Winter is coming.
This year, we’re going to embrace it. The past couple of seasons, we’ve taken one-off ski days with the boys. We’ve had a blast rediscovering our love of skiing, and the boys picked it up quickly too.
So now we’re diving in and committing to a full season of skiing, snowboarding, and mountains. Look out Mount Norquay, we will be in you lots this winter because it has everything we could possibly need.
At just 120km from our home on the west edge of Calgary, I can pick the boys up after school and be on the hill before dinner. Mount Norquay has night skiing and night tubing on Fridays through December, and on Fridays and Saturdays from January – March.
Mount Norquay is also the closest ski hill to Banff meaning a weekend away from the city relaxing at a lodge gets you on the hill quicker, or back to the hot springs sooner. There’s a daily bus that leaves from the village of Banff to Mount Norquay (schedule), so getting there is a breeze.
VARIETY OF TERRAIN
Mount Norquay sometimes has a reputation as a more “difficult” hill, but there is also a great selection of green and blue runs to pair with the black diamonds runs. And it’s not such a big place, either. Everyone in the family can find something to suit their skill without losing touch with each other.
My sons can learn their turns on Cascade and Zoomer, and when they get up to speed and need a longer run, they can head over to Spirit Traverse or Abracadabra In the meantime, I can relive my youth by carving up the blue runs like Knight Flight or Crazy Canuck, right next to their lessons.
There are all sorts of ways to learn at Mount Norquay. You can drop the kids in private lessons, or have them in ski camp groups, and you can get some pointers too.
Some of the programming includes 8 week runs to introduce kids to skiing, tighten up their skills, or teach them how to tackle the toughest terrain on the mountain. If you’re more casual in your lesson planning, you can do drop in classes for as little as an hour, or over a 3 day weekend. There’s a ski camp over the Family Day weekend that can have them in full day lessons while you carve some turns on your own.
My wife wants to get back into snowboarding, after a 20 yr layoff, so some adult lessons will be perfect to help remember which side is goofy.
If they really start to love it, they might join the Banff Alpine Racers, a ski club that calls Mount Norquay home.
There are many different packages to choose from for everyone to get on the mountain.
The Norquay Quality Time Family Package – $149
Package includes: Ski Lift Tickets for 2 Adults and 2 Children/Youth (up to 17 yrs.) (additional youth/children are $25)
Big Drop Card – Adult – $74 | Youth – $56
Grab a Big Drop Card and save! Your 1st, 4th and 7th visits are FREE. Save 25% on full-day lift tickets all other days. For the price of one day ticket you can save all season long!
On select days Mt Norquay is offering Alberta residents a chance to receive a lift ticket for ONLY $2. It’s our chance to give back to the ski community we love so much.
TUBING, SNOWSHOEING, AND SIGHTSEEING
It just doesn’t have to be about skiing and boarding. The massive tube park at Mount Norquay means families can head up for some high speed thrill rides without slapping on some boards.
There’s also 5 snowshoeing trails at Mount Norquay with amazing views and a relaxing change of pace. You can rent some snowshoes from the North American Lodge and explore the marked (but not patrolled) trails.
If you want a sky high break while the kids take their lessons, take the scenic 10 minute ride up North American Chair to the sightseeing lookout at 2090 meters.
Offering another perspective on Mt Rundle and the town of Banff’s, foot passengers are invited to ride up, take in the views and warm up in the Cliffhouse Bistro with a hot drink and a bite to eat.
And after it’s all done, is there anything better than a warm hot chocolate outside on a sunny winter day?
After a hard day on the mountain, the Cascade Lodge is a bright area to unbuckle the boots and unwind. It has huge windows to watch the sun go down behind Mount Norquay and plenty of open air patios to relax.
You can bring your own snacks, choose from the self service style deli & cafeteria, or climb the stairs to the Lone Pine Pub.
Area Elevation: Base – 1680 metres (5,500 feet) Top – 2450 metres (8,040 feet)
Vertical Drop: 503 metres (1,650 feet)
Slopes/Terrain: Vertical Rise – 503 metres (1,650 feet) Longest Run – 1167 metres (3,828 feet)
Skiable Terrain: 60 runs spread over 190 acres
Lifts: 1 High speed quad chairlift 2 Fixed grip quad chairlifts 1 Double chairlift 1 Surface lift
Total Lift Capacity: 7,000 people per hour
Average Snowfall: 300 cm (120 inches)
Snowmaking: 85% of skiing terrain
What does winter look like for your kids? Get them outside and into the Banff winter wonderland!
This post was edited on Oct 31, 2017 to feature more evergreen content. Brad H was the winner of the Family Season Pass contest displayed on the previous version of the post.
This post is sponsored by Mt Norquay
Family Season Pass* Full week and Night skiing. FULL SEASON PASS DISCOUNTS:10% off food & beverage in the Lone Pine Pub, 20% off ski and snowboard daily group lessons, 15% off ski and snowboard Norquay rentals, 20% off regular snow tubing tickets, Ticket discounts at participating resorts.
Family Season Pass** Valid Monday to Friday (9am to 4pm, doesn’t include night skiing) including many weekends! Blackout dates: December 27 -30, January 6-7, January 13-14, January 20, January 27, February 3, February 10-11, February 24-25 and March 3-4. Dates subject to change. Please refer to website for current calendar. Family is for 2 adults and children living at the same address.
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