Banff in the Canadian Rockies

My soul was aching to play in the snow so we went to Banff in the Canadian Rockies in Alberta, Canada for a week in January and it was everything our souls could ask for.

Sorry everyone, I know it’s summer and was debating posting this in winter but figured what happens if someone would like this idea for their winter 2018-2019 trip? So here we are in the snow and this place is awesome. Also it’s been so hot in NYC right now and hoping this mentally cools me off.

Banff National Park is Canada’s oldest National Park and I never heard of it until chatting with bloggers: Seeingthrough35mm and Darwin on the Rocks. Thanks guys for putting this on our radar! When you stay in Banff, you are staying in the national park and the backdrop is gorgeous. Town is about a 2 hour shuttle bus from the Calgary airport. They have nonstop flights from NYC  to Calgary but they would land really late at night so we opted for a layover flight so we can arrive at a reasonable afternoon time.

The food was surprisingly good, we really enjoyed eating in Banff. We thought it would be like Vancouver Island where we aren’t as into the food. I’m not the biggest fan of Greek food but it was so good here. On vacation I tend to be a bit more willing to try foods I don’t normally like. I forgot that Korean BBQ makes your clothes stink and wanted to try it again (the food is cooked at your table). I also spent the rest of the trip apologizing we smelled like Korean food and the locals didn’t care, they said they love that food too. We don’t drink but we read that there’s a bar scene.

We stayed at High Country Inn right outside the downtown core but don’t worry, downtown is really tiny and we were a super quick walk away. We were extra lucky and used our credit card points to pay for air and hotel. If we paid out of pocket, a week would have cost us $1650 for hotel and flights for 2 people, 7 nights. We liked the hotel and would stay again. There are cheaper and more expensive options as well for housing, High Country fit our criteria and had a pool and jacuzzi!

They had these cool snow sculptures in town!

Everyone is really friendly. One guy couldn’t quite believe we’re from NYC because we don’t have the ‘Grrr’ attitude. We think we’re friendlier than the average New Yorker but New Yorkers aren’t really unfriendly, we’re just kind of in a rush and you need to understand depending where one grew up, we tend to be cautious. We’ll take it as a complement, guess it means we aren’t assholes.

We didn’t know there was a woodland scene behind the wolf’s head!

There are art galleries, souvenir shops, and a camera store if you need something. Vic found a pair of camera gloves where the finger tips come off which was handy.

It was unseasonably warm while we where there. Just like the year we went to Iceland, it was warmer in Banff than it was in NYC. The deep freeze happened before and after we left. We have amazing luck when we travel far away with weather. When we travel in the northeast, it usually rains on us so we prefer to fly away. I packed a ton of hand and foot warmers which were barely used. What is weird is that we got there with all of them but flying back the Calgary airport said it was way too many and confiscated most of them. So only pack a soda size can worth (I think that’s what they said). You think NYC and Toronto would have been stricter.

That’s another thing, we signed up for TSA pre-check and Global Entry and during my interview in NY for the application process the US customs person said to never carry the card with you when you fly, only when traveling by car. Well, at the airport in Toronto that’s all they asked for so we couldn’t even use our TSA pre-check, etc. Even in the letter that your ID card is sent in, says not to carry it when you fly. It’s up to you, don’t want to tell anyone anything that’s wrong advice but we are going to carry it when we go to Canada from now on. Even though we had our ID numbers on us it didn’t matter, the officials wanted to see the ID cards. Who the hell knows.

Besides wanting to see the Canadian interior wilderness again, we kinda wanna go back just to eat. We’d probably visit in winter again and then check out what the other seasons have to offer.

Ice festival and Lake Louse in the next post, we promise the scenery is going to get really pretty.

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16 thoughts on “Banff in the Canadian Rockies

  1. How lovely. I love all those snow sculptures.
    I can’t imagine not carrying your TSA card with you when you travel. Although I usually fly Delta and I was already in the system for Pre-check before I got my card thanks to that. But my card is in my passport wallet and there it will stay till I need to share it with someone.
    Last time I flew I didn’t have the card yet but because I had to use wheelchair service I got all the benefits of being whisked through as though I had the card.

    1. I didn’t add our TSA info when I booked our trip to the Azores. So we didn’t have precheck again! We actually did do it on Air France few days before but apparently they work with Delta and the info didn’t transfer over 😦 When we booked it was Air France. All good though, half empty flight going and coming back home 🙂 had the whole row to ourselves.

  2. If you update your profile with Delta your number will stay there and you shouldn’t have to do it again. Or maybe I get it because I’m an old lady and don’t travel as much as you😁

  3. My husband and I are planning a camping trip in the future to Banff — but in the summer. Thanks for the encouragement! Your pictures make me want to go in the winter; but towing our camper through the mountains in winter isn’t a good idea. Love your pics!

    1. Thanks! Banff is a place to enjoy during all different weather. Can’t remember when they said its rainy. Think it was Spring. We’d like to see it one more time in the winter and then in summer. Have tons of fun! Read that Jasper is one of the black sky areas where you can see lots of stars! It’s a little north of Banff (I think) and we’d like to see it next time. Winter was very hard for me. I have bad knees and almost slipping everywhere was getting to me by the end of the week. Love snow but I’m clumsy and have bad balance, not a good combo.

      1. Have you thought of using hiking poles for balance? I have been thinking of it. Thanks for the tips about Jasper and the rainy season!

      2. Used it this last trip on a hike and another in BC. It helped. This time around I noticed how much steadier I was. Ordered a set! May try them out this weekend. Really liked having it for the inclines and when the areas got rocky, felt like I had a 3rd leg to steady me. Think I prefer one but don’t know yet, haven’t used them enough. EMS had a coupon which was nice.

  4. I tend to avoid traveling to places that can get really cold in winter – has something to do with a promise I made to myself after moving away from Minnesota way back when (no more below zero for me!) So, I miss out on things like those cool snow sculptures.

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