The Banff Gondola zips you to the top of Sulphur Mountain in eight minutes in four-person cars. At 7,486 feet, you’ll find a multi-level complex with grab-and-go, casual sit-down and “elevated” dining options, as well as an interpretive centre and theatre and 360-degree rooftop observation deck with warming firepits. From the summit complex, take the Sulphur Mountain Boardwalk to the Cosmic Ray Station, a former weather-reporting station, now a National Historic Site of Canada, perched atop neighbouring Sanson’s Peak.
The immersive multimedia Nightrise experience is returning this winter and is a unique way to take in the summit after sunset. Created by Montreal-based studio Moment Factory in participation with the Stoney Nakoda Nation, Nightrise’s original soundscapes blending voices, music and spoken word linger in the mountain air and highlight the Stoney language.
Other seasonal happenings include the Gondola’s annual transformation on Nov. 20 into the Elf Express, a winter wonderland where you can enjoy photos with Santa, a holiday cocktail bar, ice sculptures and more.
The Banff Gondola is wheelchair accessible, with all levels within the summit complex accessible by elevator. The gondola cars can accommodate most standard-sized manual and motorized wheelchairs, walking frames and assistance devices.
Three More Mountain Gondola Adventures
Lake Louise’s gondola experience is a 14-minute cruise up to 6,850 feet, where you can gaze out at soaring peaks and the stunning Victoria Glacier. Note that there are no dining, lodge or washroom facilities at the top during the winter season.
This six-passenger gondola at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort in Golden, B.C., transports riders to the summit in 12 minutes. At 7,700 feet atop the Purcell Mountains, you can see views of five national parks and visit the Eagle’s Eye Restaurant, a stunning chalet-style room with an incredible view. Eagle’s Eye is open daily in the winter for lunch and après-ski, and for dinner on Friday and Saturday evenings. There are also two bookable luxury suites that include a private chef, butler and, for skiers and snowboarders, an instructor-guide to show you around.
The Jasper SkyTram whisks guests up Whistlers Mountain to a height of 7,425 feet. From there, take the Summit Trail for 360-degree views of stunning Mount Robson, the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies. The SkyTram is not open during the winter, but you can experience winter-like conditions when it opens in the spring of 2023 by snowshoeing at the summit. Guest can rent snowshoes at the upper station retail store for $15.75 per pair.