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Banff in mid Feb/ advice please

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hi all,

I haven't posted here for a very long time, however, we are travelling to meet up with friends in Banff next month. It'll be a general Canadian trip, so not all skiing as flying off from Calgary to Toronto for 6 days too.
The intention is to spend 5 days in Banff where our friends have rented an apartment fairly centrally, so we can all stay together.
We have 2 small kids ( aged 7 and 2), while our friends have no kids. The older one skis. We'll have a rental car there.
We're planning on hiring all equipment, but will take salopettes, jackets etc.
What would be recommended by yourselves in terms of enjoying the trip?
Easy to access decent childcare?
Ski passes/ equipment rental recommendations?
Thanks in advance.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Take warm thermals, not unusual for -30 or colder even in Feb. You might be lucky and be skiing above zero, the weather there changes really rapidly

If going to Sunshine at the weekend, get there very earlier otherwise you will be parked a long way from the lift station
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
I dont have children so dont know anything from that perspective but it is a lovely place to visit with children, very safe, very pretty and you will probably see animals about town which the children will love. You will have to travel by car or bus to the slopes each day so I would think you would be looking for kindergarten care for the little one at the lift bases of the various ski areas, do a search on Mount Norquay, Sunshine and Lake Louise, I am sure you will come up with some ideas which will meet your needs, Canada is very child friendly.
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We went to Banff at Easter last year, and found it very child friendly and easy. For the 7 year old the childcare options are ski school lessons at both Sunshine village and Lake Louise. Both were 2 hour morning and 2 hour afternoon, with the option of a supervised lunch at Lake Louise. Our 5yr old did the lessons at Lake Louise and loved it. Small groups, mostly 3 kids and an instructor. For the 2yr there is daycare at both Lake Louise and Sunshine. We used the one at Sunshine (Tiny Tigers - which does add on ski lessons for 3-6yr) and were very impressed. Full day 9-4ish I think, lunch included. Best to book in advance as they have specific adult:child ratios, especially for the young ones. There are childcare/nanny agencies etc in Banff if you want babysitting for the evening etc.

The 7 yr needs a child's lift pass. I would strongly recommend getting a tri-area pass and spending at least one day at Lake Louise. Its a very easy, beautiful drive, with a good chance of spotting wildlife, especially if you take the Bow Valley Parkway, the backroad. Its very easy to drive to the slopes, but the buses are also very easy and organised. They're proper coaches with ski racks underneath, not European style buses. Even if the car parks are busy you can drop family/kit off at the front then go and park.
The 2yr does need a pass to go on the lifts - the daycare at Sunshine is only accessibly by gondola - but its free. Its usually cheaper if you book your tri-area passes in advance through the Banff Ski Hub, they'll deliver them to your accommodation. For the 2yr you want a free 'Tiger' pass.

Loads of hire shops in Banff, cheaper than going to the rental at the slopes. Some shops have a tie-in with some accommodation offering discounts. We used Ultimate Ski, it was a bit cheaper than the Ski Hub.

One think that saved us money and hassle was discovering that we could take the car seat for free in addition to the childs luggage with Air Canada. It was a bit hidden away so check your airline. I really resent paying £50 or so to rent a car seat that probably costs £20 to buy in Halfords.

Loads of other non-skiing activities in Banff. It might be a bit cold but there's a good playground in town down by the bridge, in the park. Our son loved that there were Elk/Moose (I'm not sure the difference!) wandering through. Other great activities were snow tubing (at Norquay, included in a tri area pass, and at Lake Louise, extra) and the Hot springs. Loads of child friendly restaurants (including the dreaded McD's for when your child just won't eat anything else). The Old Spaghetti Factory was great when you needed a quick bite, cheap and very filling and very family orientated.

Let me know if there's any more info I can help with
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Aside from the threads below, I can add in that if you book lift passes through American Ski Classics, an adult pass comes free with a child pass, as I've understood - I couldn't get that offer from SkiHub/SkiBig3 in Banff unless I booked accommodation as well. For you to check prices but it seemed a good deal to me.

Webcams are showing bitterly cold at present (LL was -30C this morning) so I hope it warms for your 7 yr old!

My trip report from last April http://www.snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=125172&highlight=

TommyJ's trip report from similar http://www.snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=125584&highlight=

Some info here: http://www.snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=126348&highlight=

On the main drag, buy Beaver Tails snacks, yum yum... Hot Springs seconded.
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Thanks all of you for your replies.
Great info, especially the reports and the bits on childcare too. I think our friends will try and secure the lift passes, but will look into the area pass too. Be best seeing as its our first time there.
Yep, the low temperatures are somewhat intimidating, but a few layers will hopefully help.
Is there anything about Banff itself that we should know? I think we're in a self catering apartment.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@Old Skool, no use to you for this trip, but if you decide to go againI got reduced Tri Area passes from Canadian Affair by buying them before a certain date (mid December I think).

If you're DIYing the flights are really god value from them, they're owned by Airtransat.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
If you have a car its worth shopping on the way at Canmore. Its outside the national park (cheaper) and has several supermarkets and beer/wine shops. Its an easy stop with kids if you need bathrooms/or snacks.
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Enjoy it! It was a few years ago, but I had an amazing time there. My one piece of advice is if you're headed to the Springs, check they're open: its a trek, even on the bus, only to find out they're closed for the afternoon #PersonalExperience =0)
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@Old Skool, have a look at the (now rather old but still good IMV) Secrets of Banff thread...

http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=73089

Oh and if you're looking for a break away from skiing for a day, check out the Discover Banff Tours site.
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