Driving Distance, Calgary: Banff

Now that Whistler has been transformed into a five ring circus, we’re heading to Canada’s second most famous ski town, a less-than-two-hour drive from Calgary. Sitting in Canada’s third-oldest national park, Banff is home to mind-melting landscapes, world-class dining and hordes of international coeds. Oh, and the skiing’s half-decent, too. DailyXY does Banff.

Private booths and tableside phones (complete with a map of table numbers) fuel persistent rumours that Grizzly House was once a swingers’ club. Now, the fondue spot is home to a strictly carnivorous sort of hedonism, as folks cook their own beef, lobster and venison at the table. The truly adventurous opt for alligator, rattlesnake and ostrich.

Shops selling goofy tuques abound, but only Rude Boys — formerly, Crème — offers fashionable casual wear from Stüssy and Gravis alongside denim by Cheap Monday and Ksubi. The display case injects a dose of quirk, via Kid Robot toys and “Simpson’s” figurines.

Locals get frisky at Eddie Burger Bar, home to stiff Caesars, boozy milkshakes and endless pints of Kokanee Gold. Those who don’t find a special someone get a tasty consolation prize: After midnight, cheeseburgers are $6.

Will you hit Sunshine Village, which boasts a kilometer-high vertical drop? Or Lake Louise, home to 4200 skiable acres? Will it be Sunshine’s double-black, avalanche-transceiver-requiring Delirium Dive? Or Louise’s powder-filled Brown Shirt? Life’s hard, no?

In the Premier King Suites at the Hidden Ridge Resort, your mountain view balcony includes a private hot tub. A loft bedroom overlooks the suite, which includes a full kitchen, wood-burning fireplace and, de rigueur, private hot tub?

Image courtesy of Doug Fisher.

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