Mountain Collective User Guide to Banff & Lake Louise

Travel to Canada - What to Expect

Mountain Collective User Guide to Banff & Lake Louise

Back for the 2018/19 season, the Mountain Collective pass gives holders access to 4 days at the SkiBig3 resorts – 2 days at Banff Sunshine, and 2 days at the Lake Louise Ski Resort.

It’s the perfect amount of time to settle into Banff National Park and make the most of the local terrain, whether flying in via Calgary International Airport or making a longer ski road trip that includes Revelstoke and the Canadian Mountain Collective trifecta.

Below is our SkiBig3 Mountain Collective User Guide for making the most of your pass in Banff and Lake Louise.

What to know before you go:

  • Book your accommodation early for best value and availability. SkiBig3 Vacation Planners can book your accommodation (sans lift ticket) at our lowest Ski & Stay package price.
  • Select SkiBig3 as a pre-fulfillment option and receive your SkiBig3 Mountain Collective pass pre-loaded with 2 days at Banff Sunshine, and 2 days at Lake Louise and direct-to-lift access for all additional days.
  • If traveling internationally, be sure to check out our Visitor Checklist for all the need-to-know info.
  • Reserve your rental gear from the SkiBig3 Adventure Hub in advance and save an additional 12%. Our top-of-the-line demo gear will have you ripping up the slopes in style.
  • Set up your “Ski GPS” with a SkiBig3  Guided Adventure – with several days available to explore SkiBig3, our Guided Adventure program will take the guess-work out of navigating these big resorts.

Arrive in Lake Louise / Night in Lake Louise

If flying into Calgary International Airport, it is a 200 kilometre (125 miles) / 2-hour drive to the west to the hamlet of Lake Louise. With the ski hill on the north side of the highway and the hamlet on the south side, both are within a short 10-minute drive of one another.

After the journey of getting to Banff National Park, Lake Louise will be the perfect remedy to rest up from any travel weariness. With a fluctuating population of around just 1000 people, this location will feel serene, solitary, and peaceful. Your pace will immediately slow down as you take in your beautiful surroundings.

Though small in size, the activities available here are numerous. Depending on your arrival time, you can get geared up for a nature snowshoe walk or explore several fantastic routes by cross-country ski. We recommend a quick trip up to the actual “Lake” to take in the majestic vistas.

Photo courtesy of Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.
Photo courtesy of Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.

Day 1 – Ski at Lake Louise Ski Resort / Night in Lake Louise

There’s no need to drive to the resort – a shuttle will conveniently take you to the base area known as the Lodge of the Ten Peaks, giving you quick and easy access to your first run of the day. Plus, your Mountain Collective pass provides direct-to-lift access – so you’ll be up and shredding in no time.

There’s plenty of terrain to explore at Lake Louise Ski Resort. Spend your morning on the back side when the sunlight warms up the slopes, and make a lunch visit to Sawyer’s Nook in the historical Temple Lodge for their delicious maple fondue.

If you still have some energy once the day is done, why not rent a pair of skates? Available from Wilson’s Sports Store and the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, there are outdoor skating rinks in several beautiful locations, including Lake Louise itself!

Photo by Reuben Krabbe
Photo by Reuben Krabbe

Day 2 – Ski at Lake Louise Ski Resort / Night in Lake Louise

After getting more familiarized with the resort on day one, day two is the perfect time to explore more of what the resort has to offer. From Eagle Ridge (accessible by Paradise Chair) and Whitehorn Ridge (accessible by Summit Platter), you can explore the back side of Lake Louise Ski Resort for more advanced terrain.

More comfortable on beginner to intermediate terrain? There’s a blue run accessible from every chair and platter. From summit to the base area, you’re sure to discover one of the longest runs in the Canadian Rockies.

Depending on the time of season, there are excellent patios to be enjoyed on resort for lunch and apres bevies. Whitehorn Bistro is midway down the front side with sweeping panoramic views of the valley below. And Kokanee Kabin at the base area is best enjoyed with a pint by the firepit.

Photo by Reuben Krabbe
Photo by Reuben Krabbe

Day 3 –  Ski at Banff Sunshine / Night in Banff

You’ll want to make the most of your first day at Banff Sunshine Village! If you skipped breakfast in town, you can easily sort out your morning fuel at Creekside Slope before boarding the gondola, and hit up First Tracks Café for a fresh cup of joe to enjoy on the 17-minute ride to the upper village.

There are two main stations at which you can get off the gondola – after you have rounded the curve, Goat’s Eye Mountain is first, and The Village base area is higher up. For day one, we suggest getting acquainted with the resort from the top down. The village is the epicenter of the resort with Sunshine Mountain Lodge (Banff’s only ski-in-ski-out hotel), the main day lodge featuring several restaurants and amenities, the top gondola station and the historical Trappers Cabin. Everything is centrally located, and the village can be easily seen from the majority of runs – it’s really hard to get lost here!

From the village, there are 4 main chair lifts from which to explore. Strawberry chair is great for beginners, while Angel, Wawa and Standish offer quick access to a mix of easy, moderate and advanced terrain – all four are great starting points for the morning. From there, the heated Teepee Town LX (with the orange bubble) allows you to kick things up a notch, and the Great Divide Express chair takes you up high for the opportunity to ski in two provinces at once!

There’s more than enough terrain to explore here for the day, but if your curiosity is further piqued, head on over towards Goat’s Eye Mountain. Wolverine and Jackrabbit offer varied and family-friendly terrain, and you may even want to scope out Goat’s Eye Express for a lap or two.

SkiBig3 Guid3d Adventure group at Banff Sunshine Village. Photo by Jillian Tester.
SkiBig3 Guid3d Adventure group at Banff Sunshine Village. Photo by Jillian Tester.

Day 4 – Ski at Banff Sunshine / Night in Banff

For day two at Banff Sunshine, try starting the day off strong on Goat’s Eye Mountain. A morning of pushing yourself on harder terrain will make a cruisey afternoon of riding all the more rewarding.

Banff Sunshine also has two free ride zones waiting to be explored by only the most advanced skiers and riders. For those who have avi gear, training, and a buddy, the famous Delirium Dive is accessible from the top of the Great Divide, while the Wild West is accessed from Goat’s Eye Express.

Want to push yourself, but not that much? Southside Chutes off Goat’s Eye Express is a great advanced run for taking in beautiful views of Sunshine’s surrounding peaks, with a backcountry ski feel. Or several blue runs are so much fun for the intermediate skier – Sunshine Coast and Wild Fire are both classics.

Stretch out the morning thigh burn with a trip up to the village base area to rip around the runs. Grab lunch at Mad Trapper’s Saloon – the original cabin lodge built in 1928. It’s not unheard of to ride out the rest of the day from the deck here – just make sure to catch the last gondola and shuttle back to the town of Banff!

Photo by Reuben Krabbe
Photo by Reuben Krabbe

BONUS Day at Mt. Norquay

Haven’t got your full Banff National Park ski fix quite yet? Mountain Collective Pass holders can enjoy 50% off additional days at any SkiBig3 resorts – this includes Mt. Norquay! Located just 10 minutes outside the town of Banff, you’ll find some of the very best rolling groomers anywhere – and some of the most outstanding views of the townsite. Tack on a full extra day of skiing at this local gem to get the most use of your pass.

Photo by Reuben Krabbe
Photo by Reuben Krabbe

Departure Day – Morning in Banff / Commute to Calgary

To celebrate the last day of your ski vacation with SkiBig3, there are several delicious breakfast and brunch spots to check out. After that, take in a late morning soak at the Banff Upper Hot Springs (the best time to go is before noon!) to rest your ski legs before taking the shuttle back to Calgary or heading further west to Revelstoke.

Photo by Noel Hendrickson / Banff & Lake Louise Tourism
Photo by Noel Hendrickson / Banff & Lake Louise Tourism

Plan Ahead

In order to be as flexible as possible when you book with us, SkiBig3 has implemented a No-Questions-Asked Cancellation Policy allowing for free itinerary changes and cancellations until 3-days prior to arrival. International border restrictions for travel to Canada are subject to change. For the latest updates please check Government of Canada – Border & Travel Information

Covid-19 safety protocols are ongoing and are subject to change based on updates from regional authorities. SkiBig3 is committed to keeping you informed about what to expect when travelling to Banff National Park.

Ready to grab your golden ticket to adventure?

Buy your Mountain Collective pass today to lock in pre-season pricing and perks. Our friendly Reservations Team is always happy to share their local knowledge and experience to help you find the best Mountain Collective Accommodation for your style and budget. You can reach them via Live Chat (scroll up for the Live Chat link at the top of our website), or by calling 1-844-754-2443.