Early December to End of April
Having spent close to five months in this little mountain town I thought I should share some thoughts on Banff.
On the positives Banff is relatively small with a nice main street lined with plenty of bars, restaurants and cafes; as well as retail stores and gift shops (If you’re into souvenirs). There are plenty of accommodation options here as well, and I’ve heard Banff timeshare resorts are among the most popular types of lodging in Canada. They were strategically built in the most exciting parts of Banff so guests won’t be short of things to do. The amenities in timeshare resorts such as the Banff Gate Mountain Resort tend to be very nice and include fireplaces, kitchens and large living rooms. All that being said, it makes it pretty simple to decide where to stay when in Banff. Banff town is actually inside the Banff National Park, surrounded by the Canadian Rocky Mountains, next to the Bow River and close to lakes, three ski fields and generally plenty of both summer and winter activities. The area is all about the outdoors with plenty of skiing opportunities along with snow shoeing, dog sledding and some walks in the winter. In the summer I hear you can hike, rock climb, raft and kayak till your heart is content. All wildlife is protected and you will see plenty of deer and elk, it is not uncommon to see a deer walking down the street or standing in someone’s front garden. Bears, coyotes, wolves, birds, moose and even a cougar are potentially spottable in the park so keep a look out.
[slickr-flickr tag=”Banff_Landscapes” descriptions=”on” size=”m640″]
While the area is 100% outdoors the town however is 100% touristy and started to drive me mental after a while of living there. Many people love it and end up staying for many seasons eventually calling the place home but I was looking forward to moving on after the end of the winter season. In hindsight I may have preferred to spend a summer rather than the winter since there is more to do. In the winter it comes down to skiing and drinking.
If you’re thinking of spending a winter in Banff make sure you’re a big fan of the town’s nightlife (mainstream) as well as skiing. If you just want to ski you should probably consider Revelstoke, Kicking Horse or Fernie mountains which in my opinion provide better skiing terrain but have less to do in town.
As far as visiting Banff for a holiday; a week or two in the summer experiencing all the outdoors or a week in the winter skiing and exploring Banff as a winter wonderland – well I highly recommend it, it’s a beautiful place and hard to beat for a holiday get-a-way!