Lake Louise map Sunshine Map Billy Goats Gruff 1 Billy Goats Gruff 2 Grizzly House

Banff/Lake Louise/Sunshine

The three areas of Banff-Lake Louise, Sunshine and Norquay-provide almost 8,000 acres of skiing between them. Sunshine and Louise are quite lengthy bus rides away but the service is incredibly efficient (no French or Italian queuing here!).

The variety of skiing on offer ranges from gentle, tree-lined cruises to extreme plunges. Delirium Dive at Sunshine made me dizzy just looking at it. All the areas have one advantage for Europeans - uncrowded slopes. The presence of trees also makes skiing more viable in periods of bad weather. Huge powder bowls are a feature at Lake Louise, while Goat's Eye, at Sunshine, is a powder heaven after a good snowfall.

Beginners and families are well catered for but, if you want any nightlife, stay in Banff. It's quite a big town with numerous, excellent restaurants to suit all pockets.

Two words of warning: it can be extremely cold and don't miss the Torchlight Descent from Louise's Whitehorn Lodge (the buffet is an entertainment in itself).

A day trip to Panorama is worthwhile, if only for the views along the way, as this small resort has just about enough skiing for a day or two. Night skiing is also available at Norquay, if you want to totally exhaust yourself.

For something new, try a day at Kicking Horse (buses go daily from Banff and Lake Louise) before it becomes well known. This will be the

best resort in the area if the current rate of expansion continues.

It has long runs, with some very steep blacks which are easily accessed from the lifts and a superb 10k green run which is a mix of paths and open runs. The variety of runs is already excellent and there are some superb cruising runs on the lower slopes - try your racing turns on Wiley Coyote.

This really is one for the future.