Banff (AB), Canada – The “Big 3” ski resorts within Canada’s Banff National Park – Mt. Norquay, Sunshine Village and Lake Louise – are gearing up for winter 2015-16 with a host of new lifts, new offerings and celebrations in store.
Mt. Norquay Turns 90
The oldest ski resort in the Canadian Rockies has been a family affair since the 1926. The first ski cabin was built in 1927 and the first rope tow was installed in 1941. The North American or “Big Chair” has been providing riders with Bow Valley views since 1948, making it one of the oldest chairlifts in North America. Ski racing has always been a part of Norquay’s heritage with the first slalom courses set back in 1929 and the North American Champions races in 1937. To mark this 90th anniversary, Mt, Norquay will celebrate with many special events throughout the season.
The Hottest Chairlift in Canada Debuts at Sunshine Village
Canada’s first heated chairlift debuts at Sunshine Village just in time for the 2015-16 ski season. The new Tee Pee Town high-speed quad chairlift features heated seats, footrests and protective orange bubble covers. The state-of-the-art lift runs at a speed of 1,000 feet per minute and features an impressive 47 bubble chairs. The lift offers access to blue trails with expansive views of Mountain Assiniboine off of the Continental Divide while also opening up challenging black and double black diamond terrain, like the Shoulder – a local’s favorite — and the popular Tee Pee Chutes.
More to Love About Banff’s Only Ski-In, Ski-Out Hotel
The only ski-in, ski-out hotel in Canada’s Banff National Park, the Sunshine Mountain Lodge is an eco-boutique property that will open this season with freshly updated and upgraded rooms. The 48 rooms in the main lodge wing shine with plush new carpeting, updated wood furnishings and built-ins, new HD TVs and luxurious Eden Textile linens. The eight main lodge suites now feature custom American Leather sofas with pull-out beds, in addition to existing mountain-chic comforts, including fireplaces, private balconies and spa-like bathrooms. The unbeatable views and star-filled night skies won’t change a bit, thank goodness.
Moonlight Dining at Mt. Norquay’s Historic Cliffhouse Bistro
Perched high on the upper cliff bands of Mt. Norquay, this historic bistro will open only on full moon nights, creating the unique opportunity for an evening of magical dining overlooking the town of Banff. Guests ascend the North American Chair to this high alpine eatery to dine fireside on the culinary creations of Chef Morne Burger. Surrounded by moonlight, shadows and snow-capped peaks, guests dine amongst the stars at 7,000 feet overlooking the glittering lights of town below.
Full Moon Dates: January 22, 2016; February 19, 2016; March 25, 2016
February 14: Valentine’s Moonlight dinner featuring a five-course dinner with wine pairings
New Executive Chef Introduces Las Vegas Flair to Lake Louise
While only in his thirties, Executive Chef Scott Green has notched a succession of acclaimed culinary achievements: a disciplined education at Nevada’s prestigious Le Cordon Bleu; the role of Executive Chef at Las Vegas’ world-renowned Wynn, Caesars and Mandalay Bay casinos, and Little Buddha restaurant; and the position of lead chef for the launch of three Celebrity Cruise Line vessels. Having previously been tested under the bright lights and high pressure of Las Vegas, Green’s relocation to the Canadian Rockies presents a new challenge: accessing 11 food and beverage outlets across 4,200 acres with only one pair of skis.
High Altitude Dining
A truly elevated dining experience nestled mid-mountain at The Lake Louise Ski Resort, the renovated Whitehorn Bistro features a new look and a fresh take on mountain fare. The new menu highlights indulgent, upscale options like the baked Camembert, signature seafood chowder and the house-made bison burger. From the restaurant’s elevation of 2,042 m (6,700 feet), meals are accompanied by the breathtaking backdrop of Mount Temple.
Sushi Meets the Mountains
The 2015-16 season ushers in a new Sushi Bar within the Lodge of Ten Peaks at The Lake Louise Ski Resort. This new outlet incorporates the traditions of quality sushi with individual presentations that utilize the elements of the Canadian Rockies. The menu features AAA Alberta beef tataki, nigiri, sashimi and custom Maki rolls designed and named after classic trails and terrain from around the resort.
Special Events for 2015-16:
The Lake Louise Alpine Ski World Cup: Watch the world’s fastest racers begin the World Cup speed circuit at the Lake Louise Ski Resort, amongst the Canadian Rockies in Banff National Park. This is the only World Cup stop outside of Europe to join the ranks of the famous Club 5 Ski Classics. The Lake Louise Alpine Ski World Cup is one of the select few stops on the World Cup circuit that hosts both the men’s and women’s speed events. Lake Louise also plays host to the first Audi FIS Ski World Cup downhill and super G races of the 2015-16 season. This is the only event of its kind in Canada and is broadcast to a global audience in excess of 184 million. Men: November 28-29, 2015; Women: December 4-6, 2015.
88th Annual Slush Cup & Inaugural Pond Skimming World Cup: The first-ever Pond Skimming World Cup splashes into Banff National Park May 23, 2016. In partnership with Powder Magazine, Ski Banff-Lake Louise-Sunshine has already announced the 2016 Slush Cup, held annually at Sunshine Village. The event also serves as the inaugural Pond Skimming World Cup. With qualifying events taking place at a variety of North American ski resorts next winter season, finalists descend upon Sunshine Village on the resort’s final day of the season for the Pond Skimming World Cup, as part of the 88th Annual Slush Cup.
Tentative Opening Dates
Lake Louise Ski Resort: November 7, 2015
Sunshine Village: November 11, 2015
Mt. Norquay: October 31, 2015