Norquay

Alberta, Canada

Norquay is a small family ski hill, where skiers of all standards can have some fun for nearly half the price of the larger resorts.

Scout Loves

  • This family friendly locals’ hill is just 10 minutes from Banff.
  • The slopes are not crowded.
  • The tubing facilities are excellent.
  • Lift tickets and services are inexpensive.
  • There are a some surprisingly steep runs for such a small area.
  • Skiers are treated to fabulous views across the valley and Banff.

Scout Tips

  • Norquay is small – featuring only 5 lifts set in 190 acres/77 hectares.
  • Norquay is included in the tri-area lift ticket, but a day ticket at the window ($61) is much cheaper, so only use your tri-area ticket here if you need to use up a day.
  • There are afternoon and hourly tickets for those who want to get a quick ski fix.
  • The snow quality isn’t as reliable as it is at neighboring resorts, but there is plenty of snowmaking.

Scout Review

There’s something so wonderful and humbling about visiting a small local hill – the type of resort where you can still buy a day ticket for around $60. The kind of place where you can just dump your backpack without worrying about hiring a locker, and where packed lunches are the norm. 

Just 10 minutes from Banff, Norquay is one such resort. Arriving here feels like you’ve stepped back in time to a mythical period in ski history where you don’t wince every time you have to pull out your wallet and the slopes are practically empty. It’s got such a happy, friendly vibe that you can’t help but smile and go along with it. Fortunately, there’s some really great skiing to be had, too!

Norquay was opened in 1926, and it was the original ski area of the Canadian Rockies. To this day it’s still independently owned by ski enthusiasts, which is why it’s retained its old world charm.

It is a small ski resort (just 5% of the size of Lake Louise), so it’s perfect as a change to skiing the larger areas, especially if you’re tired of driving.

And if you’ve just arrived in Banff in the morning and feel like a warm up before you hit the larger resorts, Norquay offers hourly and afternoon skiing tickets for $51. (Last Hour tickets are $19).

Cascade Lodge is where most of the activities in Norquay are centered. There’s a rental and retail shop, cafeteria and pub. Of course you’re always welcome to bring your bagged lunch, too.

The Skiing:

Norquay is the perfect first timer’s resort with some gentle slopes and uncrowded beginner areas. There are easy lifts with lots of nice intermediate groomers that allow new skiers to progress once they’ve gained some confidence.

Advanced skiers will find some fun at the top of the Mystic Express and North American lifts, where there are some great (albeit short) steeps and chutes for exploring. Though given how small the area is, high intermediates and advanced skiers may get a little tired of the same runs after a day or two.

For Families:

In addition to the friendly slopes and wallet-friendly prices, Norquay also offers great tubing facilities and a kids’ play zone with a small sliding area. It’s also the only resort in the Banff area to offer night skiing (on Friday and Saturday Nights, until March 31).

Meanwhile, there’s a good ski school plus a daycare facility where you can drop your kid off for a full day of supervised fun from 9am-4pm for $49, including lunch. Half days and 2 hour drop-ins are also possible.

Norquay Accommodation

There is no on-mountain accommodation. Banff is the best place to stay if you want to ski at Norquay, however it is also an easy day trip from Lake Louise. 

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Resort Activities

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For such a small area, Norquay has some excellent activities. These include a terrain park, night skiing (on weekends), and a big tubing park with 2 dedicated lifts, 6 lanes and a special kids’ zone. Norquay has three snowshoe trails that begin from the base (rentals are $15 or $10 for juniors).

Getting There and Around

Norquay is easy to get to from Banff, which is just 10 minutes down the hill. If you are driving, there is ample parking. There are also shuttle buses from Banff with several runs in the morning and afternoon. The shuttle bus is complimentary with a tri-area lift ticket.

When To Go

January and February can be cold, but there’s a better chance of powder snow. March is also pretty reliable, and towards the end of the month and in April you can get some warmer spring days. Norquay typically opens for weekends only in early November with a full opening at the end of November. It operates until towards the end of April.

Facts & Figures

Mountain Information   Lifts   Terrain    
Base Elevation 5350ft / 1630m Express Quads 1 Beginner 31%  
Summit Elevation 8040ft / 2450m Quad Chair 2 Intermediates 25%  
Vertical Drop 1650ft / 503m Double Chairs 1 Advanced 28%  
Skiable Area 190ac / 77ha Surface Lifts 2 Expert 16%  
Annual Snowfall 120in / 3m          
Longest Run 0.7 miles / 1.2km          
Operating Hours 9.00am –4.00pm          
Night Skiing 5:00pm 10:00pm Fri/Sat          
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