By legend, seeds were planted more than a century ago for snowboarders and skiers to head for the Banff/Lake Louise destination.
Construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1883 had reached the western edge of the Alberta province. Railroad President William Cornelius Van Horne had seen plenty of natural beauty along the route, but he still was flabbergasted to discover the stunning Lake Louise and the now-famous Cave and Basin Hot Springs nestled among mountains with 10,000-foot peaks. He declared, “Since I can’t export the scenery, I’ll import the tourists.” Thus he built the landmark Banff Springs Hotel.
Snowboarders should take special delight. Banff/Lake Louise draws only about 30 feet of annual snow, compared to 100 or more at other locales. Still, 30 feet is plenty because the white stuff barely melts in the high and dry Rocky Mountain air. For snowboard and ski enthusiasts around the world, this is known as ““Champagne Powder.”“:http://www.zappos.com/n/p/p/7258586/c/71819.html
The best-known destination at Banff/Lake Louise is the Sunshine Village Ski & Snowboard Resort, and here the legend continues with roots in the year 1929. A pair of extreme sports enthusiasts, Cliff White and Cyril Paris, had trouble finding a Canadian Pacific Railway cabin. This caused them to ski all over the territory before they discovered the shelter. By then, they were so impressed that they shared information to all of their ski buddies. Sunshine Village was born, with a peak elevation of 9,000 feet and an impressive vertical drop of 3,500 feet. The longest run is 8 kilometers, which translate into 5 miles. More than 100 trails are available.
Lake Louise Mountain Resort lacks the history and tradition of Sunshine Village, but it’s a tad bit bigger in scale. The third cog in the Banff/Lake Louise trio is the more modest Mount Norquay Ski Resort, with a vertical of only about 600 feet, but still challenging
All of this splendor is available within less than a two-hour drive from Calgary, Alberta, but Banff/Lake Louise is so close to the border that some trails cross into British Columbia. Talk about a snowboarder’s dream : A trail so long that it spans two provinces!
The resorts’ web sites, by and large, do not match the quality of the winter sport environment. However, readers may find better info by reviewing Wikipedia summaries.