No matter what kind of snowshoer you are Banff National Park offers a wide variety of après-snowshoe experiences; from the historic to the wild to the modern, there’s something for everyone. Here are some of Banff’s best;
Storm Mountain Lodge
Built in 1922, Storm Mountain Lodge is the quintessential après-snowshoe destination with a rustic lodge surrounded by bungalow cabins all nestled under heaps of snow. After a breathtaking snowshoe on one of the many trails in the area, flop down in the lounge by the roaring fire for some drinks, nibbles and laughs as you reminisce about the day. Then head over to the dining room for some classic Canadian fare like the days of old; naturally raised Alberta beef, wild fish, organic veggies and fresh baked breads, desserts and pastries.
The Juniper Lounge and Bistro
If modern is more what you’re after then the Juniper is the place to go. A wall of windows overlooks Banff’s twinkling lights while a massive fireplace, conveniently located near the bar, cheerfully greets the après-snowshoe crowd. Grab some drinks and lounge by the fireplace and sample some of their sea-to-prairie inspired menu such as cornmeal crusted crab cakes with aioli sauce or their charcuterie plate with elk pastrami.
The Grizzly House
Nothing says après-snowshoe like fondue and the Grizzly House, Banff’s signature fondue restaurant, is where you’ll find everything from the unusual to the traditional. Try exotic shark and alligator or stick to the more traditional cheese fondue, there’s something for everyone. No worries if your party doesn’t all fit at one table, call each other on the telephones at each table to stay in touch and ask each other why the heck are there telephones at each table!
Even the carnivores are raving about Banff’s vegetarian après-snowshoe alternative. Share tapas-style dishes with your buddies starting with their legendary nachos with 20-plus toppings to choose from. Follow up with mains such as the Gourmet Falafel or Wild Mushroom Ravioli. The eclectic décor makes for a quaint and intimate dining experience.
Banff’s Upper Hot Springs and the Rimrock Resort combo
On Wednesdays try wending your way up to Banff’s Upper Hot Springs for a massage and soak, taking in the amazing view. Then saunter down the hill to the Rimrock Resort Hotel where you can get one of the best deals in town – the all-you-can-eat pasta special! Create your own pasta and salad and choose from a dizzying array of desserts. Eagerly anticipated every winter from October to May by the locals for its amazing value.
Canmore – Gateway to Banff National Park
The Grizzly Paw Brewing Company
A warm welcome greets you as you step in from the cold and into the Paw, a lively place where locals and tourists mingle. Best known for the award-winning microbrewery, enjoy classic pub fare with their popular brews such as Rutting Elk, Powder Hound or Grumpy Bear. Can’t decide? Ask about their popular beer sampler. Fresh-brewed bottomless sodas on tap for the kids will quickly make them forget the 5-hour snowshoe slog in deep snow.
The Market Bistro at Three Sisters
It’s only been around for a year but the Market Bistro is making waves. A casual homey atmosphere greets you at the door with live entertainment and events happening regularly on Fridays and Saturdays. Excellent menu with affordable specials by talented French chef, live music, trivia nights, wine and scotch samplings with affiliated liquor store two doors down – there’s always something happening.
Baker Creek Cabins
For the romantic types, try the Baker Creek Mountain Resort. Surrounded by majestic scenery, evergreens, lots of wildlife, romantic log cabins and a bubbling creek the Baker Creek bistro serves up hot soup, wings, trout cakes, steak sandwiches as well as a full dinner menu. Stay at the cabins, order in your meal and drinks and curl up in front of the wood-burning fireplace, MEE-OW.
Bill Peyto Café
Located in the Hostel at Lake Louise, the café has a large fireplace and ski lodge feel. One of the best deals in Lake Louise with fresh burgers, pizzas, pasta, chili and great salads all washed down with cool beers. Great value, fresh food, friendly atmosphere with an international crowd, you can’t go wrong here.
Lake Louise Railway Station and Restaurant
Tucked away in a quiet corner of Lake Louise a restored and upgraded 1910 log railway station offers a unique dining experience. Sit down for a nice meal and hot-buttered rum while history surrounds you with custom millwork, Arts and Crafts furniture, pictures from the past and memorabilia. Vintage railway cars outside complete this unique restaurant and can be booked for special occasions.