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Banff in March 2007?

Louisiana
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Banff in March 2007?

Hi friends! My boyfriend and I are thinking of going to Banff the last week of March (18th-25th). If so, we're planning on Fairmont Banff Springs. I've never heard of Banff until 2 days ago and now it is all I can think of--it looks beautiful and we're really excited about going but we need some help.

Does anyone have comments on:

1. Is that a good time to visit Banff?

2. How does the Fairmont measure? There aren't too many hotels in the area and Fairmont has a lot of amenties on-site but other suggestions are definitely welcome!

3. I'm also in need of good ski instruction (I've got the heart but not the talent), so any suggestions on good ski schools, instructors?

4. What would you recommend for the fishing expeditions?

5. What would you generally recommend for winter activities?

6. What would you generally recommend for food?

THANKS TRIPADVISOR!

Calgary, Canada
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1. Re: Banff in March 2007?

Piddeaux,

So glad to hear that you're so excited about your Banff trip.

1. March is an excellent time to visit, if you're going to come in the winter; Banff is quite different in winter and in summer, but it is worth visiting at every time of year. You will be able to see more in the summertime, and there will be more to do, but you will also be paying very expensive high season rates at the hotels, and there won't be any skiing.

2. The Fairmont is a 4-star resort hotel in a resort location. That means that you will pay a premium for your room, because of the location; the same is true of every hotel in Banff and nearby Canmore. But if you like all-inclusive luxury hotels with great food and great shopping under one roof, with awesome views from most hotel rooms, the Fairmont is for you. (Ditto for the other top-notch luxury hotel, the Rimrock.)

If, on the other hand, you don't need a view from your hotel room because you will be enjoying the views when you're out and about, and for you, a hotel is just a comfy, safe place to sleep and be a base, you may find that another Banff hotel helps you to save dollars on accommodations so that you can spend it elsewhere.

3. I believe all of the Banff ski areas have excellent ski schools. Some people recommend learning to ski at Norquay, because it is less expensive and much closer to the town of Banff than the other "Big 3" resorts (Sunshine Village and Lake Louise). However, if you're visiting with a skilled skier, then one of the two larger ski areas, with a much larger amount of terrain, would be a better choice.

4. Fishing? Sorry, I can't help you there.

5. Other activities? Lots of folks really enjoy taking a dogsleigh trip; there are several dogsledding outfits in Banff and Canmore. Other folks enjoy trying snowmobiling, but the noise is a big turn-off for me, and it is not allowed within the national park. I'm looking into a horse-drawn sleigh ride with Warner Stables for my next Banff visit. $24 for a 45-minute trip on a 18-seater "public" sleigh, or $175 for a 45 minute private "romance ride" for two on a 2-seater, with liquer and Bernard Callebaut chocolates included. There's also the Sulphur Mountain Gondola, which has a lovely view of the Banff townsite area and neighbouring valleys, without unsightly ski runs and trails. Don't bother to go up, though, if it's cloudy or snowing--it'll be a waste of money. For more info, check out Inside Banff (tripadvisor.com/Travel-g154911-s1/Banff:Albe…) and Inside Banff National Park (tripadvisor.com/Travel-g154910-s1/Banff-Nati…). This is information compiled by TripAdvisor members like you; feel free to add to it once you return home from your trip, after you read the Inside Pages tutorial.

6. You'll also find lots of information on food at the links just above; check out the Dining Scene section.

Banff, Canada
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2. Re: Banff in March 2007?

For some thoughts on ski instruction, you might want to check out this thread:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g154911-i221-k3530… l2131229-First_time_skiing_and_first_time_in_banff- Banff_Banff_National_Park_Alberta.html#2131229

In order to get TripAdvisor to accept this post, I had to break the above URL into three chunks. You'll want to take out the spaces before pasting it into your browser.

On fishing -- the lakes and rivers in Banff National Park will be frozen in March. This is not the time for fishing expeditions in Banff. Here's a link to open season dates in Banff National Park:

pc.gc.ca/pn-np/…banff

The last week in March is a gorgeous time to visit Banff - you will have lots of fun, and won't even notice the lack of fishing!

Calgary, Canada
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3. Re: Banff in March 2007?

Apparently some outfitters offer ice fishing on Spray Lakes, but I don't know if that option would still be open at the end of March, since the ice could be starting to get thin.

Canada
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4. Re: Banff in March 2007?

For Banff: For the lengthy urls, try going to tinyurl.com pasting in the huge url , and create a more manageable url for posting. Copy and paste into replies. I use it frequently for my work related postings.

Canada
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5. Re: Banff in March 2007?

For Banff: For the lengthy urls, try going to tinyurl.com pasting in the huge url , and create a more manageable url for posting. Copy and paste into replies. I use it frequently for my work related postings.

Banff, Canada
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6. Re: Banff in March 2007?

Thanks, Love2 -- I'll give that a try.

Jasper, Canada
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for Jasper, Jasper National Park, Canadian Rockies
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7. Re: Banff in March 2007?

Hi Piddeaux

1. March is a great time to visit Banff (or the Rockies in general) for a ski vacation because you get warmer temperatures, longer hours of daylight, and there is usually still a good snowpack. It is also "spring break" for some schools, so you can expect it to be hoppin'.

2. There are plenty of hotels in Banff, and the Fairmont is one of the more expensive ones. Banff is a town of about 7500 (the Banff expert will correct me if I am way off, I hope) and it is a major resort town. Its reason for existence is tourism. Skiing/snowboarding is THE attraction in the winter. Banff, Jasper, Whistler, Fernie etc. are the Canadian equivalents of the ski resorts in Colorado, Utah etc. (just a little geography lesson lol) I suggest you google the Banff Lake Louise Tourism Bureau to find out more about accommodations, attractions etc.

3. All of the ski hills have a ski school. You could google the three ski areas (Mount Norquay, Sunshine Village and Lake Louise) and they will have details on their websites.

4. All I can tell you about fishing is that you will need a national park fishing permit (about $7 a day). There should be some river fishing available... not sure what else. I suggest enquiring at a local sport shop. This is the (summer) fishing page for Banff National Park - there isn't one listed for winter - but it will give you some idea of some of the regulations:

pc.gc.ca/pn-np/ab/banff/activ/activ5_E.asp

5. This page, also from the BNP website, lists activities:

www.pc.gc.ca/pn-np/ab/banff/activ/index_e.asp

6. There are lots of restaurants in Banff. There have been some comments and recommendations posted in the Banff forum on TripAdvisor, so I suggest you read through the posts there.

Hope this helps - enjoy your trip to Canada!

bluegrass
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8. Re: Banff in March 2007?

Hi Piddeaux,

It was great to read your post, because you asked some of the same questions that I wanted to ask. My family of 5 is looking into going to Banff the first week of April 2007.

Has anybody heard of or stayed at the Douglas Fir? It sounded like a fun place and had some nice looking 3 bedroom chalets. It particularly sounded good for families with kids - the waterslides and all.

If anyone knows anything about this place, please let me know. I also heard about some hot springs baths, which sound great. My family is undecided about either spending the week skiing/snowboarding/hiking in Banff or splitting the week between Montreal and Quebec City, hopefully skiing and sightseeing. We've never been to any of these three places. I would sincerely appreciate any and all advice. Thanks and happy traveling.

Urs

Banff, Canada
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9. Re: Banff in March 2007?

The Douglas Fir is a great choice, especially with a family of 5. Try searching this forum using the words "douglas fir" and you will come up with several discussion threads re why this is a great spot for families.

In choosing between Banff and Montreal/Quebec City, you would be choosing between two entirely different styles of vacations. I don't think anyone could give you advice on which would be better for your family -- that would be an very personal decision, depending on what you like in a vacation. Banff is wonderful. Quebec City is wonderful. I'm not so fond of Montreal, myself, but many, many people love it.

bluegrass
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10. Re: Banff in March 2007?

Thank you. You are so right about it being a personal decision on where to go. It is just that our family traditionally takes a tropical vacation in the spring (as we are all scuba divers). We thought we'd try something different this spring and we have never been to Canada. It is such a large country with so much to offer. I just checked out a Frommer's travel book on Canada today.

Ideally, I'd like to balance a Canadian vacation between some wonderful outdoor activities (skiing, hiking) and some cultural and sightseeing adventures. We are NOT big shoppers.

A relative of mine speaks glowingly of Quebec City and how it reminds her of France, which my children loved. Maybe I will look into ski opportunities there to see if such a combo trip is possible. I guess I've got some homework to do...

Thanks so much for your good advice.