Last Updated on December 18, 2016 by Irene Seto
There’s nothing like that fresh, mountain air mingled with the scent of pine all around you. You’ll get all that and so much more atop the newly-renovated Banff Gondola Summit. Brewster Canada invested $26 million dollars on the redevelopment project to upgrade the facility. What’s cool is that they managed to build up on the existing space so as to limit the environmental impacts, while adding in tons of cool new features. The new facilities have a smaller environmental footprint through energy efficient technologies, solar panels and materials that integrate with the natural surroundings. After a year of construction, the Banff Gondola has reopened to a new multi-story building rising high on top of Sulphur Mountain.
So where should you start once you’ve made it up the gondola? The second level is now home to the Above Banff Interpretative Centre. The floor features immersive learning exhibits that’s fun for all members of the family to learn about Banff National Park and its unique alpine ecosystems. There’s also a 40-seat theatre that takes you through the Rockies in a beautiful cinematic experience.
Head up to the third level and you will experience some elevated dining options. Sky Bistro is a great addition to the Banff food scene offering upscale dishes while you enjoy the breathtaking mountain views. It’s a great place to sit back and enjoy some fine dining on top of the mountain. The menu prices can range on the higher end, but Brewster’s has promotions on for both gondola admission and a 2-course meal at Sky Bistro starting at just $69. Totally worthwhile to make a reservation if you can.
If you’re looking for smaller snacks, the Northern Lights Café offers hot and cold cafeteria-style food options at affordable prices. The best part is that there is lots of window seating all around so you can sit down and enjoy the view as well.
Keep on going up and you will make it to the expanded rooftop observation deck. Here you’ll see amazing views of the Banff town site, the Bow Valley and the surrounding Rocky Mountains. Bring your selfie stick and get ready to snap away!
Of course, there’s also the gondola itself that offers a calm and tranquil ride up and down the mountain as well as the well-used boardwalk for those willing to take a little walk out to the weather station. There’s also a handy coffee shop on the main floor so you can grab a cup of joe before heading out.
If you’re like me, it’s probably been years since you’ve been to the top of the Banff Gondola, but there are many new attractions to visit and enjoy in addition to the beautiful view. It’s definitely worth a visit if you haven’t been in a while.