Banff Lake Louise has a great mix of top-notch skiing and world-class spas. // © 2013 Banff Lake Louise Tourism
There is nothing quite like a deep tissue massage to help prevent muscle soreness after a workout. Perhaps that is why many of the world’s best ski resorts now offer accommodations with full-service spas that have treatment menus tailored to ski guests. After a hard day tearing down the slopes, skiers and snowboarders can relax in the spa pools and enjoy a post-ski massage designed to reduce the buildup of lactic acid and soothe their tired muscles.
With champagne powder and one of the longest ski seasons in North America, the Alberta Rockies have long been revered by skiers and boarders worldwide as a top destination for winter sports. More recently, the area has also been recognized as a world-class spa destination with many resorts offering commissionable ski-spa packages. Here are five of Alberta’s best ski-spa destinations and resorts to recommend to clients who are looking for an incredible ski experience combined with a little off-piste pampering.
There are three world-class ski areas located within 45 minutes of the Town of Banff, and a tri-area ski pass is the ticket of choice for visitors who want access to more than 8,000 acres of ski terrain at Mount Norquay, Sunshine Village and Lake Louise ski resorts. There are several excellent spa resorts in Banff, but the Willow Stream Spa at the Fairmont Banff Springs is the creme de la creme of the bunch. The 38,000-square-foot spa facility at the “Castle in the Rockies” defines world-class luxury. Facilities include a European mineral pool, three cascading waterfall pools at different temperatures, an outdoor hot tub, a coed lounge and mens’ and ladies’ private spa areas with steam rooms, Jacuzzis, inhalation rooms, saunas and private lounges.
The Town of Canmore is world renowned as a cross-country ski destination, and there is no better place to learn the art of cross-country skiing than the Canmore Nordic Centre, the host site for the cross-country ski and biathlon events of the 1988 Calgary Olympics. The closest downhill ski resorts are Nakiska and Mount Norquay, but Lake Louise and Sunshine are also within driving distance. One of the newest spa resorts in Canmore, the Solara Resort and Spa is a great place to unwind and get pampered after a day of Nordic or downhill skiing. The resort combines luxury condo accommodations with an exceptional medical-spa facility. Complete wellness is the focus of the on-site Our Wellness and Spa. Personal training, Pilates, a fitness center, physiotherapy and spa services are all offered in the 9,500-square-foot facility with a coed sauna and steam circuit, relaxation lounge and locker rooms.
Located in Jasper National Park, Marmot Basin has the longest high-speed quad chair in the Canadian Rockies and is famed for its basin and glade skiing. The hill has 86 named runs on 3,000 vertical feet of drop and tends to be a little less crowded than the ski resorts in Banff. The Fairmont Spa at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge is the best spa facility in the area. The 10,000-square-foot facility has 10 treatment rooms, therapeutic mineral baths, glacial-inspired steam rooms and rain showers. Special mountain-inspired treatments include specialties such as a fir-infused stone massage, a mountain mineral ritual and a maple butter body wrap.
Nakiska Ski Resort was home to the 1988 Calgary Olympic Alpine events, and skiers and snowboarders are still enjoying its Olympic-length groomed runs and challenging upper mountain terrain. Adjacent to Nakiska Ski Resort, the Delta Lodge at Kananaskis is a destination in itself with myriad winter activities, including outdoor skating, tobogganing and cross-country skiing. The on-site Summit Spa is the only spa in the area and features a variety of treatments in a large facility with an indoor/outdoor whirlpool, a eucalyptus steam room, a fitness room and a sun deck.
With 4,200 skiable acres, Lake Louise is the largest ski resort in Canada and one of the largest ski areas in North America. But there is no need to be intimidated, as there are beginner, intermediate and expert runs from every chair. One of the best places to relax and recharge after a day on the slopes is the Temple Mountain Spa at the Post Hotel and Spa. The spa facilities include a steam room, a whirlpool, a fitness center, a Roman-inspired saltwater pool and a relaxation lounge. After a spa break, guests will want to check out the Post Dining Room, which was chosen for the list of Best Food in the Americas by Conde Nast Traveler and is one of only four restaurants in Canada to have received the Grand Award from Wine Spectator Magazine.