Frequently Asked Questions about Banff Centre
Arriving in Banff
What should I pack when I come to Banff?
Banff has a cool, dry climate. The area, which is at an altitude of 1,476 m (4,500 ft), has “mountain weather,” meaning it is subject to daily changes in temperatures and conditions.
- Summer temperatures range from 20°C to 25°C, but nights are significantly cooler. Please be aware that occasional smoke advisories can take effect due to regional wildfires.
- Autumn is typically clear and sunny, with daytime temperatures in the 10°C to 15°C range and night-time temperatures slightly below freezing.
- Winter, which generally lasts from November to May, offers great snow for skiing, with typical temperatures ranging from -5°C down to -20°C. Spring temperatures are generally comfortable 10°C to 15°C during the day.
Banff is also subject to Chinook winds and conditions. Warm, humid air flowing over the mountains from the west can raise winter temperatures substantially in a short time and reduce snow accumulations dramatically in a few days.
People unaccustomed to living at our altitude may require a couple of days to acclimatize.
In the winter, consider packing
- a winter jacket or coat
- sweater or fleece pullover
- winter boots, preferably with a flat sole and non-slip sole
- hat or scarf
- warm socks
- mittens or gloves
In the spring/summer, consider packing
- jacket or windbreaker
- sweater or fleece pullover
- shoes with a flat sole, or running shoes (our property includes hilly terrain)
How do I get a Banff National Park Pass and how much does it cost?
This is a national park entry fee which is charged to all visitors to Banff National Park. Revenues collected from sales of the park pass are used to support visitor services and facilities in Canada’s national parks. Park pass fees are determined based on number of people travelling and type of vehicle entering the park.
Park passes can be purchased at any of the entry gates into Banff National Park, at the Parks Canada Information Centre located in downtown Banff (224 Banff Avenue), or purchased on-line in advance of your visit through Banff Lake Louise Tourism.
Please contact: Parks Canada at 1.403.762.1550 for national park pass information, camping, hiking, cross-country skiing, and wildlife information.
What is there to do when I get there?
Each year, thousands of talented artists and cultural leaders in the performing, visual, literary, and media arts come to Banff Centre for professional development or to create new work. Their work is showcased throughout the year through public performances, exhibitions, and events, culminating in our summer events season. In the fall, the world’s best mountain films, speakers, and writers gather for the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival. For more information on upcoming events, or to purchase tickets, please contact Banff Centre Box Office, 1.800.413.8368, 1.403.762.6301, or visit our events listings.
Sally Borden Fitness and Recreation offers a wide range of recreational opportunities and fitness services for people of all abilities and interests. Visit our website for a comprehensive listing of our recreational facilities and services.
These popular links offer information about trip planning, events, and activities, in Banff, Lake Louise, and beyond:
Banff visitor information: The Banff Lake Louise Tourism website makes it easy to plan your visit.
Downhill skiing and snowboarding in Banff National Park: Visit Ski Big 3.
(remember to breathe): Travel Alberta provides visitor information for the Alberta Rockies as well as destinations throughout the province.
Can I expect to see any wildlife on my trip?
As Banff Centre and the town of Banff are located in Banff National Park, various types of wildlife are often observed. Sightings range from different bird species to the most frequently encountered large mammal: the elk, bears, mountain lions, and mountain goats are very elusive and are rarely observed.
Keep in mind that the wildlife you may encounter is just that — wild! Please ensure that you respect the animals’ spaces and habitats while in the park. That perfect picture can sometimes lead to a compromising situation for both the subject and the photographer! For your safety and theirs, please treat them with respect and keep your distance. Please do not feed any of the animals, including the squirrels, as they are protected by law.
Please do not feed any animals, this can result in animals becoming habituated to humans and could lead to them being put down.
Elk can be fast and dangerous, especially during spring calving (May 15-July 1) and the fall rut (Sept. 1 - Oct. 15). If you encounter any elk, keep your distance. You must stay at least three bus lengths away from elk at all times. Do not use headphones on trails. It is always best to travel in groups and to be aware of your surroundings at all time. If you see wildlife on campus, please contact Security Services via the main switchboard by dialling '0' or calling 1.403.760.0098.
It is your responsibility to educate yourself on the topic of wildlife and how to prepare for wildlife encounters.
Mountain Environment: A Word of Caution
Mountains can be dangerous. If you are planning an excursion, contact the Parks Canada Information Centre at 1.403.762.1550 for up-to-date weather and avalanche information, reports on trail conditions, and wildlife activity. Visit pc.gc.ca/banff for more information.
Staying at Banff Centre
How do I get to Banff Centre?
Banff Centre is located in the town of Banff, a 90 minute drive west of Calgary. There are several transfer options available from the Calgary International Airport to Banff including airport shuttle service, bus transportation, and rental cars.
Banff Airporter is the official airport shuttle provider of Banff Centre and the best way to get to and from the Calgary Airport. Banff Airporter offers multiple departures daily between Calgary Airport and Banff Centre. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the scenery as you travel to Banff.
Brewster Transportation coaches offer several daily departures from Calgary International Airport to Banff hotels, and return daily from Banff to the airport. Please contact Brewster Transportation at 1.800.760.6934 or 1.403.762.6700 to confirm times and rates.
If you are driving to Banff/Lake Louise, the Trans Canada Highway 1 leads directly to the Rockies. The Trans Canada is a four-lane divided highway from Calgary to Lake Louise. The highway gains very little elevation from Calgary to Banff/Lake Louise and is a safe and scenic drive.
How far is Banff Centre from Banff?
Banff Centre is located on the east side of Banff, four blocks from Banff Avenue. The town can be accessed by foot three ways from the Centre grounds: St-Julien Road, Buffalo Street, and the Ken Madsen Path to town. It is a brief 10 minute walk downhill to town. The return trip is slightly longer as it is uphill.
Downtown Banff can be reached by taxi for less than $10 each way.
There is no shuttle bus that runs from Banff Centre to downtown Banff.
I am attending a conference. Can I bring family or friends? How much extra does it cost?
Family members or friends not registered for your conference are welcome to accompany you. Up to one additional person may stay with you in your room at no additional charge. Children under 13 years of age stay free in parent’s room. Additional persons 13 years and over are charged at $20 plus applicable taxes per day. When booking your reservation, please be sure to indicate the number of adults and children in your party so that the most suitable room type can be assigned for you. Should the size of your party require a larger, upgraded room, you will be quoted a higher room rate than the price quoted for your conference package.
As a delegate, you will have been offered a special conference rate that includes some variation of a meal plan for you alone. Meals are not included for spouses/companions unless they are a registered delegate of the conference. Spouses/companions can purchase individual meals at Vistas Dining Room or at any of the food outlets on campus. If your spouse is also attending the conference as a delegate, the quoted "double" conference rate outlined on your registration form will apply to each of you. Meals will be included for both people if that has been pre-arranged with the conference.
How do I pay gratuities?
If you are attending a conference, gratuities for baggage service and housekeeping are built into the nightly package rate. Other gratuities are paid upon the client's discretion for other services attained at either Banff Centre or at other establishments in the town of Banff.
Are your rooms accessible?
Banff Centre welcomes guests with disabilities. There are paths, roadways, or ramps that provide access to and throughout most buildings. However, the centre, built on the side of a mountain, presents challenges to those with limited mobility. We recommend that you contact us in advance so that we can meet you upon your arrival to facilitate your understanding of the best routes and services available. Please contact Jim Olver, Director of Guest Services at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 1.403.762.6123 for assistance.
Banff Centre has bedrooms adapted for wheelchair access; please request when making your reservation.
Do you have smoking rooms?
No. Since September 1, 2008, all bedrooms at Banff Centre are non-smoking.
For the health, safety, and comfort of our guests, Banff Centre has designated all bedrooms, public areas, classrooms, performance spaces, and service areas as non-smoking. Smoking is not permitted in building entrance areas, or on outside patios where food service is available. The Centre has designated more than twenty outdoor smoking areas throughout the campus.
Aboriginal smudging and sweetgrass ceremonies associated with Banff Centre programs are exempt from the non-smoking policy.
Please note that under the Alberta Tobacco Reduction Act, smoking is prohibited in public places and workplaces, and within five metres of any doorway, window, or air intake.
What print services are available?
For larger jobs that require completion prior to the end of the conference, Banff Centre offers two facilities to help you complete these jobs. Xerox Global Services is located on-site and offers services ranging from large print jobs to complete binding and color printing services. They are electronically compatible to accept jobs for completion prior to your arrival. Xerox offers competitive pricing when compared with other options located in downtown Banff.
For smaller, quick jobs, the Business Centre, located at the Front Desk in the Professional Development Centre (PDC) can complete simple print jobs and faxes. For convenience, charges may be deferred to your room account. The Business Centre also offers a full supply of office materials for purchase.
Where can I park at Banff Centre?
Complimentary parking is available to all Banff Centre guests. Parking areas are indicated on the campus map. Please register your vehicle at check-in. The Front Desk will assign you with a parking permit for your vehicle, and will direct you to the long term parking areas.