Thinking of a trip to Banff area in January 2010. First off are there car rental places in Banff, and if rented in January; do they come with any snow tires, studs, chains?
National, Avis and Budget all have offices in Banff. Most people get there through Calgary and pick up a car there. I think Alberta is one of the few places where studs are legal, but I have never seen them on a rental car. Cars tend to cross provincial boundaries and no use to the rental car agencies to supply vehicles that can't do that.
Snow chains - I haven't seen them on cars in decades. The need for these has largely been replaced by 4x4 SUVs. Most car rental places tend to have regular tires and the one time I checked, the car had M&S (mud and snow) tirs, rather than regular snow tires, although there could be exceptions - probably best to contact the rental agencies to find out. It is not cost effective for the rental agencies to store and change tires. The main road through the park is well maintained (Highway 1) - plowed and sanded.
If you are worried about traction - rent a 4x4. It the weather is really bad - do like the othe smart folks and stay off the roads.
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