Alberta by ski safari
Neal Baldwin | November 2019 | 3 minute read
Don’t offer the same pistes of the action year after year – sell a ski safari!
If there's one thing that agents know about wintersports enthusiasts it’s that offering them the same pistes of the action year after year just won’t suffice.
For clients looking for a ski trip of a lifetime that features more than one top-quality resort, the options in Alberta – like the runs themselves – are almost endless!
Here's a 'ski safari' that will see your clients fly into Calgary, ski at Nakiska, journey up to Jasper and then return to the Banff area for more action on the slopes before returning to Calgary for the flight home.
Off to a flyer
Nakiska bills itself as ‘Calgary’s closest mountain’, but its lure is more than being just 45 minutes from the gateway city.
Purpose-built for the 1988 Winter Olympics, there is a home-spun charm to this small resort. Competition-length runs means it is ideally suited for intermediates, while the impressive facilities also cater to beginners and families.
Accommodation is in the nearby village of Kananaskis. For a real Rocky Mountain high, visit the Nordic Spa, or the Pomeroy Kananaskis Mountain Lodge, which offers a taste of sumptuous modern luxury.
Skip to the Lou
Just 90 minutes away, Lake Louise makes for an action-packed next stop. Nestled inside the wilderness of Banff National Park, (and one of Banff’s 'Big 3') the resort has a wild feel despite its size and variety.
There's no real central village to Lake Louise, which adds to the sense of it being a secret find. But romantic lodges and hotels dot the valley so evening entertainment is very much of the cosy-up variety.
There’s lots of choice for skiers of all abilities. Once they've taken stock of the incredible views, at the top of each lift there is the choice of 'easy' or 'difficult' runs back down, but experts will also find alpine bowls and steep descents.
Jasper’s much-loved Marmot Basin ski resort is a three-hour drive away along the scenic Icefields Parkway – a stunning stretch of highway that carves its way through the mountains.
The resort is a jewel that sits in wait at the end of the picturesque trail, with breathtaking beauty in every direction.
Marmot Basin's skiable terrain is evenly split for all abilities and offers groomed runs, moguls, glades and alpine bowls.
A plus point here is the general openness of the slopes and the relative lack of crowds that collect at some other North American resorts – meaning frequent free and unobstructed runs.
While there is no on-mountain lodging at Marmot Basin, there's a big range of options in nearby Jasper
The former fur trading settlement has a small-town feel in the winter and majors on authentic local experiences with dog-sledding, show-shoeing and ice-skating on frozen lakes among the off-piste activities, along with walks through the frozen river rapids and waterfalls of Maligne Canyon.
Sunny side up
Banff Sunshine, Lake Louise and Mount Norquay make up Banff’s Ski Big 3 and each warrant attention but Sunshine garners much attention.
Big, bold and well served, it draws skiers from across the world who revel in its variety – especially its wild backcountry terrain – and the aprés ski fun of Banff town’s bars, clubs and dining.
Mount Norquay sits at the opposite end of the spectrum, revelling in its reputation as the Rockies’ best-kept secret. Here clients will find the only night skiing in Banff-Lake Louise, including a fully lit terrain park.