As it approaches 100 years in operation, Banff’s Mount Norquay today announced plans to build a new gondola, mountaintop restaurant and via ferrata among other improvements. The Norquay 100 Vision is distinct from a previous plan by Mt. Norquay’s owners to build a gondola from the Town of Banff to the ski area. The newly-proposed Cliff House Gondola would replace the North American double, a machine the ski area bluntly calls “Western Canada’s most outdated chairlift.” The Garaventa pulse lift was installed in 1974 and operates throughout winter and summer. The new detachable gondola would run in a similar alignment between Norquay’s base lodge and a new Cliff House restaurant. The building would serve as a base of operations for a new via ferrata and alpine hiking.
“For nearly 100 years, Norquay has served as Banff’s backyard, an iconic destination for skiers and sightseers, often providing visitors their first introduction to Banff National Park,” said Mount Norquay General Manager Andre Quenneville. “As we start to look towards our second century of operation, we are putting plans in place to improve the visitor experience and make ourselves more accessible as well as environmentally and economically sustainable,” he continued.
The resort notes the restaurant and gondola projects are inseparable with one providing revenue to offset operating costs of the other. “Without this project, Norquay is not economically sustainable because it does not generate enough funds to replace its existing lifts at the end of their life,” said Quenneville, noting the Norquay gondola would also take pressure off the nearby Banff Gondola.
Even with enhanced facilities, Norquay does not seek to increase its guest capacity beyond the current 3,800 people at one time. Initial review of the plan by Parks Canada is already underway and the resort hopes to qualify for a simplified regulatory review process in the lead up to its 2026 centennial.