent and its longest run is a whopping 3.3 kilometers (2 miles).
Nakiska is a very popular ski resort among Calgary locals and one of the cheaper resorts in the Rocky Mountains. Adult lift tickets start at $98.00 CAD per day up to $119.00/day for peak season.
If you plan on skiing in Nakiska it’s actually best to stay in Canmore, as it’s about 20 minutes closer than Banff.
There are lots of fun things to do in Canmore in the winter months, including plenty of easy hikes and restaurants and bars to check out. Be sure to try some craft brews at the Grizzly Paw, check out the old Engine Bridge, and of course, take in views of the iconic Three Sisters Mountain Range.
We’ve actually been lucky enough to have lived in Canmore. Honestly, we love this small mountain town so much! So, don’t hesitate to stay in Canmore instead of Banff for a ski holiday. It’s just as convenient and many of the hotels are actually cheaper than those in Banff. Plus, you don’t need a National Parks Pass to stay in Canmore.
Below, I’ve included info on three different hotels in Canmore – my personal favorites!
Canmore Rocky Mountain Inn – $
For budget travelers, I love the Canmore Rocky Mountain Inn. This hotel is priced really well (especially in winter) and the property and rooms are beautiful for the price. It’s probably the best bang for your buck when it comes to somewhere to stay in Canmore for skiing.
The hotel’s location is also close enough to town to walk, however, if it’s really cold a cab might be better.
Prices start at about $98 CAD per night.
Grande Rockies Resort – $$
If you don’t mind spending a little more you can certainly get a nice hotel closer to town. The Grande Rockies Resort-Bellstar Hotels & Resorts is still a short walk from town but it only takes 5 minutes and the hotel itself is beautiful.
They have double rooms but I stay here for the 1 & 2 bedroom apartments. My friends and I usually book the one-bedroom between the 4 of us and it works out pretty cheap. We stay here all of the time. There’s also a fitness center and pool.
Prices start at about $119 CAD per night.
Malcolm Hotel by Clique – $$$
Now if budget isn’t really your concern or you just want to spoil yourself then I recommended the Malcolm Hotel by CLIQUE.
Surprisingly, this hotel isn’t that expensive in winter, and it’s only a 2-minute walk from the hustle and bustle in Canmore. The hotel has hot tubs, a fitness center, a pool, and the property sits along the Bow River.
You can get a room starting at around $216 CAD per night.
Related Read: Learn about all of the 50 things to do and see in Canmore, Alberta!
Other Things to do While You’re in Banff
While planning your ski trip, there are so many incredible things to do in Banff. But with so much to choose from, it might feel overwhelming. So below, I’ve picked some of my favorite activities in the area to help you out!
- Hike Johnston Canyon – There are tons of amazing hikes in and around Banff, but I especially loved hiking Johnston Canyon and seeing its spectacular waterfalls. You can drive to the trailhead on your own or book a tour. This e-bike and hiking tour is excellent for those who want to combine both activities. Or if you just want transport, take the hop-on-hop-off bus that stops here. If you visit Johnston Canyon in winter, this Icewalk tour will show you ice formations and frozen falls!
- Visit Lake Louise and Moraine Lake – If you want to see more stunning lakes in the area, check out these two! Parking at Lake Louise can be tricky (and impossible at Moraine Lake!), so we’d recommend this Banff National Park Tour. You’ll get to visit Lake Louise as well as Moraine Lake in one go – with enough time to walk around, learn the local history, and snap postcard-worthy photos.
- Ride the Banff Gondola – If you want the best vantage point in town, ride up the Banff Gondola! You’ll climb 698 meters (2,292 feet) to the top of Sulphur Mountain where you’ll have a view of six different mountain ranges. Tickets do sell out in the busy season, so make sure to purchase yours ahead of time!
- Look for wildlife – Banff is home to some pretty incredible wildlife. You might just spot elk, bears, deer, foxes, coyotes, bighorn sheep, and more! The best chance you have of seeing the most critters is on a wildlife tour in Banff. We really liked this small group tour where the guides tailor the itinerary to recent wildlife spottings and you get to see highlights of the national park along the way.
- Explore Banff town – While many nature-based activities are nearby, you shouldn’t neglect Banff town itself! Start your morning by visiting one of the cute local cafes, or grab patio drinks along Banff Avenue in the afternoon. To avoid traffic, check out the pedestrian-only Bear Street, with even more restaurants, cafes, and shops. And if that’s not enough, there’s also a Farmers Market every Wednesday in the summertime.
Canada Winter Travel Essentials
If you’re planning to visit Canada in winter then there are a few things you should pack – things we never travel without. Some you may already have, but others you may want to pick up before you leave. This is especially true if you want to enjoy some of the best outdoor activities!
Here are some of our must-have winter essentials:
Crampons/ Ice Cleats: This is the one item I have that I use so much. If you love the outdoors and enjoy short walks and hikes, crampons are a must! The best part is, the pair that I own is only $29 CAD. They aren’t the best pair out there but they’re perfect for the everyday explorer/traveler.
Insulated water bottle: In the summer you want to keep your water cold but in winter, you want to keep it from freezing. That’s why I always carry an insulated water bottle. This Iron Flask Water Bottle is perfect because it doubles as a thermos so it’s great for carrying hot water for those winter hot chocolates! I have the 32-ounce bottle in pink but I wish I had one of the multi-colored bottles!
Merino wool socks: Cold feet can ruin your time exploring the great outdoors during winter. Please do yourself a favor and get a good quality pair of socks. Even just one pair with come in handy but I myself carry three of these COZIA Wool Socks. They’re 80% Merino wool and really warm. The best part is they are only $15 each! When I’m skiing I can even double them up if it’s -30 °C.
Thermal layers: Staying warm begins from your first layer. Life outside during the Candian winter is much more comfortable with thermal layers. There are a lot of great products in this space but look out for Merino wool products – they’re the best in my opinion!
Ski Gloves: Did you know ski resorts in Canada don’t rent gloves? That means you’re going to need to bring your own. I get really cold hands so I love these new heated rechargeable gloves. They keep your hands warm in the coldest temperatures. Although expensive, you’ll never wear another pair of gloves again.
Polarized sunglasses/ ski goggles: People often forget that on a sunny day in the mountains, the sun can really hurt your eyes when it reflects off the snow. For around town, check out these polarized sunglasses and for in the mountains these ski goggles.
Buff: I love my buff! Seriously, I go nowhere without it both in winter and summer. During the winter though, it’s perfect for keeping my nose and cheeks covered from the cold especially when skiing or hiking. There are a few brands around but I always buy the original Buff (you know, the one from Survivor!) They’re a little more expensive but the material is good quality and both breathable and quick drying.
Renting a Car in Alberta
If you’re arriving in Alberta via plane then I can’t recommend getting a rental car enough. Canada is a large country and traveling between cities and even just getting out to some of the best places to visit in Alberta requires transport. Although you can use public transport, on some occasions, it means your trip will not only require more time but more planning.
Renting a car will definitely make exploring all of the fun things to see and do in Alberta easier.
Car rental in Canada isn’t super cheap, but it isn’t overly expensive either, especially if you get a budget car. The cheapest car with pickup and drop-off in different locations is around $100 CAD per day. The price does vary though depending on the time of year and the type of car that you rent. For car rentals, I use the website DiscoverCars.com. It’s a search engine with lots of deals with good customer service. In fact, I’ve used them all over the world including in Chile, New Zealand, and Australia.
Another popular option is to rent a campervan or motorhome (only for the brave in winter.) Using Motorhome Republic you can search hundreds of deals across multiple companies to pick a great vehicle and the cheapest price. Having a motorhome is a stunning way to see Canada, and using crown land and campsites, you can often camp for free or very cheap in the most beautiful places imaginable!
Before you go…
Banff is truly a perfect winter ski destination. What’s even better is you have several options on ski resorts and areas to stay that can cater to a variety of preferences! I hope this blog about where to stay in Banff for skiing helped you figure out what the right area is for you to stay in and some hotel options.
If you need more specific help, just reach out! I know that whatever you choose, you’ll enjoy your visit to Banff so be sure to check out more of our Banff blogs such as: