One of the reasons why a LOT of people think Banff is the best ski resort in the world (plus the best place to spend a ski season, the best place to live, the coolest mountain town in the world… you get the picture!) is that there is so much to do when you’re off skis/your board.
This chunky list is just a selection of the fun that’s to be had. It’s literally impossible to be bored in Banff.
Other things to do in Banff
Don’t laugh! OK you might look like a bit of a d**k with a floppy set of snowshoes attached to your feet, but they actually make walking in deep snow significantly easier. Combine this with hanging out with a local guide and you can head to some pretty remote spots. PS, if you don’t have touring kit, snowshoeing with your skis/board strapped to your back is a legit option.
Nothing not to love about tubing. (Just please don’t break your wrist before Level 2!!) You’ll find tubing at Mount Norquay. It’s a really fun outing as a big group, so get the whole team involved.
A relatively new endeavour in the mountains, this will suit mountain biking fans and anyone who wants to get their heart rate up. You can hire them from multiple shops in town and there are plenty of dedicated trails (including some new for this season).
Ice skating/ice hockey
The Canadians are sick at ice skating. If pirouettes aren’t your thing - think more ice-hockey style. You could even get hold of a stick/puck and give it a go. Every year, the SnowSkool crew head to watch the ice hockey in Calgary and it never disappoints.
Tired of creating your own propulsion on snow? No problem - have a team of happy dogs drum up the energy for you. This is a really cool experience and a look into a sport that’s hundreds of years old. Not your standard pet pooch, it’s also an eye-opener as to how tough mountain dogs are.
Petrol-heads, this one’s for you. If the scenery in the Rocky Mountains is just too serene - what better way to inject some adrenaline that renting snowmobiles? There are dedicated areas to tear up and different kinds of lessons or guided tours you can book onto as well.
With zero engine power and not even the assistance of your slippery plank or planks, there’s a lot of Banff to discover on foot. Personally, we love the hike up Sulphur Mountain, from just behind the SnowSkool accommodation. You’ll be treated to etc views that will set your socials on fire. A heads up, there’s nothing like walking uphill, through snow, at altitude, to make you feel super unfit! Plan your first few hikes at an easy-sounding distance!
If you’re over the stunning mountain views - why not head inside the mountain?! Interestingly The caves remain a constant 5C (41F) all year. Cool in summer, mild in winter. Anyone can give it a go - caving is physically challenging but no experience is necessary for any of the tours.
A frozen waterfall offers climbers a different terrain to get to grips with. (Apologies for the pun) In fact, it’s a totally different ball game - you’ll climb in full gear with gloves, ice axe, boots and crampons.
Yes, you read correctly. Wolfdog. While there is tonnes of incredible wildlife in the Banff national park, it can be pretty shy. At the sanctuary, you can get up close with these half-wild beasts. The sanctuary exists because some people think it would be rad to breed a dog with a wolf and then - shock – realise it probably wasn’t their best idea. Your visit provides a solid donation and you’ll learn a bit too.
The Banff National Park actually started with the hot springs at its centre. These-days, the springs are an inviting, swim-able set up that’s a delightful way to relax weary ski-bods. You can easily get the bus here too.
Want to know more about how Banff town, the National Park and its ski resorts came to be? The The Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies will give you a deeper insight into the history and culture of your temporary home.
Not always in the guide books, but an absolute favourite of SnowSkoolers 21/22 - heading to Mellisa’s Missteak to sing your heart out at karaoke. We experienced some real talent and some real window-shatterering last season… we’re hoping for nothing less this year!
Another banging day out was heading to Banff Curling Club for a curling session. Don’t tell us you’ve never wanted to have a go in those slippy shoes!? The Canadians are shit-hot at curling and it’s a big deal in snowy towns. There were more than happy to welcome a big SnowSkool crew and show us the ropes.
So, there's plenty of reasons to visit Bannf
We could go on, but as it is this list would mean you’re doing something new every weekend while you’re out there! Banff is a seriously special place - there are not many other legit ski towns that have so much on offer. A great place to start is the SkiBig3 website or app, then head to activities.
If you’re even thinking about it, we can’t stress enough how much you’d love spending a season there. Give us a shout if you have any Banff questions, or want to know more about our ski instructor courses in Canada.
Photo credits: Banff Lake Louise