Skiing on a budget in Canadian Rockies

Skiing is expensive and more so if you’re from out of town. I live near the Rockies and buy a season pass at Nakiska Ski Resort. You can get them for about $250/adult season pass in early Spring for the next winter season. They’re open from November till April. Nakiska is about an hour from NW Calgary and about 1hr20 min from the airport.

Back in March I had some friends coming in to ski and stay in Banff.  They booked their hotel months prior and I could have stayed in the same room but there were only 2 beds so I decided to get my own room. For years I wanted to bid on a room using Priceline. I’ve heard of them many times but their reviews deterred me from booking with them. I like the concept of being able to name my own price and so I gave it a try. I chose a hotel near Banff Avenue which is where all the shops are and you can walk everywhere.
I bit $40 dollars/night and selected a 2 star hotel. I’ve stayed in Banff many times before and know that the hotels are clean so 2 star wasn’t an issue. My bid was not accepted so I tried again and it was declined again. They also have something called “Express Deal” and the price was $45 US/night for a “mystery” hotel. You can’t see the hotel name until after you pay for it. I booked it and to my surprise the hotel was a 3 star called “Inns of Banff“. What a deal! I got a confirmation and even reminder for my upcoming trip. Few weeks later I checked in and got another surprise when the front desk told me that I was upgraded to a room with a mountain view. The room was huge and had a coffee machine, kettle, fridge and 2 queen beds with very comfy mattresses and bedding. The amenities included outdoor hot tub and indoor swimming pool as well as free parking and free wifi. No extra resort fees! The price was per room and not based on double occupancy which makes it difficult for solo travelers. Awesome!

The booking with Priceline is in US$ but it was cheaper than booking with a Canadian travel agency and in CDN$ for the very same hotel. Exchange rate at the time was around $1.37 /US$.

If you don’t  have a car you can catch a shuttle from Calgary’s airport. Most of the hotels in Banff have shuttle buses that will take you to and from ski hills (charges may apply).  If you drive you’ll need a park pass. This year Canada is celebrating 150th anniversary and is offering free park passes. Order yours here:  Free 2017 Parks Canada Discovery Pass

We have 3 world class ski resorts in Banff National Park:

Lake Louise Ski Resort  

Sunshine Village Ski Resort

Norquay Ski Resort

Tickets! Tickets! Tickets!
Lake Louise daily adult ticket is $109 and Sunshine $99 if purchased on the hill. You can get discounted tickets at Costco (3 locations in Calgary). They come in sets of 2 or 3. The best deal for individual tickets is through Kijiji. I bought mine for 1/2 price! Many people buy Costco ones but can’t no longer use them due to change of plans or injuries. Just make sure they expire at the end of the season and that they have a perforated piece at the bottom of the ticket. Before using the lift ticket tear the bottom off and put it in a safe place. This will ensure you get a new one in case you loose it on the hill. Both Sunshine Village and Lake Louise offer a ski card. Ski for free on your first, fourth and seventh visits for $99. You also save a few bucks on times in-between.

Kijiji Calgary Lift Tickets

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