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The oldest ski resort in the Canadian Rockies where skiing has been a family affair since the 1926. Our first ski cabin was built in 1927 and the first rope tow was installed in 1941. The North American or “Big Chair” has been providing riders with Bow Valley views since 1948, making it one of the oldest chairs in North America. Where else can you ski and eat your lunch in the same lodge where some of Canada’s ski legends did the same not that long ago? Mount Norquay has grown up in the last 91 years, now offering a wide variety of terrain, activity and ticket options for skiers and boarders, beginners and experts. Our redesigned terrain park promises to challenge all levels. The tube park continues to be such a fun-magnet that we continue to expand the number of lanes and offer day and night tubing.
The closest mountain to Banff, Mount Norquay continues to build on its’ dedication to families and locals. Our ski and snowboard programs are taught by on hill veterans. From the discovery packages for beginners to our Midweek Adult clinics and hugely popular children’s programs, the ski school is dedicated to creating community and sharing a love for this beautiful sport. Ski racing has always been apart of Norquay’s heritage with the first slalom courses set back in 1929. Norquay held the North American Champions races in 1937 and still to this day hosts several competitions a season.
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Peak at our Stats
|Mount Norquay Statistics|
|Average Snowfall||300 cm (120 in)|
|Base Elevation||1630 metres (5350 feet)|
|Cumulative Run Length||16.4 km (10.2 miles)|
|Daycare||Available for children from 19 Months to 6 years|
|Hours of Operation||9:00am – 4:00pm daily|
|Lift Capacity||7,000 people/hour|
|Longest Run||1167 metres (3828 feet)|
|Night Skiing||5:00pm – 9:00pm Fri/Sat|
|Season Length||From November – April|
|Opening Date (2015)||November 5th|
|Peak Elevation||2133 Metres|
|Snowmaking||85% of Skiable Terrain|
|TubePark||7 lanes with varying gradients ranging from green to black diamond|
|Snow Sports Centre||Group & Private LessonsAdult & Kids Ski/Snowboard Programs|
|Vertical||503 metres (1650 feet)|
Mount Norquay is the oldest ski resort in the Canadian Rockies where skiing has been a family affair since the 1926, when the first downhill runs were cut. At that time, Banff resident Gus Johnson and some of his students began clearing land on Mount Norquay’s slopes as they were yearning for more challenging ski jumping in the region. Cyril Paris, Cliff White and other pioneer skiers completed the first ski cabin in 1927. It was a modest log structure, but afforded those zealous skiers a place to warm up.
Once the first rope tow was installed in 1941, the ski experience at Mount Norquay was much more accessible to all ages. The cost to ride in those days was 25 cents for four lifts. The honour of the first official ride went to Irene Clarke Choquette a local Banff resident. The North American or “Big Chair” as the locals call it was built in 1948 making it one of the oldest chairlifts in North America.
From humble beginnings more than 91 years ago, much has changed at the closest ski resort to Banff. Mount Norquay now encompasses a wide variety of terrain, activity and ticket options to suit everyone. The terrain ranges from gentle beginner runs that allow new skiers to build confidence and their skills, up to heart pounding double black diamond runs that will challenge any expert. The new Spirit Chair mid-station was installed in 2011 and doubled the available beginner terrain. Everyone in the family can enjoy the exceptional product, price and service Norquay has offered for almost nine decades!
What has never changed is Mount Norquay’s dedication to being THE resort for ski families. Toddlers entering ski and snowboard programs are taught by on hill veterans, and eat their lunches in the same lodge where some of Canada’s ski legends did the same not that long ago.
Ski racing has always been apart of Norquay’s heritage with the first slalom courses set back in 1929. Norquay held the North American Champions races in 1937 and still to this day hosts several competitions a season. Pre-season ski training begins in November – when race clubs from all over North America arrive to train. Many inspirational top racers got their ski start at Mount Norquay. Some of these well known racers included Eddie Hunter and Bruno Engler, Karen Percy, Ken Read, Steve Podborski, Dave Irwin and Thomas Grandi, just to mention a few!
Mount Norquay carries on these traditions with popular annual ski events such as the Mountain Smoker, Bruno Engler Memorial Race, and Bozo Cup, which all include participants who are celebrated Canadian athletes. A grass roots dedication to creating inspiration for future Canadian medal hopefuls. You can follow this link to the complete schedule of Mount Norquay events.
Located in Banff’s backyard Norquay is the locals’ hill and some might argue their best-kept secret. The mountain offers non-crowded skiing with flexible ticket options. This accessibility means it is common to see Banffites sneaking in a few quick runs before work, during lunch or ahead of after school pick-ups.
Norquay also offers many options for non-skiers with Banff’s original and largest tubing park in the Rockies. For those looking for a chance to escape into the woods for a few moments of sightseeing, they can strap on a pair of snowshoes.
Mount Norquay: A storied past, present and future…
Looking for a few story concepts for Mt. Norquay? Below are a few of our favourite things to boast about.
A Chair with a History
Built in 1948, the North American Chair remains one of the oldest fixed grip chair on the continent. Affectionately known as the “Big Chair”, it is almost one-kilometer long 945m (3100′). The name is certainly not due to large comfortable seats; in this case the now pulse lift whisks groups of four chair at a time up to the Cliffhouse. This mechanical lift rises 396 vertical metres (1300′) past 13 towers a chariot for Canadian ski racers, movie stars and BowValley locals after epic snowfalls.
Banff’s Community Hall
Frosty mornings that start with dry humour and the snap of a binding. Layered conversations with friends that dissolve into powder. That one last turn making one so full of the moment that only a yell, a cross between a wrangler’s command and a mountain yodel comes close to expressing how good you feel. The free will of a child’s first turn or the trained skill of a World Cup racer, combined with emotions that run out of control; everything from “I’m going to quit this stupid sport, “ to “Hey, I’m pretty good.” Norquay has seen it all. Norquay has been our community hall…If mountains have personalities, does that personality develop because of what they do to us or what we do to them? – Excerpt from Eddie Hunter’s book The Spirit of Norquay
Launched 90+ years ago, Norquay is a retro resort in itself with vintage Bruno Engler photography decorating Lone Pine Lodge and an old ski jump station still standing. The annual Bruno Engler Memorial Race celebrates Norquay’s history of skiing with locals competing on antiquated equipment. Staff and visitors are encouraged to don their tightest and brightest gear and loudest retro sweaters. Manager Andre Quenneville joins in the racing – and fancy dress – every year. “People love to go retro,” he says. “I can’t put my finger on why people love it so much, maybe it’s the lack of oxygen circulating to our heads from wearing such tight one-piece suits.”
Chairlift Speed Dating: Lifts of Love
You have tried your luck on Tinder and ChristianMatch.com with no success. Your friends have practically given up on you after a series of blind-date disasters. You keep having to miss a ski day to meet your match. You’re not the only one, find that perfect sporty someone that loves the mountains as much as you. Mount Norquay has the answer with its annual Lifts of Love speed-dating concept on February 11, 2017. Dazzle your potential mate with charm on the way up and carves on the way down.
Mount Norquay Winter Made Easy
Weekends with the family are too precious to waste time on the road. Mount Norquay offers a variety of snow-based activities suitable for all ages and skill ranges. The closest hill to Banff, just minutes from the park boundary, Norquay welcomes families with easy parking, flexible ticket options, on-hill rental shop and a two welcoming lodges for hot chocolate. The team at Norquay is ready to facilitate needs of ski families; no request is too big or too small. Let our guests tell you them selves with some quotes from recent Christmas ski camps.
Tubing for the Biggest Smiles on the Mountain
Die-hard experts may wonder what the fuss is all about as they ride the North American Chair for one more hair raising run down the Lone Pine. However, it takes little explaining once they see the ear-to-ear smiles in the tubing park. This park is an attraction all on its own, just moments from Banff it is open daily from 11am to 4pm. A magic carpet moves people and tubes to the starting point, where there are four large sliding lanes. Slide on your own or in a group. The golden rule – have fun! For little riders there is a play area and small scale-sliding zone. Fun for adults too – Friday and Saturdays the tube park is open until 9pm – try it for a different kind of date night. Escape the city arriving on at the Tube Park just over an hour from YYC for a few hours followed by a great dinner or drinks at one of Banff’s amazing eateries – for casual drinks and dinner try our Lone Pine Pub for Chef Morne Burgers creations.
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