In Banff / Lake Louise, alpine lakes gleam gemstone green and blue amid chiselled peaks crowned with glaciers. In winter, ice skates clink and glide on frozen Lake Louise. Skiers cruise broad, scenic trails and finesse breathtaking steeps – gliding through the Canadian Rockies’ famed champagne powder, at three different ski resorts, surrounded entirely by the National Park’s pristine, rugged wilds. In summer, rivers burble and run. Bears, bighorn sheep, wolves and elk ramble through thick forests as undisturbed as they have since 1885, when Banff National Park was formed. Today, cyclists, climbers, equestrians, hikers, endurance runners, paddlers, skiers and mountaineers come from all corners of the world to experience this 7,000 square kilometer natural expanse and the dynamic town at its heart. So, too, do those who wish to simply have their souls stirred by its magnificent wildness while they sketch its landscapes, soak in its hot springs, or stroll down bustling Banff Avenue. Some even come just for Banff’s vibrant culture – to picnic under the stars at live concerts in nature-made amphitheatres, for example, or to experience leading-edge performance at the seminal Banff Centre for the Arts. The majesty of the Canadian Rockies looms over every moment, whether visitors are traversing a high alpine pass, chatting with local parents while kids explore the town playground or sipping high tea in an historic, grand hotel.
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