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Pure Powder’s Resort Guide: Banff

Location: Banff is located in a picturesque National Park in Alberta, Canada.  It was named by the President of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1884 after his hometown Banffshire in Scotland. With one of the longest ski seasons in North America, Banff has access to over 8,000 acres of ski terrain spread across is three ski areas – Mount Norquay, Sunshine Village and Lake Louise. With the Ski Big Three ski pass, you can ski anywhere within these areas; one of the most popular is Lake Louise  which is a 40-minute drive from Banff and offers 145+ runs suiting all levels of skier.

Nestled high in the Canadian Rockies, Banff offers an endless vista into the outdoors surrounded by mountains and lakes – they even engineered the first street they built here to give the best possible view of Cascade Mountain.

Getting there:  Daily flights depart to Calgary from London Heathrow with Air Canada and West Jet operates twice weekly flights from London Gatwick.

Banff is a 90 minute drive from Calgary Airport. You can either drive yourself (they even have one-way car hire drop offs), hop in a taxi, take a private transfer or ride one of the regular shuttle buses.

Where to stay: If you don’t have a car then it is worth staying centrally in Banff, however most of our recommended accommodations are all within walking distance of Banff town. One of our favourites is The Moose Hotel & Suites which is an elegant mountain lodge, just a few minutes-walk from the centre of town. Its European chalet feel & spa is what sells it for us! For those wanting to stay somewhere a bit more modern then The Mount Royal Hotel is the one for you. It is located right in the heart of Banff meaning you are close to all the action for that buzzy vibe – and our favourite part… is the rooftop outdoor hot tubs, where you can sip on a cocktail post ski, warming up those ski legs and taking in the stunning views over Banff and Cascade Mountain.

Highlights: Banff looks and feels like a film set and personifies mountain culture – don’t expect to find anyone in town who doesn’t love skiing and the outdoors. Its town culture almost outweighs the snowy peaks but when the snow is good it’s fantastic. Don’t look elsewhere if you want your evenings to be as packed as your day on the slopes as this town has lots of restaurants and bars to enjoy.

Downsides: When the conditions aren’t great, be prepared to head 40 minutes to the Lake Louise ski area where conditions can be more consistent. The ski hills are all a shuttle bus away so do have to travel to ski.

Best piste run:  Enjoy the Strawberry Express, the high speed quad, and you’ll find some great snow on Star Trek or Donkey’s Tail in Sunshine.

Best off piste skiing run:  If there are good conditions at Sunshine, get yourself some safety kit and a guide and head off to Delirium Dive via the Mount Standish Express.

Where to Eat at Banff Sunshine: Head to the Lookout lodge – where we love the burgers from The Sunshine Burge Company or relax on a sofa by the fire in the Alpine Grill.

Where to eat in Banff: If you fancy some pastries and coffee in them morning head to Wild Flour Artisan Bakery. In the evenings you can’t go wrong at Chucks Steakhouse which is the best place for a steak in Banff. If you want an atmospheric bar with great food head to Park Distillery, here you can sample one of the many cocktails in the bar where you can see the distillery.  If you fancy some pizza look no further than the Bear Street Tavern, where their speciality is drizzling honey on the pizza!

Après bars: Perfect place for a post ski beer would be the Banff Ave Brewing co and when clubs are back open, you can be bound to get dancing at Dancing Sasquatch.

Best guide: Jorg Wilz is a CMH guide who also guides his hometown via On Top Mountaineering. There’s not a huge amount of off piste skiing to find in Banff so they’d prefer you to ski tour around Rogers Pass to find the powder.

Whether you’re looking for some off piste skiing advice or to warm up your skiing legs before a heli skiing trip, contact the off piste skiing and heli skiing experts at Pure Powder!

Posted by: Georgie Knox

Pure Powder’s Christmas Gift Guide for Skiers & Boarders

Stuck for Christmas gifts for the skier or snowboarder in the family or for friends…then check out our ultimate gift list for this upcoming Christmas Go Pro Hero9 A Go Pro has to be the ultimate gift for any skier or snowboarder and the Go Pro Hero9 is the one to go for. As the […]

Posted by: Georgie Knox

In the Press: Forbes

In The Press: Forbes Photo from Tordrillo Mountain Lodge Alaska has to be one of the most desired places to heli ski in the world, and we aren’t the only ones that think so. Forbes have recently written an article saying that “avid skiers are seeking out Alaska as the top place to heli-ski” Alaska […]

Posted by: Georgie Knox

Plan B. Where Can I Heli Ski During A Covid-19 Winter?

We’re massive fans of the interior ranges of British Columbia in Canada and in our humble opinion it’s as close as heli ski perfection as you can get.  It’s where you’ll find huge expanses of un-tracked ‘Champagne’ powder, tree-skiing for bad-weather days and unbeatable heli skiing know-how from the guides and pilots.   However, this is no normal season and as things stand the Canadian government are keeping […]

Posted by: Zillah Bell

Pure Powder’s Ultimate Heli Ski Packing List

It’s all very exciting – you’ve got your trip booked; flight tickets in hand; passport at the ready…  you can practically smell the powder!  However, you’re standing over an empty bag thinking – have I got everything?  We’ve pulled together our top packing tips to make sure that you’re all set.  What ski clothes to pack?  […]

Posted by: Zillah Bell

Are Touring boots compatible with CMH bindings?

Photo By: Zach Doleac  Our most asked question in the 2019/2020 season was – are my ski touring boots compatible with the CMH bindings?  So… we’ve decided to write a blog about it and get it answered once and for all! Taking skis CMH Heli Skiing provide all their guests with fat, powder skis which […]

Posted by: Zillah Bell

Pure Powder’s Resort Guide: Kicking Horse

Location: Kicking Horse Mountain Resort’s 1,315 vertical is known for its deep light powder and huge snowfall – no wonder it’s nicknamed the Champagne Powder Capital of Canada. It attracts skiers looking to experience amazing snow in a picturesque setting. Kicking Horse has a wide variety of terrain in its 3,400 skiable acres; better suited […]

Posted by: Georgie Knox

Pure Powder’s Skiing Resort Guide: Lake Louise

Location: Lake Louise is a hamlet located in the Banff National Park in the Rocky Mountains. Its name comes from the extraordinary vibrant blue lake which is at the base of Mount Victoria. The lake itself is a 6-minute drive from the centre of the hamlet and was named after Princess Louise Caroline Alberta, the fourth Daughter of Queen Victoria. Although the hamlet is small with only a few hotels and […]

Posted by: Georgie Knox

Pure Powder’s Top 10 Blogs of 2020

We’ve updated our top 10 favourite ski blogs which bring you the latest ski news, top tips and fashionable destinations.  Get your powder fix today and whet your appetite for the season ahead…  powdermatt.com/   To kick off the list we have this cracking a blog by Matt Mosteller – one year, while his friends were busy getting […]

Posted by: Zillah Bell

Top Resorts for your Heli Ski Warm Up in Canada

The Telegraph listed their Top Ten Ski Resorts in Canada, among them was some of our favourites for pre-heli ski warm up.  They are great destinations to try out that famous Canadian powder before you embark on your heli skiing adventure with CMH.   Revelstoke Revelstoke is a small town but is the perfect place […]

Posted by: Georgie Knox

Heli Skiing for First Timers – What are my Options?

Embarking on a heli skiing trip for the first time can be daunting and so we wanted to highlight some options specifically geared towards first time heli skiers. If you are a strong piste skier, have a decent level of fitness and are keen to start skiing in the powder then heli skiing could be […]

Posted by: Charlie Brooksbank

Heli Skiing in Canada: 4 reasons why it’s special

If you’ve ever wondered why 95% of the world’s heli skiing operators are based in Canada check out our 4 reasons why heli skiing in Canada is a must for everyone’s bucket lists. ONE// TERRAIN They say size doesn’t matter, but in the case of heli skiing, Canada’s sheer scale makes it the perfect place […]

Posted by: Zillah Bell

How is snow formed?

As skiers we are obsessed with those tiny little flakes falling from the sky – constantly on the lookout for the next powder dump and eagerly awaiting those cold mornings when you wake up to find a white blanket covering everything and the perfect powder skiing conditions! But a question we often ask ourselves is […]

Posted by: Zillah Bell

Do I have to break the bank to go heli skiing in Canada?

Floating through knee-deep powder with only your buddies to keep you company.  A helicopter waiting at the bottom of each run.  Being whisked up to the top of another glorious powder filled peak.  That’s what dreams are made of – but the key question is do you have to break the bank to make making […]

Posted by: Charlie Brooksbank

The Ultimate Ski Bucket List – Telegraph October 2016

Canadian Mountain Holidays named one of The Telegraph’s Ultimate Ski Bucket List: ‘The tension of waiting for the weather to break, the expectation as the helicopter rotors begin to spin, the eagle’s eye view of pristine wilderness peaks as you’re flown 
to the drop zone, the deep, dry snow you get to ride… all of […]

Posted by: Zillah Bell

Heli Skiing in Iceland – An Adventure of a Lifetime

The Telegraph have named heli skiing in Iceland one of their 50 adventures of a lifetime. ‘Ski from the mountain peaks down to the sea or fly-fish for salmon in glacial rivers accessed only by helicopters. You’ll be staying at Deplar Farm, the ultimate wilderness retreat located in a remote valley in north-west Iceland, surrounded […]

Posted by: Zillah Bell

Pure Powder Sponsoring London Screening of ‘Ruin and Rose’

Come and join us on Friday 11th November at The Ham Yard Hotel, Central London for an exclusive viewing of MSP Films newest movie “Ruin and Rose”. We are absolutely delighted to be sponsoring “Ruin and Rose” alongside Surefoot London for the second year in a row.  This new 4K HD definition film features jaw-dropping action […]

Posted by: Zillah Bell

Pure Powder’s Top 10 Ski Blogs

Back in November 2010 we blogged about the ‘best ski blogs in the business’ and now, after some extensive research and deliberation we bring you our newest, hottest top 10 list… These blogs are set to bring you the latest news, fashionable destinations and first-rate tips and advice.  They are 100% guaranteed to whet your […]

Posted by: Zillah Bell

Pure Powder’s CMH Heli Skiing UK Tour – October 2016

CMH Heli Skiing Presentations:  For over 35 years,  Pure Powder have been the exclusive UK representatives of CMH Heli Skiing in Canada – the largest heli ski operator in the world.   Each year Pure Powder team up with one of the CMH heli ski mountain guides and set about spreading the love for powder skiing on a […]

Posted by: Zillah Bell

Summer Adventures in Western Canada

When you think of Western Canada you think of winter.  You think of the cold and the rain and the snow.  What you may not realise is that a summer in the mountains of British Columbia and Alberta is like no other, there are so many activities to choose from, and it is breathtakingly beautiful! […]

Posted by: Zillah Bell

Heli Skiing in Chile – 5 Things You Shouldn’t Miss

If you’re missing the snow this summer, fear not – there is plenty of the deep powder skiing to be had in the Southern Hemisphere.  And arguably the best place to ski in summer is the central Chilean Andes; famed for it’s consistent (and big) storms and endless terrain this is explorative heli skiing at […]

Posted by: Zillah Bell