Home Après Nightrise lights up the night at the Banff Gondola

Nightrise lights up the night at the Banff Gondola

by Karen Ung

When the sun goes down, the Banff Gondola celebrates the beauty of the night with Nightrise, an all-new immersive, multimedia experience.

The Nightrise Experience

Imagine that you’re floating above Banff at twilight, as twinkling stars make their appearance and city lights shine below. There are snowcapped peaks and marshmallow trees as far as the eye can see. As you soar towards the Sulphur Mountain summit on the Banff Gondola, ambient lighting illuminates the cabin, and a soothing voice welcomes you and invites you to take in the sights and sounds of the night. Nightrise has begun.

Designed by Moment Factory, a world famous Canadian multimedia studio, in participation with Stoney Nakoda First Nation, Nightrise awakens the senses and instills wonder though storytelling, music, dazzling lights, and digital projections. The experience begins on the gondola ride, with Stoney Nakoda stories. “The oral tradition, story-telling, it’s a huge part of who we are; it’s a huge part of keeping our culture alive as we tell others who we are through story,” says Kirsten Ryder, Training and Development Director of the Stoney Nakoda Nation. “This experience provides an opportunity for guests to deepen their knowledge of the historical impact and cultural significance the Stoney Nakoda Nation has held in the town of Banff and beyond.”

At the summit, Four Wonders await: Cosmic Rays, Diamond Dust, Alpenglow and Frosted Waves. Art, history, and technology collide to make magical experiences at each station. Journey through space to see where northern lights come from, listen to the sounds of the night, spin around in a virtual snowstorm, or watch ice crystals sparkle in the sky (from your comfy beanbag chair). The wonders can be experienced in any order, just make sure not miss any of them!

“We hope Nightrise will encourage moments of gathering, of wonder and become an unmissable evening attraction for locals and visitors alike,” shares Jonathan St-Onge, General Manager of Moment Factory. Days later, we are still talking about Nightrise – how beautiful and unique it was – and remember there is no word for goodbye in the Stoney Nakoda language. Instead, they say “See you again,” and somehow we know we will.

Partnership disclosure: We were hosted by Pursuit, but all words & opinions are my own.

Dining at the top of Sulphur Mountain

At the summit, you can enjoy alpine-inspired fare and cocktails at Northern Lights Alpine Kitchen (buffet) or Sky Bistro (a la carte dining). Reservations are recommended.

Ride & Dine package deals are available: Northern Lights Nightrise Dinner at Northern Lights Alpine Kitchen, or Nightrise Sky Experience Dinner at Sky Bistro. For details, see Banff Gondola Deals.

Castle Mountain Coffee is the place to go for a coffee, cocoa, and cookies.

Know Before You Go

  • Strobe lighting, digital projections, and artificial smoke machines are used in Nightrise.
  • By order of the Government of Alberta, proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID-19 PCR or rapid test result within 72 hours of your visit is required.
  • It can be quite chilly at the top of the mountain at night, so dress warm! While most of the wonders are indoors, there is a sound gallery on the upper viewing deck (as well as firepits and comfy lounge chairs), and outdoor interactive experience on the main level.
  • Pets are not permitted on the gondola or in terminal buildings, unless they are service animals.
  • Last ride down: 10 minutes before closing time.

Where to Stay

Elk + Avenue is perfect for families with large, spacious rooms including loft suites with 2 queen beds and a sofa bed (sleeps 6). Conveniently located on Banff Avenue beside IGA in case your forgot anything. Get breakfast at Farm + Fire, the wonderful onsite restaurant with lots of gluten free, dairy free, vegan, and nut free options.

Getting Here

The Banff Gondola lower terminal is located at 100 Mountain Avenue, a 10-minute drive from downtown Banff.

Parking is available, but we recommended the free shuttle or public transit:

  • FREE BUS RIDE: Show your gondola ticket to the driver to get a free ride to & from the Banff Gondola. From December 2, 2021 to March 31, 2022 on ROAM Route 1 only on the day of your gondola visit.
  • FREE BANFF GONDOLA SHUTTLE: The free Banff Gondola shuttle runs Fridays & Saturdays every hour starting at 4:20 PM. Picks ups and drops offs are at the Elk + Avenue Hotel, Banff Park Lodge, and Fairmont Banff Springs. The return shuttle departs from the Banff Gondola parking lot every hour. See shuttle schedule here.


Nightrise runs from December 2, 2021 – April 10, 2022, 5 pm – 10 pm. CLOSED December 5 & 9, 2021.

For restaurant hours, visit Banff Gondola.

Information & Tickets

For information and tickets, visit Pursuit Banff & Jasper | Banff Gondola. You get the best price when you book tickets online over 48 hours in advance! Current promotions: Kids ride free before 12 noon, OR Alberta Residents can save up to 20% with Pursuit Rewards Pricing (offers cannot be combined).

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