Banff is a beautiful place lying in the mountains in the province of Alberta, Canada. Sadly, it was probably far more beautiful 20 years ago since it has become overrun by tourists. They are mostly Japanese, British, German and Canadian(in that order). Sometimes the Elk charge at camera toting tourists who are invading their personal space - nature's way of fighting back.

Banff (pronounced bamf) is the only urban center in Canada not populated by Canadians. Calling it urban is a bit of a misnomer because it is technically a National Park. The government always talks about stopping development inside the borders of Banff National Park, but I wonder if the damage is already too extensive.

Geographically, Banff lays in the intersection of three valleys, and is surrounded by many mountains. These valleys are animal migration routes, which is why I mention the damage that the growth of Banff causes.

Tourism in Banff is nothing short of insane, both in summer and winter. Summer brings many camera toting tourists who seek the local wildlife and scenery. Winter brings ski bums in quantity. All breeds of man can be found touring around Banff, although Japanese people seem to make up a real majority.

Even the shops are run by tourists who are usually students travelling the world who need to make money. You'll most commonly find Europeans and Australians running the shops, mostly because they speak English. The winter of 2000 brought many Australians especially.

There are many places to ski near Banff, such as Sunshine Village, Castle Mountain, Lake Louise and Norquay. Last year's (2000) snow sucked, with a base of under two meters for the whole season.

One of the cooler things in Banff is the Upper Hot Springs. The pool there is naturally heated, although lately the water has needed extra warming. Mmmm.. sulphur.

I almost forgot, Banff is the STD capital of Canada. Many young tourists make for much free love. If you really want to get laid you should try the bar scene in Banff. Just remember to take a condom.

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