Mount Norquay Ski Resort Banff
Mt Norquay ski resort is located near the township of Banff, but it’s a long way from being in the same league as the other Banff ski resorts. Norquay is just a wee little ski hill that flies under the radar relative to its neighbours, although this has its benefits. Mt Norquay is very uncrowded, especially relative to the mayhem that can ensue at the other Banff resorts.
The lack of crowds adds to the attractiveness of Norquay for families, as does the small size of the resort considering it’s easy to navigate and keep track of the family. Norquay also has a tubing hill, a great ski school, and inexpensive child care.
Many think of Mt Norquay as the ugly duckling of the Banff ski
resorts, but don’t let that deter you from checking it out. Norquay (pronounced Nork-way, not Norkee) is worth visiting for a day or two, so long as you keep your expectations in check. If you’re not there for the family friendliness, think of it as a lovely peaceful place to warm up the legs. And Norquay is definitely not ugly! The views from the top of the ski resort are beautiful!
Norquay Ski and Snowboard Terrain
The Mt Norquay Ski Resort has 503 metres of vertical and just 28 trails spread across 190 acres (77 hectares) of terrain. To put things in perspective, this is less than 5% of the terrain size of Lake Louise Ski Resort
and just over 5% of the Sunshine Ski Resort
size. It’s tiny! Norquay Banff has just 5 lifts, of which only one is a high speed quad and it depends on how you define “high speed”!
The Mount Norquay skiing
includes terrain for all ability levels, although it’s best suited to first timers, confident beginners and intermediates. Whilst 44 percent of the trails are rated as black or double black, most advanced and expert riders would be a little bored by lunch time.
Ski Norquay for below treeline terrain that includes a smidgeon of tree skiing and lots of egg carton shaped runs, whilst the highlight of Mt Norquay is the groomed runs. There is also a terrain park and an air bag to minimise the concussion and broken limbs that occur whilst learning new tricks!
On bad weather days, the Norquay ski terrain provides substantial protection, especially relative to Lake Louise and Sunshine Village.
Norquay is not blessed with plentiful snowfall, with only 3 metres (120 inches) on average per season. Snowmaking across 85% of the terrain is used to make up for the lack of natural snowfall, and in part due to reasonably low elevation, Mount Norquay has a reputation for having icy slopes perfect for race training!
Where is Mt Norquay?
Norquay is the ski hill most local to the township of Banff Canada, and is only a ten minute drive away. Mt Norquay is only 6km (4 miles) from Banff and 120km from Calgary along the Trans Canada Highway 1.
If you don’t have a car, you can get to the ski hill via shuttle buses from various Banff hotels.
There’s no on-mountain accommodation at Norquay so it's best to stay in one of the many Banff lodging
The facilities at Mt Norquay ski resort are not extensive, but adequate for day trippers. The amenities are mostly contained within the Cascade Day Lodge which includes a cafeteria, deli, and a pub that affords lovely views of the slopes and surrounding mountains. Other facilities include ski and snowboard rentals, ski and snowboard school, child care, and a small retail shop.
More Reasons to Ski Norquay
Mt Norquay is not really a powder skiing destination but it certainly has some niche strengths.
Norquay skiing is rather affordable. The ski and snowboard lessons and lift tickets are inexpensive, and lift tickets are sold by the hour so it’s easy to squeeze in a few runs if you just want to go for a quickie whilst your wife (or husband) is shopping! The proximity of Norquay to Banff is also a major benefit in allowing this flexibility.
Other reasons to ski Norquay are for some family fun, when the weather is foul, for a warm up day, or some night skiing.