By Crai Bower
Banff appears quiet when compared with most North American ski towns, but it’s a regular Vegas when juxtaposed with nearby Lake Louise.
Hit the Town
Head 45 minutes east of Lake Louise – about 90 minutes from Calgary – for a winter escape with more dancing and other nighttime distractions:
Go Play in the Snow
Among the outlets around Banff for burning off calories:
Mount Norquay, home of the 40-degree Lone Pine, for decades North America’s steepest in-bounds ski run.
Sunshine Village has gentle slopes for beginners and Delirium Dive for the pros.
The Johnston Canyon Icewalk leads visitors above and beneath frozen waterfalls along specially designed catwalks.
Once you’ve conquered the great outdoors, head to the Upper Hot Springs
, which lured the first European pleasure-seekers here in 1884, one year before Banff National Park was established.
Queen among the Canadian Pacific Railway’s destination hotels, the original “Springs,” now the 768-room Fairmont Banff Springs
, opened in 1888. Rebuilt after a 1926 fire, the stone castle is a great base for downhill and cross-country skiing. Winter guests can also go snowmobiling and snowshoeing, or try an afternoon of ice fishing in a heated hut or curling on the hotel’s exclusive ice sheet.
Originally appeared in Virtuoso Life magazine, January 2015.
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