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Places to stay - Banff

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hope all is well with everyone. We’re making our first trip to Banff in late February and need some recommendations on a place to stay. Looks like everyone wants to do Lake Louise and Sunshine a couple days each so I’m assuming we’ll just stay somewhere in Banff. They’ll be 10 or 12 of us and would like a condo or some place where we’d all be together so no separate hotel rooms, etc... Any help?
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
My info may be a bit dated, and who knows how things will operate next season, but....

- if you don't plan on renting a car, you def want to consider staying in town of Banff and
utilizing the ski shuttle buses that run from Banff to LL and Sunshine.
- most lodging in Banff is hotels. Tunnel Mountain & Hidden Ridge has condos but are a bit
away from downtown. The Fox has multiple BR suites and Inns of Banff has 3BR condos
per their website. The last two are on Banff Ave so convenient for ski shuttle. Banff Rocky
Mt Resort has 4BR condos, but note that they are at the other end of the main drag, a long
walk to downtown area (but last on/first off the ski bus).

There is a hotel at Sunshine and nice hotels in Lake Louise, but they are both quite isolated
as you've probably figured out already.

It may still be very cold in Banff in late Feb.
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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?
So your best bet might be to airBnB it in Canmore. I'm not sure if AirBnB run in Banff as it's a National park and even if they did 10/12 accommodation is pretty rare. Canmore's a bit of a longer drive each day but being outside the National Park there's more development (for better or worse) so there might be something closer to your requirements. As a bonus the Canmore supermarkets are better especially if doing lots of catering.
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Canmore is much cheaper than Banff from what i heard from my friend who did a season there. I sadly didnt make it out last winter Sad My friend said because its a national park they cant build new homes or its really hard to get permission so prices are sky high. Canmore is only a short drive away. Renting an apartment/airbnb/chalet in Banff will set you back twice as much as Canmore and likelyhood it wont be as nice. Check out booking.com Airbnb ect to look for apartments in both Banff/Canmore but if a couple of you can drive its probably worth saving a few thousand dollars(If your getting a big place for 12) and going to Canmore. I may not be 100% correct this is just what my friend told me and the research i did as i was meant to go out there. Still hoping to do a season out there at some point though Very Happy
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
We've stayed in Canmore a couple of times, as others have mentioned its not in the National Park and so not restricted as Banff is. If you don't mind driving and are hiring vehicles then its not a bad lace to stay. If staying in Banff you can just use the Big3 pass and get the bus each day.

Banff is about 10 - 15 minutes along TCH 1, but getting to TCH 1 from Banff, due to traffic/trains can easily take 5 - 10 minutes, so in reality it may not take you 15 minutes extra to the ski areas, from Canmore.

If you do have vehicles, remember you will need park passes, but it also means you can explore the surrounding areas too - Johnston Canyon is great in the winter.

We've stayed in Banff before too - and they are certainly different - Banff is a tourist destination where Canmore is more a Canadian town, and has a more traditional feel to it - along with prices too Smile It does have many 2nd home owners from Calgary though, who travel up for the weekend/holiday periods.

We'll now stay in Canmore as don't feel the need for the full tourist experience, however we're usually road tripping so moving on after a couple of days, for this Canmore makes perfect sense to us
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As others say, Banff has restricted development and so the accommodation can traditionally, be pricey and jaded. Large modern condos do not abound. Its nice staying in Banff, but Canmore is nice too
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
I've never stayed in Canmore.
Been to Banff I think 5 times, 2/3 of the way down the strip. What I love is walking into town in the evenings. Yes the shops are touristy but there are enough of them to keep one busy - and especially now we have pre-teen children. I'm guessing I wouldn't get that much in Canmore. If it is your first time there you might find it a lot easier to deal with things in Banff, like kit hire also. A point of view. I understand this doesn't help with your initial question but it's a factor you might consider.
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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!
I think a first-timer would be better off staying in Banff, as opposed to Canmore. Banff is a lovely town, with a lovely "strip", with lots of shops and restsurants. Yes, it's touristy - but that's the point.

Canmore is nice enough and would give a pleasant, small town experience. It's nice enough - but it's not Banff...

And I second the comment about a trip to nearby Johnston Ice Canyon. It's beautiful, so well worth a trip.
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Scottch,

Welcome to Snowheads! Very Happy
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
As an annual visitor to Banff - for us it is about ease of access to the ski areas. We get on very well with the buses, which are coaches to be more accurate, they run to time, there is always capacity and it's simple. Using the bus service that comes free with the Big 3 pass is, for us, much easier than hiring a car, paying the park fee (about £100?) and driving each day when the weather can be challenging. I think you have to pay for parking at the other end but can't remember exactly. For this reason we always stay in Banff and have sampled most of the accommodation. Modern Whistler style condos don't exist, so the Fox is the nearest thing we have found with suites that have cooking facilities. We settled on a The Banff Park Lodge as there is a decent breakfast included which is convenient and saves quite a lot over the course of the holiday. The Brewster has a free breakfast as well, but more limited.

We love skiing at Banff and have probably spent about 6 months there if we added up all the trips. We haven't booked this year as the borders are still closed to non-residents and Canadian citizens and so we're not too confident that we would be able to go, but we will be back next year for certain. I hope you are able to make it. Feel free to PM if you want any detailed assistance.
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snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Scottch wrote:
I’m assuming we’ll just stay somewhere in Banff. They’ll be 10 or 12 of us and would like a condo or some place where we’d all be together so no separate hotel rooms, etc... Any help?


Not sure I understand this. There will be 10-12 of you but you want to be together so no separate hotel rooms - you're not going to sleep 12 people in a room?! In which case you'll still be getting separate rooms, so why not a hotel? Most of the hotels in Banff are small or at least low, your rooms will probably not be more than 45 seconds apart at the most, it's not like someone is on the 16th floor (Banff Springs excepted!!). You can also get suites with basic kitchenettes - we usually get one so young daughters can sleep in one "room" and parents in the other, and we sort our own breakfast in the room - so perhaps that would do if you want to meet up in the evening.
My experience of going away with a lot of people on holiday is there comes a time when you want a break from each other... as said, I'd go for Banff rather than be "locked in" to quiet Canmore, which I assume doesn't have the evening life that Banff has for the tourists. But if I haven't been to Canmore, perhaps that's unfair. Lynnecha's point about driving when the weather is dodgy is also a valid one.
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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.
@Orange200, I suspect he means no rooms in separate hotels
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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
@Orange200, I think that's why some of us locals have suggested Canmore, because it does have that type of sharing condo accommodation. Banff doesn't.

Another thing to note is that I see it being a long time before the borders open up again and the quarantine is lifted. I think its politically very difficult to open any borders unless the US/Canada border is open and it's not and there is absolutely no rush to do so. Couple this with Canada's lethargy to date to secure vaccines and I think it's possible the border will still be closed in February.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
gryphea wrote:
@Orange200,

Another thing to note is that I see it being a long time before the borders open up again and the quarantine is lifted. I think its politically very difficult to open any borders unless the US/Canada border is open and it's not and there is absolutely no rush to do so. Couple this with Canada's lethargy to date to secure vaccines and I think it's possible the border will still be closed in February.


You have confirmed what we have assumed. We miss Canada, but we will come back when we are able to do so. Say hello to Goat's Eye for us if you are up there next season. wink
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
lynnecha wrote:
I think you have to pay for parking at the other end but can't remember exactly.


This wasn't the case when we went in 2017. Lake Louise was fine for parking, Sunshine has a small car park, and you end up parking on the road and being bussed up from there, so almost just as easy to jump on a bus in Banff.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
You don't have to pay for parking in the Sunshine Village car park.

If, however, you take a car into the Banff National Park for any reason other than transitting through the park without stopping then you need to purchase a park pass. Sometimes the park authorities setup a checkpoint on the access road to Sunshine Village - anyone who does not have a pass will be sold one.

Whilst it may look (and feel) like drivers are being charged for parking at Sunshine Village they are actually being sold a park pass that should have been purchased before entering the park.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@holidayloverxx, @gryphea, fair enough - I'd just think that 4-6 rooms in the same hotel would do the job fine, when a condo is not easily accessible.

Up to @Scottch to see if our answers help.
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