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Banff OMG!

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I wanted to give some info on Banff and our experiences recently. We booked up a 2 week visit way back in April last year for the trip in March 17. Peter at American Ski classics sorted everything out and our package included, B&B accommodation with premium room upgrade, 12 out of 15 days lift pass, transfer, flights direct to Calgary with Air Canada, and carriage. Seamless travel, check-in and got exactly what we requested. Great service from Peter, highly recommended.

The hotel was the Aspen Lodge in Banff. Great position just a 5 mins walk to downtown. There's a supermarket near the hotel and the bus stop for the mountains is next door. Hotel and premium rooms were lovely. Lots of space, queen beds, balconies and a fridge/ kettle. It was hot though so had to sleep with patio door open every night (apart from when temps fell to -26C for a couple of nights) which let in street noise and some idiot who decided to sing opera to some girls outside at the front at 3am. Hotel needed a bar though a restaurant would have also been good but not a deal-breaker. A bar though would have been ideal as a place to chill in the evening instead of going out. The hot tub and steam room were awesome.

Downtown Banff itself is like a cheap version of Main Street in Park City with everything just not as good. The food was ok, the beers were ok, the bars were average bar Banff Brewing company and Wild Bills saloon. Food (and shopping) was expensive and a bit meh overall even though we were expecting a similar dining experience to Main St but it was just not as good. Ate at Park Distillery, Saltlik, Keg, Eddie's burger, Irish pub, Tommys, Wild Bills and a few others which were ok though Keg was the best. Coyote's was awful. High Rollers was good eating and had a large selection of beers plus bowling which you need to book well in advanced. We were there on chicken wing Tuesday and the wings were good, real good!

What's with all the Aussies man, they're everywhere?

But, when it came to snow, this was the best experience of my snowboarding career. It snowed virtually everyday. Even when it rained in town, it was snowing on the mountains. Sunshine village was the best mountain overall. The snow, was amazing, the off-piste was awesome and the food was great. The best burger of the whole trip was at the Grill. Lake Louise was a close second and Norquay was small but ok. The food there was awful (note to self never eat something called a Donair again) that was the Greek in me I guess. We went to Kicking Horse which was insane but needed more snow as the bowls and drops would have been legendary.

Now on to Heli. We booked through RKHeli and though expensive worth every penny IMV. We hired a car for the weekend to drive to Panorama (and add KH the following day). Got there for 8am and were greeted with a hot breakfast. We had a briefing then our kit was inspected and we were given option to use their equipment. I should have used their snowboard as mine wasn't quite up to the standard for deep snow though I did get used to it after the first couple of runs. So then we had some simple avi training (done before but good to get a refresh) and off for the first run by 10am. We started on an open bowl then the guide (Rod) would stop and explain the terrain and we'd go through to the next stop. All safe and well organised. There was 3 of us boarders and 6 skiers. These guys were on their 5th heli day and were going back to UK the day after, they knew what they were doing and it was good riding with them. We did lose one skier on the 2nd run who tweaked his knee and had to get taken back. Bloody skiers :/ This chap was on his own and not part of the group of heli addicts. The 2nd run was a fast run through some tight trees which should have been ok but with the deep snow I couldn't turn quick enough so had to stop a couple of times. I'd been riding trees all week so it should have been easy but I just couldn't get my mojo going. The heli picked us up at the landing spot and on to the 2nd drop which was much better, things started clicking again. After that I was a demon and we all had a blast making fresh tracks in serious POW! It was the best experience ever. Amazing day. We took out a 5 run package and were given an extra run free, then agreed another 2 runs though the last was cancelled due to bad weather. We got back to the ranch for some après which consisted of nachos, some chinesey things and a beer. We were all given a map of the whole area highlighting the runs we had done. The mountain RK has at its disposal is vast and guarantees everyone fresh tracks. The drive was 2 hours to get there and was pretty good, no dramas straight roads though the vis was bad early in the morning.

Total for this trip without spending was £1700 for the package plus £700 for heli. I still think this is great value for what we got though looking at it from a non-skier perspective maybe expensive for a 2 week trip but the heli is a once in a lifetime (probably not) experience.

So there you have it and why I need to do a season next.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Great report @Gainz, my wife and I have been to Banff 4 times but not since we had kids ... we much prefer what Whistler has to offer as an all-round experience (including the fact that you don't need to sit on a bus for 30 minutes to get to the lift base).

Shame about KH - the bowls at the top are great in fresh snow.
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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'm another Banff fan, been 5 times I reckon now, and it sounds like you had a pretty decent experience. Unlike @franga, I'd prefer Banff over Whistler which, for me, feels a bit too McSkiResort, although my feelings towards W.BC maybe skewed a bit as we went when the snow was pretty bad. Shame you didn't get to hit KH in good condition, the back bowls and chutes are pretty remarkable.
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Morning Gainz,

Roughly how much were you spending on and evening meal, and food/beer on the slope?

I am in quandrary on what to do next year
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
kiteman69, You would need roughly 20 bucks for the slopes, normally my lunch was a sandwich/ burger/ soup etc for about $10 - 20 with soft drink. Tap water was free most places. Beers were in the region of $5 - 8 a pint in the evening and roughly the same on the hills. The most expensive meal was at Park which was $70 but that included 2 cans beer and a rye whiskey with my steak dinner. Average for the night was 30 bucks for food. You could budget with £60 a day for lunch and a good evening meal. The link below will give you an idea of food & prices. The bison burger was lovely!

http://wildbillsbanff.com/menu/
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You'll need to Register first of course.
cheers Gainz, that'll keep me busy over easter snowHead
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Well done @Gainz it seemed like you enjoyed it Madeye-Smiley

I like Banff a lot too, Somehow always stay at the Caribou lodge great breakfast good bar, just a shame about all the TVs everywhere your eyes move to showing continual Hockey Highlights.

I like the music in the Oirish Bar, I like there miniature Yorkshire pudding stuffed with beef & horse radish too.
I like the dancing in Wild Bills.

Of course I like kicking horse .. and Revelstoke as well but its too far to travel for a day from Banff .. best move along in a rental car.

Norquay is a good warm up place to go when you are jet lagged.

Next time try and do some Ice fishing from Skidoos, its a blast.
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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!
@DrLawn, I've been twice to Banff and ended up in the Caribou both times......
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 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Caribou for us in early March too. We'd have preferred to be closer to downtown simply because it was so cold.

Thought Park Distillery was the nicest meal of our trip.

Skiing was superb, wish we'd done more of it.
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Mmmm, Banff.... Toofy Grin Toofy Grin Very Happy
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
DrLawn wrote:
...just a shame about all the TVs everywhere your eyes move to showing continual Hockey Highlights.


I told my kids the joke about going to see a fight and half way through a game of hockey broke out the first time we encountered the ubiquitous TVs. The loved the joke (oddly) and the on-screen violence. They took to saying "Do you want to go and see some violence, Dad?" as a cryptic way of hinting it was time for some refreshment!

Loved the whole Banff thing when we were there at Christmas.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Anyone got any advice on buying lift passes and renting ski gear in Banff. We are a family of four going in Feb 2018 for half term week. Been to Banff many years ago and decided that the kids ought to experience it, now that they can actually ski!
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
@London_Falcon, are you going with a TO or independently, and how old are your kids?
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
I'm going independently. They will by 13 and 15 by the time we go.

The boys need boots, skis, poles and helmets.

Adults just need skis and poles.

Also, interested in skiing at least one day at Lake Louise but will mainly be skiing at Sunshine Village
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@London_Falcon, A couple of years ago if you bought early enough you could get a decent enough (25% or thereabouts) discount on the lift pass. I bought mine through Canadian Affair even though I didn't book anything else through them. If you can be a little flexible about where and when you fly from Canadian Affair are the agents for Air Transat and will be your cheapest flight option by some margin. snowHead
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Thanks rogg - unfortunately we have almost no flexibility with it being Feb half term and my wife being in education too. We got decent enough flights from Air Canada through Expedia. Hotel and hire car also sorted through Expedia. Whole package works out about £1000 cheaper than going through a Tour Operator. We've done similar trips to Canada, Europe and the States before, we quite like the independence.

I will look at Canadian Affair for rental and lift tickets, thanks for the tip!
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