Banff/Lake Louise Winter Trip

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marti038
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Banff/Lake Louise Winter Trip

Post by marti038 » Thu Mar 28, 2019 2:39 pm

I'm planning on taking a family trip to Banff/Lake Louise in January or February 2020. We will almost certainly fly into Calgary. We have been to this area in the summer and loved it. We have also been skiing a couple of times. We are not experts, but are comfortable on the blues at western ski resorts. We will be taking the kids (5 & 7) for their first skiing experience.

A few questions I have:
- In addition to skiing and ice skating, any activities you'd recommend?
- Should I rent a car? I worry about not having freedom to go where we want, when we want using public transportation. I also want to do some hiking at Johnston Canyon. I guess we could sign up for a day tour for that? Also, I live in Alabama. While I have driven in snowy/icy places before (Montana & Wyoming mostly), I don't exactly relish it.
- Better to get a ski and stay package or book things separately?
- Any other recommendations for lodging, restaurants, logistics? I'm all ears!

Trism
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Re: Banff/Lake Louise Winter Trip

Post by Trism » Tue Apr 02, 2019 7:58 am

The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is fantastic. They have a Hertz counter inside the hotel.

With that said...

A rental car picked up at the Calgary airport and used for the duration of your trip would probably be less expensive AND more convenient than booking an airport shuttle both ways for four people, and then paying for public transportation, and then a rental car for select days.

I just booked a roundtrip shuttle (shared bus ride) from Calgary airport to the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise for my parents, and it was 339.15 CAD ($254 USD) for two people.

I also have a car reserved for them at the Calgary airport in case they change their minds about going by shuttle. I booked this through Costco Travel for 142.58 CAD ($107 USD) for four days.

When evaluating your own options, don't forget to factor in hotel parking fees if price is a major factor in your decision. I believe the Fairmont charges $30 CAD/night.

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White Coat Investor
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Re: Banff/Lake Louise Winter Trip

Post by White Coat Investor » Tue Apr 02, 2019 8:04 am

marti038 wrote:
Thu Mar 28, 2019 2:39 pm
I'm planning on taking a family trip to Banff/Lake Louise in January or February 2020. We will almost certainly fly into Calgary. We have been to this area in the summer and loved it. We have also been skiing a couple of times. We are not experts, but are comfortable on the blues at western ski resorts. We will be taking the kids (5 & 7) for their first skiing experience.

A few questions I have:
- In addition to skiing and ice skating, any activities you'd recommend?
- Should I rent a car? I worry about not having freedom to go where we want, when we want using public transportation. I also want to do some hiking at Johnston Canyon. I guess we could sign up for a day tour for that? Also, I live in Alabama. While I have driven in snowy/icy places before (Montana & Wyoming mostly), I don't exactly relish it.
- Better to get a ski and stay package or book things separately?
- Any other recommendations for lodging, restaurants, logistics? I'm all ears!
Did this last month. Yes, I'd rent a car.

You're aware that hiking will probably require snowshoes or backcountry skis, right?

Expect temps from -25 to 35 Fahrenheit. My first trip was the former. My second the latter. You have to dress very differently at those two temps.
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Grantley
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Location: Philadelphia suburbs

Re: Banff/Lake Louise Winter Trip

Post by Grantley » Tue Apr 02, 2019 3:03 pm

marti038 wrote:
Thu Mar 28, 2019 2:39 pm
I'm planning on taking a family trip to Banff/Lake Louise in January or February 2020. We will almost certainly fly into Calgary. We have been to this area in the summer and loved it. We have also been skiing a couple of times. We are not experts, but are comfortable on the blues at western ski resorts. We will be taking the kids (5 & 7) for their first skiing experience.

A few questions I have:
- In addition to skiing and ice skating, any activities you'd recommend?
- Should I rent a car? I worry about not having freedom to go where we want, when we want using public transportation. I also want to do some hiking at Johnston Canyon. I guess we could sign up for a day tour for that? Also, I live in Alabama. While I have driven in snowy/icy places before (Montana & Wyoming mostly), I don't exactly relish it.
- Better to get a ski and stay package or book things separately?
- Any other recommendations for lodging, restaurants, logistics? I'm all ears!
Yes, I think you will need a car. Too limiting otherwise.

I highly recommend the Post Hotel in Lake Louise. Not as beautiful a setting as the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise but a nice location along a river with a variety of accommodations. We rented one of the river side cabins which was very cool. The food in the dining room is fantastic. It is a Relais and Chateau property. Also Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel is great old historic hotel in Banff. The Gold floors are really nice with sitting areas, free food almost all day, honor bar, etc. The rooms are small, however.

Just a warning about the weather. It is very variable. We went in September and we had a blizzard. It can also be very warm a few days later. I've not been in the winter but you may want to do research on what it's like (besides cold).

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Peculiar_Investor
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Re: Banff/Lake Louise Winter Trip

Post by Peculiar_Investor » Mon Apr 15, 2019 5:34 am

marti038 wrote:
Thu Mar 28, 2019 2:39 pm
I'm planning on taking a family trip to Banff/Lake Louise in January or February 2020. We will almost certainly fly into Calgary.
Banff/Lake Louise in the winter is absolutely our favorite time to visit, particularly for the Ice Magic Festival in mid-January. We tend to stay at the Chateau Lake Louise, although the Post Hotel is also very nice. During busy weekend times, such as during Ice Magic, there is an advantage to staying at the Chateau because you'll be able to drive up to Lake Louise rather than having to take the shuttle service.

We like to snowshoe the trails near Lake Louise, they vary is skill level required but offer a tranquil experience and viewpoints.

Might I suggest checking out the following previous topics that contain 'banff' in the Subject.
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FIREmeup
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Re: Banff/Lake Louise Winter Trip

Post by FIREmeup » Mon Apr 15, 2019 9:47 pm

Been in the summer for hiking and it has to be one of my favorite places. There were the tea house hikes and ink pots and others while we stayed at Fairmont Chateau.

I dont know about in the winter but Johnston Canyon was well traveled with many people. I dont think there is a need for a guide for this hike as it is a well marked and well traveled path. Hopefully you can find info elsewhere on winter hiking the canyon because your money for a day guide may be better used elsewhere such as other less traveled hikes.

I know we had to wait at trailheads to get a group of 4 otherwise Mounties patrolling the trails would escort smaller groups back to civilization due to bear concerns, though in the winter there should be no bears.

Enjoy! I hope to make it out there with the family in the winter sometime, seems like an amazing place and the feel must be quite different and magical in the winter.

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