Embrace Winter From Above in Banff

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Embrace Winter From Above in Banff

January 3, 2017 No Comments »

This image depicts a cable car moving along a snowy mountain landscape, supported by a green metal structure. The cable car features a maple leaf emblem, suggesting a location in Canada. Snow-covered trees frame the scene, with majestic snow-capped mountains and a partly cloudy sky in the background. The text in the lower right corner reads "Global Photography by Sherry Ott."

I don’t ski, but I want to get to the top of the mountains to see the gorgeous Banff National Park views – what’s a girl to do? Here’s the perfect non-ski Banff thing to do – ride the Banff Gondola – there’s no skiing required! So, if you don’t ski, it doesn’t mean you are doomed to visit the Canadian Rockies only from ground level.

I actually wrote this article a year ago, and then, as I was ready to publish it, I realized the gondola was closed for renovations during the winter season! However, this winter, it opened back up with some great new additions and improvements at the top. Some of the buildings got a facelift, but the mountains are still the same!

I must admit, when I got to the ticket booth I faltered at the price of the ticket, $49 CA, I nearly decided not to go as it seemed like a hefty price to simply ride a gondola. But I went anyway, and I am happy to say that it was worth the $49! I ended up spending the whole day up there taking photos, having lunch, and soaking up the incredible vastness of the Canadian Rockies. If you are waffling on your decision to take a ride on the Banff Gondola, here are a few reasons that might solidify your decision to go!

10 Reasons to take a ride on the Banff Gondola

1. Get a new perspective on the forest

The 8 minute ride in the gondola glides over the snow covered tree tops allowing to you get a whole new perspective on the forest. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife as you ride up and down!

This image provides a bird's-eye view of snow-covered trees seen from a high vantage point, likely from a cable car or a ski lift. The snow blankets the ground and tree branches, creating a winter wonderland effect. The perspective captures the height and serene beauty of the snowy landscape below.

2. See 6 Mountain Peaks At Once

This is some of the best views in the region. Once at the top you’ll be able to take in 6 mountain peaks on a clear day – you can literally see for miles! If you live in a city where you rarely see the horizon, you will appreciate this vast view. I personally think wide open spaces are the best therapy there is so soak it in!

This image shows a person standing on a wooden observation deck high in the mountains, taking in the expansive view of snow-capped peaks and a partly cloudy sky. The deck and stairs are dusted with snow, enhancing the wintry atmosphere. The text in the lower right corner reads "Global Photography by Sherry Ott."

3. Geek Out and Get Cosmic

Visit the Sulphur Mountain Cosmic Ray Station National Historic Site. Canada participated in the International Geophysical Year from 1957 to 1958, with nine sites established to measure cosmic rays. Sulphur Mountain Cosmic Ray Station was the most important site due to its high elevation. There used to be an entire lab building here where research was conducted; however, now, all that remains is the foundation and some superb views!

This image captures a snowy mountain peak with a series of wooden walkways and staircases leading to the Banff gondola cosmic ray station at the summit. The surrounding landscape features dense evergreen trees and distant snow-covered mountains under a blue sky with scattered clouds. The text in the lower right corner reads "Global Photography by Sherry Ott."

4. Up On The Boardwalk….

Stay warm by taking a walk on the Sulphur Mountain boardwalk. You might associate boardwalks with the beach, but not this one! Take the 2 km stroll to Sanson’s Peak. For people who want to go further, take the South East Ridge Trail – a hiking trail running along the ridge of the mountain to the south, taking you to Sulphur Mountain’s true summit.

This image shows sulphur mountain boardwalk, a wooden walkway through a snow-covered forest, with railings on either side. The path is surrounded by evergreen trees dusted with snow, creating a picturesque winter scene. The text in the lower right corner reads "Global Photography by Sherry Ott."

5. Soak up the Sun

Get 7,468 feet closer to the sun! And make sure to put on sunscreen and bring sunglasses!

This image captures a breathtaking view of a mountainous landscape with snow-covered peaks and evergreen trees under a partly cloudy sky. The sun is shining brightly, casting light across the scene. A person stands on an observation deck on the left, taking in the panoramic view. The text in the lower right corner reads "Global Photography by Sherry Ott."

Learn the story of the two sisters – Canmore and Banff

6. Eat Poutine at Altitude

If you’ve never had poutine, then you are missing out. It’s Canada’s national dish – originating in the province of Québec, made with French fries and cheese curds topped with a light brown gravy. Wash it down with a beer while you stare out the window at the mountains. Mountain-top dining isn’t just for the skiers any longer! With the renovations, they really improved the eating options at the top. There is now a range of upscale options and more snack bar-type options (where you’ll find the poutine).

This image shows a person enjoying a dish of Canadian poutine, with melted cheese stretching from a fork. A bottle of Molson Canadian beer sits on the table next to the food. The person's jacket and a soft toy animal are also visible. The text in the lower right corner reads "Global Photography by Sherry Ott."

7. See a Spaceship

You have to use your imagination for this one a bit! When I went on the gondola a couple of years ago, there was an old observation building at the top that looked just like a giant spaceship had landed on top of a mountain! That is where most of the renovations happened, but it appears they still kept the circular spaceship-type design, which makes me happy! They’ve added a few more levels, including interactive exhibits to a multisensory theatre and a breathtaking 360-degree rooftop observation deck.

This image shows a scenic view of snow-covered sulphur mountain with a modern observation building in the foreground. The circular building, displaying a Canadian flag, is situated among evergreen trees and overlooks a valley with towering peaks in the distance. The text in the lower right corner reads "Global Photography by Sherry Ott."

8. You Don’t Have to Ski Down!

For those who hate downhill skiing like I do – this is the best news yet! You can explore around for however long you want at the top and then just get back in line and take the civilized way down…in the gondola. It only takes 8 minutes, and you won’t be sore in the morning! You can even time it for the sunset and get some great views of the sun going down as you go down the mountain. Just make sure you catch the last gondola down, or you may find yourself doing some unplanned winter camping!

This image offers a view from inside a cable car descending a snowy mountain. The landscape below is covered in dense, snow-laden evergreen trees, and the cable car line stretches down towards a valley surrounded by rugged mountains. The text in the lower right corner reads "Global Photography by Sherry Ott."

9. It’s Warm(er) and Dry In The Gondola

No matter what the weather is doing outside, you’ll stay warm and dry inside the gondola! It’s a great way to see the views no matter what the weather!

This image shows a person wearing a furry winter hat and a blue jacket, taking a photo through the window of a cable car. The view outside features snow-covered mountains and a forested valley under a clear sky. The text in the lower right corner reads "Global Photography by Sherry Ott."

10. See Banff from Above

You are 2,900 feet above Banff, so you get some spectacular views of the city and rivers below! Who needs a helicopter when you have a gondola?!

Banff from Sulphur mountainThis image captures a panoramic view of Banff from Sulphur Mountain. The rugged mountains, blanketed in snow, stretch into the distance under a blue sky with scattered clouds. The text in the lower right corner reads "Global Photography by Sherry Ott."

Plus – if you love photography like I do, you get to take oodles of photos like these…

Visit the Banff Gondola

Banff Gondola Hours: This changes seasonally – so be sure to check the Banff Gondola website for hours here
Banff Gondola Price: Adult $49, Kids $25

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