Holiday spirit is at an all time high at the Banff Gondola’s Mountaintop Christmas. Santa’s bakeshop is open for cookie decorating, and the fat man himself is available for photos. Rustic, festive decor delights around every corner, and carolers’ tunes make it merry. Add in a Christmas craft and movie, and Smokey S’more cocktail (from Sky Bistro) for mom and dad, and you’ve got the perfect holiday celebration with stunning views to boot.
Disclosure: Pursuit Banff & Jasper Collection’s Banff Gondola generously hosted us, but all words and opinions are my own.
Start here: Banff Gondola’s Lower Terminal
Christmas music greets us in the Banff Gondola’s Lower Terminal. I admire the festive decorations, then race to catch up to my kids. “Do you have the tickets, Mom? Mom, come on!” Despite riding the gondola a few times a year, my daughters are super excited. We’ve just missed the 11:30 am rush (kids ride free before noon), so there’s no lineup, and within moments we’re boarding the gondola. A staffer with an elf hat helps us on and tells us to have fun. The girls holler, “Thank you!!” and practically vibrate with excitement as we gain elevation.
Banff Gondola’s Mountaintop Christmas Festivities
Banff Gondola’s Mountaintop Christmas has become an annual tradition for our family. From sipping hot cocoa on the Observation Deck and enjoying the winter wonderland, to cookie decorating and visiting Santa, we look forward to it every year. Our first stop is the Bakeshop, where each kid can appease her sweet tooth. The amazing spread of cookie toppings includes crushed candy canes, Oreo bits, candies, and sprinkles. My kids are in heaven.
After exploring the Interpretive Centre and playing giant snakes and ladders, the girls write to Santa. “Is Santa here?” they ask. Of course he is! We find Santa on the top floor, tell him our Christmas wishes, and get a photo with him (you can purchase a photo or take your own). On the adjacent Observation Deck, we notice a dome shelter. It’s heated and has furry blankets so you can stay cozy warm while enjoying the view; the perfect place to enjoy a cup of hot cocoa!
Back inside, carolers are singing “Deck the Halls.” We hum along while decorating Christmas ornaments, then make our way to the theatre to watch a short Christmas movie. With so many things to do, it’s easy to spend a few fun hours here.
Sanson’s Peak Boardwalk
A trip to the top of Sulphur Mountain isn’t complete without a walk to Sanson’s Peak. Named for Norman Bethune Sanson, who tended the Banff Weather Station for 30 years, the peak offers a bird’s eye view of Banff with very little effort. The boardwalk is only 500 metres long and offers several stunning viewpoints. Bring a hat and mittens as it can get breezy on the boardwalk.
Banff Gondola Mountaintop Christmas Hours & Deals
Hours: Join in Banff Gondola’s Mountaintop Christmas festivities: on weekends from November 20 – December 19, 2021, 10 am to 3 pm; and daily from December 20-30, 10 am to 3 pm. For a complete listing of events, please visit Pursuit Banff and Jasper Collection | Banff Gondola Mountaintop Christmas.
Deals: Kids ride free before noon every day, and there is also an Alberta resident discount. For the best prices, book your tickets online in advance from Pursuit Banff & Jasper Collection | Book Banff Gondola Tickets.
Know Before You Go
Masks, government issued identification, proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test completed within the last 72 hours are required for your visit.
Parking can be an issue on the weekend, so go early, or consider taking public transit from downtown Banff. You will need to take ROAM Transit Local Route 1. More information is available at Banff Gondola Hours and Location.
Where to Stay
Elk+Avenue Hotel, conveniently located on Banff Avenue, has spacious, stylish rooms including suites and loft suites. Walk to shopping and dining, then relax in the hot tub and sauna.
Elk+Avenue has an amazing promotion right now that includes one free gondola ticket per stay! Book from Pursuit Banff | Elk + Avenue.
Have fun at Banff Gondola’s Mountaintop Christmas and let me know how you liked it! We wish you a happy and healthy holiday season!