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JillDavis Dec 6th, 2011 01:58 PM

Breckenridge or Banff Springs, Canada for ski trip for beginner?
Hi there! I have been debating back and forth over my next ski trip. I am a total beginner (only been once) and my husband is beginner/intermediate. Well, we sort of thought we settled on Breckenridge, CO, but then we saw pictures of Banff Springs, Canada and were blown away.

This scottish castle in Canada looks simply drop dead gorgeous.

I wondered what your thoughts were? Is Banff Springs Canada really that beautiful?

sf7307 Dec 6th, 2011 02:32 PM

The Canadian Rockies in general are really that beautiful. The town of Banff has a few too many t-shirt stores for my liking, but it's still a fun town to hang out in -- plenty of good restaurants and bars. I don't know anything about the quality of the skiing there.

fmpden Dec 6th, 2011 02:54 PM

Depending on the time of year, there can be a major temperature difference with Breck actually feeling balmy. A friend of mine from that area starts with a snowmobiling suit when he goes skiing there. Compare average daily temperatures.

tomfuller Dec 6th, 2011 02:58 PM

Maybe go to a cheaper place to learn how to ski at an intermediate level. That castle comes with a big price tag.
There are many beautiful places to learn to ski that cost less than even Breckenridge.
I'm not a downhill skier but I do enjoy snowshoeing in the Cascades of Oregon.

Bill_H Dec 6th, 2011 03:04 PM

<b>Is Banff Springs Canada really that beautiful? </b>

The Banff area is fantastic. It's like the Tetons except the mountains are everywhere. Lots of wildlife like elk and bighorn sheep (actually a lot of elk right in town at times).

Banff Springs hotel is pretty old and it's expensive but you can stay in town for less and still go up to the hotel to wander around the lobby or dine.

longhorn55 Dec 6th, 2011 04:36 PM

I haven't been to Banff, but Breckenridge is a great place to learn how to ski. (That's where I learned.)

An advantage of Breckenridge, which you may already know, is that it is part of the Summit County ski resorts (Breckenridge, Keystone, Copper Mountain), so you've got a lot of choices for skiing.

KensingtonGirl Dec 6th, 2011 05:16 PM

Banff is that gorgeous. However none of the ski areas are really close to town so you will have to travel some distance to either Sunshine or Lake Louise to ski. (Or you could stay at Lake Louise which is even more gorgeous.) Mt. Norquay is closer to the town of Banff but not as big of a ski area as the other two. At Sunshine once you get there you have to take a long cable car up to the ski area. At all the ski areas you need to look at where the beginners can actually ski (i.e where the beginner slopes are actually located on the ski mountain).

For scenery - Banff and Lake Louise wins hands down.
For beginner ski experience - Breckenridge and Summit County are better.

We love the Banff area and every time we return to ski we remember how beautiful it is and return the following summer to hike it. But its also the place where it was -30 a couple mornings and my husband said it didn't matter if it was C or F it was cold.

Go to Breckenridge for the skiing and Banff for the summer hiking.

JillDavis Dec 6th, 2011 05:27 PM

If I stay at the Fairmont Banff Springs, I would think they would provide a shuttle to the ski areas...

All of you make valid points about the temps. I just saw the picture of the Fairmont and fell in love with the Canadian Rockies from the pictures. That castle in the Rockies just looks magical.

fmpden Dec 6th, 2011 06:48 PM

Jill - for your future reference on how to use this site. You can put multi tags on a question so it is not necessary to put a duplicate question in the Canadian section. That way you will keep all your responses in one place and others can build on your responses.

jyares Dec 6th, 2011 07:28 PM

A logistics question:
Where do you live?

irishswampyankee Dec 6th, 2011 08:22 PM

Banff/Lake Louise really aren't for beginner skiers, IMO, but the scenery is gorgeous. It will be very expensive, cold and I think the nightlife is better in Breck. I would suggest the Canadian Rockies in warmer weather for the scenery. Breck is easier to get to than Banff - shorter drive from the airport.

JillDavis Dec 7th, 2011 04:35 AM

Jerry - I live in Windermere, Florida (right outside of Orlando)

Gretchen Dec 7th, 2011 04:56 AM

I think you will find almost any ski area just beautiful and charming. Banff DOES have some extras, and I see above that it is really not a beginner's mountain. The ski schools at Breck are great, and actually from there you can ski several mountains-Keystone and Vail.They are all very accessible (2 hours from Denver. And probably a cheaper flight.
Be sure your husband takes a lesson also to improve.

jyares Dec 7th, 2011 06:52 AM

Don't laugh, but there is decent skiing just 700 miles up I-75 from where you live. Yesterday, TripAdvisor published a list of the Top 10 Winter Ski Vacation Rental Destinations in the U.S. Breckenridge was #1. Ober Gatlinburg just outside of Knoxville TN was rated #2.
If you choose not to drive, Allegiant Air offers midweek January nonstop flights from Orlando/Sanford to TYS Knoxville for $110 round trip. Real airplanes, too--MD-80 and 757.

jyares Dec 7th, 2011 08:48 AM

We have friends who live in Breck.
Think about this--the limo ride from DEN airport to Breck will take longer than the entire flight from Orlando to Knoxville, even if I-70 is clear.
Also, the total vertical drop in a day's skiing could be the same both places. At OG, you'll just ride the lift up the mountain more times.

Gretchen Dec 7th, 2011 08:52 AM


JillDavis Dec 7th, 2011 08:53 AM

Jyares - thank you for the info on Ober Gatlinburg. I didn't realize there was skiing in TN. It is something to definitely consider.

The only problem is you are risking a lot with snow conditions in TN. For example, if I book my airplane tickets for February and come that weekend, it is hotter than expected, the conditions could be icy and not favorable for beginner skiing. (falling a lot)

With CO, I have less of a risk with that.

Gretchen Dec 7th, 2011 09:42 AM

Exactly. AND it could even be raining. Have a ball in Colorado. You'll not regret it. AND I have done my share of skiing in NC for many years.

sf7307 Dec 7th, 2011 09:55 AM

I wouldn't even second-guess Breckenridge --- it's great (and I don't even ski, but my family does).

You can visit Banff on your next trip, either winter or summer.

JillDavis Dec 7th, 2011 10:22 AM

Gretchn - how do you handle the NC ski conditions? Do you live in NC so you can drive there if there is a fresh snowfall? I would think it might be risky to ever try NC as well.

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