She almost backed out.
One of my four-and-a-half year old twins is afraid of heights. She doesn’t mind being on high places, (like mountains for skiing) as long as her feet are connected to the ground. Lift her off the ground though and she is NOT happy. She’s been this way since she was a baby. It’s one of the reasons I was hesitant when we considered the idea of riding the Sightseeing Chairlift at Mt Norquay.
We convinced her to try it. She saw the chair lift, the mountain, and the top and looked at me and said “NOPE.” We reconvened. I promised her I would hold her the whole way up. She suggested she could keep her eyes closed. We agreed to give it a try.
She. LOVED. it!
The Mt. Norquay Sightseeing Chairlift is a 10 minute summer ride that offers unprecedented and breathtaking views of the valley below, namely the Banff townsite. The ride up is about 10 minutes long with pleasant views of trees and wildflowers. At the top there’s an observation area with beautiful lookouts perfect for photo ops. (We did an awkward selfie before a Mt. Norquay team member zipped over and offered to take our picture.)
The ride down is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. I’ve gone down mountains on gondolas, but never on an open-air chairlift. I have to admit, I clutched my daughter a little tighter – but by now, she was a pro and was loving every minute of it!
The view on the way down truly makes the trip. I snapped photos and even took some videos, but an iphone 8 camera simply doesn’t do it justice and it is, without a doubt, something you have to experience for yourself. To round out the true Rocky Mountain encounter, I spotted a little bear cub as we neared the bottom. The lift operators told us he’d visited often in recent days.
A summer trip to Mt. Norquay can be as simple as taking the chairlift up and down – or you can branch out and make a day of it. The Sightseeing Chairlift runs June to October. Summer hours are 9am to 7pm, and fall hours (which kick in on September 8) are 10am to 6pm. Kids 2-5 are free, children 6-16 are $24 and adults 17+ are $37. (or you can get a family four-pass for $109.) Norquay also offers “Via Ferrata“, harnessed climbing experiences led by certified guides. (note: Via Ferrata participants must be at least 12 years old and 88 lbs to participate.)
You can enjoy a meal (or two) at Norquay. Pack a picnic lunch – there are plenty of tables at “base camp”, the North American Lodge. It also has a cafeteria serving diner favourites like burgers, dogs, sandwiches and snacks. Craving some heartier fare or want to round out your experience with something extra special? Try the Cliffhouse Bistro at the top of the chairlift. The menu is small but the service and taste is impressive.
My husband and I each chose the Turkey Reuben and it didn’t disappoint. The hearty sandwich was enough for each of us, but it was also served with homemade chips and a spring mix salad. Good news for families – there is a Kids’ Menu (it’s not online, but is available in the restaurant.) Our daughters shared a kids’ pizza, which was more than enough for two.
The table next to us ordered the Norchos (Nordic Nachos made with homemade tortilla chips) and they looked and smelled so good, I interrupted them to ask if I could take a picture for this post! (My husband LOVES it when I do stuff like that.)
Whether your destination is Banff or you’re passing through on a road trip, the Mt. Norquay Sightseeing Chairlift is a must-do. It’s a summer view of the Rockies you simply can’t get anywhere else.
As for my daughter – she’s now talking about skydiving, so she can know what it “feels like to fly”.
Sightseeing Chairlift at Mt Norquay:
Where: 6 km from downtown Banff on Mt. Norquay Access Road, Banff
When: Sightseeing Chairlift is open June 14 to October 14, 2019
Time: June 14 to September 8 – 9am to 7pm
September 9 to October 14 – 10am to 6pm
Although we do our best to provide you with accurate information, all event details are subject to change. Please contact the facility to avoid disappointment.