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Taking in the majesty of Banff
From LAX, Air Canada flies nonstop, and United and America West offer connecting service (change of planes) to Calgary. Restricted round-trip fares start at $265.50.
WHERE TO SKI:
All prices are in U.S. dollars.
Alpine, snowboarding: Ski Banff-Lake Louise-Sunshine, Box 1085, Banff, Alberta, Canada T1L 1H9; (800) 661-1431 or (403) 762-4561, fax (403) 762-8185, http://www.skibanfflakelouise.com. Partnership of Banff National Park's three ski resorts. Three-day pass good at all three places costs $41 for children 6-12, $118 for ages 13-64 and $104 for 65 and older. Includes free shuttles from Banff and Lake Louise hotels.
Packages: Lodging packages may save money. Peak season example: three nights at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel and a three-day, all-resorts ski pass for $336 per person. A similar three-night package based at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is $345 per person.
Cross-country: Canmore Nordic Centre, site of 1988 Winter Olympics Nordic events, (403) 678-2400, http://www.trailsports.ab.ca; and the Nordic Stop at Chateau Lake Louise, rentals and lessons, (403) 522-1898, Ext. 1201.
WHERE TO STAY:
Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, 111 Lake Louise Drive, Lake Louise, Alberta T0L 1E0; information (403) 522-3511, toll-free reservations (800) 257-7544, fax (403) 522-3834, http://www.fairmont.com. A 487-room resort where I stayed. Standard rates for a double room start at $221 per night; ski package starts at $107 per person, per day.
Fairmont Banff Springs, 405 Spray Ave., Banff, Alberta T1L 1J4; information (403) 762-2211, reservations (800) 257-7544, fax (403) 762-5755, http://www.fairmont.com. Larger sister hotel of the chateau, with spa pools fed by hot springs. Doubles from about $155.
Other choices include the cosmopolitan Rimrock Resort Hotel outside the town of Banff, (800) 661-1587, http://www.rimrockresort.com; the Post Hotel, a rustic Relais & Châteaux property near Lake Louise, (800) 661-1586, http://www.posthotel.com; and the Sunshine Inn, which has mountainside rooms and two-bedroom suites, (877) 542-2633, http://www.banffreservations.com. Budget choices: the Banff Alpine Centre hostel, (866) 762-4122, http://www.hihostels.ca/hostels/Alberta/, and the Banff Voyager Inn, (403) 762-3301, http://www.banffvoyagerinn.com.
WHERE TO EAT:
The Maple Leaf, 137 Banff Ave., Banff; (403) 760-7680. Seafood, pastas, regional game specialties. Dinner entrees $15-$30.
Melissa's, 218 Lynx St., Banff; (403) 762-5511. Casual steakhouse also serves seafood, pastas. Main courses $8-$15.
Canadian Tourism Commission, 550 S. Hope St., 9th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90071; (213) 346-2700, fax (213) 346-2785, http://www.canadatourism.com.