Author Topic: Weekend Banff Retreat  (Read 1231 times)

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Offline Tbone

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Weekend Banff Retreat
« on: December 05, 2017, 08:55:43 PM »
Hey everyone
I don't usually post a topic on my own but my wife wants to go on a nice little weekend vacation to Banff so we have all day Saturday up until all day Monday to spend some time together. I want to do something fun and memorable on this trip and wanted your opinion on what would be fun and amazing to do. She's about 2 months pregnant so we can't get absolutely wasted together(lol) so I wanted to see what you would recommend would be great for activities. There's a website called Banff Adventures but I wanted to see what some of you guys and gals have experienced out there and what would work best for having a nice romantic trip. Recommend everything! I'm the type of guy who doesn't mind spending the extra amount of money on something that will be amazing. I want to have a great weekend and I trust you all to recommend something amazing.

Offline Markkas

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Re: Weekend Banff Retreat
« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2017, 09:56:02 PM »
A trip to Louise to go skate is always nice (if you both know how to skate/are into that). You can also hit up Johnston Canyon for a quick little hike while youre in that area, and it usually looks awesome around this time of year. Best of all, both of these things are free (unless youre renting skates).

As for stuff that costs money, dog sledding has been fun for me. Howling Dog Tours in Canmore is excellent and I definitely recommend it.

Helicopter rides are always great as well, but those can get pretty pricey pretty fast.

Offline jellynuts

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Re: Weekend Banff Retreat
« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2017, 11:24:20 PM »
Pick up some ice cleats if you decide to do any hiking.  Even these tiny studs are better than nothing

https://www.amazon.com/Quik-Solve-Snow-Traction-Cleats/dp/B00Q8YT274/ref=sr_1_4?s=sporting-goods&ie=UTF8&qid=1512540857&sr=1-4&keywords=ice+cleats
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Offline diamondedge

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Re: Weekend Banff Retreat
« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2017, 12:13:48 AM »
The Sulphur Mountain gondola is a sort of spendy tourist trap. Unless you hike it? Then it's free. The view from up top is pretty sweet.

I went up there one Christmas and Mount Rundle looks pretty majestic. They've renovated the restaurant up top as well from what I gather.

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Offline drewfuspx

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Re: Weekend Banff Retreat
« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2017, 08:21:32 AM »
Pick up some ice cleats if you decide to do any hiking.  Even these tiny studs are better than nothing

https://www.amazon.com/Quik-Solve-Snow-Traction-Cleats/dp/B00Q8YT274/ref=sr_1_4?s=sporting-goods&ie=UTF8&qid=1512540857&sr=1-4&keywords=ice+cleats

Highly recommend the cleats! Last year we did a few trips out there and the cleats were indispensable!
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Offline jellynuts

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Re: Weekend Banff Retreat
« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2017, 08:44:40 AM »
The Sulphur Mountain gondola is a sort of spendy tourist trap.

Spendy is right, but it might be worth it. 

Another idea is to go tubing: 

http://winter.banffnorquay.com/snow-tubing/

I've never been, but I heard Norquay has a great set up that's long and with multiple runs. 
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Offline Tbone

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Re: Weekend Banff Retreat
« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2017, 08:48:47 AM »
These are all great ideas. Thanks for the feedback!

Offline Ead

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Re: Weekend Banff Retreat
« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2017, 12:30:05 PM »
Have you been on a glacier?  That tourist trap about halfway up the Icefields Parkway might be worth a visit, if you don't mind spending a few bucks.  Especially since they have vehicles that have big-assay tires.  ;)
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Offline rustypouch

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Re: Weekend Banff Retreat
« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2017, 01:22:38 PM »
Have you been on a glacier?  That tourist trap about halfway up the Icefields Parkway might be worth a visit, if you don't mind spending a few bucks.  Especially since they have vehicles that have big-assay tires.  ;)

Keep in mind this is closed from mid-October to mid-April.

Also, if it's just the two of you and you want something quiet and romantic, and don't mind spending a few bucks, the Post Hotel in Lake Louise is fantastic.

Offline Ead

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Re: Weekend Banff Retreat
« Reply #9 on: December 06, 2017, 04:58:39 PM »
Keep in mind this is closed from mid-October to mid-April.

Also, if it's just the two of you and you want something quiet and romantic, and don't mind spending a few bucks, the Post Hotel in Lake Louise is fantastic.

I stand corrected.  I didn't realize they were closed during the offseason.  :(
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Offline rustypouch

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Re: Weekend Banff Retreat
« Reply #10 on: December 06, 2017, 06:48:23 PM »
Yeah, it's worth seeing. You could still head up, but you're on your own.

Offline SpdDmn

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Re: Weekend Banff Retreat
« Reply #11 on: December 10, 2017, 01:40:10 PM »
We did a weekend at the Fairmont last winter, which was awesome because we both like castles and history. Such a cool hotel!

Did the Sulphur Mountain gondola ride one day, and a horse-drawn sleigh ride the other day. The guide on the sleigh does an interesting talk about the mountains, how they're named, some history of the area, etc. There were some nice (pricey) restaurants attached to the hotel, and on the Fairmont Gold Level you get complimentary breakfast, pre-dinner snacks, and desserts.

Just remembered, I think it was the first package listed here! We didn't do the hot springs though. REALLY wanted to do dogsledding, but that one is a little too pricey...
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Offline lakelouise02bugeye

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Re: Weekend Banff Retreat
« Reply #12 on: December 10, 2017, 08:53:15 PM »
hmu  if you need ideas. i kinda know the area...
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Offline Zaider

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Re: Weekend Banff Retreat
« Reply #13 on: December 11, 2017, 04:39:51 PM »
If you haven't made reservations on where you're staying, Id suggest Storm Mountain Lodge. We stayed there last winter and loved it.
Its about 30 mins from Banff, so you're free to go in and go shopping, etc - whatever she wants to do, but you get to come back to these awesome little cabins, heated by a wood stove and relax. We brought a few bottles of wine, played scrabble, went for some walks in the area...

The food at the lodge is pretty awesome too. Definitely worth a breakfast and a dinner.

Bonus - if you've got a dog, the cabins are pet friendly. We took our dog out with us and it was perfect.
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Offline Tbone

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Re: Weekend Banff Retreat
« Reply #14 on: December 13, 2017, 01:32:06 PM »
Wife wasn't too into hiking on the weekend but we ended up driving up there Saturday night and did a walk down the main strip to see about some Xmas gifts for our families. Evoolution had some nice vinegars/oils/salts to try and taste so we bought some of those. Sunday was the main part of our trip to do everything we planned.
Sunday
11:00am - Cave and Basin: we went to the cave and basin in the morning and checked that out and the upper area. It was about 12:00pm when we finished up there. They play a 360 degree movie in a dome on the history of Canada but the 11:30am one was sold out and we didn't want to stick around another 30 minutes to wait for the second movie to play.
12:30pm - St James Gate Olde Irish Pub: Stopped for lunch at this place because a customer of mine works there. It was a fantastic lunch and lots of good food to choose from!
3:30pm - Park Distillery: We did a small tour of the Park Distillery at 3:30pm because it's free. If you're going to go there make sure to call ahead because they only have about 12 spots each day to do the tour and after the tour you can pay $20 to try a flight of 6 types of their in-house made brew. There are 3 flavored vodkas, gin, rye and then their original vodka.
7:00pm - High Rollers: It had been a while since my wife and I went bowling so we tried out High Rollers! Staff were amazing and there are 48 beers on tap! I had them bring out a flight of 4 flavors and had them surprise me. All four were delicious and after those I stuck to my usual double rum and coke until I was righteously drinky. We booked an hour and managed to get about 4 1/2 games in.
8:30pm - Grizzly House: A lot of the reviews for Grizzly House will say it's expensive, and it is, but you're paying for the experience. Our server was amazing throughout the whole night and I tried out the exotic main course which was the venison, bison, ostrich, kangaroo, crocodile, shark and frog legs. They list rattlesnake on the exotic course but they were out at the time so I didn't get the opportunity to try it. It's a fun experience and the food is delicious. We cooked all of our meat on a hot stone and as an appetizer we ordered the vegetable fondue with a side of bread which is definitely the way to go. Overall a great trip!

Monday at 11:00am: On our way back home we stopped in Canmore to eat at Chez Francois. One of the best breakfast places I've ever been to!

Thanks all for the suggestions! We had already done the gondola ride so we didn't do that this time around but overall we had a great trip!

Next time we go to Banff I'll definitely check out the other hotels you guys suggested. We like to switch up the trips a little bit and we'll definitely be back in Banff again. It's not very far to drive from Lethbridge to have a nice weekend trip.

Offline diamondedge

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Re: Weekend Banff Retreat
« Reply #15 on: December 13, 2017, 01:54:43 PM »
That's awesome!

Park Distillery has a freakin' delish Old Fashioned. Food there is bomb. I can't believe I forgot to mention it.

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Offline Zaider

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Re: Weekend Banff Retreat
« Reply #16 on: December 15, 2017, 03:30:37 PM »
My only issue with Grizzly House is that I come out smelling terrible. Last time we were there for a christmas party, stayed out late and the next morning, when hungover, went to pick up my clothes and the smell almost sent me over the edge.
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Offline Tbone

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Re: Weekend Banff Retreat
« Reply #17 on: December 19, 2017, 10:27:49 AM »
My only issue with Grizzly House is that I come out smelling terrible. Last time we were there for a christmas party, stayed out late and the next morning, when hungover, went to pick up my clothes and the smell almost sent me over the edge.
Uhh yeah our coats were super stinky so we had to wash those when we got home. I know what you mean it doesn't smell pleasant. The experience was great though!