Summer Resorts 2002-Far West: Banff, Alb

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Banff, Alb.

Few places in the world are as dramatically beautiful as Banff National Park. Famous for its rugged alpine beauty and wilderness, the park is also home to three world-class ski resorts¿Lake Louise, Sunshine Village and Banff Mount Norquay.

Norquay is within hiking distance of the storybook-charming town of Banff. The four-mile ascent to the base of the ski hill is a popular hike or bike.

Up valley 20 minutes, Sunshine Village Ski Area offers free guided interpretive hikes. And at neighboring Lake Louise, you can take a ride on the resort's gondola, from which it's not uncommon to catch a glimpse of bear and other wildlife.

Back at the base, toast the scenery at the grand Ten Peaks Lodge, where the Powder Keg offers a Ride 'n' Dine lunch special. What's not to celebrate? You're in one of the world's most stunning national parks, with three great mountain resorts at your disposal. Whether you aspire to sample everything the park has to offer or spend your time gazing at the snow-capped Canadian Rockies from the grounds of the magnificent Chateau Lake Louise, you're guaranteed one unforgettable trip. ¿Chantal Knapp Thompson

Don't Miss Cycling the scenic Lake Minnewanka Road, a mountainous six-mile paved loop that conveniently starts and ends in town.

best deal The Summer Safari package ($450 per person) includes two nights at Chateau Lake Louise, two gondola tickets, entry to the Nature Center and a guided nature tour. 800-258-7669, www.skilouise.com.