Your lungs fill with mountain-crisped air as you gaze at a splendid panorama of the Canadian Rockies. Sun rays warm your cheeks and a gentle breeze rustles the evergreens, but you don’t feel chilly, despite the snow at your feet. Your reverie is interrupted by a friendly snowball lobbed by your skiing buddy, who is eager to head down to the patio for a beer in the sunshine.
Welcome to spring skiing in Banff National Park, a bonus sub season gifted by the region’s high altitude and long ski season. Find out why locals look forward to this unique pocket of time every year and get inspired to book your own spring skiing trip to explore Banff’s three world-class resorts.
1. Après and Patios
Après-ski is always a treat, but après on a sunny patio is hard to beat. Sunshine, mountain air and draught beer is a magical combination that is known to make humans feel euphoric.
At Mt. Norquay you can catch your rays at the Lone Pine balcony patio, or stop off at The Juniper Bistro on the way down the mountain to sip a drink around the fire pit. The Kokanee Cabin at Lake Louise Ski Resort is known for its festive patio vibes, and Banff Sunshine invites you to kick back at the Mad Trapper’s patio for the ultimate people-watching session.
2. Ski Hill Events
Banff National Park’s three ski resorts make sure the ski season goes out with a bang.
Who says fluorescent onesies are out of style? Rock up to Mt. Norquay in your finest 80s gear on March 14, 2020, for Retro Ski Day, and then party on past last chair with a Retro Video Dance Party. It’s the last evening of night skiing, although the resort is scheduled to stay open until mid-April.
April 25 is another date to circle in your calendar. Shake the Lake at the Lake Louise Ski Resort is a day filled with après-themed fun in the sun, including live music, a pond skimming challenge and a freestyle snowboarding competition that’s also an excellent spectator sport.
The last day of this year’s season at Banff Sunshine is scheduled for May 18, the day of the much anticipated Slush Cup. Join a huge crowd of merry revellers who gather to cheer on costumed participants attempting to ski or board across a pool of icy water.
3. Spring Sales
Towards the end of the ski season, you’ll see some epic sales pop up in the ski and snowboard stores around Banff. Browse cutting-edge snowboards, outerwear, and urban wear at Unlimited Skate & Snow, Rude Boys, and Rude Girls. Skiers will love Ultimate Sports, Banff Soul Ski & Bike, and Monod Sports, all of which carry an excellent range of gear and apparel.
4. Play Time
With less obligation to hunt down pockets of hidden powder, you’ll have more time to cruise the groomed runs, think about your technique, and maybe even roll over that little natural jump that you spotted off the side of your favourite run. Ever wanted to try skiing backwards? Why not use the warmer, brighter days of spring to give it a try?
5. Spring Dumps
Take point #4 with a grain of salt, because there is always plenty of spring snow expected in Banff National Park. March and April are known for their fluffy dumps of white gold, and there’s a good chance you’ll experience that coveted unicorn of ski – the bluebird powder day.
6. Photos and scenery
In the warmer weather, it’s easier to shuck off a mitt, pull out the camera phone, and take that quintessential selfie from the top of the Great Divide chairlift at Banff Sunshine. There’s also the tremendous view from Mt. Norquay’s Mystic Express chair, which encompasses the town of Banff in a postcard scene that is so beautiful you’ll need to stop and pinch yourself to confirm that it’s real.
You can’t spring ski at the Lake Louise Ski Resort without snapping a picture of your smiling face with the lake in the background. Take a ride up Paradise Chair to catch incredible views of the rugged giants that embrace Lake Louise.
Blue skies, white snow and warm smiles are the hallmarks of spring skiing in Banff National Park, but no photo it didn’t happen, right?
7. More time spent on the mountain
We love those fabulous, snowy days of peak winter, but spring’s warmer temperatures mean there is more incentive to stay outside, explore the slopes further and sneak up to the summit in the sunshine.
You’re also more likely to take a beat, sit on the slopes and simply soak the incredible scenery around you, feeding your soul on the gorgeous views over the Canadian Rockies while the sun beams down on your face.
8. More time for activities
The fun doesn’t have to end when the lifts stop spinning! More daylight equals more time for activities off the slopes. You could squeeze in a snowshoeing or hiking session after your morning ski and still find time to watch the sunset from the divine waters of the Banff Upper Hot Springs.