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Banff Christmas Holiday - Snowboarding with Teens

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Oct 21st, 2018, 05:07 PM
  #1
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Banff Christmas Holiday - Snowboarding with Teens

We are traveling with another family during Christmas break. We are looking at options for resorts/condos either two separate places or one space that can fit 8 people. Both families have teen snowboarders. The wives do not ski or board so they will want other options. So basically looking for convenience for the snowboarders and activities for the ladies. We will have a vehicle so the ladies can drive to town while the others hurl themselves down icy mountains. Any suggestions for a location? We have a fairly flexible budget. Any favorite restaurants or other suggestions? We all like Italian food, open to other cuisine. Thanks in advance.
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Oct 22nd, 2018, 01:06 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2013
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Welcome!

You need to book promptly - Christmas is extremely popular, and at this point, for a larger group, your options may be pretty limited.

There aren't really any resorts, per se in the Banff area. The term tends to be (very much) mis-used by places that are really quite basic hotels/motels without any of the amenities one would consider to be part of a resort. In Banff, the only places that probably would meet the resort definition would be Rimrock and Banff Springs Hotel. Especially for a larger group, those would likely be very, very expensive. And may be heavily booked already.

You will only have a few choices of location -- in that regards, it's worth understanding a bit about the area. All three of the ski hills are inside Banff National Park, and only one has any on-hill accommodation. That is at Sunshine, and if there are any rooms left, not likely a good option for your group. It's a small lodge that is only accessible via gondola (and then a 20+ car or shuttle ride to the closest townsite) -- not good if there are non-skiers in the group. With a very few exceptions, because development is heavily restricted in the parks, the rest of the accommodation in the area is clustered in a few townsites - Lake Louise and Banff inside the park, and Canmore just outside. Lake Louise only has a handful of hotels and a hostel - chances are that those are quite booked up at this point. Lake Louise Inn or the Mountaineer likely best for your group, In Banff/Lake Louise, rentals of apartments/house/condos are not permitted to non-residents (i.e. you must work in the park to live in the park) -- you would be staying in a hotel or B&B. There are a handful of hotels that do have condo style accommodation or larger suites.
If you want a condo, you'd be looking at Canmore, just outside the park. There are a variety of condo-hotels. There are also private rentals, but you must be very careful that the rental is legit. There are a lot of illegal short-term rentals being advertised and the town is heavily cracking down on them (there is a massive shortage of housing for people working in the area), so you risk losing your accommodation if it's illegal and bylaw finds out. So it's usually best to go with a commercial condo-hotel like Blackstone or Solara.

Your best bet is one of the hotels in Banff. There are local buses in Banff and to Lake Louise, so those without a car can easily get around. And the townsite itself is easily walkable. For the skiers, there are also shuttles that run to each of the three resorts. Usually they are free for skiers, though it may depend on the pass you have - check when you buy your tickets to see if the shuttles are included.

All legal accommodation in Banff is listed at www.banfflakelouise.com You need to get cracking and find out what options are still available. Be aware that it's not at all uncommon for places to have minimum stay requirements around Christmas and New Years, with some offering set packages for Christmas in particular. Douglas Fir is one place that has large cabins/suites, though they may well be booked for Christmas already.

As to food - Banff has just about everything. With that size group, reservations will be a must, and you should make sure you have Christmas and Boxing Day meals reserved well in advance. Many hotels offer them -- though you may still need to book a seating by a certain date. Otherwise check Taxi Mike's website (http://taximike.com/)- he has a good list of restaurants and will post info on Christmas meals. You can then book in advance. I don't eat much in Banff, but the St James Gate is my go to for the atmosphere and comfort, pub style food.
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