HAVEN’T YOU HEARD? 87 IS THE NEW 20!
The 2010/2011 winter season marked Mt. Norquay’s 85th anniversary. Named in 1904 after John Norquay, the premier of Manitoba from 1878-1887. John Norquay climbed the mountain that bears his name in 1888.
The Canadian Rockies’ first ski resort, opening with its first ski runs cut in 1926, Mt. Norquay now encompasses a wide variety of terrain, activity and ticket options to suit everyone. The terrain ranges from gentle beginner runs that provide areas to build confidence and skill, up to heart pounding double black diamond runs that will challenge any expert.
Conrad Kain, an accomplished Austrian Mountain Guide taught some of the local boys to ski prior to World War 1. Later on Gus Johnson introduced Ski jumping and people traveled from all over the world to experience ski Jumping at Norquay. With the help of local enthusiasts Cyril Paris and Cliff White built a small ski cabin at Norquay in 1927.
The first tow rope was built in 1941. Irene Clarke Choquette a Banff local was the first person to officially ride the rope tow. The cost to ride? Four rides for 25 cents.
The North American or “BIG CHAIR” as the locals call it was built in 1948 and is the second oldest chairlift in North America. A few years after its installation, construction on the mountain top Tea House commenced. Building a lift-accessed tea house at 6,900 feet in the Rockies taxed the ingenuity of builders, who had to transport all materials up a sheer mountain side to build on a 35 to 45 degree slope. They would change the lifts out the following summer to gondolas which transformed it into one of the hottest spots around. People would come from far and wide to ride up the Norquay Gondola and experience the tea house.
Ski Racing has always been apart of Norquay’s heritage. With the first Slalom courses set back in 1929. Norquay held the North American Champions back in 1937 and still to this day we hold several races a season and start pre-season ski training in November – where race clubs from all over North America come and train. Many inspirational top racers got their start at Norquay. Some of these early racers included Eddie Hunter and Bruno Engler to Karen Percy, Ken Read, Steve Podborski, Dave Irwin and Thomas Grandi just to mention a few.
The record snowfall for Norquay was in 1972 when 175 inches (444 cm) fell in one season, this was the same season Norquay hosted the World Cup Slalom and Giant Slalom events.
Norquay has changed and taken many forms over the past 86 years. From being Banff’s number one jumping and powder skiing venue to now being one of Canada’s best family resorts for fun, ski racing and learning, we’re getting more people out enjoying the snow every year. Norquay’s original lodge located by the North American Chair has since been re-opened and a Snow Tubing Park has been added. We also put on several terrain park events annually at Banff’s Back Yard Terrain Park.
In December of 1995 the ski area’s lodge burnt to the ground. Under devastating circumstances the management proved strength as they successfully erected a temporary base lodge. Fortunately, the Daycare, administration building, rental and retail shop were unaffected by the fire and are still around today. Immediately following the 1995/96 ski season a new lodge was built and this is the lodge we use today. The Lodge now hosts a variety of events year-round including weddings and corporate functions.
Our 85th anniversary year in 2010/11 was a massive success introducing a variety of new programs and “retro-pricing” which included special ski days on the first Thursday of every month, where we went back in time and offered original lift ticket pricing. We enjoyed having everyone up to celebrate so much we’ve decided to carry this tradition on for the 2011/12 season by hosting “Toonie Thursdays”. Starting in January 2012, you’re invited to ski with us on the second Thursday of the month for just two dollars. With our new Spirit Chair Mid-Station, effectively doubling our beginner terrain, everyone in the family can come and enjoy the exceptional product, price and service Norquay has offered for 86 years!
Weddings At Norquay
Norquay is the perfect backdrop for your special day!