Alberta Ski & Snowboard Resort Tips

Canmore is perfectly situated for a downhill skiing and snowboarding vacation with five ski and snowboard resorts located within 60 minutes drive of the town, including Canada Olympic Park, site of the 1988 Winter Olympics. Just 90 minutes from Calgary International Airport, Canmore is the ideal location as a base for your winter vacation in the Rocky Mountains.

Don’t have your winter gear with you? Ski & snowboard rentals are available from us at Gear Up Sports. Reserve your ski or snowboard gear online and ensure you get to the powder quicker. We offer the convenience of picking up your reserved skis and snowboards the day before you want to hit the slopes, convenient drop off times, and even hourly rates.

Downhill ski & snowboard resorts in proximity to Canmore (approximate times/weather dependent):

  • Norquay (20 mins)
  • Sunshine (30 mins to gondola base station)
  • Nakiska (35 mins)
  • Lake Louise (55 mins)
  • Canada Olympic Park (60 mins)


Norquay has been operating since 1926 as a ski area and has a wide variety of terrain for skiing or riding that will suit all abilities. From gentle green runs for the beginner, to intermediate and heart pounding double black diamond runs Norquay offers something for everyone, including night skiing, a terrain park, snowshoeing, and tubing.

Situated just minutes from the town of Banff and 20 minutes from Canmore it’s the ideal ski hill for a quick getaway break on the slopes if you are a local, and a great vacation destination if you are coming from further afield. Reserve your ski or snowboard gear online with us and you can be on the ski hill with minimal fuss and maximum fun.

Norquay also has a wide variety of ski pass and ticket options, including buying ski time by the hour for people with time constraints but a need to get on the hill, full day pass, ski passes for multiple days, or the entire ski season. The ski area is also serviced by some great food options at Cascade Lodge and the North American Lodge.

For more information visit the Norquay website.

Banff Sunshine Village

Banff Sunshine Village Ski & Snowboard Resort is located in Banff National Park in the heart of the Canadian Rockies and just 30 minutes from the town of Canmore (weather permitting). The access road is clearly signposted from Trans-Canada Highway #1 and winds approximately 8kms up the mountain to the base station; if you’re on this road and think it’s taking too long to get to the ski hill keep going because eventually it runs out and you’ve arrived at Sunshine.

There is parking at the gondola base station but it soon fills up, especially at weekends and peak times. A free shuttle between Banff and the resort also operates to deliver you to the high speed gondola ferrying skiers and snowboarders up to the village, or mid-way for people wanting to get off or on at Goat’s Eye Mountain.

A wide variety of tickets and ski passes are available at the base station: season pass, full day, half day, multi-day. There are also plenty of food and drink options to keep you fuelled throughout your day on the slopes. Sign up for a session with the Sunshine Ski Hosts and you’ll get to see the hidden gems that the locals would like to keep to themselves.

Sunshine Village has terrain to suit all abilities of skier and rider; from the magic carpet, to beginner, intermediate, double black diamond terrain, and for those looking for the ultimate experience—Delirium Dive. Reserve your ski or snowboard gear online with us and we’ll ensure you have the perfect equipment for skiing or riding this great resort.

For more information visit the Sunshine Village website.

Lake Louise Mountain Resort

Lake Louise and the famous Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise occupy a stunning piece of the Canadian Rockies. Sharing this breathtaking setting Lake Louise Mountain Resort is able to combine fantastic scenery, awesome conditions, and superb skiing and snowboarding runs.

Approximately 55 minutes (weather permitting) from Canmore it’s an easy to reach resort. Trans-Canada Highway #1 will take you from Canmore through Banff National Park directly to Lake Louise, from there it’s a simple case of following signs for the resort. Reserve your ski or snowboard gear online and pick it up from us on your way through to the ski resort.

A variety of tickets and ski passes are available: season, full or half day, multi-day, and after 2pm tickets. The resort has runs for skiers and riders of all abilities with novice, intermediate, family, and challenging terrain, a terrain park, and for the non-skiers or riders, or those just needing a rest and a rush, the Sunny Tube Park offers some tubing fun.

Food and drink are well catered for with many options between the Lodge, Temple, Whitehorn Bistro, and Kokanee Kabin, providing cafeteria, ramen, sushi, pub style, bistro, and BBQ options. Be sure to checkout Temple Cafeteria mid-mountain for a great location and cosy feel with awesome views from the deck .

For more information visit the Lake Louise Mountain Resort website.


Nakiska ski resort in Kananaskis Country is only 35 minutes (weather permitting) from Canmore. The 1988 Calgary Olympic Winter Games required a venue for the Olympic Alpine events; Mount Allan was chosen and construction began in 1986 to create Nakiska ski resort. The origin of the name Nakiska (pronounced Na-kiss-ka) is from the Cree word meaning ‘to meet’ or ‘meeting place’ and honours the indigenous peoples of the region.

Nakiska has a variety of ski tickets available: season passes, multi-day, full or half day tickets (regular or peak season). The mountain has a wide variety of terrain to suit all abilities of skier and rider; from the magic carpet, to beginner, intermediate, and double black diamond. There’s also a tube park for a little extra high speed snow fun when the legs need a rest.

Snow school offers ski and snowboard lessons to suit all ages and abilities, and for those not quite ready to hit the slopes daycare services are available but do need to be booked in advance. If you’re staying in Canmore or Banff then reserve your ski or snowboard gear online and pick it up from us on your way through to the ski resort.

On mountain dining from grab & go to sit & lounge provides plenty of options so you won’t go hungry while you’re hitting the slopes. If coffee is your fuel of choice then Starbucks inside the day lodge can provide you with your java hit.

For more information visit the Nakiska website.

Marmot Basin

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Panorama Mountain Resort

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Banff Sunshine Village Ski & Snowboard Resort

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Lake Louise Ski Resort

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Banff Norquay

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Nakiska Ski Area

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Cycling the Bow Valley

Canmore, Alberta might be famous as the location of the 1988 Winter Olympic Games at the Canmore Nordic Centre, but it’s also the go to place for cycling—recreational and hardcore. Whether you’re looking for easy cruiser style rides, or technical single track challenges, the Bow Valley will provide cyclists of all ages and levels the perfect opportunity to get out and about on two wheels.

Rocky Mountain Legacy Trail
For cyclists that are interested in cycling to Banff without using the highway, the Rocky Mountain Legacy Trail offers the ideal scenic and traffic free route between the two towns. Starting at the Travel Alberta Canmore Visitor Information Centre on the Bow Valley Trail at the western edge of the town, there is plenty of vehicle parking so you can offload your bike and join the start of the trail. The paved trail heads west to the Banff National Park gates, and runs parallel to the TransCanada Highway for approximately 22 kms to the Banff townsite.

The Gear Up Sports bike rental location is also only a few minutes ride from the trailhead; turn left out of our car park and cycle approximately 10 minutes west along the Bow Valley Trail which has a cycle shoulder.

Halfway between Canmore and Banff the Valley View scenic picnic area with benches and restrooms makes an ideal stop to enjoy views over the picturesque valley and Rundle Mountain range.

Cyclists who only want to cycle one way can use the ROAM public transit bus between Banff and Canmore for the return journey, the bus comes equipped with a multi-bike rack on front.

The trail doesn’t just end at Banff, a short ride through the town and the trail can be rejoined on the Vermilion Lakes Drive just past The Fenlands Banff Recreation Centre located on Mount Norquay Road. At the end of the lakes road the Rocky Mountain Legacy Trail resumes as a traffic free trail until it reaches the Bow Valley Parkway (Highway 1A). Hardy cyclists can then head along the scenic parkway passing Johnston Canyon and Castle Junction, both providing a good place to stop for food and drink on the way to Lake Louise.

Didn’t bring a bike and want to try out the breathtaking Rocky Mountain Legacy Trail? Our Legacy Trail bike is perfect to rent for a leisurely ride along the trail, or we offer full suspension mountain bike rentals. All rentals include a bike helmet, and for the little two-wheeled adventurer not quite up to a solo ride we have burley trailers available.

Mountain Biking at the Canmore Nordic Centre
Mountain biking adventures await at the Canmore Nordic Centre with some of the best off-road cycling in the Canadian Rockies. During the summer the centre offers over 100 kms of mountain biking trails from wide double track non-technical to advanced single track. During the winter fat bikes are allowed on specifically designated fat biking trails; cyclists and cross-country or skate skiers share the world class facility.

Canmore Trails
If you’re just looking for a lazy day on the bike with scenic views and not too much exertion then the trails along the Bow River offer the perfect diversion for a couple of hours. Pack up a lunch and head along the unpaved trails until you find the perfectly positioned seat upon which to spend a little time relaxing and enjoying the view.

A paved/gravel cycle route runs alongside the Bow River out to the Three Sisters Mountain Village. Wide and undulating it offers great views, and also a memorable ride past the location of Coal Mine #2 (now sealed shut) and the pungent sulphur smelling pond from water flowing out of the abandoned mine.

The Bow Valley is also criss-crossed with trails of differing levels. If you want to gain some altitude there are trails that will enable you to do just that. Look out for routes such as Highline Trail, Riders of Rohan, Reclaimer, and Horseshoe Slabs for a little heart pumping adrenalin, or Lowline (a.k.a. Loki’s), Powerline, and the High Rockies Trail for a good workout without the scream factor.

Goat Creek Trail
The Rocky Mountain Legacy Trail isn’t the only route to Banff from Canmore. The Goat Creek Trail offers an off-road experience with a wide gentle grade. The trailhead is located on the Smith Dorrien Highway/Spray Lakes Road. Head past the Canmore Nordic Centre and follow the paved road to where it turns to gravel at the Grassi Lakes turnoff, continue up the twisty unpaved road until the Goat Creek parking lot is reached next to the Ha Ling trailhead. If you’re cycling in the Canmore to Banff direction the trail is mostly downhill all the way.

Canmore Trails

Canmore offers an extensive network of multi-use trails extending throughout town, and beyond to surrounding recreation areas and municipalities. Discover the opportunities Canmore has to offer below.

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Bed & Bike

Feeling the adventure itch? Explore Canada on two wheels! HI Canada has teamed up with local bike shops to offer discount on rentals and cycle tours for your epic trip. Don't worry if you're not an experienced cyclist, our friendly hostel staff will help you find the perfect route for any skill level.

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