Since I started snowboarding a few years ago, it’s been a dream of ours to take a snowboard trip to the mountains. Late this November, we were able to live out that dream by snowboarding in Banff’s shoulder season.
It was one of the best trips Alex and I have taken together – we’ve already started reminiscing about it! Let’s remember that Ontario isn’t known for its skiing. So, we were happy to finally experience the things snow-sport lovers gush about before the resorts filled up.
If you’re thinking about heading west to hit the slopes, here’s why you should consider snowboarding in Banff’s shoulder season. (Although I am quite confident that snowboarding in Banff any time is exceptional).
why you should hit banff’s slopes in shoulder season
tourism is quiet during this time
While the ski season technically opens in Banff in November every year, the snow is just getting there, so the season of high tourism hasn’t started yet. We found that most people out on the slopes were locals. We even saw stores on Banff Ave delay opening so their employees could ski in the morning! If you prefer a more chill vibe and want to avoid everything that comes with high tourist season, November is a great time to ski in Banff.
the lift lines are short
This is a huge benefit of shoulder season! The longest Alex and I waited for a lift at a SkiBig3 resort was 10 minutes – and that only happened once in our four days of snowboarding. We were able to hit more runs because we literally saved so much time avoiding lift lines – every snow-sport lovers dream.
accommodations are more affordable
If you’re planning a ski trip in January, you’re likely competing with tons of other people fighting to get the most convenient accommodations – i.e. on the SkiBig3 shuttle route, right along Banff Ave. Visiting during shoulder season means there are tons of rooms available, and they’re available at a reasonable price. We stayed at the Canalta Lodge Banff and it was cool, cozy, and in a prime location. We were even able to get a good deal on a final night at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.
you can eat + drink anywhere you want during après
All you want after a day of snowboarding or skiing is to eat and drink afterwards. Like with accommodations, restaurants are easier to get into during shoulder season. While they’re not overflowing with people, they’re still pleasantly full of other skiers and snowboarders enjoying a pint and a plate of nachos. And if you happen to be in Banff and are looking for a plate of nachos, do yourself a favour and order them at Banff Ave Brewing Co.
So – have I convinced you?! Shoulder season is just as dreamy as the party scene that emerges a month later! If you’ve been to Banff, what’s your favourite time of year to visit?