When it comes to skiing in Canada most people’s minds instantly turn to the two main resorts of Banff and Whistler. Both are held in high regard worldwide, so it becomes difficult to separate the two resorts. Hours can be spent on websites like Crystal Ski trying to pick between the two. So here are key areas from which to choose from:
Banff comes out on top here. Winter is Banff’s low season. It is a summer hotspot for Canadians looking to go hiking and biking in the stunning setting of a national park. For this reason alone the accommodation becomes more affordable than its British Columbian counterpart. After all, no hotels want empty rooms. With dining out also being cheaper it became a relatively easy choice as to who wins this category.
Whistler just sneaks it here. With shorter commutes to the slopes it is a no brainer. Banff is a central base for the big three, Mt Norquay is the closest (20 minutes away) but also offers the poorest runs. If you take into account the distance and the time on the lifts it can cut into time on the slopes. In terms of amenities there is not too much difference. Banff probably edges it in terms of shopping and restaurants but this is so marginal to have a major impact on the outcome.
Whistler has to win this hands down. Time and time again it gets mentioned as one of the top après ski destinations. It is at a level of recognition that certain snow bums, who have never visited, will be able to name the main bars. Unfortunately its counterpart here can’t compete purely on the grounds of distance. With the major slopes being a bit away from resort there is no mileage in the 3 o clock drink. It does offer some great bars in the town but they don’t get busy until 6/7 pm time.
A clear winner here in Banff. It’s a pretty stiff task to compete against it as it’s set in the heart of a UNESCO national park. With the Alberta Rockies surrounding it, turn in any direction and there’s a view to be had. In fact Lake Louise is only a short commute away. With it frozen over and sitting under the Victoria glacier it has become one of Canada’s romance hotspots.
You can see why with views like this
With Banff not being on the doorstep of two mountains it was always going to be difficult to compete. It did score some points for the slopes being less crowded and having the variety of Mt Norquay, Sunshine Village and Lake Louise. Whistler wins because of the glory bowls. It offers well laid out runs for beginners and intermediates much like its competitor but has the added edge for the experienced skier. The four glory bowls will keep an expert entertained where they may have tired of Sunshine Village and Lake Louise.
Tied here. British Columbia has a much milder climate than Alberta but with that comes rain. So where one will be colder the other will be wetter. The coldness can lead to a person cutting down the time they spend on the slopes whereas the rain can cause lower runs (usually for beginners) not worth skiing.
So which one comes out on top? Well if we are being completely honest it comes down to what someone wants on their ski tip. In terms of challenge and a lively atmosphere Whistler win by far and away. If it is a family orientated or a more luxurious break then Banff is better suited.
1st picture (Image courtesy of franky242/FreeDigitalPhotos.net)