Discover Banff & Gondola

Since I found out I am sensitive to altitude, we switched our Johnston Canyon Ice walk to Discover Banff. It would help If we could find a private tour for ice walking at our own pace but a 6 night trip is not enough time for my body to adjust to go at the pace of our guides. It was actually nice being on the tourist bus since I was winded walking up hills on this tour. Our guide who is from Wales told us it took him 6 months to get used to the altitude.

The views were stunning and we were delighted when we saw deer. I know, plenty of you see deer but I saw my first deer when I was in my early 20’s, don’t have them in Manhattan or my end of Brooklyn. We do have them in Long Island and Staten Island.

Our guide gave us horns and antlers to touch, they were heavier than we expected! It’s been so long I can’t remember what he said and I didn’t take notes. We went on this trip Jan 2018.

The Discover Banff part was 1/2 day and the 2nd half they drop you off at Banff Sightseeing Gondola. An 8 minute gondola ride takes you to 7486ft (2281 meters) on Sulphur Mountain. The views are amazing. We were really high up and I was a bit freaked out, even going up the gondola made me nervous. In really windy conditions, they’ll shut it down. This may not be something for someone with a fear of heights, the gondolas rock in the wind. It wasn’t too bad for us.

We really enjoyed our food in Banff and the gondola restaurant didn’t disappoint. Vic got the bison burger and I had gnocchi with mushrooms which was really good. While we ate, it started to snow and the scenery went from amazing to magical. A sign out my window said something about goats in summer. We’re going to have to visit in summer because I love goats and would love to see them.

Gnocchi with mushrooms were amazing.

We had the cutest dessert. It was a chocolate mousse that was styled in the form of a terrarium. It was so hard to eat because it was too cute.

I was feeling pretty weird up here (altitude), Vic was fine. Sometimes I get light headed as well as short of breath. There’s a boardwalk trail outside that I didn’t do. Vic walked it a bit.

One thing I’ve read about altitude is hydrate a lot (if you are a sea level dweller start this a couple days ahead). I find that it helps but it makes me have to pee more so always try and keep an eye out for bathrooms. Other sites I read mentioned potassium for circulation and eating Gatorade chews.


Here are links about adjusting to high altitude. I can’t find the blog that suggested eating Gatorade chews.

A lot of the time, we felt like the only people at the top of the mountain. We had 360 degree views. It was snowing harder when we left and it felt magical but I was also more nervous because we had a long way down to go in the gondola. The wind picked up and our gondola was rocking a bit more as we headed down. (I’m afraid of heights) but all good, I’m in my chair writing this at home.

2019/2020 winter is looking pretty void of snow for NYC, so much so that I’m booking a snow getaway next winter. There’s no way I’m going to live without snow for 3 winters. I know I love snow and it’s not too bad here but for my readers that live with harsh winters I wish you safe driving, travels, etc.

Meant to post this in December 2019 but I haven’t been blogging as much, I’ll try harder in 2020. Ever since my Dad passed I haven’t been writing as much and not sure why. Think I got a bit stuck in a rut.

Even though it’s late – Happy 2020.


12 thoughts on “Discover Banff & Gondola

    1. Banff was interesting because most people we met weren’t locals. A ton of Aussies, New Zealanders especially. Followed by some people from the UK and Ireland. We liked Banff restaurant food more than Victoria, British Columbia. Actually, loved the food in Banff 🙂

      Thank You!

    1. Aw, thanks.

      He passed away summer 2018 so I’m surprised I’m still in my non writing hump. I have a few Oaxaca posts written so yay. Now I have to go through pics. That’s a task in itself. Kinda wish we all still used film. way less pics to go though than digital.

      Banff is amazing. Are you from CO? If you’re from around Denver the altitude should be ok for you 🙂 Vic’s coworker went in summer and he said it wasn’t fun because of Instagrammers. They jam up their area for selfies 😦 We didn’t have that issue in winter.

      1. We went to the Grand Canyon in the winter and it was very cold and snowy. Less people than the summer, but there were many international travelers there dressing up and taking selfies. We chose to go to less-visited areas, since we are not a fan of crowds.

        Yes, we live near Denver, so the Banff altitude shouldn’t be a problem. Since we would like to take our camper, it’s a bit of a drive to go to Banff. We need to wait until we can take several weeks to really enjoy the trip and the destination. We could follow the Rockies all the way north!

      2. You’ll love it.

        Who takes care of the furry family when you’re gone? I drive Vic crazy because I’m always worried about my cats even though I really trust and like my pet sitter. I’m a worry wart by nature.

  1. I miss snow too, though you probably see a lot more of it in New York compared to the Central Valley in California. We’re also seeing what could end up as a very dry February with no snow in the Sierras or rain in the lower elevations. (No worries in the Pacific Northwest, though: my son and friends out there report it’s so wet and gray they’re all ready to flee to Hawaii!)

    The diagram of the “deer rears” is funny! I don’t think I would worry about recognizing a moose, though. Their size usually identifies them apart from the other deer. Beautiful pictures! Now you have me wanting to visit British Columbia!

    Hope you feel better. Spring is just around the corner.

    1. Alberta this time. We were in Banff and the food is so yummy. We aren’t as into the food in BC.

      It keeps raining here and my allergies are killing me. My building smells like musty mildew. I’m sure my building is making me sick. There’s mold somewhere. I know some apts in front had it at one time. They don’t get rid of it just paint over it.

      1. The big problem with mold in a building is that they have to tear out and throw away whatever has mold on it—the drywall, the insulation, plaster, etc. Most landlords won’t do it; a lot of homeowners won’t, either. My parents’ house had mold growing in both bathrooms, but they refused to pay anyone to deal with it. (Dad always said they were broke, but in truth they had a pile in the bank. He was just a skinflint who wanted other people—me—to pay for things.) I finally scrubbed the walls and ceiling with bleach, then painted them all with Kilz primer. It wasn’t the perfect solution, but it was the best I could do without spending a fortune on a house that had been neglected for years.

        I guess I want to go to Banff, then? I’m not really interested in Vancouver; I want to see the provincial parks and First Nations art. Maybe not during the winter, though. 🙂

  2. Wow! Everything looks so beautiful! We want to visit Canada and Banff looks so beautiful. Altitude sickness can be a spoilsport. I don’t like it either. Had a couple of bad experiences in the past. Water is a good choice. The food looks amazing! It’s so good to see the two of you!

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