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Banff for 7 days in January?

Banff for 7 days in January?

Old Apr 12, 19, 11:44 pm
  #1  
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Banff for 7 days in January?

Wanting to use up my AA points and the amount I have would cover flights and a week's stay at Buffalo MTN Lodge and was wondering if it is absolutely miserable in January there or if me and my girlfriend could pass the time?

We are used to the cold and I snowboard, she skis, so we would be able to participate in those activities. As far as other winter activities, is there much to do in January in Banff, is it generally possible to travel to Lake Louise or Jasper, etc at that time? I know it's likely short term weather dependent, but mostly wonder if worth it.

Thanks.
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Old Apr 12, 19, 11:51 pm
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IIRC Banff to Lake Louise is about an hour's drive. There's the main "highway" or you can take a secondary road past Moose Lake for the scenery. One of the summer things to do is to drive up the mountain (to the ski area) to see the longhorned sheep and other wildlife. Jasper and the glacier seem farther.

I would guess that you can still see the elk at Banff in town, on the golf course, and up the hill at the conference center year round, although there won't be any cute little babies in winter. Bears should be hibernating.
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Old Apr 14, 19, 1:09 pm
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January tends to have decent weather relatively speaking. Of course as you say it will be short term weather dependent but I find it doesn't get really cold until February. Really cold to me is anything colder than -20C. This year we've gotten a lot of snow out in the mountains but the roads were plowed quickly and the highway was clear to Banff (from Calgary) and then partially covered here and there between Banff and Lake Louise but still manageable. There is a secondary road between Banff and Lake Louise which is open but will be snow covered. The road up to Jasper can close due to avalanches so you can play that by ear.

There's an ice sculpture festival at Lake Louise starting around the 15th of January which you can check out for free during the week (have to pay on the weekend). You can skate on the lake too! Check out Canmore too - it's a little bigger town east of Banff (about a 20 min drive) and has a cross-country facility (Canmore Nordic centre) if you're into exploring the area that way.
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Old Apr 14, 19, 3:23 pm
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We did 5 nights in Banff & Lake Louise in 2018 - 3 nights in Lake Louise and 2 in Banff - and had a BLAST. We went to the ice sculpture festival in Lake Louise (we stayed at the Fairmont so the competition was right outside) and we saw the snow sculptures in Banff. We skied one day, did a sleigh ride, went to the history museum in Banff....Would do a week in a heartbeat - we didn't make it to the hot springs :-(
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Old Apr 15, 19, 9:55 am
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Originally Posted by radnub View Post
January tends to have decent weather relatively speaking. Of course as you say it will be short term weather dependent but I find it doesn't get really cold until February. Really cold to me is anything colder than -20C. This year we've gotten a lot of snow out in the mountains but the roads were plowed quickly and the highway was clear to Banff (from Calgary) and then partially covered here and there between Banff and Lake Louise but still manageable. There is a secondary road between Banff and Lake Louise which is open but will be snow covered. The road up to Jasper can close due to avalanches so you can play that by ear.

There's an ice sculpture festival at Lake Louise starting around the 15th of January which you can check out for free during the week (have to pay on the weekend). You can skate on the lake too! Check out Canmore too - it's a little bigger town east of Banff (about a 20 min drive) and has a cross-country facility (Canmore Nordic centre) if you're into exploring the area that way.
Thanks! Do you need winter tires to travel btw Lake Louise and where Mt Norquay is? We would be spending 7 days at Bufflao Mtn Lodge
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Old Apr 15, 19, 9:56 am
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Originally Posted by Hoyaheel View Post
We did 5 nights in Banff & Lake Louise in 2018 - 3 nights in Lake Louise and 2 in Banff - and had a BLAST. We went to the ice sculpture festival in Lake Louise (we stayed at the Fairmont so the competition was right outside) and we saw the snow sculptures in Banff. We skied one day, did a sleigh ride, went to the history museum in Banff....Would do a week in a heartbeat - we didn't make it to the hot springs :-(
Do you think 7 days is too much to spend at Buffalo MTN Lodge? We would be willing to travel for day trips
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Old Apr 15, 19, 12:41 pm
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Originally Posted by Sah02010 View Post
Thanks! Do you need winter tires to travel btw Lake Louise and where Mt Norquay is? We would be spending 7 days at Bufflao Mtn Lodge
'Need' is a matter of perspective. Alberta does not have mandatory winter tire laws like BC. When conditions are truly poor (whiteout), driving is not advised with any type of tire since the problem is visibility not traction. However, the roads to Norquay and Lake Louise are plowed routinely and should be driveable with any vehicle / any tire unless it has just snowed.

There is a free shuttle to Norquay available as well.
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Old Apr 15, 19, 3:55 pm
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I can only say that we could do a week - we'd ski more, hot springs as I mentioned etc. But I can't say if you'd be happy ;-) We really don't like to drive on vacation, so staying in one spot for 7 days and doing (potentially long) day trips each day doesn't sound appealing to me. And I don't know that there are 7 days worth of things to do IN BANFF. But if you're willing to take the shuttles or drive, sure.....

I guess the big question is - is there another destination that fits your parameters that you would prefer? Or do you both really want to go to Banff and you're just worried about the extra time? One important thing to us is relaxation! When I take vacation, I want to spend time relaxing! We stayed in a hotel in Banff that had a fireplace in our room (Moose Hotel). Sitting in the room reading in front of the fireplace, with a drink - that's a good vacation for me!
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Old Apr 16, 19, 12:32 pm
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Originally Posted by eigenvector View Post
'Need' is a matter of perspective. Alberta does not have mandatory winter tire laws like BC. When conditions are truly poor (whiteout), driving is not advised with any type of tire since the problem is visibility not traction. However, the roads to Norquay and Lake Louise are plowed routinely and should be driveable with any vehicle / any tire unless it has just snowed.

There is a free shuttle to Norquay available as well.
Thanks, went ahead and just rented a full size. Used to driving in the snow and Im fairly cautious so it shouldn't be an issue.
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Old Apr 16, 19, 12:33 pm
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Originally Posted by Hoyaheel View Post
I can only say that we could do a week - we'd ski more, hot springs as I mentioned etc. But I can't say if you'd be happy ;-) We really don't like to drive on vacation, so staying in one spot for 7 days and doing (potentially long) day trips each day doesn't sound appealing to me. And I don't know that there are 7 days worth of things to do IN BANFF. But if you're willing to take the shuttles or drive, sure.....

I guess the big question is - is there another destination that fits your parameters that you would prefer? Or do you both really want to go to Banff and you're just worried about the extra time? One important thing to us is relaxation! When I take vacation, I want to spend time relaxing! We stayed in a hotel in Banff that had a fireplace in our room (Moose Hotel). Sitting in the room reading in front of the fireplace, with a drink - that's a good vacation for me!
We went ahead and booked 7 nights at the Buffalo MTN Lodge. We will ski a few days nearby and probably drive up towards Lake Louise and if we feel we need to stay the night, we will just book a night and be double booked. All I would lose are AA Miles I used to book the rooms. Thanks!
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Old Apr 16, 19, 11:51 pm
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Originally Posted by Sah02010 View Post
Thanks, went ahead and just rented a full size. Used to driving in the snow and Im fairly cautious so it shouldn't be an issue.
If you're used to driving in snow then you should be fine! The side roads to the ski hills and up to Lake Louise will probably be snow-covered but they sand them often enough. There's also free shuttles to all the ski hills in case you didn't want to drive all the time.

Have a great time!!
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