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Banff Resort Plans New Gondola as Centenary Nears

Mount Norquay ski area near Banff is planning to replace its North American Chairlift, originally built in 1946, with a two-station gondola running from the main lodge area to the Cliff House restaurant. The plan is part of Norquay’s ‘100 Vision’ which has been set out ahead of the centenary of the famous Canadian ski town’s centenary in 2026.

“For nearly 100 years, Norquay has served as Banff’s backyard, an iconic destination for skiers and sightseers, often providing visitors their first introduction to Banff National Park. As we start to look towards our second century of operation, we are putting plans in place to improve the visitor experience and make ourselves more accessible as well as environmentally and economically sustainable,” said Andre Quenneville, General Manager, Mount Norquay.

The proposed replacement of the 77-year-old chairlift would also tie in the removal of the North American lodge, and the creation of an expanded and restored Cliff House, relocated and restored ski jumping judging towers, an accessible Via Ferrata route and an enhanced shuttle system.

The initiative is also in line with the plans for the wider Banff National Park and tie in with Norquay’s decision to become the first ski resort in Canada to be powered by 100% renewable power back in April 2021. They will also see the resort restore sensitive wildlife habitat, decrease Norquay’s built footprint, reduce the potential for human-wildlife conflict, and concentrate visitor services and educational opportunities.

The project also includes the world’s first wheelchair accessible via ferrata, a relocated tube park, self-guided alpine hikes, and will provide Norquay the ability to fund the replacement of its other existing infrastructure with modern facilities and lifts. It will also level out summer and winter visitation, facilitating a relatively constant level of staffing and mass transit system service on a year-round basis.

Norquay is actually the oldest resort in the Canadian Rockies, it opened in 1926. Located less than a 10-minute drive or ski shuttle ride from downtown Banff, Mt. Norquay continues to be a go-to mountain for locals and visitors alike with many Olympic and World Cup ski racers getting their start at the resort.

“Without this project, Norquay is not economically sustainable because it does not generate enough funds to replace its existing lifts at the end of their life,” said Quenneville.

  1. Cameron Chandler

    16th February 2023 2:58 pm

    Best area to ski in CANADA…you have Norquay, Sunshine Village and Lake Louise all in very proximity:)

  2. BrianDavis

    18th February 2023 8:29 am

    I started skiing at 1967 and have skied there on and off since. I still have my gold award for 35,000 feet of skiing on the North American chair and performing a front somersault off the edge of the Nordic jump,this was one of the Canadian Beer sponsored events in the late 60’s. The hill is close to my heart and I will be back. I plan to ski Norquay again next year when I visit my son Ben who lives in Canmore.
    Brian Davis (Bristol,England)

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