When looking for something special to do in Banff, look no further than the Banff Gondola. I took advantage of the Mother’s Day brunch at Sky Bistro to host my family. The weather was perfect; sunny and warm with the odd cotton-ball cumulus cloud floating high in the blue sky.
We arrived late for our scheduled ride, but the staff at the base station greeted us warmly and ushered us onto one of the pristine 4-person gondolas – clean, cozy and with fantastic 360-degree views through clean windows. The eight-minute ride to the top was nothing short of incredible, providing us with our first panoramic views of the Spray River valley to the southeast framed by the Rundle and Sundance ranges, Cascade Mountain to the north, and the Banff townsite below.
Arriving at the top, friendly staff helped us disembark and wished us a pleasant time. The upper structure is world class, having gone through a $26 million rebuild to reopen in 2016. Floor-to-ceiling windows on three levels allow visitors jaw-dropping views, or you can step outside onto one of the several large railed verandas.
The brunch at Sky Bistro was great. It featured a buffet with freshly carved prime rib, breakfast favourites such as sausages, bacon, scrambled eggs and pancakes, and fresh fruit, muffins and pastries.
Afterwards we strolled the leisurely boardwalk to the Cosmic Ray Station, a National Historic Site atop Sulphur Mountain, for more breathtaking views. Temple Mountain, one of the highest peaks in the Rockies at over 3500 m, was clearly visible to the west, along with Bourgeau Mountain, and the crenelated limestone spire of Mount Louis to the north.
Although there was a queue for the departing gondola, the efficient and friendly staff ensured that it moved quickly. The ride down was as breathtaking as the ascent.
Go to banffjaspercollection.com to book your flight.