Using Banff As Base
Banff is a place I have always wanted to visit in the winter being a snowboarder. The first time was in the summer and the place was heaving, but I knew there was more fun to this place than hiking up mountains.
It’s clear that Banff is a massively popular place in Summer and more so than winter which was hard for me to get my head around, but good for the powder hounds.
Now when I am reviewing and talking about the town of Banff and the National Park, which is massive. Within here you have Lake Louise, Sunshine Village and Mt Norquay to chase powder. If you are looking for other activities to break it up you have the actual Lake Louise, Johnston Canyon, Tunnel Mountain and the Famous Icefields Parkway Drive.
There is so much to see, and we were only scratching the surface. If you are into nature, but also want to get back into a village type atmosphere, then stay in the town of Banff. If you are looking to get right out there, some eco-lodges are available where you won't be bothered by any humans, just bears, well not in winter.
The town is a small village where the central section of the city is Banff Ave, they were quite obvious when they named that.
In between Buffalo and Wolf Streets is where all the main action is going to be. This is bars, restaurant, shopping, and nightclubs.
If you are coming here in the winter, remember that you cannot access any mountains from the village, these are all accessible by transport. So, if you are looking for a Ski in, Ski out place this is not your cup of tea. In summer there is enough bushwalking and hikes to keep you going for days on end. It a great place to get out and connect with nature. Any calories burnt off through the day get put back on at night in the bars and late-night poutine from Beaver Tails. Also, if you’ve never had poutine, you are missing out. I won't say anything else. Just get it.
If there is one thing that Banff has a lot of, that is attractions. Summer or winter they have you covered.
If you base yourself in Banff, the idea is to get out and about. For me, you can just do some driving, and that will tickle your fancy. There is no better drive to do here then the Icefields Parkway Drive.
Surely one of the main attractions is to see a bear. Remember that real bear hugs will kill you, so get a bit bear smart, read up on what to do if you encounter a bear. Yes, they are cool and look like they would be your friend, but trust me, these furry guys are not your friends. Check them out and get out. Also, Lake Louise is good, but once you are there, it's a bit boring. Be sure to take a hike and go up to the Lake Anges Tea House. It's worth the walk, oh you can’t do this in winter.
Mountain wise you have ranked in order of awesomeness (1) Lake Louise 40min (2) Sunshine Village 20min (3) Mt Norquay 10min. You have to go further to get the good stuff.
EATING AND DRINKING
The King Edward Hotel is the center of town. Opposite to this is Wild Bills and on the other corner is the Rose & Crown. From this intersection, you have a lot covered from eating and drinking to recovering.
Once you step away from these areas, there are lots to explore, but it's all within a mile radius from this intersection. My favorite place to eat was the Bear St Tavern, which had s good atmosphere is a bar and great food. Once you finish off, you can stay here is make the beer disappear, or head to Wild Bills or the Rose and Crown. There is the nightclub HooDoo, but we never made it there, head a lot of chat the following mornings, so get prepared to but your disco boots on, it will be a late night if you have the stamina. Most of your Nth American cuisines are covered in town, so you will not go without. If you are into Southern American food, I recommend Tooloulou's and make sure you get the wings. Finally, get yourself to Beavertails and get a beavertail. An excellent way to finish off the night.
WHERE TO STAY
There are some ritzy options, and the Fairmont is the one, but it's on the outskirts of town. Next time I rock into town, I'll be staying at The King Edward. It's smack bang where you need to be.
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