Banff, Alberta (May 30, 2014) – Banff National Park, a renowned powder paradise for skiers and riders, may have just wrapped up its seven-month snow season – one of the longest in North America - but its three first-class ski resorts aren’t stopping the adrenalin there, inviting adventure-seekers, sightseeing-enthusiasts and even foodie-fanatics for a good dose of high-altitude experiences this Summer.
High Adventure & High Dining at Mount Norquay
This summer, Mount Norquay Ski Resort is keeping its North American Chairlift running throughout the season - opening up to sightseers some of the most impressive eagle’s-eye views of Banff’s mountain ranges. Also, launching this June is Mount Norquay’s eagerly-anticipated ‘Via Ferrata’ - a vertical, ultimate hiking experience that offers thrilling exposure and intimacy to the mountain face, usually reserved for rock climbers.
Literally translated from Italian as “iron-road”, Banff National Park’s only Via Ferrata requires no pre-training or expertise – just the ability to climb a ladder! Lead by a certified guide, climbers will take an unforgettable journey up the cliffs, assisted by a fixed anchoring system of cables and ladders. Adventurers can venture across the 30m suspension bridge and feel the freedom of walking in mid-air at a height of 15m, with the dramatic views of Mount Rundle as their backdrop.
To see more of the Via Ferrata experience at Mount Norquay, view the interpretative video here.
For the not-so-adventurous, the Cliffhouse Bistro, once a 1950s Tea House and visited by Marilyn Monroe during the filming of the 1954 movie, River of No Return, will also re-launch with a relaxed gastro concept, accessible from the lift. Perfect for summer afternoons spent admiring Banff from high, high above.
Launching in mid-June, The Via Ferrata is available as two experiences: the ‘Explorer Route’ is for a two hour duration and departs daily at 8:30am, 10:30am, 12:30pm and 2:30pm. The maximum group size is 8 persons and the cost is $139 plus GST per person, including chairlift access, orientation and a guide, and equipment. The ‘Ridgewalker Route’ – the full Via Ferrata experience – is a half-day excursion. Guests are taken up high on the Norquay cliffs, climbing Memorial, Sunrise and Visa buttresses and traversing the suspension bridge – maximum group size also 8 persons and the cost is $169 plus GST per person, including chairlift access, orientation and a guide, and equipment. Return transport from Banff townsite to Mount Norquay is included with tickets for the lift and the Via Ferrata. The Cliffhouse Bistro is open seven days a week, 9am-5pm and is accessible via the North American Chairlift. Photo Credit: Mount Norquay. BanffNorquay.com
Grizzlies & Gourmet Delights at Lake Louise Ski Resort
Bringing a brand new ‘high’-dining experience to the hamlet of Lake Louise this summer, Lake Louise Ski Resort is launching one of the finest spots in Banff National Park to enjoy lunch with a remarkable Rockies view – at an elevation of 6700ft (2042m) above sea level.
The new Whitehorn Lodge Restaurant experience, the first on-mountain dining option of its kind in Lake Louise, offers an upscale menu for summer scenery-seekers complete with rustic, Canadiana dining delights such as Cheese Fondue, a Game Platter and Alberta Bison, as well as refined signature cocktails and deluxe hot beverages such as the ‘Hot Apple Pie’ and the ‘Grizzly Express’. Diners can satisfy their tastebuds as they take in Lake Louise Ski Resort’s legendary mountain panorama.
The Whitehorn Lodge Restaurant can be reached by riding the Gondola, known as one of the very best ways to spot Grizzlies in their natural habitat - with a wildlife corridor passing directly underneath. Summer sightseers can disembark the lift at 6850ft (2088m) and absorb the spectacular sight of 365 degrees of rugged Rockies landscape. Hikers can also take the challenge of reaching the summit of Mount Whitehorn or for the less-extreme, there’s the opportunity to explore a trail or two with one of the resort’s knowledgeable mountain guides.
The Lake Louise Sightseeing Lift is now open for visitors, until October 13, 2014. Lift tickets can be purchased for a cost of $29.95 for adults, $15.95 for children - with Under 5’s free. Complimentary shuttle to the Lake Louise Sightseeing Lift is available from a number of Lake Louise hotels. Whitehorn Lodge Restaurant is located with the Wildlife Interpretative Centre near the top of the Gondola. From mid-June, the Whitehorn Lodge Restaurant will open daily from 11:30am-3:00pm. The Lodge of the Ten Peaks (open now) and the Powder Keg also offer a selection of food and beverages at the base of the resort throughout the Summer. Interpretative presentations at Lake Louise Ski Resort are free, held at the Wildlife Interpretative Centre (a lift pass is required for access) and guided walks are $5 per person. Photo Credit: Lake Louise Ski Resort. SkiLouise.com
Hiking Sunshine Meadows in Full Summer Bloom
Banff’s Sunshine Village Resort offers one of the most iconic hikes in the Canadian Rockies, guaranteeing jaw-dropping views along the way. Ranked as the #1 day hike in Canada by Lonely Planet, Sunshine Meadows with all its alpine beauty and its average elevation of 7,300ft (2220m) is one summer experience not to be missed. Summer hikers can catch the meadows in full yellow wildflower bloom and take in unrivaled views of the surrounding peaks, including the grandeur of Mount Assiniboine.
New for this summer, hikers can fill their backpacks with Sunshine Village’s freshly baked goodies, homemade sandwiches and picnic lunches, perfect for enjoying next to the tranquil Rock Isle Lake, edged by some of the highest peaks in the Rockies. Or for really hungry hikers, there’s weekend barbecues taking place at the Village’s ‘Mad Trapper’s Saloon’.
From the Sunshine Village Bourgeau base, visitors can take a round trip bus ride up to the village, where the hike begins. White Mountain Adventures operates the Sunshine Meadows Alpine Shuttle every day from June 21st until Sept. 30th, weather dependent. Shuttles run every hour from the Sunshine Village parking lot and once daily from designated spots in the town of Banff. Photo Credit: White Mountain Adventures. SkiBanff.com