Banff Journals

Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper

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A March 2002 trip to Banff by Foxboro Marmot

Spring skiing??? Photo, Banff, Alberta More Photos
Quote: Spring skiing in the Canadian Rockies can be memorable - especially if each day starts with the temperature around minus 20 Celsius and warms up to minus 10 or minus 5. Still, there's a Norwegian saying "There's no bad weather, only the wrong clothing!"

Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper

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Overview

Spring skiing??? Photo, Banff, Alberta
Quote:
Sunshine Village, Lake Louise and Marmot Basin are three quality ski areas for any type of skier, but high intermediate to expert skiers will really appreciate the assortment of terrain - bowls, steeps, glades and tree runs. Unpacked snow predominates. For instance, on our day at Marmot Basin only 18 of 72 trails were groomed, which we really appreciated. Over grooming at many areas has turned skiing into a bland, homogeneous series of low stress cruiser runs, but here you can break loose! Five days after the last major storm, we were still able to find some runs with virtually untouched knee deep powder!Quick Tips: Banff is a cosmopolitan, international ski destination with dozens of fi...Read More

Marmot Lodge

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Hotel | "Marmot Inn"

Quote:
Guide Peregrine has already reported on the Marmot Inn in Jasper and we pretty much agree. The inn is about a mile from downtown Jasper, the area with most of the shops and restaurants, which is just too far to walk comfortably in the middle of winter. It's also right across the street from the railroad tracks, but the noise didn't bother us... maybe everything was closed up tight for winter or maybe we were subconsciously pleased to hear some human noises instead of the howling wind. In defense of the Marmot Inn, most of the hotels/motels in Jasper are along Connaught Drive so they're all subject to the rails. There are a couple of buildings in the Marmot Inn complex, so if you are a light sle...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on March 27, 2002

Marmot Lodge
86 Connaught Drive
Banff, Alberta Canada T0E 1E0
(780) 852-4471

Quote:
Banff International Hotel is a three story hotel within easy walking distance of a couple dozen restaurants. It's on Banff Avenue, just on the fringe of the downtown area with all the shops and restaurants. Indoor parking is provided beneath the hotel proper, an important feature for winter visitors. The hotel is made up of a new section attached almost seamlessly to the older, original structure. We've stayed in both the old and the new sections and, frankly, there's no way to tell which is which from inside the rooms - although the new room had an odd, elongated shape with a support pillar between the beds and the television. Neat, comfortable, and spacious standard rooms at $90CDN. ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 3, 2002

Banff International Hotel
333 BANFF AVENUE
Banff, Alberta T0L0C0
403-762-5666

Deer Lodge

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Hotel

Quote:
Colonel Mustard, in the billiard room, with a candlestick! Oh... sorry. It's just that during our stay at Deer Lodge I felt I was in a real life setting for a game of Clue. Deer Lodge is a rambling, labyrinthine structure with piece after piece added on around the original 1920 vintage tea house. In the shadow of the more expensive, better known Chateau Lake Louise, Deer Lodge is an old fashioned hotel - there are no televisions and no telephones in the rooms - but there is an internet access kiosk near the game room! The rooms are small by today's standards, decorated in a rustic style that may not be to everyone's taste. Clearly, you aren't expected to spend much time in you...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 12, 2002

Deer Lodge
109 Lake Louise Drive
Banff, Alberta
(403) 522-3991

Bruno's Cafe and Grill

Restaurant | "Bruno's Bar and Grill"

Quote:
Bruno's carries off the difficult feat of feeling like a neighborhood restaurant while nearly all its customers are tourists. One night the diners were older, the next time they were younger... yet both nights there seemed to be a comfortable hospitality in the air between staff and clientele that implied a long term on-going relationship. Bruno's serves breakfast from 7am until 5 pm, a convenience to time-zone-addled international visitors who often return later in their stay for dinner. Dinner possibilities range from "bar food", like chicken fingers and pizza (excellent crust!), to more ambitious "grill food", including attractively presented salmon dishes. As the evening wears on, the fo...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 28, 2002

Bruno's Cafe and Grill
304 Caribou St
Banff, Alberta T0L 0C0
+1 403 762 8115

Coyote's Deli and Grill

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Restaurant | "Coyote Deli and Grill"

Quote:
Don't go to the Coyote Deli and Grill planning to pick up a roast beef on bulkie roll with a dill pickle spear on the side. This intimate little restaurant seating about 50 is more a cafe or bistro than a deli. The room is long and narrow, with a few tables to either side of the entrance. About a third of the way in, the whole right side of the restaurant is taken up by the grill, allowing most of the diners a chance to watch the staff at work. The menu is inspired by the US southwest, but by no means should be considered Mexican or Tex-Mex. A bread basket shows up while you study the menu. Those oddly textured, oddly colored squares are blue corn bread... or perhaps blue cornbread. Deli...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 28, 2002

Coyote's Deli and Grill
206 Caribou St
Banff, Alberta T0L 0C0
+1 403 762 3963

Soft Rock International Cafe

Restaurant | "Soft Rock Cafe"

Quote:
It's hard to find a breakfast spot open early in Jasper or Banff. Soft Rock Cafe supposedly serves breakfast from 8 am to 4 pm, but I found it open around 7:30, with a couple of regulars hanging around - one was a bus driver, catching breakfast before going on his route while the other was a worker who was heading off to Marmot Basin ski area. Home baked muffins and buns compete with omlettes and bagels as breakfast possibilities, but the best thing is after you've got your food. Take it down the narrow corridor to the back, where 8 computers are available. Check in with Igougo to get some new suggestions of things to do in Jasper. Surf free for 10 minutes with an $8 CDN food order... then...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 1, 2002

Soft Rock International Cafe
632 Connaught Drive
Jasper
(780) 852-5850

Maligne Canyon Icewalk

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Attraction

Maligne Canyon Icewalk Photo, Jasper National Park, Alberta
Quote:
Ever walk on a frozen river at the bottom of a narrow 50 foot canyon? It seemed like a good idea to us when we decided to take a day off from skiing. A number of different outfitters run this 3 hour tour (sorry, but I can't type that without the hearing voices in my head sing "A three hour tour!"). We went with Jasper Adventure Center on Connaught Drive but it seems that everyone takes the same route, supplies the same equipment and charges the same price. First step was to check in at the Adventure Center where we got felt lined rubber boots to keep our feet warm and dry during the walk. Next came steel grippers, sort of low grade crampons that attached over the boots lik...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 27, 2002

Maligne Canyon Icewalk
Maligne Canyon
Jasper National Park

Lake Louise Ski Area

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Attraction | "Lake Louise"

Quote:
Lake Louise has a 'Ski Friends" program which is very helpful for beginners and intermediates trying to figure out this massive ski area. Three times each day volunteers are available to ride up and guide you down appropriate routes. Experts, of course, "don' need no stinkin' guides" and can simply head for bowls, mogul runs and glades to their heart's content but they MUST try the tree runs on either side of the Ptarmigan lift at some time during the day. Lake Louise covers 4200 skiable acres. An advertisement I saw claimed that even on the busiest days, there was more than one acre per skier. Well in March we must have had 5 or 6 acres each. Lift lines were minimal, with only a few minute...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 2, 2002

Lake Louise Ski Area
Junction of TransCanada Highway and Highway 93
Banff National Park, Alberta T0L 0C0
+1 403 522 3555

Sunshine Village

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Attraction

Quote:
First, "Sunshine Village" was a misnomer for us, a name dreamed up by a wistful PR director perhaps? Sunshine suffers by having a single lift, an 8 person gondola, to take people away from the base - which can mean lines early in the day. The base is protected, down in a valley with plenty of trees, but 25 minutes later, unloading at the top, things can be considerably different. Most of the lift system takes you from the top of the gondola up into a big un-treed bowl. This must be great in the spring, but on a cloudy day, there's no visual clue to the terrain. Add in some snow and you may not be able to tell which end is up. Two lifts below the gondola unloading station serve tree...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on April 2, 2002

Sunshine Village
Located just 15 km west of Banff
Banff, Alberta